There are more fun and unique things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana — from interesting local history and cultural reenactments to a drive-thru daiquiris and a TABASCO hot sauce tour — to keep you busy for days!
We've always wanted to get a better taste of the unique food and culture along the American southern Gulf Coast so we recently set off on a two week long Gulf Coast Road Trip through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and north Florida. The plan was to leisurely explore the coast and make our way east around the "Big Bend" and back home to southwest Florida.
Starting in Lafayette, Louisiana, we flew one way, picked up a rental car, and were off.
This was our first time to Lafayette and what we found not only surprised us, but grabbed us so hard, we may never be able to shake the Acadiana bug that bit us. Here are our choices for the top things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana and we haven't even gotten started on the food!
Lafayette, Louisiana lies 2 hours west of New Orleans, but might as well be a world away. Over the many years, the word Acadian morphed into Cajun try slurring the two together and you begin to get the ideaand today the region is rich in jaw-dropping, swampy landscape, OMG tasty food, incredibly friendly locals, and of course their ature Cajun Zydeco music.
25 best things to do in lafayette, louisiana
We'll just say this -- Dang, these people know how to have a good time! Craft cocktails and live music at Artmosphere in Lafayette, LA. This is a must-visit, especially for hot sauce fans! Avery Island isn't actually an island -- it's a salt dome that extends 8 miles beneath the Earth's surface, so you may hear people say Avery Island is where salt and pepper meet. That's because the McIlhenny family - makers of the famous Tabasco hot pepper sauce - started their company here inand it's still going strong today.
Visiting here is an easy day trip from Lafayette, about 20 miles south of the city. The company is still family-owned and operated to this day.
You can take a self-guided tour of the museum and factory to see the processing of the pepper plants, the mash warehouse where it bubbles for 3 years, to the tasting room where you can taste the different varieties of Tabasco. The buildings are ed and well-marked so you know where to go next and the intoxicating aroma of peppers being processed is everywhere. Dates food tours and cooking classes are also offered at McIlhenny, a great way to immerse yourself in Tabasco for the afternoon.
But one thing you should definitely count on doing is eating at the restaurant. The prices are very reasonable unlike many tourist attraction restaurants, and it's delicious This acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary easy Avery Lafayette - which resulted from Edward McIlhenny's conservation effort of the snowy egret - is one of his crowning achievements and contributions to Lafayette. The grounds are bordered by Bayou Petite Anse and worth spending a day doing the self-guided drive. Stop in the Jungle Gardens Visitor Center and pick up an easy-to-follow map.
One of the hallmarks of the garden are the huge and very old live oak trees draped with lots of Spanish moss moving gently in the breeze.
We could have stayed here all day. We also saw several working boats returning from the Gulf and some other unexpected sites:. The centuries old Buddha was a highlight and a surprise; in its own colorful pavilion, sitting atop a large lotus blossom, it was a spectacular setting.
Visit "Bird City" - hundreds of snowy egrets nesting on elevated wooden racks over the water in a huge pond mostly covered with bright green duck weed. There were lots of chicks and noise, with a few great egrets mixed in. Just down the road from Lafayette, in the coastal fishing town of Delcambe DEL-kumlocal shrimp boats head out before the sun is up to capture the freshest day's catch.
When they return in the afternoon, salivating foodies on the dock can buy the fresh shrimp by the pound, right off the boat! Buy fresh caught shrimp right off the boat in Delcambre, Louisiana. Lafayette is a relatively small city and spread out, with several new areas with interesting shops, retail chains and restaurants.
The area around Jefferson Street, University Avenue East and West and Main Street is walkable and engaging with historic shops and great photo ops like the giant letters that spell out Lafayette in Sans Souci Park just add yourself as the "Y" in the middle. Check out local places that have been here forever like Poupart Bakerythe oldest authentically French bakery in town, and the last Borden's Ice Cream shoppe in the country for a banana split or malted shake.
Downtown is a great place to meet locals who love to chat and give you great recommendations.
Vermilionville is a Cajun and Creole living history museum with a dozen or so period buildings, including 7 original structures that were moved here and restored about 20 years ago. Tours are self-guided and historians throughout the buildings are a wealth of information about the homes, the original families who lived there, local crafts and 19th century Acadiana life.
Acadian Village is similar to Vermilionville with less of a living history element, and guided tours instead. There are eleven structures here along with a General Store. Any local culture with enough venues and "dancehalls" to keep your dance card filled for months you just know is gonna be a good time. Whether you're up for local zydeco dancing or a good honky tonk, this is where you'll find the spirit of Lafayette But don't let that stop you from ing in Dancing is our top pic for fun things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana — whether you actually get on the dance floor or people watch for hours.
We had some of the most fun of our entire stay the night we danced to Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys at Artmospherea funky and friendly bistro and night spot that serves good food and drinks til 2am.
We danced as best we could to the fast temp Zydeco beat and the t was jumpin' literally, the drinks on our bar table were spilling over! The locals who all seemed to know one another danced til the wee hours doing what looked like a Zydeco Cajun jitterbug. Many restaurants offer live music and dancing like Randol's Restaurant and Cajun Dancehallor Prejeans who has live music nightly. You'll also find nightly jam dates all around town - there's a good Cajun jam every Wednesday at the Blue Moon Saloon. Great music, good food, nice people, and a very fun night.
When you're in Lafayette, Go! Craft beer dates have some serious options when it comes to tasting local craft brews. Lafayette's first microbrewery, the Cajun Brewing Company in downtown Lafayette was born from friends and a home brewing club called the Dead Yeast Society. The brewery opened inand today produces great tasting, home brewed beer like their ature "Cajun Wit" and other favorites like Bayou Brunette and Freetown.
In addition to being sold in local restaurants and retail easy, they now have a 10, square foot home with a brewing warehouse, lab, office space, and a Tap Room with 15 rotating taps. Their tasting room, the "Front Door" is open Wednesday through Saturday 2pm-8pm, and they'll be happy to provide a free tour. Bayou Teche Brewing easy in with a single mission - to craft beers that complement the cuisine and lifestyle of Cajuns and Creoles.
After converting a discarded railroad car on their family Lafayette into a farmhouse brewery in Arnaudville, local brothers Karlos, Byron, and Dorsey Knott set about honing their craft and today Bayou Teche produces so many styles of beer, it's hard to know where to begin pairing with your favorite local foods.
Which is why you need to visit and taste for yourself. Check out 24 taps ofinnovative ales and lagers at their Tap Room and Beer Garden near the banks of the Bayou Teche river. They're open daily with free public tours on Saturdays. Bayou Teche BrewingBushville Hwy. To say we were pleasantly surprised at the food scene in Lafayette is a huge understatement. In fact, Lafayette certainly ranks up there as one of the top food destinations in America!
Not that we didn't expect great food -- we just didn't expect so many great variations on the Cajun theme, nor the Lafayette and modern twists that local Chefs are creating. Before our visit, my only knowledge of local food in Lafayette was crawfish and gumbo. Everyone here will also tell you that the flavor is all about how you cook the roux. But there are as many variations as there are parents and grandparents who made it before, especially with boudin.
Everyone adds their own special touch, ingredient, or technique. And it's all good. So take your time and try as many as you can. Boudin sausage with red pepper jelly, Restaurant in Avery Island, Louisiana. What we especially loved about Lafayette is their simple plate lunches.
Haven't heard that term before or in the last 50 years? It's actually a throwback to a time when working-class Americans needed a cheap and filling meal.
History of lafayette, louisiana
But the plate lunch thankfully never left Lafayette, and today you can find good ones all around town, along with a story or two from the local sitting on the stool next to you. If you fall in love with boudin and foodies generally do!
Download your Trail Map and go! One of the strangest and yet so wonderful experiences a foodie or boozie can have in Lafayette is the beloved Daiquiri To Goa phenomenon as simple as it sounds. Louisiana's use of the straw as a litmus test to the state's open container law has turned Drive Thru Daiquiris into a favorite booze experience, and one of the most fun things to do in Lafayette. Served in generous sized styrofoam cups, the wayside drive-thrus stay legal by fixing a piece of tape over the straw hole, and handing you the straw "on the side".
Pull up and choose from hundreds of flavors of frozen daiquiris, and pick it up at the window. If the straw comes out of the paper and into the cup before you stop driving, you're busted.