UPDATED February 5, 2024 — In this guide to the best things to do in Lafayette LA, I’m sharing everything you need to know about visiting this vibrant and culturally rich city in the heart of Cajun Country.
Known for its lively music scene, delicious cuisine and diverse festivals, Lafayette offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
During my recent 7-day trip to Lafayette, I ventured into the bayous and countrysides, out-of-the-way mom-and-pop restaurants, and fun dance spots. I found plenty of things for adults to do in Lafayette LA that I think you’ll love!
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Lafayette offers you one-of-a-kind experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, explore the outdoors or simply relax and unwind, Lafayette has something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best things to do in Lafayette, from sampling the city’s signature dishes to dancing the night away at a Cajun music festival, we’re covering it all today. Let’s get into it!
1.) Dance the Cajun Two-Step at a Living Folk Museum
Have you ever danced in a museum? On Sundays, you can dance the Cajun two-step, waltz or otherwise move to live music at Vermilionville, Lafayette’s living history museum. Join locals and visitors alike at the fascinating folk history village for the Sunday Dance (Bal du Dimanche.)
The living history village is open from Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am-4 pm but closed on major holidays, including Mardi Gras.
If you can’t make it Sunday to the Cajun, Zydego or other local music concerts, check out the Cajun Jam on Saturdays. Or wander through the historic homes, gardens and buildings that dot the 23-acre village on a self-paced tour.
Vermilionville, an American Alliance of Museums Accredited Museum, is located on the Vermilion Bayou in Lafayette, Louisiana.
2.) Eating Crawfish Is One of the Fun Things To Do in Lafayette LA
Put some South in your mouth, y’all! Eating crawfish might be messy, but it’s fun and one of the MUST-DO things to do in Lafayette LA. Ask your server or that friendly local sitting at the table next to you for some tips on wiggling the body to loosen the flesh from the shell.
The local delicacy is served up at crawfish restaurants in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Country. The crustaceans are such a part of the local cuisine that there are over 70 restaurants on the Crawfish Passport, a practical tool to help guide you to the best spots.
3.) Paddle A Self-guided Kayak or Canoe Swamp Tour
Launch a kayak or canoe into the waters of Bayou Vermillion to explore the swamps and eco-system of Cajun Country. You don’t have to go far, kayak and canoe launch sites are right in town, making these self-propelled water excursions some of the best things to do in Lafayette LA.
The Bayou Vermillion Paddle Trail that goes right through Vermilionville living history village (see #1 above) offers a one-way 9.6-mile or 6.6-mile roundtrip route. So kayaking is one of the most convenient things to do in Lafayette LA.
Alligator sightings are some of the quirky things to do in Lafayette LA
Experience the majestic and natural stretches of this unique waterway with its Spanish Moss-draped cedars and wildlife (including alligators!) that live in the bayou.
4.) Connect With Others Through Live Music
Connecting with others through live music is one of the best things to do in Lafayette LA. Listening to live music, whether you’re with your friends and family or with strangers or the friendly Louisiana locals, is one way to bridge gaps and make connections.
Not only does the powerful effect of Lafayette’s distinctive mix of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music break down social barriers, but it also helps you understand the culture.
Music is an important part of culture wherever you are, but in Lafayette, there are abundant opportunities to experience the local vibe. So many musicians and performers live in the region that it is said that you can dance or listen to live music every night of the week.
Here’s some of our favorites:
Lafayette is also known for its packed calendar of music festivals, including:
- Festival International de Louisiane
- Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival
- Festivals Acadiens et Créoles
5.) Rock'n'Bowl® Dance Hall, Food and Bowling: Fun Things To Do in Lafayette for All Ages
One of the fun things to do in Lafayette for the whole family is an excursion to Rock ‘n’ Bowl. It’s convenient location right downtown is easy to find, and inside you’ll discover something for each member of the family. Live music to entertain you, food to keep you satisfied and bowling with balls that look like overgrown billiardballs.
Strike! Spare! Gutter! All is fair in love and bowling, so get out on the dance floor or bowl to your heart’s content. It’s all up to you at Rock ‘n’Bowl de Lafayette.
6.) Sip Lafayette's Official Cocktail, the Rouler!
At restaurants and bars around town, you can sip Lafayette’s official cocktail, the Rouler. Made from small-batch French-style rum distilled right here in Lafayette, the cocktail’s recipe for a clean, simple base is customized by each establishment.
The Rouler starts with a balance of sweet and sour, simple syrup, bitters and club soda served over ice. The core is Sweet Crude Rum by the local Wildcat Brothers Distilling. Indeed, the rum is distilled with locally-sourced sugarcane; the light natural sweetness made it a winner at the Washington Cup Spirits Competition.
I met the Wildcat Brothers and tasted my first Rouler at the Queen Evangeline Mardi Gras Parade in Lafayette. “It’s easily mixed in large batches or by the glass,” explained David Meaux, inventor of the drink and distillery founder, pouring my cocktail from a massive thermos. People in Lafayette like to tote their camp chairs, thermoses and coolers of drinks and Cajun food to their favorite parade viewing spots.
The Rouler gets its name from the mantra of southern Louisiana: Laissez les bons temps rouler! or Let the good times roll! So sipping The Rouler is one of the best things for adults to do in Lafayette LA!
The rum pleased me so much that I looked for it at my Flagstaff, Arizona, spirits shop, and sure enough, Majestic Marketplace carries the small-batch Louisiana rum!
7.) Savor the Unique Tastes and Textures of Boudin, a Locals’ Favorite
Every community has its own boudin recipe (or two), so it makes sense that if you want to dive into the Acadian culture, you should get out and drive to the various places around that are famous for the Cajun sausage. It’s one of the best things for adults to do in Lafayette LA!
So then, the Cajun Boudin Trail was born. Savor the distinctive tastes and textures created by vendors across the region. The recipe is simple: pork, rice, onions, peppers and spices stuffed into an edible casing. However, some come plumped with coarse-ground meat, while others have a more decadent pâté-type filling. I found that I liked boudin with a higher rice ratio. So, what will you find along the Cajun Boudin Trail?
With over 40 local meat markets, grocery stores and gas stations that serve the luscious links, tasting this local food is a great way to explore the region. Eating boudin like a local is one of the best things to do in Lafayette LA.
If you’d rather have someone drive you around, Lafayette food tours are fun ways to experience local eats. I’m sure at least one of your stops would include boudin! Ask to be sure!
Conclusion: Unique and Fun Things To Do in Lafayette LA
There are so many fun and unique things to do in Lafayette LA. With the opportunities for live music, local food and unique activities, it’s almost like visiting a foreign country, but you don’t need a passport!
Did you like our roundup of 7 Unique Best and Fun Things To Do in Lafayette LA? If so, please share it with your friends on social media.
Would you like to learn about more fun things to do in Lafayette LA? Then check out Lafayette Travel for more ideas.
Hi, I’m Stacey
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel is a travel blog focused on immersive travel that highlights food, wine and the spirituality of place. I also occasionally write about life as a Camino de Santiago pilgrim. I hope you enjoy what I post here. Feel free to leave comments! Read more…
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