By Sydni Dunn
Both the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels will head to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this fall to take on the Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers. Whether football fans making the trip plan to cheer on their teams from stadium seats in Death Valley or bar stools at a local dive, here’s how to spend a weekend in the Red Stick without straying far from the flagship campus.
Where to Stay
The Watermark Hotel, located in the heart of Baton Rouge’s downtown near restaurants, bars and attractions, tastefully blends local heritage with modern flare. Built in the late 1920s, the art deco building stood as the city’s first skyscraper and served as the headquarters of the Louisiana Trust and Savings Bank. In 2016, the landmark was transformed into a stylish 144-room luxury hotel.
For a quieter stay away from the buzz of gameday, check into The Stockade Bed and Breakfast. Tucked away off Highland Road, about 4 miles from the LSU campus, the Hacienda-style house, named after the Civil War stockade that once occupied the grounds, offers four guest rooms and one two-bedroom suite, each with a private bath, a colorful garden and a homemade Southern breakfast.
Where to Play
From rolling down Indian Mounds that predate the Egyptian pyramids to watching the university’s live mascot roam his habitat to purchasing a clear purse and other gameday gear, fans could build a full itinerary without ever leaving the oak-tree-lined campus. But for those interested in playing tourist, Baton Rouge offers a diverse lineup.
Visitors can explore Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, Shaw Center for the Arts or Knock Knock Children’s Museum; admire colorful Craftsman-style homes in Spanish Town and the Garden District; get lost in a maze of quirky finds at The Market at Circa 1857; browse the stacks at Cottonwood Books; stroll around the LSU lakes or through Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center; play a round of footgolf at City Park; take a boozy tour of Tin Roof Brewing Co. or Cane Land Distilling Co.; try your luck at L’auberge Casino; or experience the nightlife along downtown’s Third Street or in Tigerland.
Where to Eat
No matter what type of fare or what time of day, there’s no shortage of good eats in the Capital City (that is, if you have room in your belly after tailgate hopping around the LSU Parade Ground).
Breakfast: Grab a classic cup of joe — with chicory, of course — at Highland Coffees, a gluten-free scone at Magpie Cafe or a gourmet donut at District Donuts.
Brunch: Find a spot on the patio to indulge in the seafood-stuffed french toast or a boudin omelet at Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant. Listen to jazz while eating grits and grillades at Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar. Sip a famous, fully-loaded “Blood Mason” at Mason’s Grill.
Lunch: Order a crawfish boil elote and an artisanal taco at celebrity chef Jay Ducote’s Gov’t Taco inside the new White Star Market. Snack on crispy strips of fried catfish and tape an autographed dollar bill to the ceiling at George’s under the I-10 East overpass. Go traditional with fried boudin balls and a fully-dressed shrimp poboy at The Chimes.
Dinner: Travel “Around the World” with family-run Fleur de Lis Pizza. Pair a specialty cocktail with a Creole entree at Bistro Byronz. Take in a panoramic view of the Mississippi River with a glass of sake and specialty sushi roll at Tsunami.
Dessert: Enjoy a “Tiger Bite” of ice cream at the LSU AgCenter Dairy Store or a sweet slice of s’mores pie from Elsie’s Plate and Pie.
Late Night: Biscuits or burgers — chow down at the iconic, 24-hour Louie’s Cafe.
Photos courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge and Jordan Hefler for Gov’t Taco.