things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana – With Kids, Friends and Family | near Breaux Bridge and Lafayette Louisiana | Shutterstock

Located in Cajun Country (the French Louisiana region, which contains much of the state’s Francophone population) in Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette is the heart of the historic Cajun Country and the fourth-largest city in the state. 

Known for its history, Lafayette is a mixture of Spanish, French, and Caribbean cultures, offering endless opportunities for fun and adventure with attractions and activities to suit all ages and tastes. 

To help you plan your Lafayette vacation, here are fun 20 things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana with With Kids, Friends and Family.

Whether you’re into art, history, or food, you will find your delight in this Southern Louisiana city.

20 fun things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana

1. LARC’s Acadian Village

Christmas at Acadian Village | acadianvillage.org

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: 200 Greenleaf Dr, Lafayette.

  • Historic village.
  • Cajun artifacts and history.

Established in the 1970s, the Acadian Village is a 32-acre park dedicated to protecting Acadian history, culture, and heritage and is one of the best things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana.  

  • Why you should go:

Go back in time, and learn about the early Bayou settlers by touring around the Acadian Village.

An open-air museum, this recreated village houses 19th-century Cajun village with Acadian houses, a blacksmith, and an art museum.

There are 11 buildings to explore, seven of which are authentic homes from the 19th century.

The buildings around the village demonstrate the authentic construction techniques of the period with high peaked roofs, cypress wood, wooden pegs, and mud walls. 

  • Things to do:

Wander around the open-air museum, and admire its authentic historic buildings and homes.

Village tours are available, and the grounds can be rented for events and weddings.

The village is open from January to the end of October, Monday through Saturday.

2. Acadian Cultural Center

Took Chewie on an adventure today. | By Christopher Holmes @ Facebook

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 501 Fisher Rd, Lafayette.

The entry fees: Free admission.

  • Learn about Acadian culture and heritage.
  • Informative tours.

During your visit to Lafayette, you can learn about the Cajun culture and history at the Acadian Cultural Center.

The center is dedicated to educating the public about the culture of the Cajun people.

The center focuses on the Acadians or Cajuns’ settlement from Canada to Lafayette and elsewhere in Louisiana.

  • Why you should go:

Managed by the National Park Service, the Acadian Cultural Center is one of the best free things to do in Lafayette, especially for history buffs.

The center offers exhibits displaying artifacts from various periods, films, and ranger programs, including guided boat tours on a ship called Cocodrie, as well as special events like music, dance, and storytelling.

  • Things to do:

Wander around the center, absorb the Acadian culture, explore its exhibits and films, and check out their ranger programs. Additionally, check out the center’s calendar before you visit. You may be able to participate in one of their special events, such as storytelling sessions and summer camps.

3. The Acadiana Center for the Arts

Acadiana Center for the Arts | Facebook

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 101 W Vermilion St, Lafayette.

The entry fees: Ticket prices vary depending on the shows.

  • Excellent venue for theater, live music, dance, and more.

The Acadiana Center for the Arts is a performance venue and a gallery; the center features theater, films and music, and visual performances in its Theater.

The museum offers many engaging exhibits in its galleries, arts, and cultural classes and workshops.

  • Why you should go:

The Acadiana Center for the Arts is a pure glee for culture lovers and art enthusiasts.

Inside the museum, you will find various engaging displays plus educational workshops and classes. There’s also a theater featuring films and visual performances.

The center has a packed schedule of music performances, films, and theatrical productions throughout the year, so make sure to check it out before you visit. 

  • Things to do:

Shows and live performances are not the only things to enjoy when you visit The Acadiana Center for the Arts, as it also has educational programs, cultural classes, and exhibitions in galleries.

Some of the center’s programs include Student Arts Expo, Arts Grants for Teachers, Touring Arts Performances, Teaching Artists Program, and more. 

4. The Hilliard Art Museum

Have you seen the Hilliard’s latest exhibit? Twenty Years of Marais Press is a retrospective of the creative output of visiting artists’ printmaking collaborations within the Marais Press. | Facebook

Rating: 4.6 ★ 

Address: the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The entry fees: $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4.50 for students (5-17), and free for children under 5.

  • Contemporary art exhibits in the heart of Lafayette.

Established in 1964, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is the art museum for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and one of the best things to do in Lafayette.

The museum is a 33,000 square foot building that features more than 11,000 square feet of exhibition space.

  • Why you should go:

When you visit the Hilliard Museum, you will explore captivating exhibits displaying the works of visual artists like Lin Emery and Gisela Colon. 

The museum’s collection showcases more than 4,000 objects from the 18th to 21st century, including artwork from America, Europe, and Asia.

Other smaller collections include ancient Egyptian art, Japanese woodblock prints, folk art, and works by local Louisiana artists.

  • Things to do:

The Hilliard Art Museum is not just a museum where you will see exquisite pieces and artwork.

This museum lets you express your creativity and unleash your inner artist through their hands-on activities and cultural programs.

5. Children’s Museum of Acadiana

Tuesday, Nov 23 and Wednesday, Nov 24 receive FREE CHILD admission with each pledge to bring in five (5) or more suggested Second Harvest Food Bank – Feeding South Louisiana donation items. | Facebook

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: 201 E Congress St, Lafayette.

The entry fees: free for infants (12 months and under), $7.00 for adults and children (ages 1+)

  • Interactive exhibits designed to teach children crafts and practical knowledge.

If you are visiting Lafayette as a family, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana is one of the best things to do in Lafayette with kids. 

Founded in 1990, the Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum with interactive exhibits designed to teach children practical knowledge on different subjects such as health, food, money, and other essential topics.

  • Why you should go:

The museum offers several programs like workshops, classes, and school field trips.

Featuring many interactive exhibits, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana educates children through interaction and play; they can learn a lot about mathematics, health, food, and money.

  • Things to do:

Let the kids wander around and explore the museum’s fantastic exhibits and playground. You can also sign them up for one of the museum’s programs, such as workshops and special classes.

6. Lafayette Science Museum

Natural born Killers at Lafayette Science Museum | Facebook

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: 433 Jefferson St, Lafayette.

The entry fees: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for children (4-17), and free for children under 3.

  • Family fun.
  • Great museum for all ages.

The Lafayette Science Museum houses permanent and rotating exhibits as well as an all-digital planetarium.

The museum showcases various science subjects like paleontology, geology, marine biology, and much more.

  • Why you should go:

Founded in 1969, Lafayette Science Museum is one of the most educational and entertaining things to do in Lafayette.

This museum teaches visitors about different topics like geology, history, and marine biology through a range of interactive exhibits.

The museum offers hands-on experiences to everyone curious, children or adults.

However, the planetarium is the main highlight for many visitors.

  • Things to do:

Set right in the heart of Downtown Lafayette, this museum is an active gateway to a world of science and discovery.

Take part in the museum’s planetarium programs, such as the Modern Universe and Flight Adventures.

You can also check out the museum’s hands-on displays, which are suited for kids and adults alike.

7. Avery Island

Aged Live Oaks of Avery Island Louisiana | By Bonnie Taylor Barry | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: Salt dome in Louisiana, about 20 miles south of Lafayette.

  • Well worth the visit.

Avery Island is home to the famous McIlhenny Tabasco Company. The island is located in the heart of the Louisiana Bayou Country. 

  • Why you should go:

Avery Island isn’t an island; it’s a salt dome that extends 8 miles beneath the Earth’s surface. 

There is also a nature preserve on the island, and you will see beautiful flowers, deer, egrets, alligators, and many other creatures. 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.

  • Things to do:

There are several popular sights on Avery Island, including the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory Tour, Bird City, Jungle Gardens, and  Restaurant 1868, featuring local Cajun dishes.

The buildings around the island are numbered and well-marked, so you will be able to know where to go next, and the intoxicating aroma of peppers being processed is everywhere. 

8. Jungle Gardens

By junglegardens.blog | Plants of Jungle Gardens, Avery Island, Louisiana.

Rating: 4.8 ★ 

Address: Louisiana 329 &, Main Rd, Avery Island.

The entry fees for Jungle Gardens and TABASCO® Factory Tour: $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for children (4 and under are free).

  • Beautiful and tranquil hike and drive.

Jungle Gardens is a superb tropical conservatory with remarkable botanical attractions that will leave you in awe.

Depending on the season, you can catch a glimpse of alligators, deer, and thousands of snowy egrets.

Eager bird watchers will not be disappointed as the garden is home to multiple species like herons, songbirds, and coots!

  • Why you should go:

Nature lovers will fall in love with the endless landscape dusted with azaleas and camellias.

It’s a nature lover’s dream that’s open to tourists every day of the year with a wide range of the most beautiful attractions in Lafayette.

  • Things to do:

Take in the picturesque beauty of the magnificent 300-year-old oak trees dripping in Spanish moss, and don’t leave the gardens before checking out the 900-year-old outstanding Buddha settled on a lotus flower in its lush garden. 

9. TABASCO® Factory Tours and Museum

Avery Island, LA, USA – The publicly open Tabasco Museum | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: 32 Wisteria Rd, Avery Island.

The entry fees for Jungle Gardens and TABASCO® Factory Tour: $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for children (4 and under are free).

  • A hidden gem in Avery Island.

Located on Avery Island, the iconic Tabasco factory is a must-visit while you’re in Lafayette.

  • Why you should go:

There’s a museum in the factory where you can learn about the history of the McIlhenny family, who invented the hot sauce in 1868.

You are probably wondering, does hot sauce have that much of a story to tell? And yes, the Tabasco museum is surprisingly engaging, and you will thoroughly enjoy your visit.

  • Things to do:

Tabasco hot sauce lovers can explore the entire process of turning pepper plants into Tabasco.

Make sure to peek into the blending room to see how they mix up their iconic recipe.

You can see the sauce being made and get samples to taste the different varieties of Tabasco in the tasting room. Tours go through the Tabasco museum and factory.

They have a souvenir shop and restaurant on the premises.

Try the Tabasco ice cream and the Tabasco-infused Bloody Mary.

10. Downtown Lafayette

Lafayette, Indiana, USA – August 18th 2021: Scenic Lafayette Downtown vista, Indiana | Lafayette, IN, USA | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Lafayette, then head Downtown!

  • Why you should go:

Downtown Lafayette has a lot to offer; it is the ideal location for a bit of shopping therapy, as there are lots of boutique shops and retail chains.

You will also find various of the city’s top restaurants, so it is the ideal place to sample some local cuisine. 

Downtown is the perfect place to appreciate the different architectural styles used in Lafayette over different periods.

The sidewalks are lined with vendors offering delicious street food like Cajun tacos and Creole fare, and bars are usually overflowing with people enjoying themselves while listening to local musicians.

  • Things to do:

Downtown Lafayette is walkable and engaging with historic shops and great photo opportunities like the massive letters that spell out Lafayette in Sans Souci Park.

Check out local shops that have been there forever, like Poupart Bakery, the oldest authentically French bakery in the city, and the last Borden’s Ice Cream Shop in the country for a banana split or malted shake.

You can also catch Lafayette Farmers Market on Saturdays at Moncus Park.

11. Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.8 ★ 

Address: 515 Cathedral St, Lafayette.

  • Beautiful Cathedral in Downtown Lafayette.

Known initially as l’Église St-Jean du Vermilion, this beautiful cathedral is one of the top things to do in Lafayette.

This Romanesque Revival church’s red and white brick building stands above the cityscape, so you can’t miss it while walking around Downtown Lafayette.

  • Why you should go:

Searching for fascinating indoor and outdoor architecture in Lafayette? Do yourself a favor, and put this cathedral at the top of your list of things to do in Lafayette.

Not only is it full of history, but it’s also filled with exquisite oil paintings of Christ and the Apostles, stained glass windows from Munich, and a grand Casavant Frères organ.

  • Things to do:

The cathedral is beautifully maintained.

Enjoy your guided tour of the church, and explore its interesting history.

Afterward, stop by its gift shop and on-site museum.

12. Rock ‘n’ Bowl

What a week ahead! A Thanksgiving Eve doubleheader with Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie and Ray Boudreaux! | Facebook

Rating: 4.6 ★ 

Address: 905 Jefferson St, Lafayette.

  • Bowling and music venue.

Suppose you’re looking for an off-the-wall thing to do in Lafayette, head down to Rock ‘n’ Bowl.

Located in Downtown Lafayette, Rock ‘n’ Bowl is a vibrant mix of a bowling alley, music venue, and a restaurant.

It feels like a movie, and the fact that everyone dances in Lafayette will make you fall in love with the place.

  • Why you should go:

Rock ‘n’ Bowl mixes in an extra element of fun to your everyday bowling experience.

While some of the guests aim for a strike, others take over the lively dance floor.

There’s also a restaurant where you can satisfy your taste buds with mouthwatering goodies.

  • Things to do:

Catch live music acts; if you’re not in the mood for partying and dancing, you can enjoy bowling with your friends and family.

And, while there, don’t forget to sample some of their restaurant’s most flavorsome dishes.

13. Cajundome and Convention Center

Cajundome and Convention Center | Facebook

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 444 Cajundome Blvd, Lafayette.

Open since 1982; the Convention Center is a multi-purpose area home to the basketball programs of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

  • Why you should go:

There’s more to this facility than its exhilarating basketball games.

For years, this center has lured spectators with its concerts, family shows, trade shows, concerts, sporting events, conventions, and Mardi Gras balls.

  • Things to do:

Buy your ticket and catch a live basketball game at this stadium.

Additionally, the facility also hosts concerts, WWE events, and the annual Cajun Heartland State Fair.

14. Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Park

Honoring our veterans @Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site. | Facebook

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Address: 1200 N Main St, St Martinville. 18 miles southeast of Lafayette.

The entry fees: $4 per person and free for seniors and children (3 and under)

  • Impressive grounds with lots of history.

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Park is the oldest state park in Louisiana and a designated National Historic Landmark.

  • Why you should go:

For some inexpensive things to do in Lafayette, head to Longfellow-Evangeline state park.

The park woos visitors with its 18th-century Acadian cabins and working farms.

Not to mention, it also features an authentic, one-of-a-kind 1815 Creole plantation and an informative museum.

Henry Longsworth’s poem, “Evangeline,” talks about the tale of two Acadian lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel.

The tree where they first met and the graves of Evangeline and Gabriel are located on the site.

  • Things to do:

Enjoy a picnic at any of the shaded areas of the park.

Afterward, tour the park’s historic sites, including the Maison Olivier mansion.

You can learn about the region’s different cultures throughout your visit, including Cajuns, Native Americans, and Creoles.

15. Vermilionville Historic Village

Vermilionville Historic Village | Wikipedia

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 300 Fisher Rd, Lafayette.

The entry fees: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for students, and free for children (5 and under)

  • Historic village.
  • Local Cajun food and lots of history.

Sitting on 23 acres, Vermilionville is a living history museum and park focusing on educating the public about the Cajun and Creole culture between 1765 and 1890.

The park features 19 attractions, 13 artisans showcasing crafts from early settlers, and seven restored homes. 

  • Why you should go:

If you’re on the hunt for unique things to do in Lafayette, look no further than Vermilionville Historic Village.

With its beautiful attractions, restored homes, and costumed artisans, Vermilionville living history museum highlights Louisiana’s various cultures.

  • Things to do:

Wander around the park, and get a glimpse of the 18th-century lifestyle in South Central Louisiana. 

While walking around the park’s restored buildings, you will listen to live Cajun music. Afterward, stop by the on-site restaurant where you can get lost in Creole and Cajun food

If you visit Vermilionville Historic Village on a Sunday, you might be able to catch live Zydeco music in one of the buildings.

16. Rip Van Winkle Gardens

flickr.com

Rating: 4.6 ★ 

Address: 5505 Rip Van Winkle Rd, New Iberia.

The entry fees: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children (6-17)

  • Historical Beauty!

A great way to spend your afternoon is to drive 30 minutes south of Lafayette to Jefferson Island. 

Built in 1870 in the Southern Plantation style, the Joseph Jefferson Mansion is the Rip Van Winkle House and Garden centerpiece.

350-year-old oak trees and cypress surround the lush exotic plants of the 15-acre garden. 

  • Why you should go:

The beautifully maintained Garden includes statues, fountains, and peacocks.

One of the most beautiful surprises you will have is seeing the carved Balinese works of art around the garden, meaning to raise awareness that there are other points of perspective in the world. 

  • Things to do:

After purchasing your ticket, you will leave the gift shop into a breathtaking courtyard.

From that point forward, you will find exquisite attention to detail throughout the garden.

Near the garden’s entrance, there is a 12-minute film that runs continuously as a background full of history.

Rip Van Winkle Gardens is relaxing and serene, and the immaculately kept gardens are gorgeous, with peacocks and other beautiful birds roaming around the property.

17. Cypress Island Preserve

Lake Martin/Cypress Island Preserve, Louisiana | By Bryan Russo | Facebook

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 1264 Prairie Hwy, St Martinville.

  • Kayaking in a Dreamland.

One of the best things to do in Lafayette, located along with Lake Martin, Cypress Island, is a 9,500 acres preserve of hardwood forest land and protected cypress swamp. 

  • Why you should go:

At Cypress Island, you can find a picnic pavilion along with the start of the vee Trail that leads you through the preserve and around the lake. 

Beginning January, thousands of Little Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Cattle Egrets, and Snowy Egrets make their nests in the rookery. 

  • Things to do:

Plan a day trip to Cypress Island and explore this beautiful area’s remarkable natural and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.

18. Lake Martin

Lafayette, Louisiana, USA – Cajun Swamp & Lake Martin, near Breaux Bridge and Lafayette Louisiana | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★ 

Location: Rookery Road, Lafayette.

  • Peaceful views.

This wildlife preserve is home to a variety of animals, including alligators and egrets.

  • Why you should go:

A visit to this swampland is one of the top things to do in Lafayette with kids.

With countless charming creatures, this reserve is perfect for animal-loving of all ages.

Lake Martin is a refreshing and pleasant escape from modern life.

  • Things to do:

Unlike other more bottomless swamps, Lake Martin can be easily accessed by car, and a lot of its surrounding areas can be explored on foot or in a canoe or kayak.

There are also guided tours that provide insight into the area’s wildlife and nature.

19. Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours

Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Boat Tours offers swamp tours of Lake Martin and its wildlife | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7 ★ 

Address: 1151 Rookery Rd, Breaux Bridge.

The entry fees:Adults: $25 for adults, and $15 for children (12 and under)

  • Best swamp tour in South Louisiana.

Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours offers ecotours adventure in the heart of the swamp and bayou regions of Louisiana. 

The best way to explore the blue waters of Lake Martin and Cypress Island is with this Swamp tour! Try Cajun Country Swamp Tours for eco-friendly tours with knowledgeable tour guides.

This tour is one of the best things to do in Lafayette.

  • Why you should go:

No matter where you are in Lafayette during your visit, you are never far away from the Bayou. Taking a boat tour through this unique ecosystem is an excellent way to learn about the bayou and a fun way to spend your day. 

Champagne’s Cajun Tours also offers sunset tours, paddling excursions, birding and wildlife tours, and photography trips.

Swamp tours weave through magnificent cypress trees growing out of the Bayou.

You will be able to observe wildlife in its natural habitat and even spot alligators, herons, and turtles.

  • Things to do:

The guided Swamp tours take you through the Lake Martin and Cypress Island Preserve.

This natural swampland is stunningly delightful and will leave you in awe with its magnificent cypress trees growing out of the Bayou, Spanish moss, reptiles like alligators, snakes, and frogs, and birds such as owls, herons, and woodpeckers. 

20. Cajun Food Tours

Cajun Food Tours Lafayette, Louisiana | cajunfoodtours.com

Rating: 4.9 ★ 

Location: 455 Feu Follet Rd #81082, Lafayette.

  • Authentic Cajun Food and history.

Cajun Food Tours is a tour company that offers Cajun food tours along with explanations of Cajun history and culture.

Tour groups are taken on a customized tour bus that stops at different locations for tastings of authentic Cajun dishes such as cracklins, boudin, king cake, etouffee, gumbo, and fried seafood.

Tour stops include Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, La Cuisine de Maman, the Cajun Market Donut, and more.

  • Why you should go:

Whether you are a foodie or not, there’s no better way to sample the culinary treasures of Lafayette, which was voted as the Tastiest Town in the South, than to enjoy this food tour. 

Cajun Food Tours will take you to some of the finest dining spots of Lafayette, from upscale restaurants to local secrets. 

  • Things to do:

Experience their customized tour to savor a variety of Cajun originals; through its cozy and popular bus, this one-of-a-kind food tour will take you to the best places to eat in Lafayette.

 

Written by OBP

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