As a Baton Rouge native, I am always asked the same questions over and over again. Where do you go out to eat? Where can I study off campus? What do you even do for fun HERE? While Baton Rouge is certainly not the most glamorous city in America, let alone Louisiana (hello New Orleans), there are still certain things allowing our city to retain a unique sense of charm.
The problem is most college kids are not aware of all the greatness outside of LSU's campus. As a local, allow me to let you in on a few of our city's greatest treasures and secrets.
WHERE TO EAT
My All-Time Favorites
These are the foodie spots of Baton Rouge that no one should miss out on. I consider them the very backbone of the Baton Rouge food scene, but sadly most college kids are missing out on these binge worthy spots.
Chelsea's Café : This is my absolute favorite spot in Baton Rouge. Located under the Perkins overpass, it is not very far from campus, yet almost no college kid knows about the deliciousness that is Chelsea's. I recommend the entire menu, especially the grilled cheese for your morning after, hangover treat. I fangirl for this grilled cheese, and I promise you it delivers.
Counter Culture: To me, Counter Culture is an absolute treasure of Baton Rouge. I come here at least once a week to get a Hot Melt sandwich and a Humphrey yogurt. The atmosphere is fun and hip, and the food is some of the best in town. Plus, the frozen yogurt is a must try for any fro-yo junkies.
Albasha: One thing Baton Rouge has no shortage of is Lebanese food, but Albasha is certainly the best of the lot. If you love chicken shawarma plates, and you find yourself fantasizing about hummus and kibbi, then this is the place for you.
DiGiulio's: DiGiulio's is my Italian pick for the Baton Rouge food scene. The handmade pizzas are worth the carb binge, and the menu is filled with every kind of pasta you can dream of. Go early to ensure you get a table, as seats fill up fast for this popular restaurant.
I am a breakfast food kind of girl. In fact, if you don't like breakfast food, I probably don't like you. Baton Rouge is a haven for breakfast/brunch junkies like myself. You simply have to know where to go and what to order.
Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restuarant: Located downtown, Lucy's is known for its charm and mouth watering brunch menu. Sundays until 3 PM, bottomless mimosas are served, and if that little tidbit of information doesn't make you want to become an avid bruncher, then their breakfast tacos surely will. Also, on a side note, the queso here is on my list for “top 5 quesos of all time."
Louie's: It is a classic BR breakfast spot. Open 24 hours, Louie's is the drunken college kid's dream. Get the Mitchell Omelette and you will not be sorry.
Because yes, you can order your pizza from somewhere other than Hungry Howie's at 3 AM, and it is just as good (if not better).
Pastime Restaurant: When you're spending the day downtown and you're suddenly craving carbs loaded with cheese, this is the spot for you. The greasy goodness will absolve you.
Fleur de Lis: When I think of Baton Rouge pizza, I immediately think of Fleur de Lis. The pizza is very thin and very unique to Baton Rouge. While it is a little farther from campus, being on Florida Blvd, it's a good spot to try when you have some extra time for a drive.
Your Raw Fish Fix
Sushi Yama: Just go and get The Rock N Roll like everyone else. You're welcome.
Rock N Sake: When I think of the ultimate girl's night dinner, I think of Rock N Sake. I'm not sure why, but the fun drink menu and cute sushi orders seem to be the perfect fit for a girl gang's weekly gossip session. However, girl gang or not, the California Sunset Roll is enough reason to eat here.
Tsunami: If you find yourself having a hot date (which I'm not sure people do anymore but whatever) then this is my recommendation for you. Is it pricey? Yes, but the cool atmosphere and gourmet sushi is worth every penny. Get the Ika fries, and you will not regret it. Pinky promise.
WHERE TO STUDY
Magpie Café: This is the place in Baton Rouge where I spend about 90 percent of my time. I'm not kidding when I say I go here at least once a day. It is what I call the “little bit of everything." It's a coffeehouse featuring several strong, robust brews. It's the perfect lunch spot with a varying, yet always delicious menu. It's also an amazing study spot with tables both inside and outside. Whether you want a healthy lunch or a gourmet coffee, Magpie is a Baton Rouge must.
Garden District Coffee: Garden District Coffee is my pick for the best study spot in Baton Rouge. The environment is calm and quiet, allowing people to work hard and get their stuff done. The coffee is also some of the strongest in the city, and the daily pastries are worth the binge.
Highland Coffee: Known for having its own personality, Highland Coffee is thankfully here to stay. It's on campus, making it a convenient spot for students, and its late night hours make it perfect for classic all nighter study sessions.
WHAT TO DO
For any free time you find yourself having, or when you just want to get away from campus, these following things are worth doing.
Baton Rouge Murals: This whole concept is just plain fun. The Museum of Public Art is not a museum at all; rather it is several murals spread out around Baton Rouge. Get your friends together and spend the day looking for the beautiful creations. Make sure to get a few cute pictures for your social media accounts while you're at it.
Baton Rouge Farmer's Market: I never feel more a part of a community than when I'm visiting the farmer's market. Located downtown and on every Saturday until noon, the market is a great way to start your day. With fresh produce, handcrafted jewelry, homemade crepes, and much more, this is an environment with something for everyone.
Front Yard Bikes: If you're looking to get involved with the community, then Front Yard Bikes is the place for you. Located on West Roosevelt Street, Front Yard Bikes is a community where children can work to earn a bike, and college students can work with these kids Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for relaxing community bike rides around the city. No matter what day you visit, the time you spend at FYB is time well spent.
Crawfish At JL's: Who doesn't love a good batch of crawfish? Now that it's the season for them, JL's is hosting crawfish boils every Friday from 5 to 7 PM. Pay $15 for your batch, and make sure not to eat the straight ones!
Empty Bowls: Empty Bowls is one of my favorite Baton Rouge events. People of the community make bowls for the event, which will serve John Folse's famous gumbo in them. For $20, you can get gumbo, and you can keep the artisan bowl it is served in. All proceeds go to The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Baton Rouge Blues Festival: Go downtown with your friends on April 11th and experience the music and culture of the jazz world. This event is always great for music lovers or people just looking to have a good time.