Just a Pack Contributor: Rashi Bhogal | December 30th, 2019 | No comments

Lafayette is affectionately known as the heart of Cajun country. There are so many great things to do in Lafayette that it’s even giving New Orleans a run for its money! History, culture, music, amazing food, and more. This city has it all and is a can’t miss destination when visiting southern Louisiana!

Lafayette’s history begins with the Acadians. Upon being expelled from New Brunswick, Quebec, and Nova Scotia the Acadians settled into Lafayette in the mid 1700’s. Over time the French culture they brought with them morphed into what is today known as Cajun culture.

With its vibrant history, you won’t be hurting for options when it comes to things to do in Lafayette LA. The distinct French Canadian influence is still alive and thriving. The streets are lined with stylish restaurants and the city is filled with a ton of tourist attractions. Dine in one of the many casual bistros which walking the historic streets. Or take one of the many tours which will give you a glimpse into this creole country!

Named the happiest city in America, Lafayette has some of the most amazingly friendly locals. The restaurants are some of the best in the world and the music scene is on another level. So get ready to travel through beautiful swampy lands with our list of things to do in Lafayette!

Things to Do in Lafayette LA

lafayette louisiana lake martin

Downtown Lafayette

Downtown Lafayette louisiana
© Lafayette Travel

If you’re looking for things to do in Lafayette then head downtown! During the day the streets are bustling with people heading to work, grabbing lunch or perusing through the local shops. At night the energy is contagious, the streets are full of tourists and locals alike exploring the city. The sidewalks are lined with vendors waiting to sell you delish street food like Cajun tacos and Creole fare. The bars are overflowing with patrons living their best lives while listening to local musicians.

Walk around during the day check out the Alexandre Mouton House. It’s a museum home which will take you back to the 1800’s. It was also once the home of Lousianna’s 12th governor. You guessed it— Alexandre Mouton. Or wander towards Wurst Biegarten, a beer garden with over 60 beers on tap. While you’re there grab some authentic Jamaican food from their outdoor market.

Lafayette plays host to over 80 events annually. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you make your way over there. There is literally always something going on in this vibrant city! 

Lafayette Swamp Tours

alligator swamps of lafayette

If you’re looking for things to do in Lafayette LA then look no further. A visit to the South without going on a swamp tour is like going to Hawaii and not visiting the beach. Navigate the murky waters of Lake Martin and Cypress Island— With a certified tour guide of course.

Weave through stunning cypress trees growing out of the Bayou while observing wildlife in its natural habitat. Visitors will see everything from herons to turtles to alligators. The natural swampland is stunningly beautiful and will leave you in awe.

Try Cajun Country Swamp Tours for eco friendly tours. Their first priority is to bring no harm to the natural environment or its inhabitants. Owner Walter Guchareau holds a degree in zoology and botany and is full of knowledge!

Tabasco Factory – Avery Island

avery island tour near lafayette la
©Lafayette Travel

Also located on Avery Island is a salt dome that goes eight miles underneath the surface of the earth. It just so happens to be the location of the Mcilhenny family’s world famous Tabasco company. Locals refer to the salt dome as the place where salt meets pepper!

Visitors can take a tour through the Tabasco museum and factory. Hot sauce lovers will appreciate seeing the entire process of turning pepper plants into Tabasco. Guests can even walk through the Mash Warehouse where over 15,000 barrels of Tabasco are stored. Take a peak in the blending room to see how they blend their iconic recipe.

End the tour by trying all the different varieties of Tabasco hot sauce in the ever so delicious tasting room. Remember to check out the restaurant for spicy bites and a Tabasco infused Bloody Mary!

Jungle Gardens – Avery Island

jungle gardens lafayette la
© Lafayette Travel

This 170 acre botanical garden located on Avery Island stretches along Bayou Petite Anse. Jungle Gardens is a lush tropical conservatory with many stunning attractions.

Depending on the season, visitors can catch a glimpse of deer, alligators, and thousands of snowy egrets. Avid bird watchers will not leave disappointed as the garden is home to a ton of species— Song birds, herons, and coots galore!

Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with the endless landscape sprinkled with camellias, and azaleas. Remember to take in the picturesque beauty of the stunning 300 year old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. If you’re feeling lazy grab a blanket and watch them gently sway in the wind.

Don’t leave before checking out the 900 year old Buddha perched on a lotus flower in its own plush garden. Or Bird City, a hatchery home to thousands of nesting egrets. Traversing through Jungle Gardens is one of the things to do in Lafayette LA!

The Cajun Food Scene in Lafayette

things to do in new orleans - eat crawfish in new orleans

If you’re still looking for fun things to do in Lafayette LA why not eat your way through the town! The Social Southern Table and Bar is known for its fresh farm to table ingredients. Lined with wooden walls and dim lighting the ambience is understated yet contemporary. Try the Chicken Fried Green Tomatoes dressed with a creamy jalapeno sauce. If you want seafood then definitely go for the mouth-watering Gulf Shrimp Pesto. Layered with spicy greens, crisp ham, and parmesan it is to die for… The Social was also voted the best Bourbon Bar by Bourbon Review. With a selection of over 100 whiskeys, bourbons, and scotch I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Take in local culture at Prejeans— A bistro featuring delightful live music and delectable fares. Order the famous Gold Medal Winning Crawfish topped with their award winning crawfish etouffee, a deliciously spicy cajun stew. Pair it with theTerra D’oro Moscato for added flavor! Or try their Eggplant Pirogue Louis stuffed with seasonal jambalaya topped with their special Louis sauce. Prejeans also has live music every night and even hosts a musical brunch every Sunday. Listen to funk music by local bands while enjoying traditional brunch staples with a cajun twist! 

With his James Beard Foundation Award nomination, chef Justin Girouard has made The French Press a must-try restaurant in Lafayette. Influenced by his Cajun, Italian, and French heritage the dishes are equal parts stunningly beautiful and exquisitely tasty. Try the Cajun Benedict for a flavor packed breakfast. Boudin and poached eggs on a toasted french bread smothered in a zesty andouille sausage gumbo and topped with scallions. If you’re feeling more adventurous go for the Boudin Ball Po’boy. Combined with boudin balls, ham, blends of cheddar and swiss cheese, and topped with candied bacon you can’t go wrong.

Lafayette Children’s Museum of Acadiana

If you’re looking for fun activities in Lafayette with children then head over to the Children’s Museum of Acadiana! This hands-on museum is packed with entertaining exhibits for children of all ages. There’s the Bubble Factory where kids can create bubbles big enough to actually stand in! The Reuseum is an interactive exhibit where children learn the importance of recycling by creating artwork using recycled materials. For the history buffs there’s 201 E Congress, A Site History. Here, kids learn how historic buildings are turned into different venues such as the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. The museum is at the top of the list of things to do in Lafayette LA. It will keep the kiddos entertained for hours on end. Maybe even tucker them out so you and your significant other can enjoy an evening out sans children!

Lafayette’s Parish Brewing Co.

parish pilsner beer lafayette la
Photo Credit: Parish Brewing Company

The goal for Parish Brewing Co. is a simple one: Make tasty craft beer. What started as a 50 gallon a week brewery is now producing over 2,000 gallons of beer every week! A team of 30 employees create various craft beers ranging from pale ales to coffee stouts to aged strong ales.

When it comes to things to do in Lafayette you can’t leave without tasting their best selling beer, the Canebrake. A wheat ale with hints of sweet honey from Louisiana sugarcanes and citrus from cascade hops. The Parish Brewing Co. even hosts free brewery tours every Saturday. So make a day out of it and explore one of Louisiana’s most famous Brewery!

Cajun Dance Halls in Lafayette

   

If you’re looking for things to do in Lafayette then check out the dance halls. For centuries southern communities have gathered in dance halls to mingle and meet new people. Normally empty buildings would start filling up and come alive over the weekends. The vacant parking lots would be packed with cars and trucks right after sunset. People would gather and listen to traditional cajun inspired music and dance the night away while chatting with friends and family. Although most of these dance halls have since vanished there are a few that still exist today.

The Grant Street Dance Hall has two rooms depending on your mood. There’s the club which plays current jams and then the saloon which caters to more traditional music. Ditch the club side and get your dancing on while listening to the enticing sound of the banjo, drums, and bass. Learn some true southern dance moves like the two-step or line dancing! For more info check out their facebook page.

The Cowboy Nightclub has been serving Lafayette with Zydeco and classic country bands for over 30 years. The rustic barnyard that is the Cowboy night club has southern charm written all over it. The bar staff is the essence of southern hospitality and the drinks are fresh, inexpensive, and delicious. Check out more specials and upcoming events at

Acadian Village in Lafayette

If you want to truly know the history behind Lafayette then check out the Acadian Village. Established on farmland in the 70’s the 32-acre park details the impact the Acadians had on this city. Travel back to the 1800’s while roaming the grounds of the park which has been converted into a Cajun Village. Fun Fact: Some artifacts are actually donated by ancestors of the families that once lived in Lafayette and are 100% authentic. Remember not to leave before checking out the Barnard house— the oldest structure in the village! 

Lafayette Science Museum

When it comes to things to do in Lafayette this science museum is on the top of the list! It’s fun for children of all ages as well as adults. Explore geology, marine biology, and paleontology through fun and educational interactive exhibits. Learn all about the planets and stars while taking in a visually stunning planetarium show! The museum is also home to over 1,000 paintings and sculptures by local artists.The tours are self guided but the knowledgeable staff is always there to answer any questions you may have.

Longfellow- Evangeline St. Historic Site

Delve into what makes the Creole culture so rich and dynamic at Longfellow- Evangeline St.. This historic site examines the diverse cultures which came together to create the current charismatic and energetic southern city.

Explore the influence of so many different backgrounds like the Indians, Africans, and Creoles amongst others. Learn about the people of the Bayou Teche, along with the French and Spanish. Understand the deep and powerful impact of slaves and free people of all races. It was founded in 1934 and is the oldest state park in Louisiana. 

Lafayette’s Music Scene

live music lafayette la

The beauty of Lafayette’s music scene is unique to the area. It’s a partnership between the attendees and the musicians. Everyone is encouraged to participate and get in on the action! The result is creative energy not found anywhere else in the world. The music is a mix of Zydeco— The blues of Louisiana and Cajun— folk music of the Acadians.

The Blue Moon Saloon is a bar situated on the porch of the Blue Moon Guest House. It is known for its honky-tonk tunes and eclectic ambience. It is a place where people from all over the world come together to enjoy Cajun jam sessions. Locals and travelers bring their instruments and set up for an impromptu concert showing off their musical skills. The saloon was also voted one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine! 

Artmosphere is a one-of-a-kind bistro. They serve up some of the best food in town like their MacDaddy Mac and Cheese. Their specialty drinks like the Old Fashioned and Sweet Tang are always on point. What truly makes this place special though is that it’s also a music venue. They play host to talented musicians six nights a week. Everything from Creole, Cajun, and Zydeco. They also have amateur open mic nights every Wednesday. So if you’re feeling adventurous hop on stage and give it a shot!

Well with that we’ve completed our list of the top 12 things to do in Lafayette LA. If you visit any of these attractions while in Lafayette please let us know. We hope you enjoy your time in this beautiful city AKA the heartbeat of Acadia.

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If you're heading to New Orleans don't skip out on visiting Lafayette too!! Known as the "heart of the Cajun country" this city has a lot to offer. Swamps, music, delicious food, and more! Here are 12 awesome things to do in Lafayette Louisiana!

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