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Fun Things to Do in Lafayette Louisiana

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I didn’t know much about Lafayette when I received my Mardi Gras itinerary. I was told to expect a family-friendly Mardi-Gras in a smaller setting. Before the Mardi-Gras celebrations began, I quickly started to get a feel for this city, the toe-tapping music, the sense of community and I could see why it has been named the Happiest City in America. Happy to share a list of fun things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Dream it.

What makes it the happiest city in America? Lafayette Louisiana will welcome you in, share its cultural history, treat you to some local Cajun cuisine and have you dancing to the beat of Zydeco music.

Musicians perform at Feed and Seed Lafayette LA

This Lafayette spirit is everywhere, and not just during Mardi Gras season. It’s in the local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. A spirit and a beat that lives in the hearts of its residents. The best part is that they are super happy to share it with all that come to visit.

United flight to Lafayette

Plan it.

Getting to Lafayette Louisiana

Flying into Lafayette Regional Airport LFT

From Canada, you’ll find that by air, you will be travelling to Lafayette’s airport with connections from either Dallas, Houston or Atlanta. Leave room for connections as you’ll have to make some terminal switches at the airport.

Check Flights to LFT: TripAdvisor | Expedia | CheapOair

Getting Around Lafayette LA

You will need a car to get around the city and the attractions in the area. Note that during Mardi Gras, transportation is limited on Parade days, so you will need to get into the city and parked well before the parades start.

Check Rental Car Rates: TripAdvisor | CheapOair: Take up to $10 off with Promo Code CAR10 Book Now!

Where to Stay in Lafayette

Most hotels are scattered around the Lafayette area and include popular hotel chains like Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott etc. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (Scott-Lafayette West) located a short drive from the downtown area.

If you are looking to stay in the downtown area and want a more boutique-style hotel, you’ll appreciate the Hotel Juliet, which was steps from local shops and had a more intimate and luxury experience.

suite living space in Hotel Juliet Lafayette LAHoliday Inn Express & Suites Scott-Lafayette West Louisiana
 Hotel JulietHoliday Inn Express
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What you need to know about Mardi Gras in Lafayette Louisiana

What You Need to Know About Mardi Gras in Lafayette Louisiana

Lafayette is a great place to be during Mardi Gras. They offer a family-friendly approach to the festival and plenty of celebrations, parades and community activities you can take part in. For a detailed look and some great tips for travelling to Lafayette during Mardi Gras, see my post: What You Need to Know About Mardi Gras in Lafayette Louisiana.

Live it.

Fun Things to do in Lafayette Louisiana

Historic Downtown Breaux Bridge

I begin here in Breaux Bridge because it is the location of a must-do experience when visiting Lafayette. A Zydeco inspired breakfast at Buck & Johnny’s. This neighbourhood, however, is charming and filled with local shops, antique stores and cafes and restaurants.

Huge crowd lines up outside Buck and Johnny's Lafayette Louisiana

Buck & Johnny’s Zydeco Breakfast

I can’t possibly write a list of fun things to do in Lafayette without mentioning Buck & Johnny’s. The Saturday morning, Buck & Johnny’s breakfast tradition is something you will want to be part of. You will need to plan for this as you will see the line will run down the block.

Buck and Johnnys Zydeco Breakfast Lafayette Louisiana

This restaurant isn’t about the food. It is about entertainment. Many of the people in that line were there to dance and enjoy Chubby Carrier, and his band entertain the crowd. Enjoy breakfast at the restaurant or just enjoy dancing and music on the main floor.

People dance at Zydeco Breakfast, Buck and Johnnys Lafayette LA

Breaux Bridge Village

After breakfast, take a walk through Breaux Bridge Village and the many antique, gift and souvenir shops. There were a few highlights in my visits through the many shops in this historic village shared below.

Historic Breaux Bridge Louisiana

Artique is Unique

If you are a lover of stores that feature local artisans, then you have to stop into Artique is Unique. Be prepared for a greeting by Buster Douglas. This famous Breaux Bridge dog runs security at the store.

Buster Douglas in Artique is Unique Breaux Bridge Louisiana

Inside you’ll spend time browsing the many handmade and vintage products collected from Louisiana artisans and small business.

Cafe inside Historic Breaux Bridge Louisiana

Joie de Vivre Coffee and Culture Café

As we had just dined on breakfast at Buck and Johnny’s, I did not get a chance to explore the menu at the Joie de Vivre Café. If you are a lover of coffee, this is the place you have to stop. Often they invite local artists to perform or display their art. I also have discovered that they are expanding to include soulful southern food as they expand to a restaurant Tante Marie.

Alligator peaks up during swamp tour in Lafayette Louisiana

Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Tour

Get on an airboat for a 90-minute tour of the Atchafalaya Basin. The airboats will whisk you through the bayou where you can explore the vast swamp. Be on the lookout for the many birds flying overhead or hiding in their nests.

Bird takes off during Swamp tour in Lafayette Louisiana

Of course, if the weather is right, you may find the floating logs start to move. Yes, we spotted many alligators on our tour and were visited by Marie, a French-speaking alligator looking for a snack.

Canoe in basin

Avery Island and the Tabasco Museum and Factory

I had no idea that the home of TABASCO® Sauce was just outside Lafayette on Avery Island. This location continues to produce the famous sauce and offers several tours and experiences for travellers.

Signs on self guided TABASCO museum tour

TABASCO® Pepper Sauce Factory Tour

We took a self-guided walk through the TABASCO museum by following the easily marked stops on the Factory Tour. The first stop was the museum, which featured the history of the founding family and how the sauce was discovered and manufactured.

We walked along walkways with numbered stops passing through historical warehouses and into the modern factory where you can watch the sauce’s preparations, bottling and shipping.

Other tours you can take at the TABASCO factory include food tours and cooking classes.

TABASCO Country Store

TABASCO® Country Store

At the end of the tour, make your way to the country store, which is filled with everything TABASCO. From souvenirs, kitchen tools and clothing to the many different food products produced from the sauce. Keep an eye out for spicy Tabasco infused chocolate, which I wish I had purchased more off.

Tabasco Museum on Avery Island outside Lafayette LA

Also coming from Canada, where we have one type of TABASCO® sauce on our store shelves, I was excited to learn they had many different flavours of TABASCO®, which you can taste and purchase.

Tabasco tastings at Factory in Lafayette Louisiana

TABASCO® Restaurant 1868

If you need to grab a bite to eat, be sure to jump into the Cafeteria-style TABASCO Restaurant 1868. I was pleasantly surprised when they were able to create a unique salad with grilled chicken for me.

Historic houses in Vermillionville Lafayette Louisiana

Vermillionville History Museum

Take a look back in time in this historical village museum. As you walk through the village, you can walk into seven restored ancient houses and meet with the settlers who lived in them.

Vermilionville Historic Village Lafayette Louisiana

The museum’s actors, dressed in traditional attire, sit inside the home and talk about their lives in the 1800s. They told incredible stories and facts about what life would have been like in this historical village.

stores line streets of Downtown Lafayette

Downtown Lafayette

Downtown Lafayette, is filled with little shops, cafes and restaurants to explore. There was plenty of eating done in the restaurants within the downtown neighbourhood which I outline further below.

Party the Night Away at Feed & Seed Bar

My first Zydeco music experience was a late-night inside the barn known as Feed & Seed. Inside the rustic wood barn, was decorated with drop lights and reminded me of the final dance in Footloose. The entire crowd was found on the dancefloor dancing in pairs to the Zydeco beats.

Dwyers Cafe Lafayette Louisiana

Where to Eat in Lafayette Louisiana

Breakfast at Dwyers Café

Dwyers is a family-run diner that opened as Pop Stinsons in 1965. The café has evolved, but its spirit has solidified it as a staple restaurant in downtown Lafayette. You’ll get a typical diner breakfast, but if you dig a little deeper or visit the restaurant on a food tour, you’ll discover its longevity is in its southern menu and a steamed table full of delicious options.

Brunch at Social Southern Table & Bar Lafayette Louisiana

Brunch at Social Southern Table

If your travel schedule allows, I recommend Sunday Brunch at the Social Southern Table. This more upscale eatery and bar will not disappoint whatever meal you do choose to eat here.

Brunch at Social Southern Table & Bar Lafayette Louisiana

The food was delicious, no doubt as they serve fresh local ingredients, and I can tell from the descriptions of the plates we were being served, the chefs love what they do.

Brunch at Social Southern Table & Bar Lafayette Louisiana

For me, it was the vibe at Social and how they promote good spirits, positive energy, and bringing more good in the world. Talking with their hostess, I learned about the many community programs, organizations they donate to, and how they encourage the community to come back and “bee social.”

Pops Poboys Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

Quick Bite at Pop’s Po Boys

While I’m always trying to be as healthy as possible on my trips, I did make an exception or two (or three) in Lafayette. A visit to Pop’s Po Boys was encouraged by multiple people, so when in Downtown Lafayette, plan for a stop.

Pops Poboys Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

This is a modern fast-food restaurant. You’ll find everything here from delicious Po Boy sandwiches to salads and some comfort food like mac and cheese.

Seafood dish at Pampalona's in Lafayette Louisiana

Pamplona Tapas Bar & Restaurant

For an upscale dinner treat, be sure to head to Pamplona Tapas Bar & Restaurant. I suggest you head here hungry. If you are a lover of craft cocktails, great wines and a menu filled with delicious tapas greats, this is the place for you.

Pamplona Tapas Bar Lafayette Louisiana

Pamplona’s menu is inspired by rustic Spanish cuisine with lots of small plates which include fried shrimp, calamari, charcuterie and cheese boards and plenty of traditional tapas treats. If you are a lover of Paella, order this immediately and make sure to leave room to enjoy it as it is a bigger sharing portion.

Agave Mexican Grill Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

Agave Mexican Grill

This family-friendly restaurant was a stop for a late-night dinner after a mardi gras parade. The dinner menu is packed with traditional Mexican favourites like fish tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas.

Agave Mexican Grill Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

For the picky eaters in your family they also serve up burgers and steaks, there is something for everyone at this restaurant.

Blue Dog Cafe Restaurant Lafayette Louisiana

Blue Dog Café

I had no idea the home of the famous blue dog paintings was in Louisiana. The restaurant is owned by George Rodrigue’s sons and inside you’ll find many of the paintings that made their father famous.

The bar and restaurant serve up delicious eats with some Louisiana favourites like gumbo, Poboys and boudin balls. In addition to these popular dishes, you’ll find burgers, steaks, fish and seafood to tempt your appetite.

Randols Seafood Restaurant Lafayette Louisiana

Randol’s Seafood

When in Louisiana one must indulge in Crawfish and Randol’s did not disappoint. A Lafayette favourite restaurant and bar, there is lots of live music, dancing and delicious cajun cuisine to be tasted here.

Crawfish by the pound at Randols Seafood Restaurant Lafayette Louisiana

If you want to take a nose dive into Cajun cuisine you’ll have plenty to choose from here from alligator, seafood gumbo, crawfish, shrimp and crab inspired dishes.

Travel assistance provided by Lafayette Travel during a media FAM trip.

What makes it the happiest city in America? We have a list of fun things to do in Lafayette Louisiana from its cultural history, local Cajun cuisine and the beat of Zydeco music. #lafayette #louisiana #travel #zydeco #guide

Sharon Mendelaouihttps://www.dailydream360.com
Sharon Mendelaoui is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer, passionate photographer and creative designer. She is the founder and publisher of dreamtravel360.com, a Canadian travel and lifestyle website featuring our favourite travel destinations, fashion and beauty tips and a selection of lifestyle articles, reviews and posts on everything you may need to live a balanced Daily Dream 360° life.

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