25 Best Things to Do in Lafayette, LA
Located in Cajun Country in southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette is the fourth-largest city in the state. Explore the Acadian Village where you can stroll through a 1800s Cajun village, visit the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, watch a performance at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and take a tour of the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island. Best things to do in Lafayette, LA with kids include the Children’s Museum and the Lafayette Science Museum. Photo: Lafayette CVB
Located on Greenleaf Drive, the Acadian Village is a 32-acre private park in Lafayette. Established in the 1970s, the Acadian Village is dedicated to preserving Acadian history and is one of the best things to do in Lafayette LA. Farmland has been converted into an 1800s Cajun village that consists of eleven buildings, seven of which are authentic 19th century homes donated by ancestors of the families who owned the structures and lived in them.
The buildings demonstrate the authentic construction techniques of the period with cypress wood, high peaked roofs, mud walls, and wooden pegs. Tours are available, and the grounds can be rented for weddings, meetings, and other events. The park is open from Monday to Saturday, from January to the end of October.
Contact: 200 Greenleaf Drive, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-981-2364
»Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum
Located on Girard Park Drive, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is the art museum for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and one of the top Lafayette attractions. Established in 1964, the museum is named after Paul and Lulu Hilliard, the major donors for the construction of the museum’s home, a 33,000 square foot facility that features more than 11,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The museum’s collection consists of more than 4,000 art objects from the 18th to 21st century, including works of art from America, Asia, and Europe. Other collections include ancient Egyptian art, folk art, Japanese wood block prints, and works by local Louisiana artists.
Contact: Girard Park Drive, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-482-0811
Photo: Lafayette CVB
»Children's Museum of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana
The Children’s Museum of Acadiana is an hands-on museum with interactive exhibits geared towards teaching children practical knowledge on a variety of subjects such as food, health, money, and other important topics. Founded in 1990, the museum is housed in the old Heymann Food Center on East Congress Street in downtown Lafayette.
The museum offers several programs like classes, workshops, school field trips, and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts programs. If you are wondering what to do in Lafayette with kids, this is a great place to visit. The museum also hosts special events such as Art Stomp, garage sales, performances, and the Spooktacular Halloween Party, and it features several kinds of birthday parties called Bonne Fete Party Packages.
Contact: 201 East Congress Street, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-232-8500
Photo: Children's Museum of Acadiana
»Lafayette Science Museum
The Lafayette Science Museum is home to permanent and visiting exhibits as well as an all digital planetarium. Located on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, the museum showcases displays on a variety of science subjects like geology, marine biology, paleontology, and much more.
Founded in 1969, the museum focuses on offering hands-on experiences to everyone who is curious, including children and adults. The museum is also dedicated to education; it welcomes school field trips and offers many planetarium programs for the general public such as The Modern Universe as well as programs for children like Flight Adventures.
Contact: 433 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-291-5544
Photo: Lafayette Science Museum
Avery Island is the home of the world famous McIlhenny Tabasco Company. The island is located just southwest of Emma, Louisiana, and is located in the heart of the Louisiana bayou country. There are popular several sights on the island including the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory Tour, which is offered every day, although the bottling process only takes place from Monday to Thursday.
Featuring local Cajun dishes, Restaurant 1868 is open every day as is the Jungle Gardens and Bird City. The island’s nature preserve allows visitors to see flowers like azaleas, bamboo, and camellias and animals such as alligators, deer, and egrets, among others.
Contact: Avery Island Rd, Avery Island, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-365-8173
» Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours
Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours offers ecotour adventures in the heart of the bayou and swamp regions of Louisiana. The guided tours take visitors through the Lake Martin Cypress Island Preserve with its cypress trees, Spanish moss, birds such as herons, owls, and woodpeckers, and reptiles like alligators, frogs, and snakes.
The two-hour tours are available in English or in French and leave from a dock on Lake Martin. There are also tours for school trips that accommodate up to 105 students and special tours like bird watching, photography, and night tours. Read more
»Cajun Food Tours, Lafayette, Louisiana
Cajun Food Tours is a tour company in Youngsville that offers Cajun food tours accompanied by explanations of Cajun history and culture. Tour groups of up to 14 people are taken on a customized tour bus that stops at six different locations for tastings of Cajun dishes such as boudin, cracklin,’ etoufee, gumbo, king cake, and fried seafood.
Tour stops include places like the Cajun Market Donut, La Cuisine de Maman, Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, and more. Established in 2011, Cajun Food Tours introduces visitors to the local cuisine of Lafayette, which was voted the Tastiest Town in the South.
Located along Lake Martin between Breaux Bridge and Lafayette, Cypress Island is a preserve of about 9,500 acres of protected cypress swamp and hardwood forest land. The Visitor Center is located at the southern end of the lake where Rookery Road and LA Highway 353 meet.
Here, you can find a picnic pavilion and the start of the 2.5-mile Levee Trail that leads visitors through the preserve and around the lake. From January to June there are many different kinds of birds that come to the preserve to make their nests, including little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, and several types of egrets like cattle, great, and snowy egrets. Plan a romantic day trip and explore this beautiful area on vacation.
»Acadian Cultural Center, Lafayette, Louisiana
The Acadian Cultural Center is dedicated to educating the public about the culture of the Cajun people. The center is located on Fisher Road not far from the Vermilionville Historic Village, and it focuses on the origins, movement, and settlement of the Cajuns, or Acadians, who were originally from Canada and then settled in Louisiana. Visitors can borrow portable media players at the Visitor Center.
There are also exhibits, films, and ranger programs including ranger-guided boat tours on the ship called Cocodrie, as well as special events like dance, music, and storytelling, and programs such as school field trips, Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs, and summer camps.
Contact: 501 Fisher Road, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-232-0789
Photo: NPS Photo
When you come to the Roly Poly restaurant on Coolidge Street, you might think that they are giving something away. There is typically a line at the counter, and they often give customers free drinks while they wait. Roly Poly makes sandwiches, but these aren’t just any kind of sandwiches.
They are so good that the company had to open 125 stores all over the country to make their customers happy. There is no big secret to their success; they use fresh ingredients, interesting flavor combinations you can’t find anywhere else, and fast service. Ingredients like green leaf lettuce, fresh sliced avocado, alfalfa sprouts, Roma plum tomatoes and fresh tortillas are the standard – they have pretty much anything you would ever want in a wrap, either hot or cold. There are hundreds of combinations.
You will love the Chipotle Cheese Steak with sliced steak, melted jalapeno jack and cheddar, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms drenched with mild chipotle dressing. It is served with fresh salsa.
Contact: 1004 Coolidge St, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-234-3289
Photo: Roly Poly
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»Tsunami, Lafayette, Louisiana
Making good sushi is not easy. Making sushi that is unique, innovative, and includes local ingredients without compromising the authentic flavor of sushi is an art that requires a certain amount of magic. Tsunami makes sushi that gets people talking, and even those who never liked sushi start appreciating it after they try a creation at Tsunami.
The establishment’s venue on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette is spacious, simple, and inviting, and their food is first class. The combination of incredibly fresh ingredients is evident of the thoughtfulness and imagination of the chef, and each plate is piece of art. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in Lafayette, this is a great place to visit.
To get as idea what to expect, check out one of the local favorites, the Candy Cane, which has panko sea bass and tuna, asparagus, cream cheese, and cucumber on the inside and tuna, snow crab, kani, scallions, crunchies, and masago on the outside. It is served with kazan and Tsunami sauces. Tsunami also serves great cocktails.
Contact: 412 Jefferson St., Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-234-3474
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»Things to Do in Lafayette, LA: Vermilionville
Located on Fisher Road close to the Lafayette Regional Airport, Vermilionville is a museum and park dedicated to educating the public about the culture of south central Louisiana. Sitting on 23 acres along the banks of the Bayou Vermillion, the park focuses on Acadian, Creole, and Native American cultures between 1765 and 1890.
The park features 19 attractions, 13 artisans showcasing the crafts of the early settlers, and seven restored homes. The park hosts workshops such as Canning and Preserving, events such as Native American Culture Day, and musical performances featuring local musicians. Tours include Adult Group Tours and Boat Tours.
Contact: 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-233-4077
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»Bon Temps Grill, Lafayette, LA
Bon Temps Grill is a friendly, down-to-earth neighborhood place where you want to bring the family for dinner. It is also a place to discover authentic ‘swamp edge cuisine’, a mix of Cajun and Creole dishes that are difficult to separate but are passionately defended. The restaurant grills its food with fragrant mesquite wood that adds a fine tang to the meats. Try their grilled pork chops stuffed with apple and tasso (pork shoulder.) They have some excellent local craft beer on tap and some fun local cocktails.
Contact: 1312 Verot School Rd., Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-706-8850
Photo: Bon Temps Grill
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»The French Press, Lafayette, Louisiana
The French Press is the place where they made breakfast into a whole new affair. At the first glance, it is a casual dining place in downtown Lafayette, tastefully decorated and cozy. They do serve lunch and dinner, but the breakfast at the French Press became a talk of the town and what really makes this place stand apart. Their James Beard nominated Chef Justin Girouard takes his native Cajun cuisine and gives it a totally modern and his own spin. It is innovative and recognizable at the same time, true comfort food that leaves you completely content.
All his ingredients are fresh and local and he even makes his own sausages. His Cajun Benedict is out of this world: toasted French bread with Hebert's boudin sausage and two poached eggs soaked with gumbo made of chicken and Andouille sausage, sprinkled with fresh scallions.
Contact: 214 E. Vermilion St., Lafayette, Louisiana, Phone: 337-233-9449
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Photo: The French Press
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»Things to Do in Lafayette, LA: The Acadiana Center for the Arts
The Acadiana Center for the Arts is a gallery and performance venue located on West Vermilion Street in downtown Lafayette. The center features films and music, theater, and visual performances in its James Devin Moncus Theater. The museum boasts many engaging exhibits in its galleries, as well as arts and cultural classes and workshops in its educational spaces.
Some of the center’s programs include Arts Grants for Teachers, Student Arts Expo, Teaching Artists Program, Touring Arts Performances, and more. Several spaces in the center are available for rent for special events like meetings and weddings. These spaces include the Art House, the Atrium/Cafe, the Board Room, and the theater.
Contact: 101 West Vermilion Street, Lafayette, LA 70501, Tel. (337) 233-7060
Best things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana for couples include the Acadian Village, Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and Avery Island.
Photo: The Acadiana Center for the Arts
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»Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
Located on North Main Street in St. Martinville, 18 miles southeast of Lafayette, the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site is the oldest state park in Louisiana and focuses on the culture of the Bayou Teche area of the state. The Bayou Teche is a 125-mile long waterway in south central Louisiana, and the site explores various cultures of the region including Cajuns, Creoles, Native Americans, and more.
Henry Wadsworth Longsworth’s poem, “Evangeline,” tells the tale of two Acadian lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel, and the tree where they met and Evangeline’s grave are both located on the site. Guided tours of the Maison Olivier, a historic 1815 plantation home, are available.
Contact: 1200 North Main Street, St. Martinville, LA 70582, 337-394-3754
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25 Best Things to Do in Lafayette, LA
- Acadian Village, Photo: Courtesy of butus - Fotolia.com
- Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Lafayette CVB
- Children's Museum of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana, Photo: Children's Museum of Acadiana
- Lafayette Science Museum, Photo: Lafayette Science Museum
- Avery Island, Photo: Courtesy of nungning20 - Fotolia.com
- Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Kyle - Fotolia.com
- Cajun Food Tours, Lafayette, Louisiana, Photo: Courtesy of Prostock-studio - Fotolia.com
- Cypress Island, Photo: Courtesy of Charles - Fotolia.com
- Acadian Cultural Center, Lafayette, Louisiana, Photo: NPS Photo
- Roly Poly, Photo: Roly Poly
- Tsunami, Lafayette, Louisiana, Photo: Tsunami
- Things to Do in Lafayette, LA: Vermilionville, Photo: Vermilionville
- Bon Temps Grill, Lafayette, LA, Photo: Bon Temps Grill
- The French Press, Lafayette, Louisiana, Photo: The French Press
- Things to Do in Lafayette, LA: The Acadiana Center for the Arts, Photo: The Acadiana Center for the Arts
- Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of larshallstrom - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Lafayette CVB
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