15 Free Things to Do in Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, LA
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As the capital city of Louisiana, Baton Rouge is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and entertainment.

It has a long list of attractions that might make it difficult for travelers to know where to begin their journey.

One thing’s for sure: you don’t need to break the bank for Baton Rouge!

Whether you’re a local looking for new experiences or a visitor on a budget, there’s something for everyone.

From scenic parks and historical landmarks to art exhibits and outdoor markets, these places offer splendid ways to enjoy the city.

Since its incorporation in 1817, Baton Rouge has become a lovely city along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River.

Check out this article for a list of free things to do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Get a Glimpse of History in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol

Exterior of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
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Louisiana's Old State Capitol is a fascinating landmark that offers a window into the state's political history.

As a national historic landmark, this building is steeped in tradition and classic architecture.

It offers visitors a glimpse into the period of the 19th century when new changes were happening to the region.

Along North Boulevard, you can explore the place at your leisure!

Interior of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
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The venue allows you to encounter a range of interactive exhibits, bringing the history of Louisiana's politics to life.

There are also free audio tours available in four different languages!

They’ll host public events celebrating American culture and politics throughout the year.

This includes musical screenings, book clubs, and other exciting meetings at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.

Aerial view of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
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Get Cozy in East Baton Rouge Parish Library

East Baton Rouge Parish Library is a venue for travelers who want to read books in a tranquil atmosphere.

It’s a community service organization that opens its doors with learning materials, updated technology, and other resources.

Established in 1939, they started with a small collection of second-hand books, now growing to about two million items.

They’ve received various national awards as a library with excellent service, diverse options, and scenic ambiance.

They aim to connect citizens with materials that can positively affect their lives!

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library should carry books to suit your tastes.

Add an educational experience to your trip to the city.

Meet a Real-Life Bengal Tiger at Mike the Tiger’s Habitat

Tiger statue in front of Mike the Tiger’s Habitat
University of College / Shutterstock.com

In 2005, the construction of Mike the Tiger’s Habitat began at the cost of 3.7 million dollars.

This venue is on the Louisiana State University campus.

As the mascot of all LSU Athletic Teams, the tiger holds a special place in the hearts of LSU students and fans.

You can see Mike in real life, prowling through his spacious habitat!

Exterior of Mike the Tiger’s Habitat
Spatms, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a beautiful home designed just for him, with lush landscapes of oak trees, a waterfall, and a stream.

You can relax and enjoy the company of one of the most majestic creatures on the planet.

Mike the Tiger's Habitat is located along Stadium Drive, between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Explore Local Sights at Downtown Baton Rouge

Street scene at Downtown Baton Rouge
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The heart of the city is in the vibrant Downtown Baton Rouge!

These premises offer an enticing blend of modern amenities and historical charm through 19th-century architecture.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Downtown Baton Rouge presents various scenic views and backdrops.

It’s home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the region, including the State Capitol Building.

Aerial view of Downtown Baton Rouge
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

This place lets you see the distinct culture and appeal of Baton Rouge’s thriving local scene up close.

Take a leisure stroll around the venue, join seasonal events, and immerse yourself in all the city offers.

It’s also near the riverside, presenting gorgeous views of the Mississippi River and its sweeping skyline.

Enjoy City-Brooks Community Park

Located along Dalrymple Drive, City-Brooks Community Park has lots of facilities in store.

With its large geographical area, this place thrives as a lively, multi-use neighborhood park.

It’s home to splash pads and playgrounds for children to enjoy!

Other guests can explore the tennis courts, swimming pool, soccer fields, walking tracks, and more.

A nearby 50-acre lake also allows licensed guests to participate in leisure fishing activities.

Don’t forget the picnic tables, chairs, and pavilions scattered around the area for maximum relaxation!

Whether you want to rest or get active, City-Brooks Community Park has facilities.

It’s an easy, convenient, and budget-friendly place in Baton Rouge.

Cross the Bridge of the Hilltop Arboretum

Pretty flowers at Hilltop Arboretum
Roberto Michel / Shutterstock.com

The Hilltop Arboretum is a breathtaking property that spans an estimated 14 acres across Highland Road.

It boasts an impressive collection of native trees, shrubs, and plants that allow you to discover the region’s unique flora.

As you wander the property, you’ll see a picturesque footbridge overlooking a deep ravine.

That will lead you to a tranquil cathedral in a canopy of vivid green trees.

A pond at Hilltop Arboretum
H.dryad, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can take a much-deserved break in the Hilltop Arboretum.

The tranquil atmosphere and the natural environment offer a cozy piece of heaven.

Vibrant wildflowers present dashes of color to the expansive green space of the Hilltop Arboretum.

Check out this tiny space at Highland Road filled with nature’s serene charm.

Admire Gorgeous Views at the Riverfront Plaza

Get a small taste of scenic paradise in Baton Rouge through the Riverfront Plaza!

Spanning 5.4 acres of beautiful greens, the plaza shines with its wide range of facilities for events and activities.

This includes popular recreation such as walking, biking, and enjoying gorgeous views of the Mississippi River.

One of the best things about the Riverfront Plaza is its open dock areas, providing a fantastic vantage point to observe river-themed activities.

With amphitheater-style seating, it’s also a popular venue for live concerts, community events, and festivals.

You’ll also get a bonus of stunning backdrops from the Mississippi River.

Glimpse breathtaking sunsets at River Road!

Learn about Space in the Highland Road Park Observatory

Exterior of the Highland Road Park Observatory
Bayoustarwatch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Highland Road Park Observatory is full of themes about astronomy and the science of space.

At Highland Road, the building is shaped like an octagon dome to foster quality images of the galaxy.

You’ll find an array of computers, projectors, and other high-tech equipment that allows you to see the wonders of space.

They host public programs with guest speakers and telescope operators for fun learning activities.

From stargazing nights and sky-watching sessions to interactive workshops, there is much to experience at the Highland Road Park Observatory.

There are also nature trails around the premises!

See how far space technology has evolved through the Highland Road Park Observatory.

Take a Tranquil Walk around University Lake

The waters of University Lake
Roberto Michel / Shutterstock.com

Nestled close to the LSU campus, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this serene oasis.

University Lake was built with the efforts of about 900 men as a program during the Great Depression.

It’s meant to represent a safe place for the public and a symbol of resilience and community spirit, despite adversities.

While the lake has faced many challenges over the years, it’s been restored to create a sustainable public place.

Pelicans at University Lake
Roberto Michel / Shutterstock.com

Now, a boardwalk allows people to circle the lake conveniently.

It’s also easy to get beautiful views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes!

University Lake is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the bustling sounds of the city.

Visit this precious environmental gem!

The grounds of University Lake
Roberto Michel / Shutterstock.com

Let Your Dogs Out at Raising Cane’s Dog Park

Check out Raising Cane's Dog Park for a fun day with your furry friends.

Their newly implemented operational and maintenance routines ensure the park remains an entertaining and enjoyable space.

It presents a beautiful, well-maintained environment for both pets and their owners.

This park has many amenities, from watering stations and seating areas to separated sections for small and large dogs.

Raising Cane’s Dog Park offers a space for dogs to meet their fellow animals in a safe environment.

It’s a great way to treat your cherished pets!

If you’re interested, it’s easily located at City Park Avenue.

Return to the Past in the Pentagon Barracks Museum

Aerial view of the Pentagon Barracks Museum
Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

Pentagon Barracks Museum was once an ordnance depot in 1816, thriving until it became the largest of the South region.

The barracks went through several historical periods, including the Mexican and Civil Wars.

Many prominent American figures have graced these buildings, from US Presidents to Confederate generals.

An entry to the Pentagon Barracks Museum will present you with various displays of the facility’s rich history.

Historical marker of the Pentagon Barracks Museum
Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

A gift shop also sells trinkets, souvenirs, and memorabilia to remind you of your visit.

While the museum is open to the public, it’s still used as apartments and offices for state officials.

This museum is a true testament to the sacrifices and triumphs of those who served the country.

Explore this site along River Road and learn the stories behind the people who walked its halls.

Exterior of the Pentagon Barracks Museum
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Climb the Observation Deck of the Louisiana State Capitol

Exterior of the Louisiana State Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Do you want to achieve new heights?

At North 3rd Street, the Louisiana State Capitol is one of the tallest buildings in the United States.

Its impressive height is 450 feet, boasting 34 total floors!

The building is home to the state’s legislative chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senate chamber in the Louisiana State Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

What truly sets this as a public attraction is the scenic Observation Deck, located on the 27th floor.

From there, you’ll see sweeping views of Baton Rouge, its natural environment, and other surrounding areas.

As a center of culture, history, and politics, the Louisiana State Capitol is a must-visit for anyone in the city.

Top half of the Louisiana State Capitol
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Try Extreme Sports at Perkin’s Road Community Park

Perkin’s Road Community Park is a hub for extreme sports and diverse recreation.

From nature trails and fishing spots to indoor basketball courts, this place has something fun for everyone.

The highlights of this place would be the BMX raceway and the skatepark.

With 30,000 square feet of concrete and various obstacle courses, this skate park is a dream.

Perkin’s Road Community Park opens its facilities to residents and travelers alike regardless of your skill level.

You can also try the rock-climbing tower, bike at a velodrome, and explore other amenities like the pond and fitness station.

Whether you’re an extreme sports enthusiast or just looking for a fun day outside, this park can be a fine choice.

Head to Perkin’s Road!

Join a Guided Tour of the Old Governor’s Mansion

Exterior of the Old Governor’s Mansion
Niagara, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Governor’s Mansion is a classic building styled in Greek-Revival fashion.

It’s one of the fanciest places in the city, designed to look like the famous White House.

While it’s known as a wedding venue, Old Governor’s Mansion is also available for both self-explorations and guided tours.

You’ll be met with intricate Victorian furnishings, a high ceiling, and an elegant ambiance.

Foyer of the Old Governor’s Mansion
Niagara, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North Boulevard is filled with luxurious vibes from the early 20th century.

From its outdoor posterior and fountain to its indoor decor, Old Governor’s Mansion displays the charm of old elegance.

Unsurprisingly, this has become one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

Interior of the Old Governor’s Mansion
Niagara, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Grab a Book at River Center Branch Library

More than its traditional counterparts, River Center Branch Library mixes modern technology with timely classics.

Its traditional collections offer modern learning spaces like its green screen film stage.

Besides reading, you can explore your creativity and learn new skills in the maker room or recording studio.

The building was also designed to feature the city’s natural and artificial environment through a shaded public plaza.

River Center Branch Library represents the vibrant urban community that Baton Rouge has become.

It’s a showpiece of the city’s downtown area, so check it out!

You can find it along the lengths of North Boulevard.

Final Thoughts

Baton Rouge presents many fun and relaxation opportunities any time of the year!

From historical landmarks and museums to parks and natural venues, expect great things from this vibrant city.

You also don’t need an expensive budget to enjoy its attractions.

Enjoy the best things to do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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