18 spectacular things to do in Lafayette, LA when you go

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Lafayette, LA, has so many things for you to do that it’s giving the “Big Easy” a run for its money!

Lafayette, LA, often known as the “Heart of Cajun Country,” has a lot to offer tourists in terms of history, culture, music, and delicious food. When visiting southern Louisiana, Lafayette is a must-see!

The Acadians are the forefathers of Lafayette’s history. The Acadians moved to Lafayette in the mid-1700s after they faced exile from New Brunswick, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. The French culture they brought with them evolved into what is now known as Cajun culture.

With its colorful history, you won’t be short of things to do in Lafayette, LA. The unique French Canadian influence is still very much alive and well. Chic eateries dot the streets, and the city is brimming with tourist attractions. Dine at one of the many casual bistros that line the old streets. Or join one of the many trips that will introduce you to the beautiful creole nation!

Learn Acadian history at the Acadian Village

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Photo by Darryl Kelly on Unsplash

The Acadian Village is a 32-acre private park in Lafayette located on Greenleaf Drive. Founded in the 1970s to preserve Acadian history, visiting the Acadian Village is one of the top things to do in Lafayette, LA. The town transformed farmland into an 1800s Cajun town, consisting of eleven houses, seven of which are actual nineteenth-century dwellings provided by the relatives of the families who owned and lived in the structures.

The structures use cypress wood, high peaked roofs, mud walls, and wooden pegs to simulate original-era construction techniques. People can hire the grounds for weddings, meetings, and other events; they also offer tours. From January until the end of October, the park is open Monday through Saturday.

Explore nature and its inhabitants at Avery Island Jungle Gardens

Jungle Gardens is a beautiful tropical conservatory filled with breathtaking floral delights. Visitors may also see deer, alligators, and thousands of snowy egrets, depending on the season. Avid bird lovers will not be disappointed, as the garden is home to a wide variety of species, including songbirds, herons, and coots!

If you’re a nature lover, then you will fall in love with the unending vista of camellias and azaleas. Firstly, you should take in the beautiful splendor of the 300-year-old live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. After that, grab a blanket and steal a patch of grass in their shade if you’re feeling lazy.

However, do not go without seeing the 900-year-old Buddha seated on a lotus blossom in its own luxurious garden! Additionally, do not miss Bird City. The ground keepers house thousands of nesting egrets in a hatchery.

Copy hot sauce formula at Avery Island Tabasco Factory

Avery Island, a salt dome, is also the home of the Mcilhenny family’s world-famous Tabasco business. The salt dome is known as the “site where salt meets pepper” by locals.

The Tabasco museum and factory are open to the public for tours. Hot sauce fans can watch the entire process of turning pepper plants into Tabasco and stroll into the Mash Warehouse, which houses over 15,000 barrels of the fiery substance. You can also take a look inside the blending room to learn how they make their famous formula.

The tour concludes with a tasting area where you can sample all of the many kinds of Tabasco spicy sauce. Also, if you’re looking for an extra hot kick, try the on-site restaurant’s Tabasco-infused Bloody Mary!

Go deep into the town’s roots at Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, LA

The Acadian Cultural Center is dedicated to teaching Cajun culture to the public. The center, located on Fisher Road in Vermilionville Historic Village, focuses on the origins, migration, and settlement of the Cajuns, or Acadians. They arrived from Canada and established themselves in Louisiana. In the visitor center, tourists can rent portable media players.

The center also showcases Exhibits, films, and ranger programs, plus special activities such as dance, music, and storytelling. Additionally, they welcome school field trips, Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs, and summer camps.

Vermilionville is a place to visit in Lafayette, LA.

Vermilionville, located near the Lafayette Regional Airport on Fisher Road, is a museum and park dedicated to educating the public about south-central Louisiana culture. The park, which stretches 23 acres along the banks of Bayou Vermilion, focuses on the  Creole, Acadian, and Native American cultures from 1765 and 1890.

Vermilionville features 19 attractions, 13 artists showing the skills of early settlers, and seven reconstructed homes. The park offers courses such as Canning and Preserving and events such as Native American Culture Day. They also showcase musical performances by local artists. Among the trips provided are adult group tours and boat cruises.

Reimagine sushi taste at Tsunami, Lafayette, LA

Sushi preparation is a challenging process. Making sushi that is unique, creative, and includes local ingredients while maintaining the sushi’s original flavor is an art that requires a certain amount of magic. Tsunami makes sushi that sparks conversation; individuals who have never been fond of sushi develop an appreciation for it after sampling one of Tsunami’s masterpieces.

The spacious, modest, and pleasant location on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette complements the outstanding cuisine. The chef’s attention to detail and ingenuity is evident in the combination of exceptionally fresh ingredients because each dish is a piece of beauty in its own right.

This is an excellent spot for romantic date night ideas in Lafayette. Tsunami also features an excellent drink selection.

See snowy egrets at Cypress Island

Three egrets flying in Lafayette, LA
Photo by Benjamin DeYoung on Unsplash

Cypress Island is a 9,500-acre preserve of protected cypress swamp and hardwood forest area. It is located between Breaux Bridge and Lafayette on Lake Martin. You’ll find the Visitor Center towards the southern end of the lake, at the intersection of Rookery Road and LA Highway 353.

The island includes a picnic pavilion, and the 2.5-mile Levee Trail also starts here—the trail winds through the preserve and around the lake. Several bird species also visit the preserve to make nests between January and June, including small blue herons, roseate spoonbills, and various egrets, including cattle, great, and snowy egrets.

Plan a romantic day excursion and spend the remainder of your vacation exploring this stunning place.

Unleash your inner scientist at Lafayette Science Museum

The Lafayette Science Museum contains permanent and visiting displays, as well as an all-digital planetarium. The museum, located on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, displays exhibits on various science subjects such as geology, marine biology, fossils, and much more.

Lafayette Science museum, which opened in 1969, focuses on providing hands-on experiences to everyone who is inquisitive, including children and adults. The museum welcomes school field excursions and provides various planetarium presentations for adults and children, such as The Modern Universe and Flight Adventures.

Enjoy mouthwatering cuisines at The French Press

Chef Justin Girouard’s James Beard Foundation Award nomination has made The French Press a must-try in Lafayette. His Cajun, Italian, and French ancestors have influenced his dishes, which are stunning and tasty.

For a tasty breakfast, try the Cajun Benedict. On the other hand, you can choose the boudin and poached eggs on toasted french bread, covered in a spicy andouille sausage gumbo and topped with scallions. Then if you’re feeling more daring, get the Boudin Ball Po’boy. They enhance this traditional Louisiana sandwich with boudin balls, ham, and cheddar, and swiss cheese. You can’t go wrong with this one because you’ll get candied bacon as a topping!

Explore the heart of Louisiana’s bayou with Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours provides ecotour experiences in the heart of Louisiana’s bayou and swamp areas. The guided tours take visitors through the Lake Martin Cypress Island Preserve, home to cypress trees and Spanish moss. Additionally, you’ll find birds like herons, owls, woodpeckers, and reptiles like alligators, frogs, and snakes.

The two-hour trips, which depart from a pier on Lake Martin, are available in English and French. There are additional tours for school groups of up to 105 kids and special tours such as bird watching, photography, and night tours.

Visit Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum

The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is located on Girard Park Drive. It is the art museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and one of the top Lafayette attractions. The museum was founded in 1964 and is named after Paul and Lulu Hilliard because they were major donors for building the museum’s home. It’s a 33,000 square foot facility with over 11,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The museum’s collection contains over 4,000 art objects dating from the 18th to the 21st centuries; it includes works from America, Asia, and Europe. Among the other collections are ancient Egyptian art, folk art, Japanese woodblock prints, and works by Louisiana artists.

Take the kids to Lafayette Children’s Museum of Acadiana

Are there exciting things to do in Lafayette, LA with kids? Certainly, and the Children’s Museum of Acadiana is a great place to start. This interactive museum is jam-packed with fun displays for kids of all ages. There’s also the Bubble Factory, where kids can blow bubbles large enough to stand in!

Can’t persuade your kids to separate their plastics and paper at home? No worries, just go to the Reuseum; it’s an interactive display where kids can learn about the significance of recycling by making artwork out of repurposed materials.

“201 E. Congress, A Site History” is a good choice for young history fans. Children discover how old structures, such as the Children’s Museum, are transformed into other venues.

Visiting the museum is one of the top things to do for families visiting Lafayette, LA because it will keep the kids occupied for hours and may even tucker them out.

You can’t miss Roly Poly’s sandwiches

You might assume that the Roly Poly restaurant on Coolidge Street is giving something away when you go in. The restaurant routinely offers customers complimentary drinks as they wait in line.

Roly Poly makes sandwiches, but not just any sandwiches. They are so delicious that the firm established 125 shops throughout the country to satisfy their consumers. There is no major secret to their success; they combine fresh products, unique taste combinations, and quick service.

Green leaf lettuce, fresh sliced avocado, alfalfa sprouts, Roma plum tomatoes, and fresh tortillas are essential ingredients — they contain pretty much everything you could possibly want in a wrap, hot or cold. In short, there are hundreds of possible combinations.

Served with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and mild chipotle dressing, the Chipotle Cheese Steak is a must-try. They serve it with fresh salsa.

Go eco-friendly with Lafayette Swamp Tours

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Photo by Mathieu Cheze on Unsplash

Without a swamp tour, a visit to southern Louisiana is similar to visiting Hawaii and skipping the beaches.

The best way to explore Lake Martin and Cypress Island’s murky waters is with a licensed tour guide! Cajun Country Swamp Trips offers environmentally friendly tours. Their primary aim is to ensure that no harm comes to the natural environment and its inhabitants. Walter Guchareau, the proprietor, even possesses degrees in zoology and botany, In other words, he has a wealth of information to impart!

Tours wind past magnificent cypress trees that have sprung up from the Bayou.  There, passengers may spot a variety of animals in their native habitat, from herons to turtles and alligators. Additionally, the natural swampland is very magnificent and will leave you speechless

Party the night away at The Cowboy Nightclub

For almost 30 years, Cowboy Nightclub has entertained Lafayette with Zydeco and classic country music!

This rustic barnyard radiates southern charm, and the bartenders amp it up a notch! Additionally, the drinks are fresh, reasonably priced, and tasty.

Visit Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site educates tourists about how the area’s diverse cultures coexisted and merged throughout time.

Southern Louisiana was molded by Acadians, Creoles, Native Americans, Africans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and more. Language is a good example. French was originally the major language and is still used by many people today; however, it has evolved into what locals often refer to as Cajun French.

Clearly, language was not the only element of life impacted by the region’s diverse population. Additional examples include food, agriculture, and architecture.

Lafayette, LA – Bon Temps Grill

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Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Bon Temps Grill is a welcoming, down-to-earth local establishment ideal for dinner with the family. Additionally, it is a destination for authentic swamp edge cuisine,’ a fusion of Cajun and Creole foods that is difficult to categorize but is fervently defended.

The restaurant uses aromatic mesquite wood to cook its dishes, which adds a delicate taste to the meats. Try their grilled pork chops with apple and tasso (pork shoulder.) They feature a fantastic selection of local craft beer on tap and some creative local cocktails.

Explore Lafayette’s downtown

If you’re searching for things to do in Lafayette, make a point of visiting the downtown area. During the day, the streets are busy with people on their way to work, lunch, or exploring the neighborhood businesses. At night, the excitement is contagious; the streets are crammed with visitors and locals alike exploring the city.

Along the sidewalks, merchants serve delectable street cuisines like Cajun tacos and Creole dishes. Additionally, bars are brimming with people who are having the time of their life while listening to local performers.

During the day, wander across downtown and pay a visit to the Alexandre Mouton House. This old residence of Louisiana’s 12th governor is now a museum that transports visitors back to the 1800s.

After exploring the museum, make your way to Wurst Biergarten, a beer garden featuring over 60 beers on tap! While you’re there, make sure to sample some real Jamaican cuisine at their outdoor market.

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