Baton Route, the capital of Louisiana and a center for business, welcomes visitors with its low-key version of traditional Southern hospitality. From your perch at the Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge Downtown, the city’s charms are within easy reach.
Food & Drink
Harvest to global table is the jam at Cocha, a softly lit downtown restaurant with influences from South America to Louisiana. Small shareable plates include crawfish pot pie, fried soft shell crabs with caper vinaigrette and salmon crudo with passion fruit.
If you prefer your seafood raw, stroll toTsunami Sushi, the rooftop sushi restaurant at the Shaw Center for the Arts. Enjoy river views while munching on the likes of fried oysters with wasabi tartar sauce and the Ragin’ Cajun roll made with panko-crusted fried alligator and avocado.
As gastro pubs go, Driftwood Cask and Barrel is top of the list. A quick walk from the hotel, this low key spot offers an inventive craft cocktail menu and a habit-forming array of sandwiches (try the grilled pimento cheese) and bowls, of which the red fish and grits is a standout.
For something a little lighter, head to Sadaf’s Café for a palate-cleansing lunch of Greek and Lebanese specialties. Must-try items include the classics like tabouli, hummus, chicken schwarma salad and the fatoush salad made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.
At Mansurs on the Boulevard, a white tablecloth eatery that’s a 10-minute-ride from the hotel, Creole cuisine gets a contemporary spin. Chef Chris Motto’s creative menu includes some of the best char-grilled oysters in town and a bevy of seafood dishes, along with an award-winning wine list.
Kick up your heels at Boudreaux and Thibodaux’s, a music venue/eatery smack dab in the middle of downtown. From cover bands to country, this friendly spot offers something for everyone. Check out the patio when the weather is fine.
DJs spinning old school R&B, Zydeco and Southern soul along with local bands set a lively scene at Ruffins Downtown Daiquiri Lounge. There’s always something going on, from karaoke to ladies night and a smokin’ hot barbecue out on the street.
All kinds of shows—including classical concerts, flamenco and country—touch down at the Manship Theater in the Shaw Center for the Arts. There’s also a series of family shows and improv comedy specials.
The Shaw Center is also a hub for visual art. The eclectic multipurpose venue offers gallery shows along with the LSU Museum of Art, home to the largest collection of Newcomb pottery in the U.S. Entrance to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month.
While at the Shaw, The Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Galleryis a must-see. The contemporary space, which offers free admission, spotlights artists from around the country in thought-provoking shows.
Science shakes hands with the fine arts at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, which is housed in the former Illinois Central Railroad Station. Pop up exhibitions cover such topics as the story of food and photography, while the permanent collection features some 4,000 pieces of American and European art—including works by Louisiana artists.
Audio guides are included with the free tour of The Old State Capitol, a striking Gothic castle that sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. The National Historic Landmark, which has withstood Civil War, fire and political scandal, was named the state’s capital in 1847.
Governor Huey “Kingfish” Long led the charge to build the current Louisiana State Capitol, once touted as the tallest state capitol in the nation. The 34-story Art Deco building includes a viewing area for super vistas. Be sure to look up in the building’s Memorial Hall, where 30-foot high frescos tell the story of the state’s history.
Wander north of the hotel and just east of State Capitol Park to discover Spanish Town, a colorful neighborhood known for its pink flamingo mascot. You can stroll along narrow streets lush with banana trees and crepe myrtles and discover this artsy, diverse pocket of downtown notable for American craftsman, Greek Revival and late Victorian architecture.