East Baton Rouge Parish is not only home to the state capital, but it also has the largest population in the entire state of Louisiana at around 440 thousand residents (as of 2010). The parish is home to the cities of Baton Rouge, Baker, Zachary and Central along with several other designated neighborhoods and areas.
The Garden District
The Garden District looks and feels like a slice of New Orleans in Baton Rouge. This quiet and friendly neighborhood is full of historic properties and architecture dating back to 1910, all while also being surrounded by a big park, local businesses, and is situated close to LSU.
The neighborhood is only a few blocks away from city attractions like the developing restaurant scene on Government Street. Other notable sights include White Star Market, The Electric Depot (coming soon!), and dozens of locally-owned shops. For families, the Garden District is within walking distance of some of the top schools in the city. But what really makes residents loving here are annual events like the popular Wearin’ of the Green St. Patrick’s Day parade — not to mention garage sales, crawfish boils and block parties.
- Local flavors: One of the best places to get a cup of coffee is Garden District Coffee, which roasts its beans in house. Across the street is Zeeland Street Market, another local favorite for breakfast and delicious plate lunches.
- BREC City-Brooks Community Park: One of the biggest parks in the city, this 155-acre space includes a dog park, splash pad, golf course and a tennis center. Also in the park is Baton Rouge Gallery, a contemporary art center with new exhibits monthly and special events.
- Perfect for a walk, run or bike ride: With a collection of Live Oak trees, azalea gardens, and bike lanes connecting the neighborhood to the nearby Louisiana State University campus and lakes, you shouldn’t be surprised to see neighbors out and about at all times of the day.
Right now, Mid-City is the hottest spot in Baton Rouge. Anchored by Government Street and located in between downtown and Jefferson Highway, this stretch of land is where the creatives live and breathe. While Government Street is populated with local businesses and restaurants, the neighborhood features smaller areas full of artistic vibes and laid-back attitude. There’s the Ogden Park neighborhood, which features eight blocks within Mid City. There’s also the Capital Heights neighborhood, which has a quieter vibe, but still brims with welcoming atmosphere. And they all congeal into a bigger section of the city that is full of events, festivals and, more recently, its own Mardi Gras parade.
Fun fact: In the past year, the arts scene in Mid City has continued to expand with the birth of new events such as the monthly Mid City Rising as well as the Mid City Makers Market.
- Art hops: The neighborhood’s Mid City Merchants associates hosts seasonal art hops such as White Light Night in the winter and Hot Art Cool Nights at the top of summer. At each event, locals peruse artists’ latest works at nearby businesses and galleries.
- Hear some good music: There’s the iconic blues bar Phil Brady’s, with its weekly Thursday night blues jams. Mid City Ballroom recently opened, offering local showcases of bands in all different genres. For a more laid-back affair, don’t miss the Bee Nice concert series, which features family-friendly vibes in an eclectic backyard setting.
- The go-to area for foodies: The main drag in the neighborhood is packed with hotspots for food-lovers, including Curbside Burgers, French Truck Coffee, Simple Joe Cafe, Rocca Pizzeria, Tiger Deaux-nuts and Elsie’s Plate & Pie. That’s not to mention the opening of the city’s first food hall, White Star Market, and one of the most popular local bars, The Radio Bar.
Southdowns stretches across some of the busiest intersections in town. To the south, you’ll find neighborhood houses with spacious backyards. To the west, Southdowns grows busier with popular local restaurants and bars as you drive along Perkins Road and approach the Perkins Road Overpass Merchants’ District. The neighborhood itself is full of subdivisions, small parks and walkable attractions. Nearby is the LSU lakes, where residents walk, jog and take bike rides. While you’ll find a few college students in rental homes because of its proximity to campus, Southdowns is more suited to home-owners.
Fun fact: The area is home to several popular shopping centers: Acadian-Perkins Plaza, Acadian Village, and Southdowns.
- Good eats: The most popular restaurants in town are here. Near the edge of Southdowns, you can eat at restaurants like Kalurah Street Grill, DiGuilio Brothers and The Overpass Merchant near the Perkins Road Overpass. The neighborhood also includes favorites like Red Zeppelin Pizza, Phil’s Oyster Bar, Fresh Junkie and Southfin Southern Poke. For a beer and a few late night bites, visit The Bulldog or Zippy’s.
- LSU Lakes: Southdowns is close to one of the busiest walking, jogging and biking attractions in town, a stretch of road along the LSU Lakes. The path runs from Stanford Avenue into the LSU Campus and the Garden District. Along the way, you’ll see beautiful houses, sorority row, and even kayakers. The lakes are also a site to catch a yearly migration of pelicans (the real kind) as well as giant wooden pink flamingos (for the Spanish Town Parade). These pink flamingos are highly sought-after too!
- Krewe of Southdowns Mardi Gras parade: Established in 1988, this family-friendly Mardi Gras parade rolls in the evening time with floats, torch-bearers and dazzling dancing troupes.
Spanish Town was established in 1805 as a place for Spanish citizens’ culture and language to thrive, and is understandably the oldest neighborhood in the city. Though the small neighborhood has changed over time, it still reflects the colorful, changing heritage and development of Baton Rouge.
While the neighborhood itself is small, it absolutely does not have a small personality. This is where the city’s biggest and most popular Mardi Gras party happens. Those pink flamingoes decorating lawns aren’t random either – they are the mascot of the parade and neighborhood. If you live here, you’ll get to know your neighbors quickly, think of it as a small town within Baton Rouge. Those neighbors range from lawyers to artists to photographers to writers and maybe even a few government officials.
The neighborhood is just blocks away from downtown, which makes it the perfect spot for those who work downtown and want to live nearby.
Fun fact: Between 1890 and 1920, the neighborhood catered to LSU students and faculty.
- Spanish Town Parade: New Orleans might be known for Mardi Gras in general, but here in Baton Rouge we have The Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade. Its always-taboo themes are a local hit, and the parade itself has run for nearly 40 years.
- Spanish Town Market: A neighborhood store and diner that has been open since 1914, Spanish Town Market offers salads, sandwiches, po-boys and some of the best burgers in town from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- Near downtown: Within walking distance is a downtown full of museums, government buildings and restaurant options.
Located between busy thoroughfares Jefferson Highway and Airline Highway, Old Goodwood is Baton Rouge neighborhood that is perfect for families. The edges of the neighborhood include the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library and the upcoming City Farm business park development. Just outside Old Goodwood, you’ll find ample shopping at Towne Center at Cedar Lodge as well as along Corporate Boulevard and in the Bocage Shopping Center. Within the neighborhood are lush green spaces, houses with bigger backyards and subdivisions that ready to be built. Among those developments is the upcoming Adelia at Old Goodwood luxury residential area built on 17-acres of the famed Goodwood Plantation site, which dates back to the early 1930s.
Fun fact: Developed in 1932 on parts of a 2,000-acre tract of land that comprised the Goodwood Plantation, which was built in 1852 and said to be the first house in Baton Rouge to have running water.
- Main Library: The main branch is newly redesigned library with three floors and 129,000 square feet to its name, and surrounded by the gorgeous Independence Community Park and BREC’s Botanic Gardens. The recently opened The Garden Cafe nearby is the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat!
- Velvet Cactus: What started in New Orleans has turned into a local favorite here in Baton Rouge. From margaritas to Bruch, this place has everything.
- Towne Center at Cedar Lodge: Home to dozens of stores, local businesses and restaurants, Town Center is unsurprisingly the area’s go-to place to shop.
The Shenandoah area is home to almost 19,000 residents. This area of Baton Rouge is primarily residential (hence the high population), but is also home to several popular restaurants and local businesses.
- Mason’s Grill: Aside from being a popular brunch spot (voted best brunch by DIG and 225 Magazine), Mason’s Grill serves up delicious meals for lunch and dinner. Be sure to check out their daily specials!
- Dempsey’s: If you’re ever craving a delicious poboy or a hot cup of gumbo, Dempsey’s is the place to go. Serving up almost everything entirely from scratch for over 15 years, it’s. not hard to see why this joint has stuck around.
- Portobello’s: If you’ve ever wondered what Southern-inspired Italian cooking is, head to Portobello’s – they’ve been whipping up delicious meals since ’96 and have a delicious brunch menu to boot!
Other areas of interest:
- Oak Hills Place
- Old Jefferson
- Village St. George
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