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Spotlight on:
Baton Rouge

Welcome to Louisiana's rollicking capital city

Visitors come to Baton Rouge for many reasons, but they all arrive with one common desire: to indulge in the extraordinary cuisines indigenous to Louisiana. From boiled to broiled, blackened to fried, tourists can try food prepared countless ways at one of the many restaurants. If you're looking to find your inner chef, check out the Viking Cooking School located at the Hilton Downtown.

Along with restaurants and cooking experiences, festivals will satisfy your appetite. Visit in August to take part in FĂȘte Rouge, a food and wine tasting event highlighting some of the area's best-known restaurants. Baton Rouge also has Restaurant Week in January and June, which enables you to enjoy all of the great food the city has to offer.

At the Red Stick Farmers Market, held every Thursday, shoppers will find an excellent variety of seasonal produce, Louisiana seafood, pasture-raised poultry and pork, farm-fresh eggs, artisan breads, fresh-cut flowers, preparedfoods, plants, honey and homemade sweets.

High Rolling on the River
Get lucky at one of Baton Rouge's many casinos. With entertainment venues overlooking the Mississippi, the L'Auberge Casino Hotel features a single-level, 30,000-square-foot gaming floor. The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel, located downtown, has three floors of slots and table games and is only steps away from the Mississippi River. For celebrity-style service, be sure to visit Hollywood Casino, where you'll feel and play like a star.

Great Tunes
Baton Rouge pulsates with a unique rhythm, thanks to its vibrant music scene. From blues to country and Cajun to Zydeco, it has a tune for you. Experience the star-studded Bayou Country Superfest held Memorial Day weekend in LSU's Tiger Stadium, or make history and attend the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, one of the oldest Blues festivals in America. The Red Stick (the English translation of "Baton Rouge") also offers several free concert series in the spring and fall, such as Live After Five, Sunday in the Park and Rock 'n' Rowe. Grab your dancin' shoes and party on down. Be sure to check out LouisianaSoundtrack.com for local music.

Immerse yourself in the arts at one of Baton Rouge's great family-friendly art festivals: FestforAll in April or Houmas House Art Festival and Oak Alley Art Festival in October. FestForAll presents both fine arts and crafts, along with artist demonstrations, kid's art activities, live music ranging from blues to classical, performing arts and a variety of Louisiana cuisines. Started in 1974 to celebrate the community's cultural diversity through the arts, this festival attracts thousands of attendees each year.

Rich Baton Rouge History
Baton Rouge is a place where visitors can experience the state's deep and colorful history told through the area's historical architecture and rich countryside. At antebellum homes such as the Myrtles Plantation, Nottoway Plantation, Magnolia Mound and Houmas House, you can uncover the history of Louisiana. Tour these elaborately crafted, beautiful pre-Civil War mansions and experience what life was like at the domestic centers of massive cotton, sugar cane and rice plantations. At Nottoway, the largest plantation home in the south, tour the home and enjoy lunch or dinner at the Mansion Restaurant.

A Sweet Trip to the Past
One way to relive the past is taking a trip on the Sugar Trail. Begin your sweet tour through Baton Rouge with a visit to Houmas House Plantation, also known as "The Sugar Palace." Enjoy the enchantment of this magnificently restored mansion and its 12 acres of gardens. The mansion was owned by sugar cane baron John Burnside. When the Civil War began, Burnside was the largest sugar producer in the country.

Next, visit Rural Life Museum, home to an extensive collection of tools, vehicles, farming implements and more than 20 buildings used during the plantation era. Attend live demonstrations that shed insights into the production of cane syrup (during harvest time). Fall is the best season to view the whole process.

Also, visit the Audubon Sugar Institute, which was designed to provide research and technical service to Louisiana's agricultural industries, primarily the cane sugar processing industry. Tour the facilities and view a slideshow of the sugar cane process.

Next, take a five-minute drive across the Mississippi River Bridge to the West Baton Rouge Museum. See how sugar was produced from "cane to grain" and learn about the history of life on a sugar plantation. See a 22-foot handcrafted working model of a sugar mill that exhibits the process of making raw sugar from sugar cane. The guided tour also features a four-acre campus with historic sugar plantation structures.

Dive into the history of Baton Rouge at its two state capitol buildings and the Old Governor's Mansion. Visit the Old State Capitol to see an immersive presentation of the capitol's history told by the building's very own ghost, Sarah Morgan. Also, view exhibits that feature details about Governor Huey Long's rise to power. Soak in Baton Rouge culture at the Capitol Park Museum and stroll over to the State Capitol and take in a birds-eye view of the city from the observation deck 34 stories high.

Within a 35-minute drive of Baton Rouge are nationally ranked golf courses designed by the biggest names in the sport. Arnold Palmer's The Bluffs on Thompson Creek in St. Francisville (35 minutes from Baton Rouge) is ranked No. 34 in the country by Golf magazine and has been given 4 stars by Golf Digest. A public course, Santa Maria was designed by Robert Trent Jones and is located in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Mardi Gras can be a family experience when you come to the Baton Rouge area. Parades in New Roads, Port Allen, Spanish Town and downtown Baton Rouge offer a safer, more family-friendly alternative to New Orleans.

For More Information:
Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
800-LAROUGE
www.visitbatonrouge.com

Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
800-99-GUMBO
www.louisianatravel.com


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