Photography by Scott Burkhalter.
WHY MAKE BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, your destination for a college town weekend getaway? The Bayou State’s 322-year-old capital, and home to Louisiana State University (LSU), is the winner of the Scouted Cities Contest’s Weekend Getaway category, and as The Scout Guide Baton Rouge editor and owner Kaleigh Porcelli explains, Baton Rouge is filled to the brim with rich history, Cajun cuisine, and championship-winning teams. “While the entire athletic department is recognized as leaders in their respective categories, LSU football in particular is a major cornerstone of Baton Rouge, as it draws enormous crowds year after year,” Kaleigh says. “And if you’ve been lucky enough to experience the magic of a Louisiana Saturday night in Death Valley (LSU’s stadium), it’s easy to understand why.” Tiger fans are often recognized as some of, if not the most, dedicated fans you’ll find in the whole country. They’re also known for extending great Southern hospitality to visiting fans. On game day eve, private tailgaters and local establishments begin setting up their areas all around LSU’s campus to create one of the most unique and well-sourced tailgate experiences offered in the world of college athletics.
Ready to plan your college weekend getaway? To make the most of your Tiger Tailgating experience, Kaleigh shares some game day traditions, tips for tailgating, and of course where to eat, stay, and shop when in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHERE TO STAY
Whether you’re seeking historic elegance, modern Southern hospitality, or a spot to fully immerse yourself in campus life, you’ll find the perfect place to rest your head here.
Watermark (150 Third Street). This historic building, which previously operated as a bank, now functions as a luxurious hotel. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown near several bars and restaurants, the Watermark offers beautiful views of the mighty Mississippi River.
The Renaissance (7000 Bluebonnet Boulevard). Seamlessly blending Southern hospitality, upscale décor, and plenty of amenities, The Renaissance is a fantastic hotel with easy access to anywhere in and around Baton Rouge.
The Cook Hotel and Conference Center (3848 West Lakeshore Drive). This boutique hotel is located on the edge of the LSU campus on the scenic University Lake. It is Baton Rouge’s only independently owned and operated hotel and conference center and the only one wholly owned and operated by an alumni association.
GAME DAY TICKETS, TRADITIONS, AND TAILGATING RESOURCES
Securing tickets and getting the lowdown on game day happenings is essential for a true LSU football experience.
LSU’s tickets can only be purchased digitally, and Kaleigh recommends getting yours well in advance if possible. You can purchase tickets here, and to get up to speed on general game day information, including LSU’s Covid-19 protocols, parking, and rules for tailgating, here.
Even if you’re not operating your own tailgate or attending someone else’s, Kaleigh recommends arriving a few hours ahead of the game to soak up all the sights and game day traditions. You can meet Mike the Tiger (LSU’s mascot and actual tiger) who lives in a beautifully designed habitat on campus located on North Stadium Drive (visitors are allowed every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.). “Victory Hill March” is another must-do on game day. “A couple of hours prior to game time, fans will crowd around the barricades in preparation of this pregame tradition,” Kaleigh says. “Beginning at the Greek Amphitheater, fans cheer on LSU’s Golden Band, Golden Girls, football team, and the coaches and staff as they all march down Victory Hill.”
There are abundant shopping opportunities in Baton Rouge. Here, Kaleigh shares spots that exude the college town vibe.
Sweet Baton Rouge ( 1509 Government Street, Building B). Sweet Baton Rouge is a locally owned business that creates unique t-shirts and accessories that represent our home state and Louisiana culture. You can visit once you’re in town or order online prior to your trip.
Aria (7620 Corporate Boulevard). Aria is a trendy women’s boutique that offers the most sought-after styles from an edited selection of established as well as up-and-coming coveted designers.
The Keeping Room (3535 Perkins Road). This local boutique is known for their fine stationery and gifts, as well as their party decor—including an impressive collection of styrofoam cups with clever sayings (perfect for tailgating!).
Edit by LBP (3535 Perkins Road). This high-end women’s boutique is located directly next to The Keeping Room and offers a well curated collection of unique and exclusive clothing and accessories for women.
WINE AND DINE
Louisiana is known for its notable Cajun cuisine and raucous party life. Here, Kaleigh discusses the establishments close to campus that deliver delectable eats, some with 24-hours service, and well-trod watering holes that are popular with the university coed crowd.
Chimes (3357 Highland Road, North Gates of LSU Campus). This restaurant and tap room has been a Baton Rouge and LSU tradition for over 25 years. When the weather is nice, we love sitting outside on their newly constructed patio upstairs.
Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux (3838 Burbank Drive). Named by ESPN as the “#1 Sports Bar” in America, this restaurant and sports bar exudes Louisiana culture and is an especially popular attraction for college students on game days.
Louie’s Cafe (3322 Lake South). This 24-hour diner located at the North Gates of LSU is a popular spot for LSU students, faculty, and sports fans. It was first established in 1941 and is considered by many as an LSU institution that’s known for its cheeseburgers, hash browns, and omelets.
Ruffino’s (18811 Highland Road). Founded by a former LSU football player (Ruffin Rodrigue), this exceptional local restaurant is well known for its excellent steak, seafood, and Italian-inspired dishes. Upon entering, you’ll find autographed pictures of many celebrities and athletes who have enjoyed dining at this local favorite.
Superior Grill (5435 Government Street). Superior Grill has consistently been rated as one of Louisiana’s best Mexican restaurants since 1983. Famous for their sizzling fajitas and Superior margaritas, you’ll find many locals dining and drinking here for both home and away games.