Is it Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium? The haggling and dealing in the halls at the state Legislature?
Could it be our old blues joints, where generations of raspy-voiced men wailing on guitars taught us to confront loss and despair?
Maybe it’s wrapped in our blue-collar heritage, carried on the backs of men and women who’ve kept the plants running for generations.
Baton Rouge is all of those things. But more than anything else, it’s defined by its people, and what they are doing right now. Today.
So what, exactly, are we doing that’s “Baton Rouge?””
225 posed that very question. We started to make a list.
We asked active people around town. We asked readers. We asked lifelong residents and people who’ve only just arrived.
The list grew. And grew.
We stopped at a nice, round number: 225.
Here, then, are 225 ideas that are indisputably Baton Rouge.
Our list is in no particular order, but like the pages of the magazine, we think there’s something in it for everyone. Visit 225batonrouge.com for more information about our picks, or to suggest your own.
With additional contributions by Jeff Roedel, Mary Helen Crumpler, Mary Gelpi, Alex Cook, Maggie Heyn Richardson and Rebecca Breeden.
1] “We’re so lucky to have such a great farmers market downtown every weekend. Nothing beats actually meeting the people who make that goat cheese ravioli by hand, cultivate those exquisite herbs and houseplants, and grow the freshest sweet potatoes and oranges.” —Emily Erickson, assistant professor, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
2] The Louisiana State Museum downtown highlights the state’s unique culture and heritage. Free on the first Sunday of each month.
3] Don’t go all the way to Europe to see a castle; Baton Rouge boasts its own version of a medieval fortress in the Old State Capitol. Decide for yourself if Mark Twain was unfair to scoff at its architecture, and why international tourists seek it out.
4] Stop and smell the roses at the LSU Rural Life Museum off Essen Lane, where you’ll see everything from creepy antique dental hardware to re-enactments of daily life in centuries past.
5-9] The Shaw Center for the Arts offers a feast for stomachs, eyes and ears. Tsunami serves sushi on the roof. Top-notch entertainers perform in the intimate and modern Manship Theatre. Art galleries and the world-class LSU museum offer rotating glimpses of art and history (LSU Art Gallery, Brunner Gallery, LSU Museum of Art). Lagniappe: The Shaw Center offers one of the best Mississippi River views in town.
10] Tailgate all day before an LSU football game, literally. Wake up early for ESPN’s Gameday broadcast, barbecue around the Indian Mounds.
19-20] Get to Chelsea’s Café before 10 p.m. on a Wednesday, order their decadent chicken-fried chicken and groove to the Michael Foster Project. Chelsea’s remains true to its humble promise, “Good food, good music, good beer.”
21] Stake out a stool at the bar at LSU institution The Chimes, order a tall beer on tap from the nation of your choice, feed your hunger with their unique blackened alligator and a cup of duck and sausage gumbo. The benediction served for brunch on Sunday mornings is a true blessing.
22-23] Looking for an adventure? Explore the rambling, rolling hills of Highland Road Park. Watch out for unidentified flying objects (courtesy of the Frisbee golfers), and the occasional cross-country runner in training. You’ll find regular pick-up soccer games, and Baton Rouge’s adult kickball league dusts up the diamonds on weeknights.
24] “The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, The Wearin’ of the Green, that we began in 1986. Our day begins with breakfast with dignitaries from Ireland. The parade runs until 1 p.m. and we head to Ivar’s after that.” —Pat Shingleton, chief forecaster, WBRZ
25] It’s the longest-running jazz show in Baton Rouge for a reason. Zia “The Cat” Tammami’s Spontaneous Combustion on KLSU 91.1 FM is the perfect soundtrack to easy Sunday mornings, since 1975.
26] Order a box of Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, no slaw, extra toast with an ice-cold Barq’s root beer at the site that started it all on Highland Road just outside the north gates of LSU.
27] Try to eavesdrop on legislators over lunch at the Pastime Restaurant and Lounge. May we recommend the roast beef or oyster po-boy, or the zesty boudin pizza.
28] Breakfast at Frank’s on Airline Highway ought to be an Olympic event. It’s worth the trip just for the biscuits.
29] Steal away for lunch at Zeeland Street Market and order Mama’s pot roast.
30-31] Spice up your pantry with a visit to Vinh Phat Oriental Market on Florida Boulevard, offering everything from Asian snacks to exotic produce, fish and meats. If you’re looking for some authentic and surprisingly inexpensive Asian gourmet cuisine, pop across the street for a steaming bowl of pho at Pho Quynh Vietnamese Restaurant.
32-36] Shop, eat and be merry at the mom-and-pop businesses around the Perkins Road Overpass. Browse first editions at Cottonwood Books, dine in romantic seclusion at Pinetta’s, pick up your prescription at one of the last local drug stores, Bolton’s. Also grab some health food at Living Foods and cap off the evening with a chocolate martini at Duvic’s.
37-39] Government Street offers the ultimate in vintage and antique shopping. Highlights include rummaging through architectural gems at Circa 1857, rediscovering forgotten fashions at Time Warp and classic house wares at Honeymoon Bungalow.
40-41] Brush up on your knowledge of African and African-American art with a visit to the Southern University Museum of Art. Then, if it’s late in the afternoon, treat yourself to sunset on Scott’s Bluff, the best natural view of the Mississippi River in all of Baton Rouge.
42] Shake up your dinner routine and order decadent blue cheese chips and a bottle of Bordeaux at Bistro Byronz. If you can snag seats on the patio, you’ve got it made in the shade.
43] For high-flying family fun, visit the annual Pennington Balloon Championships in August.
46-47] Join in on the holiday festivities downtown. Watch Mayor Kip Holden light the city’s Christmas tree during the annual Festival of Lights, enjoy the parade and catch the Baton Rouge Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at the River Center.
48] Behold as grown women wrangle over leather sling backs at the semi-annual tent sales at Imelda’s Fine Shoes. Deep discounts on designer shoes always attract a crowd.
49] Baton Rouge is a veritable mecca of Greek and Lebanese restaurants. So if you’re jonesing for gyros and hummus, your choices abound: Albasha, Atcha, Akasha, Almaza, Arzi’s, Serop’s, to name a few.
50] A feast for the senses and the city’s most popular art show, the annual Art Melt has everything from music to food to visual and performance art.
51] Baton Rouge Blues Week is the real deal. With legends like Buddy Guy and Henry Gray getting their start in local clubs across the Capital City, it’s no surprise Baton Rouge is still singing the blues.
52] Just outside the south gates of LSU on Oxford Street lies Highland Cemetery, the city’s oldest resting place. Don’t get spooked. It’s a great place to practice your photography skills and pay your respects to those lost in the war—the Revolutionary War, that is.
53] “When my family visits, I take them to see my friends at Alligator Bayou, in my opinion the best swamp tour around. It’s just across the East Baton Rouge Parish line in Ascension.” —Greg Meriwether, anchor, WAFB
54] Test the limits of a Styrofoam container by cramming in as much sweet and sour chicken and fried rice as you possibly can at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant.
55] Eat a sweet and inexpensive breakfast at the Cake Palace.
56] Order a burger at George’s under the Perkins Road Overpass, and spend an hour counting the dollar bills on the ceiling.
57] Take the kids for a ride on the food court’s carousel at the Mall of Louisiana, where a buck can still buy a kid a little taste of magic.
58] Douse the summer’s heat at Blue Bayou Water Park, or brave the roller coasters at Dixie Landing.
59] “For things to do and see there is the spiral staircase in the Old State Capitol, the huge Chambered Nautilus fossil in the new State Capitol, the old doctor’s building where Carl Weiss—alleged assassin of Huey Long—had his office on Third Street.” —Terry Kennedy, professor of mass communication, Southern University
60] Check out the local missed connection section on Craigslistand see if that person you saw at the grocery store noticed you, too.
61] Get a taste of New Orleans without making the drive at Galatoire’s Bistro. We also hear it’s a great place for stargazing—Susan Sarandon is a big fan of the crabmeat sardou.
66] For the most decadent donuts south of the Pearly Gates, take the sojourn to Thee Heavenly Donut for a chocolate-filled. But get there early because they will sell out of these babies.
67] The 24 handmade, oven-baked calzones at Louis DeAngelo’s restaurants are legendary. Be a “Picasso” and create your own, too.
68] Shop with the merchants of Mid City and check out some great local art during the annual Art Hop of White Light Night. Well-known artists and newcomers offer the perfect blend of local talent.
69] Sample some of the best gumbo at Heads and Tails.
70] Go old school with the fresh and crispy fried seafood platter at Mike Anderson’s.
71] Check out the Cosmic Rock Hall of Fame laser light show at the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium at LASM. Totally far out, man.
72] Get a refresher on how far we’ve come at the Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum.
75] Site of the longest siege in American history, Port Hudson pays homage to the 7,500 Confederate soldiers who held off some 40,000 Union soldiers for more than two months. Learn about the siege at the Port Hudson Commemorative Area.
76] Watch the waves come in or skip rocks at Baton Rouge Beach on the LSU lakes.
77] Teens, stop telling your muse to be quiet and get in on the WordPlay Teen Poetry Slam Festival at the Shaw Center.
78] Soccer, you know that game the rest of the world is crazy about? Baton Rouge has its own competitive adult team now, the Capitals. Drop by a game at Olympia Stadium in the summer and watch tomorrow’s stars. And join in the chant: Caaaaaaaa-pitals!
79] Grab a Mountain Dew and your blades and hit the Velodrome Skate Park for an extreme afternoon.
80] Put on your tweed jacket and get literary at the annual Louisiana Book Festival on the grounds of the State Capitol. Talk to authors about their works, and stop by the 225 tent.
81] Hit the links at one of BREC’s many public courses such as Webb Park Golf Course, which underwent a major overhaul.
82] “I love to go to Sunday in the Park. It’s Baton Rouge at its finest.” —Heather Day, owner, Red Cake Event Planning
83] Splurge on good tickets so you sit close to the stage for a rousing performance by the Baton Rouge Symphony.
84] Skate Galaxy on Old Jefferson has skating, laser tag, rock climbing and an arcade—the perfect place for a birthday party.
85] Tune into a morning show that the whole family can listen to without earmuffs with the Murphy, Sam and Jodi show on The River 96.1 FM.
86] Dress in costume at the BabelCon science fiction convention across the river in West Baton Rouge Parish.
87] Stop in to the Music Treasure Chest Acadian at Government. Be sure your turntable and needle are in good shape because with thousands of albums to choose from, you’re going home with something.
89] Mosey down Chimes Street for campus counter-culture and rock out to local noise at North Gate Tavern .
90] Take the kids to the LASM for a blast touring the Discovery Depot.
91] Do late night at Louie’s Café, the venerable LSU short-order all-night grill. A decadent omelet at 1 a.m., washed down with an ice-cold longneck, and super hash browns for dessert!
92] Stick your finger in the bullet holes in the wall of the State Capitol where Huey P. Long was shot. For a more serene experience, stroll the hedged gardens or explore Armory Park.
93-96] Take a Saturday afternoon drive toward Plank Road and tune your radio to Tabby Thomas’ blues show on WBRH 90.3 FM. Grab some freshly made Krispy Kreme donuts at the Plank Road bakery, and finish up the afternoon picking up some spicy boiled crawfish for dinner at Tony’s Seafood.
97] Mark the passing of the seasons with a tall, frosty Abita seasonal brew, the nearest thing to a Baton Rouge hometown brewery.
98] Mingle with some singles Thursday nights at Superior Grill. People-watching with one of the best margaritas in town adds to the fiesta.
99] On the first Wednesday of every month the Baton Rouge Gallery holds its opening receptions, a good chance to enjoy great local art with free food and wine.
100] Treat your sweet tooth with a cup of purple and gold-swirled “tigerbite” ice cream from the 100. LSU Dairy Store.
101] It may take more than an hour if they’re busy, but a pie at Fleur de Lis Pizza is a tradition worth the wait. Pass the time by sipping a beer from the tiny glasses that accompany every bottle.
102] “Walking the dogs around the LSU lakes.” —Leanne McClurg Cambric, artist
103] Dust off your hiking boots and give your legs a good stretch on the Tunica Hills‘ hiking trails, 45 minutes north of the city. If you go in the rainy months you can see a half-dozen natural waterfalls.
104] Get starry-eyed at the Baton Rouge observatory off Highland Road on clear Friday nights with an expert on hand to answer all your galactic questions.
105] Tuck in to Poor Boy Lloyd’s downtown for a shrimp po-boy. They’ll fix you right up.
106] Get in touch with your inner “flamingeaux” at the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade.
107] Head south on River Road at sunset with your sweetheart, set up a picnic and watch the cows on the levee doing whatever it is that cows do.
108] Saddle up for a horseback ride at Farr Park on River Road. Yee-haw!
109] Head to Teddy’s Juke Joint on a Sunday afternoon for a little soul food and a lot of live blues music. You never know who might show up.
110] Skip out early from work on Friday afternoon and head downtown for Baton Rouge’s official street party, Live After Five. These fall and spring concerts are free and feature some of the area’s best live music.
111] Scratch your honky-tonk itch and watch inmates nearly kill themselves at the Angola Prison Rodeo, just an hour from Baton Rouge.
112] Pile the family into the car and take a slow tour at dusk of the glowing luminaires in the Kenilworth neighborhood. It’s a long-standing Christmas season tradition.
113] Pay your respects to the American armed forces at the USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial. You can explore the ship from bow to stern and learn about the men who served on the ship, including a handful who gave their lives in a deadly attack on the ship.
114] Stop and smell the flowers—literally. Few blossoms are more resplendent than Baton Rouge’s azaleas in spring.
115] Roll the dice at one of Baton Rouge’s riverboat casinos.
116] Eat what the students eat—pop in to American Market on Nicholson (LSU students call it “AM Mart”) for the closest thing to an official Tiger sandwich, AM Mart’s spicy Cajun turkey sandwich.
117] For some upscale French cuisine, duck into the cozy cottage on Government Street known as Brandt’s Maisonette. Speaking of duck, theirs is divine, as are the sweetbreads.
118] Meet that special someone after work at Juban’s for romantic conversation over a key lime martini in the atrium bar. If you stick around for dinner try a bison ribeye topped with anything from crawfish to lobster tail, or Juban’s new dish, “two birds,” roasted muscovy duck and boneless, stuffed quail.
119] Buy season tickets for the Baton Rouge Little Theater, and you’ll always have plans.
120] Head out to Burnside and have dinner at The Cabin. Sample some traditional River Road fare and fun Cajun kitsch.
121] Before Whole Foods, Fresh or Maxwell’s markets, Calandro’s brought gourmet groceries to Baton Rouge. They still offer an impressive selection of fine wines, imported cheeses and gourmet items.
122] Grab your Frisbee and a bottle of water and stake out a spot on the LSU Parade Grounds for a great afternoon. Bring a friend, unless you plan to toss a boomerang.
123] “Learn a little Baton Rouge history while strolling through the exquisite historic grounds at Magnolia Mound Plantation. It’s a great place with a lot of history.” —Mary Frey Eaton, philanthropist
124] Warning to out-of-towners: Leave your black shirt at home if you plan on biting into one of Coffee Call’s powdered sugar-dusted beignets. Oh, and don’t inhale.
125] Dust off your Members Only jacket and legwarmers and kick it old school Thursday nights at Spanish Moon’s ’80s celebration: Star 80 with DJ Bird. It’ll make you wish that you had Jessie’s girl.
126] Be the hero of any birthday party by showing up with a strawberry cake from Ambrosia Bakery.
127-128] The Foghorn Leghorn at The Caterie is quite possibly the best chicken sandwich in the city, and on Friday afternoons enjoy live entertainment as Jimmy Ott broadcasts his local sports show from the Perkins Road eatery. If you’re lucky, Mike from Plaquemine might call in.
129] The countless LSU memorabilia at TJ Ribs will keep the kiddies busy while you savor succulent ribs. And the wait staff is so smart they can write upside down.
130] Take in a play or performance at LSU Swine Palace for a little culture in an old pig barn.
131] The lasagna at Monjunis Italian Café & Grocery is to die for. The meatballs are full of flavor and come in one size: large.
132] Take a leisurely drive through the Garden District and enjoy the cool old homes beneath the stately oaks.
133] “I definitely couldn’t pass on bringing out-of-town guests to George’s for a shrimp po-boy, to CC’s Coffee House for their coffee, or to Frostop for one of their root beer floats and some onion rings. As for nightlife, ’80s night at Spanish Moon is a must, and Red Star for its inviting jukebox and eclectic patrons, or Duvic’s for the stiff drinks and relaxing atmosphere.” —Chris Culotta (aka DJ Bird), host, Star 80 at Spanish Moon
134] A mint julep and a promenade through the grounds of Houmas House along the banks of the Mississippi in Ascension Parish are enough to make anyone feel classically Southern. The plantation’s renovation is tasteful and beautifully done, and the food is even better.
135] Catch a performance by some of Southern University music students. It doesn’t cost much, if anything.
136] Hit the streets—even the busy ones—and cycle the city the last Friday of every month with fellow cyclists as they raise awareness and teach others how to share the road during the city’s version of Critical Mass. Listen for shouts of “Yeah bike!”
137] Cheer on your favorite local high school marching band as the best in Baton Rouge battle it out for bragging rights at the annual Red Stick Thunder competition.
138] Ann Connelly Fine Art is a great place to see the best in contemporary art by some of the city’s more progressive artists.
139] See various student exhibits at the LSU School of Art Gallery at Foster Hall. These budding artists put on a heck of a show, and it’s free.
140] Delve into first-hand accounts of the state’s history at Hill Memorial Library on the LSU campus.
141] Show off your outdoor prowess with a “Run Hard, Live Easy” T-shirt from Varsity Sports and join a running group.
142] Let your love of flowers blossom at Independence Park’s botanic gardens.
143] Strap on a pair of ice skates at Leo’s Iceland.
144] Step back in time at Oak Alley Plantation in St. James Parish. You can even rent a cabin and stay the night.
145] Ring in the Fourth of July by watching fireworks on the levee. When they reflect off the river, it’s like getting two shows in one.
146] Peruse local art outside at the downtown Arts Market, the first Saturday of every month next to the Red Stick Farmers Market.
147] Bite into LSU pride with some purple and gold petit fours from Baum’s Fine Pastries.
148] It’s hard to get excited about eating your greens, but the bewitching mustard greens at Voodoo BBQ are out of this world. The tender, smoked meats aren’t bad either.
149] Hometown favorite Brew-Bacher’s does sandwiches and fries well, especially the French dip.
150] Take your laptop along for an afternoon of Web surfing, people watching and java sipping at Highland Coffees. For a change of scenery step out onto the patio.
151] Put those useless facts you picked up from Seinfeld to good use at trivia night Wednesdays at Mellow Mushroom.
152] Join the “ladies who lunch” at The Silver Spoon.
153] Knock that chip off your shoulder with an icy attitude adjustment from Daiquiri Café.
154] “A solitary round of golf at Santa Maria near dusk in autumn. I actually prefer to play alone.” —Brace Godfrey Jr., chairman, Cyntreniks
155] Start the evening off on the right note with a stiff drink from the Happy Note.
156] They’ve heard of the blues jam at Phil Brady’s in Europe. It’s featured the likes of Oscar Davis, James Johnson, Larry Garner, Elvin Killerbee and Rudy Richard. Come on—it’s world famous.
157] See local Southern rock outfit Benjy Davis Project live.
158] Relax after a tough week with a massage from Paris Parker’s Aveda salon.
159] Listen to unabashed LSU fans Walton & Johnson during your morning commute on Eagle 98.1 FM.
160] Remember laser tag? Heck yes, you do. Laser Tag of Baton Rouge is still rocking, baby.
161] Get a workout for a good cause at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
162] Whatever they do at Mestizo Louisiana-Mexican Restaurant seems to be working. Order either of their twin seafood quesos and you’ll see what we mean.
163] Get a taste of Broadway without traveling to the Big Apple by catching one of the touring shows at the River Center Theatre for Performing Arts.
164] Watch the bonfires on the levee in St. James Parish, a Christmastime family tradition.
165] Join your friends for a bottle of Chianti and make sure one of you orders the veal avezzano at DiGiulio Brothers, one of our original authentic neighborhood Italian restaurants.
166] The way silent films were always meant to be viewed—outdoors on a giant screen in City Park with an accompanying band. We think so, at least.
167] Light your fire for local history by touring the Old Bogan Fire Station downtown on Laurel Street, home of the Arts Council community gallery.
168] Climb your family tree among the records in the State Archives.
169] Tubing along the Amite River is the ultimate way to chill out during the humid Louisiana summer.
170] Tour the Old Governor’s Mansion, the “house that Huey built.”
171] Ever wonder where those crickets you use for bait come from? Tour Fluker’s Cricket Farm in Port Allen and find out.
172] Poplar Grove Plantation was moved 200 miles by barge on the Mississippi River. Once a pavilion at the World’s Fair, this stately home is furnished with museum-quality antiques and art.
173] Visit Huey Long’s old haunt the Hotel Heidelburg, now known as the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. Order a Ramos Gin Fizz and live as though every man were a king.
174] Make like The Dude and head to Don Carter’s for a couple of frames of bowling. Wednesday nights offers low prices—perfect for a cheap date.
175] Pick up a few discs and make it out to Greenwood Park in Baker for 18 holes of disc golf.
176] Jump continents and step into the world of Japanese pop culture at Hello Sushi. Try a decadent paradise roll—avocado, coconut fried shrimp topped with mango.
177] Pick your own vegetables and herbs at Port Hudson Organics in Zachary.
178] A Baton Rouge institution, Jay’s BBQ has been family-owned and operated since 1954.
179] “Walk up and order some ribs from Snowflake Bar-B-Que” —Julie Baxter, attorney, Moore, Walters & Thompson
180] Tour the Kleinpeter Dairy and farm. You can probably milk them for some free samples, plus they’re making ice cream now.
181] Pick up a Mochasippi at CC’s Community Coffee House and stick around while you read a magazine. Hey wait a minute—you could read 225!
184] Catch the Krewe of Orion, the first traditional nighttime Mardi Gras parade in the city, as it rolls through downtown.
185] Louisiana Lagniappe offers a little flair to classic Cajun food. Order the Louisianne.
186] For a cozy atmosphere and fine French dining, make a reservation at Maison Lacour and savor Chef Michael Jetty’s phenomenal Soupe Jacqueline, a velouté of brie cheese, jumbo lump crab and asparagus. Délicieux!
187] Tabby’s Blues Box may have closed, but if you’re lucky you might get to see Tabby Thomas rockin’ the local club scene.
188] Pick up the popular chicken salad at Calvin’s Bocage Supermarket.
189] Wine dinners at Matherne’s Supermarket are a well-kept secret. A gourmet meal, sumptuous wines at affordable prices. And it’s locally owned.
190] Hop in line at the Piccadilly on Sunday afternoons and join the dolled-up church-goers for carrot souffle.
191] Hold your talk radio to a higher standard, the kind host Jim Engster can live up to with his morning show that airs on WRKF 89.3 FM. Call in and test his steel-trap memory for birthdates.
192] Great food, cold beer and a Cajun dance party every night but Sunday, Boutin’s is your Cajun connection.
193] Splurge on good seats for a big-name act at the River Center.
194] Bring your sweetheart to Memorial Tower at midnight for a romantic kiss.
195] Parents, give your kids’ imagination a thorough workout during story time once a week at an East Baton Rouge Parish Library branch.
196] Actually, it is pretty easy—and fun—being green. Join the Louisiana Earth Day festivities.
197] The only remaining farm house of its kind in the Baton Rouge area, Mount Hope Plantation is a superb example of 19th century architecture.
198] About 45 minutes out of Baton Rouge, Casa De Sue Winery and Vineyard offers a tour.
199] In White Castle, take a tour of the Atchafalaya Basin from the comfort of a covered boat.
200] Remember when Mom told you not to play in the dirt? Henry Neubig has turned playing with mud into an art form that captures the beauty of South Louisiana at Louisiana Mud Paintings.
201] How ironic is it that there is a bird refuge area on a place called Cat Island? Check out the great wildlife and 1,000-year-old baldcypress-tupelo trees in the Felicianas.
202] Do a little adventure riding on the Hooper Road and Comite Park bike trails.
203] See some of Louisiana’s flora and fauna from the boardwalks of Tickfaw State Park in Livingston Parish.
204] See what drew historic figures like Robert E. Lee, George Custer, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln to visit the historic Pentagon Barracks on State Capitol Drive.
205] Tour the 14 serene, picturesque acres of Louisiana native trees and shrubs at the Hilltop Arboretum on Highland Road.
206] See where the historic Battle of Baton Rouge was fought in what is now Magnolia Cemetery.
207] Chow down on a game-day steak from Fred’s Bar & Grill in Tigerland. Stick around for live music under the big top tent.
208] Home of legendary fried catfish with the perfect crunch, Middendorf’s is worth the drive to Manchac.
209] Roberto’s River Road Restaurant is one of the best-kept secrets around. Leave the city limits and savor Creole cooking along historic River Road.
210] Cool the kids off at the splash pads next to city hall in Gonzales. Watch out for your buddies because the water cannons don’t all fire at once. Dry off, then go for a walk among hundreds of stuffed trophy animals at Cabela’s.
211] Get your Christmas shopping done early while supporting the Baton Rouge Junior League at the annual Hollydays holiday market.
212] Say hello to Mike the Tiger and gear up for Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
213] The Compact Disc Store on Jefferson Highway is one of the last locally owned music stores with mellow, knowledgeable employees who’ll patiently listen to you hum that song from the radio and track down hard-to-find records.
214] Tune in to the Clarence Buggs talk radio show on WJBO 1150 AM for some spicy drive-time invective.
215] Next time you get stuck in traffic on the new Mississippi River bridge, just take a deep breath and enjoy because it’s the best view of Baton Rouge’s skyline.
216] After history lessons at the West Baton Rouge Museum , swing by Doug’s Pizza, the Fleur de Lis of the west side, for a slice and some old-school arcade games.
217] Drive through Plaquemine, which has American Indian settlements more than 1,000 years old. You’ll see the magnificent architecture, the persimmon trees along the bayou and, if you look closely enough, a dressed-to-kill gorilla.
218] The hips don’t lie at Bayou Shimmy. Take a bellydance class and tribal drumming lesson any day of the week.
219] Find the best offbeat gifts, have a beer and karaoke at the Flea Market of Louisiana in Prairieville.
220] Experience the circus-like atmosphere of a Metro Council meeting. May it upset you enough to get more involved in the city’s politics.
221] Go Urban Cowboy at Bear Creek Saloon in Montpelier, northeast of Denham Springs, where you can buy western wear, eat a mighty steak and boot-scoot all night long to a live country band.
222] Catch the exciting drag races at State Capitol Dragway in Port Allen.
223] Play Live at the Village Vanguard in the car and make a peaceful pilgrimage to Roselawn Cemetery, the final resting place of jazz pianist Bill Evans. He was one of America’s most original and important musicians, and his humble North Street grave is this city’s small sliver of jazz greatness. While you’re there you can pay your respects to the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long.
224] Ride the historic train—but watch out for Yankee spies—and behold more than 500 volunteers reenacting the Battle of Jackson Crossroads. Held the last weekend of April in Jackson, the annual Civil War weekend includes cavalry and infantry competitions plus an interactive 1860s camp and market.
225] Grab an ice-cream float, a classic burger and fries at Dearman’s, a 50-year tradition that’s returned to Bocage Village.
226] Go antiquing in Denham Springs at the 25 antique stores packed into two blocks.
227] Monkey around with the chimpanzees at BREC Baton Rouge Zoo, which offers seasonal family packages and hosts special events such as Halloween’s Boo at the Zoo.