Is Lafayette Louisiana Worth Visiting?

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In short YES, Lafayette Louisiana is most certainly worth visiting. In 2014, Lafayette was honored with the title of “Happiest City in America” for good reason. As host city for the TBEX (Travel Bloggers EXchange)  Conference, we were welcomed with smiling faces, and happy hosts to show us all Lafayette has to offer. As part of our ticket purchase for the conference, we had the opportunity to take part in some excursions and experiences.

Downtown Lafayette sign

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What is Lafayette Louisiana known for?

Lafayette is know for their Cajun and Creole cuisine, culture, music, festivals, and traditions which have all been carried on for over 200 years. Due its location, Lafayette is often referred to as “the Hub City” and a short drive from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Monroe, Lake Charles, and Shreveport. 

With one of the largest free music festivals in the country, they are self proclaimed as the “free music capital of the world.” On top of the music festival, you can find live Cajun, Creole, or Zydeco music just about any night of the week.  I heard zero talk about mainstream music during my visit to Lafayette. Local musicians and bands are the talk of the town around here. 

Our final evening in Lafayette was spent at opening night of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, one of their largest festivals. This three day festival is just one of many that came about after 1968, when the Cajun cultural revival began. The Cajun cultural revival is and on going attempt to bring back, and preserve French culture. It was the perfect way to end my time in Lafayette. 

University of Louisiana, is located in Lafayette, which brings the college town appeal, with sports, and other activities. 

Acadiana Center for the Arts is centrally located in Lafayette, and serves nine of the south central parishes of Louisiana. Their mission is to preserve, and foster arts and culture by offering world class performances, artist showcases, and much more. 

The Best Way to See Lafayette Louisiana

The way to find all the best places, and taste the local dishes, is to take a food tour with Cajun Food Tours. Unlike food tours in other cities across the USA, Lafayette is filled with dishes that uniquely originated here in Louisiana, not just eating at local establishments. Check out all the places my friend Tonya, from Detail Oriented Traveler, recommends

What is Cajun Country?

Cajun Country is the Acadiana region of Louisiana, west of New Orleans, and east of Lake Charles. It’s considered the Acadiana region because the French Catholics who immigrated down to the area from Canada over two centuries ago. Originally Vermillionville, and established in 1812, you can learn more about the natives, immigrants, and how they blended cultures together, at Historic Vermillionville Village

For a more in depth history of who a Cajun is, and how the name came about, you can read more on the Lafayette Travel website

If you’d really like to see what Cajun Country is all about, then I highly recommend the “All Day Cajun Experience” tour with Cajun Food Tours. This tour includes Historic Vermillionville Village, a Cajun swamp tour, Cajun dance lessons, and so much more. I chose this tour as part of my TBEX conference registration. 

You may also know it as Cajun Country for the Ragin’ Cajuns of University of Louisiana. If you’re familiar at all with Duck Dynasty, then you may know this is where Phil played college football, and the family are still big supporters of the school. 

What is Special About Lafayette Louisiana?

If you ask me, Lafayette Louisiana is special because of the locals. Their love for living here is evident in so many ways. I met business owners who live and grew up in Lafayette, but I also met business owners who moved away, and felt drawn to come back and be part of this special community. 

Many locals come from families that have been here for generations. I could feel the pride of heritage, history, and keeping traditions alive every day I spent in Lafayette. There’s a strong push to preserve, and bring back the Cajun French language, because it’s almost lost completely.

As mentioned above, there’s a unique blend of cultures here in Lafayette. You may wonder why it’s so unique, when there’s blends of cultures all across the United States. It’s different, because the way natives and immigrants came together, and shared their way of life.

You can find Johnson’s Boucaniére in Downtown Lafayette. Their recipe for boudin, was the first commercially sold boudin, so you know I had to take some home for the family to try.  Just the iceberg of authentic cuisine, and family recipes you can experience. 

One final notable and special place in Lafayette, is the last Borden’s Ice Cream Shop. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, then you know I love ice cream. Therefore, I could not leave without a stop at Borden’s, even it I did have to settle on a two scoop sundae for dinner one night. 

Is Lafayette Walkable?

Lafayette’s Downtown is contained within less than 2 square miles, so it’s very walkable. Within the historic downtown area, you will find local restaurants, unique shops, museums, science center, arts, culture, parks, and a fun night life. 

Having the chance to take a walking tour of Downtown Lafayette, I really got to see the passion and love of the locals. This proves to me how special this place is. 

Final Thoughts on Lafayette Louisiana

Is Lafayette Worth Seeing?

I can’t say enough about my opportunity seeing Lafayette, and all it has to offer. I know most people first think of New Orleans when they’re considering a visit to Louisiana, but my hope is that you take a look at Lafayette, and realize you can experience the history, cuisine, culture, and music, but in a more personal way than a big city. 

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