11 Free Things To Do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Who wants to avoid visiting free places and saving some extra bucks in this era? If you’re also tight on budget no need to worry about where to go, as there are many fun things to do in Baton Rouge for your rescue! 

Plan your visit to enjoy music festivals, historic sites, and family-friendly attractions, immersing yourself in the heart of Louisiana’s capital city. 

Discover the perfect blend of tradition and modernity in Baton Rouge – a destination inviting exploration and community engagement, all free of cost! 

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, boasts a captivating history that beckons tourists to explore its rich cultural tapestry. Originally settled by Native American tribes, it became a French outpost in the early 18th century. 

The city’s name, meaning “Red Stick” in French, pays homage to a distinctive cypress pole that marked the boundary between Native American territories.

During the American Civil War, Baton Rouge played a pivotal role as a Confederate stronghold and suffered significant battles. 

Today, visitors can delve into this tumultuous past at sites like the Old State Capitol, a Gothic architectural gem that witnessed political upheavals.

Baton Rouge’s charm extends to its vibrant music scene, deeply rooted in jazz, blues, and Cajun influences. 

The city’s annual festivals, such as the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, celebrate this musical heritage, drawing enthusiasts from far and wide and providing a bunch of free things to do in Baton Rouge. 

Louisiana’s culinary prowess takes center stage in Baton Rouge, enticing food lovers with its delectable Creole and Cajun dishes. 

The city’s eateries, from historic diners to contemporary restaurants, serve up a mouthwatering array of flavors, embodying the region’s diverse culinary traditions.

Furthermore, Baton Rouge’s commitment to education is evident through its renowned institutions like Louisiana State University (LSU). 

The university’s sprawling campus, adorned with majestic oaks, invites exploration and hosts events that contribute to the city’s lively atmosphere.

Nature enthusiasts find solace along the Mississippi River, where the Baton Rouge Riverfront provides scenic views, walking trails, and recreational activities. 

The USS Kidd Veterans Museum and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum add unique facets to the city’s appeal, attracting history buffs and art enthusiasts alike.

However, Baton Rouge’s allure lies in its ability to seamlessly blend history, music, cuisine, and natural beauty. 

It stands as a testament to the vibrant spirit of Louisiana, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and multifaceted travel experience.

So the only things left here are to pack your bags, book your tickets, and, if you have someone accompanying you, check out our list of free things to do in Baton Rouge for a more pocket-friendly getaway. 

1) LSU Rural Life Museum

The LSU Rural Life Museum captures the agricultural history of the region that was established in 1970 spanning over 40 acres, featuring authentic 18th and 19th-century structures relocated from across the state. 

LSU Rural Life Museum

The museum meticulously recreates rural life, showcasing vernacular architecture, tools, and artifacts. Visitors experience Louisiana’s rural past through exhibits on farming practices, domestic life, and cultural traditions. 

The diverse collection includes a plantation overseer’s house, a one-room schoolhouse, and a blacksmith shop. 

By preserving and interpreting historical elements, the LSU Rural Life Museum serves as an educational resource, connecting present-day communities to the agricultural heritage of the American South.

The expansive 40-acre site encompasses meticulously reconstructed 18th and 19th-century structures, providing visitors with an immersive journey into Louisiana’s rural history. 

Visitors can enjoy amenities such as guided tours, educational programs, and interactive demonstrations, where skilled interpreters showcase traditional crafts and farming techniques. 

For those seeking leisure and free things to do in Baton Rouge, the lush grounds offer pleasant walking paths and picnic areas, providing historical insights with a range of facilities, amenities, and enjoyable activities, making it a well-rounded destination for visitors of all ages.


4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, United States

2) Capitol Park Museum

Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, chronicles the state’s rich history in a captivating manner. Exhibits delve into the impact of slavery, the Civil War, and Louisiana’s unique role in shaping American music. 

Capitol Park Museum

Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant traditions of Mardi Gras, Cajun culture, and the state’s political evolution. 

The museum’s artifacts, interactive displays, and multimedia presentations provide a comprehensive glimpse into Louisiana’s past, fostering a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage and historical significance.

Its well-designed layout and informative exhibits cater to various interests, making it an engaging destination for history enthusiasts and families. 

Visitors can enjoy the convenience of on-site restrooms and a gift shop where they can find unique Louisiana-themed souvenirs.

As for amenities and free things to do in Baton Rouge, the museum often provides guided tours, enhancing the educational aspect of the visit. 

The museum also frequently hosts special events, lectures, and workshops, creating dynamic opportunities for learning and community engagement.

The park provides a serene setting for relaxation, complementing the historical exploration within the museum that stands not only as a hub of Louisiana’s vibrant history but also as a welcoming space where visitors can engage, learn, and enjoy the outdoors.


660 N 4th St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, United States

3) Baton Rouge Gallery

Baton Rouge Gallery, founded in 1966, is a contemporary art space that was initially established as an artist cooperative, playing a pivotal role in fostering local artistic talent and providing a platform for emerging and established artists. 

Baton Rouge Gallery

The gallery has showcased a diverse range of visual arts, including paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations. Known for its commitment to community engagement, Baton Rouge Gallery has been instrumental in promoting dialogue about contemporary art in the region.

The facility boasts diverse amenities, including spacious galleries showcasing contemporary art from local and national artists. 

Visitors can explore ever-changing exhibits that span various mediums, fostering a dynamic cultural environment.

The gallery often hosts free events, making it an accessible destination for art enthusiasts and the community. Attendees can engage in artist talks, workshops, and interactive installations, creating an immersive and educational experience.

Additionally, the gallery frequently collaborates with local artists and organizations, contributing to the city’s cultural tapestry and providing free things to do in Baton Rouge. 

Visitors can discover the richness of Baton Rouge’s artistic community while participating in cost-free activities that celebrate creativity and expression. 

This Gallery stands as a dynamic hub where art, nature, and community converge, offering both residents and visitors a unique and enriching destination.


1515 Dalrymple Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, United States

4) Louisiana State Capitol

The Louisiana State Capitol, completed in 1932, stands as an iconic structure in Baton Rouge. Designed by architect Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth, it boasts Art Deco influences and holds the distinction of being the tallest state capitol in the United States. 

Louisiana State Capitol

The building’s construction employed innovative techniques, including the use of a steel frame and limestone exterior. Tragically, in 1935, political activist Dr. Carl Weiss assassinated Senator Huey Long in the Capitol’s corridors. 

Despite this dark chapter, the Capitol remains a symbol of Louisiana’s political history, featuring guided tours providing insights into its history, architecture, and legislative process. 

Visitors can explore the stunning observation deck for panoramic views of Baton Rouge and the Mississippi River. The Capitol Park Museum, adjacent to the Capitol, showcases Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage.

For amenities, the Capitol provides a visitor center offering informative exhibits, a gift shop, and rest areas. For those seeking recreation with free things to do in Baton Rouge, nearby parks offer outdoor spaces for picnics or relaxation with your companions. 

The Capitol’s central location allows easy access to Baton Rouge’s vibrant dining scene, historic sites, and entertainment options. 

Whether fascinated by history and architecture or simply enjoying scenic surroundings, the Louisiana State Capitol offers a diverse range of facilities, amenities, and activities for an enriching visit.


Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, United States 

5) Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, originated from a visionary community effort in 1997. Encompassing 103 acres, it preserves a diverse ecosystem, including cypress-tupelo swamp, hardwood forest, and meadows. 

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

The center offers educational programs, guided nature walks, and interactive exhibits, fostering environmental awareness. 

Over the years, the center expanded its facilities, featuring an observation deck, boardwalks, and interpretive displays, providing a serene escape into nature while promoting environmental stewardship in the community.

The center offers a visitor’s center equipped with educational exhibits and a gift shop, providing resources for an enriching visit. 

For exploration, boardwalks and trails wind through the diverse landscapes, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. 

Interactive displays and seasonal programs cater to both children and adults, promoting environmental education and awareness. 

Families can enjoy picnics in designated areas, fostering a sense of community within the scenic backdrop while enjoying free things to do in Baton Rouge. 

Additionally, the center often hosts free events, including guided nature walks, wildlife presentations, and stargazing nights. 

These activities contribute to a vibrant community engagement, encouraging visitors to connect with nature in meaningful ways without financial barriers.

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center’s commitment to accessibility ensures that individuals of all ages can appreciate and learn about the rich biodiversity within the heart of Louisiana, making it a valuable destination for both recreation and education.


10503 N Oak Hills Pkwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70810, United States

6) USS Kidd Veterans Museum

The USS Kidd Veterans Museum is a floating tribute to the sacrifices of American military personnel showcasing centerpieces like USS Kidd (DD-661), a Fletcher-class destroyer named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack. 

USS Kidd Veterans Museum

Commissioned in 1943, the ship played a crucial role in the Pacific theater during World War II. 

Decommissioned in 1964, the USS Kidd became a museum in 1982 showcasing military artifacts, exhibits, and honors veterans across generations, fostering a deeper understanding of naval history and the contributions of those who served. 

The museum provides guided tours, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the historic USS Kidd.  Ample parking is also available here, facilitating convenient access and ensuring inclusivity.

As for free things to do in Baton Rouge and enjoyable activities, the museum’s exterior provides a picturesque view of the Mississippi River, inviting visitors with strolls making it an ideal spot for a relaxing afternoon. 

Whether delving into naval history on guided tours, appreciating scenic surroundings, or participating in complementary events, the USS Kidd Veterans Museum caters to diverse interests, making it an enriching destination for visitors of all ages.


305 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, United States

7) Downtown Baton Rouge

Downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, boasts a rich history dating back to its 1699 founding by French explorer Sieur d’Iberville. 

Downtown Baton Rouge

Initially a trading post, the area evolved into a key port along the Mississippi River that witnessed economic shifts, urban renewal, and cultural revitalization, blending historic charm with modern amenities.

Today, the vibrant waterfront, historic sites, and a thriving arts scene continue to define Downtown Baton Rouge’s character, reflecting the city’s enduring significance in Louisiana’s narrative.

The area boasts an impressive riverfront, perfect for strolls and enjoying scenic views of the Mississippi River. Historic landmarks, including the Old State Capitol and Louisiana State Capitol connected to it, provide engaging insights into the region’s political past.

For entertainment and free things to do in Baton Rouge, the Shaw Center for the Arts features galleries, theaters, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic city views. 

The lively Third Street entertainment district houses an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, and live music venues, offering a vibrant nightlife experience. Residents can explore the Red Stick Farmers Market for fresh local produce and artisanal goods.

The downtown area hosts cultural events, festivals, and parades throughout the year, creating a lively atmosphere. Additionally, green spaces like North Boulevard Town Square provide outdoor recreational opportunities. 

With a variety of dining options, shopping boutiques, and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Downtown Baton Rouge offers a dynamic blend of history, culture, and modern amenities, ensuring a rich and enjoyable experience for all who explore its streets.


359 Third Street | Baton Rouge, LA 70801, United States 

8) North Boulevard Town Square

North Boulevard Town Square is a prominent public space in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that was originally part of the 1806 city plan, which underwent significant redevelopment in the early 21st century. The square integrates modern amenities with historical elements, offering a vibrant hub for community events. 

North Boulevard Town Square

Its transformation began in 2010, enhancing green spaces, installing public art, and constructing a performance pavilion. The square hosts concerts, markets, and festivals, contributing to Baton Rouge’s cultural tapestry. 

Its rich history, combined with contemporary enhancements, makes North Boulevard Town Square a dynamic and cherished focal point in the city’s social landscape, providing a list of free things to do in Baton Rouge.

The square features a state-of-the-art performance pavilion, hosting live concerts, cultural events, and performances. 

Surrounding green spaces provide a tranquil escape, ideal for picnics or strolls, while the public art installations contribute to the vibrant atmosphere, showcasing local creativity.

For recreation, the square offers a playground for children and open areas for various sports and activities. Additionally, the square hosts seasonal markets, bringing local vendors together to offer fresh produce, crafts, and unique finds to the visitors. 

Community engagement is fostered through organized events such as yoga sessions, fitness classes, and educational programs. 

The square becomes a social hub during festivals, creating a lively atmosphere with food trucks, live entertainment, and cultural celebrations.

With its blend of green spaces, cultural experiences, and recreational options, North Boulevard Town Square provides a diverse range of activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this dynamic community space.


222 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70801, United States

9) LSU Lakes

The LSU Lakes, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Originally excavated for gravel in the 1930s, these lakes evolved into a scenic and recreational area over time, offering picturesque landscapes and serving as a hub for outdoor activities. 

LSU Lakes

Over the years, the area has witnessed developments, including the construction of walking trails and the establishment of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum. 

The LSU Lakes stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to preserving natural spaces for both educational and leisure purposes, contributing to the cultural and environmental fabric of the region.

The lakes are surrounded by well-maintained walking trails, perfect for jogging, biking, or strolls, and if you feel tired, benches along the paths offer spots for relaxation and taking in scenic views. 

Additionally, the lakes are home to diverse bird species, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching enthusiasts where fishing is also a popular activity, with the lakes stocked with various fish species.

The LSU Hilltop Arboretum, adjacent to the lakes, adds another layer of exploration, showcasing a wide variety of plants and serving as an educational resource for visitors interested in Louisiana’s flora.

The lakes frequently host community events and festivals, contributing to a vibrant social atmosphere. The area serves as a venue for cultural and recreational activities, creating a sense of connection among residents and visitors so they can enjoy unlimited free things to do in Baton Rouge. 

Whether it’s a family picnic, a serene nature walk, or participating in community events, the LSU Lakes offers a diverse range of free and enjoyable activities for people of all ages.


Baton Rouge, LA 70808, United States 

10) LSU Hilltop Arboretum

LSU Hilltop Arboretum, established in 1994, sprawls over 14 acres, which is a rooted vision of landscape architect Steele Burden, blending nature and art to showcase indigenous flora. 

LSU Hilltop Arboretum

The nursery’s diverse gardens, including the Azalea and Camellia collections, highlight Louisiana’s horticultural richness. 

Its crowning jewel, the Hilltop Garden, offers panoramic views of the Mississippi River while serving as an educational hub, engaging visitors in environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. 

Through the years, it has evolved into a living classroom, fostering research and community events. 

Visitors can explore themed gardens, such as the Rose Garden and Fern Garden, showcasing an array of plant species. The Hilltop Garden also offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and serves as an ideal spot for contemplation.

Educational facilities include the Burden Conference Center, fostering workshops and events on horticulture and environmental topics. 

The Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie hosts exhibits and educational programs, enhancing the visitor experience.

Nature enthusiasts can participate in guided tours, birdwatching, and seasonal plant sales. At the same time, the picnic areas allow visitors to enjoy a leisurely day surrounded by nature, providing quiet spots for reflection.

Photography enthusiasts will find inspiration in the diverse landscapes, capturing the beauty of Louisiana’s flora, blending education, recreation, and natural beauty to create an enriching environment for visitors of all ages, along with many free things to do in Baton Rouge.


Enter off of 11855 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70810, United States

11) Old State Capitol 

The Old State Capitol served as the state’s capital from 1839 to 1876 as it was designed by architect John F. Rague in a Greek Revival-style building with impressive columns and a distinctive dome. 

Old State Capitol

During its tenure, the Old State Capitol witnessed crucial events, including Abraham Lincoln’s political debates and his famous “House Divided” speech. 

After the state government moved to a new capitol, the building had various uses, from a county courthouse to a state historical library. 

Restored in the 1960s, it now operates as a museum, preserving the history of Illinois’ political and social evolution during a pivotal period in American history.

The meticulously preserved facilities provide visitors with a glimpse into the past, showcasing architectural splendor and political history. 

Explore the grand chambers where legislative decisions shaped the state’s destiny or engage in informative guided tours to unravel captivating stories of pivotal moments in Illinois’ history.

The site boasts interactive exhibits, bringing to life the vibrant narratives of politicians and citizens who once walked its halls. You can also discover artifacts and period-specific displays that capture the essence of the bygone era. 

Enjoy scenic surroundings with manicured gardens and outdoor spaces, ideal for strolls and photo opportunities, as these are some top free things to do in Baton Rouge.

The site’s central location makes it a hub for cultural events, festivals, and community gatherings. Experience the charm of nearby shops, cafes, and restaurants, extending the visit beyond the historical confines of the Old State Capitol.


526 E Adams St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Baton Rouge 

  • Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center
  • The Watermark Baton Rouge Autograph Collection
  • Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel
  • L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge
  • Crowne Plaza Executive Center Baton Rouge
  • Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge Downtown