Best Times to be in Baton Rouge

I am biased, because I think the best time to be here is year-round. But for those of you who only get to visit, I wanted you to know when the best times to come are. It really depends on what you’re looking for. But here is a friendly tip: if you don’t like the heat, come in the winter or real early in spring.

First of all, if you are interested in Mardi Gras, you need to be here for that. Look for it somewhere between February and March, as it depends on when Easter is. Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” so it is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the official start to Lent. It has developed into a week or so worth of parties and parades. Personally, I think ours are better and more family-friendly than in New Orleans, but you can decide – it only takes an hour to get from here to there.

Since nobody throws a party like we do, you can do your New Year’s celebrating right here. Who needs Times Square in freezing cold New York City when you can be here watching our namesake Red Stick drop at the strike of midnight? You’ll enjoy great food, good music, and a great fireworks show.

If you are a fan of blues music, we have one of the oldest blues festivals in the country. It is typically held in April. You’ll find a great mix of local artists and big-name stars. Best of all, this weekend-long festival is free. If blues isn’t your thing, there are spring and fall concerts on Sundays in North Boulevard Town Square and Friday nights at City Hall Plaza or Repentance Park.

For my athletic readers, we do have a marathon. Of course, we do it our own way: over the course of three days, with all types of races and distances; and we celebrate with bands and food. You may enjoy running, but you’ll love Finish Fest. Plus the weather in January is pretty good for running.

And if you prefer eating to exercising, there are a lot of food festivals around here. There’s the new Red Stick Food Fest, which is held on Mother’s Day weekend and features food, music, and fun times. Perfect thing to do with Mom, and she doesn’t have to cook a thing! We also have a street food festival, a soul food festival, and wine tasting events. When to come will depend on what you want to eat!

For the kids (and the kid in you) who love Christmas, you will love the Festival of Lights. It kicks off in December with the tree lighting ceremony in North Boulevard Town Square. There are fireworks, a visit from Santa, ice skating, and real snow. You can walk through the Bethlehem Village, ride the Mansion Express train, and visit local art vendors. It’s a great way to put yourself in the holiday spirit.

Anytime is a good time to visit, really, but these events are sure to make you glad you came.