Revelers at the annual Festivals Acadiens et Creoles
A beautiful day for a canoe ride
Shucking Gulf oysters
Treetop view of Downtown Lafayette
The Hilliard Art Museum at the University of Louisiana
The spread at a crawfish boil ready for the feast
Throwing beads to the crowd at the Mardi Gras parade
An airboat ride through the Atchafalaya Basin
The historic Roman Catholic St. John’s Cathedral
An accordion player overlooking the crowd at the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles
Come for the food, stay for the local flavor
All Things Cajun
Love of Cajun and Zydeco music also spawns an interest in the cultures of South Louisiana. Head to the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center to get an education in the history and culture of the Acadians (Cajuns) through programs, films, exhibits and events. Visit Acadian Village, a folklife museum featuring restored Acadian homes decorated with antiques unique to the area and offering guided tours and artisan demonstrations. In Vermilionville, walk through a folklife park along the banks of the Bayou Vermilion and through a historic village to enjoy everything from costumed artisans to dancing lessons and a cooking school. Stop by St. John Cathedral, a Dutch Romanesque landmark built in 1916, for a peek into Lafayette’s spiritual heritage.
Marriage of Music and Food
From the dizzying spin of a Cajun two-step to the graceful swirl of the prima ballerina, from funky Cajun dance hall beats to the violin concertos in all their symphonic glory, from spicy boiled crawfish to the finest in Creole dining, Lafayette has the best of both worlds. To really kick off your culinary tour here, take Avery Island’s TABASCO Tour, which will bring you through the famous sauce’s museum, greenhouse, warehouse and factory building.
As the epicenter of all things Cajun and Creole, it’s no surprise Lafayette was named Best Food City in the Rand McNally Best of the Road Rally, Southern Living’s Tastiest Town of the South and a Top 10 Foodie City by Livability.com. Sample the menus at Pont Breaux’s, Prejean’s or Randol’s Seafood Restaurant; all offer live music, too. On that end, choose from festivals, Cajun jam sessions and Cajun and Zydeco dancehalls. Try Blue Moon Saloon, a back-porch honky tonk and a top spot for roots music.
The city also boasts world-class art museums, a professional symphony orchestra and numerous art galleries, as well as unique outdoor settings such as Cypress Lake and Lake Martin. Visit both to see swampland, cypress trees, alligators and birds. Head to Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm, a vast green space featuring local food vendors, artisans, park tours and music. The spring and fall are special times with Downtown Alive!, a weekly concert series held on Friday evenings. A favorite with visitors and locals alike, the series has been going strong for 30 years.
Lafayette is considered the center of Cajun culture in Louisiana.
Lafayette was named Happiest City in America by “Wall Street Journal’s” MarketWatch.com.
The city was first called Vermilionville.