The year 2022 was a blast, but we believe Downtown Lafayette is only getting better in 2023. That’s why we’ve created a list of 23 things to do next time you find yourself downtown or if you’re planning a trip to visit. From shopping, live music, incredible food, art, there’s no shortage of things to do downtown this year!
1. Take a photo with the Y Lafayette sign
Looking for the famous Lafayette sign? Head over to Parc Sans Souci and get a photo as the Y in Lafayette! This sign is available for artists, non-profits, and volunteer groups to paint throughout the year. The 7-foot-tall concrete letters are painted regularly to raise awareness, promote events, or to express creativity.
If you would like to paint the letters, visit the link here for details and guidelines.
2. Attend a comedy show at Jefferson Street Pub
Jefferson Street Pub also known as JSP, has hosts “Yeah, Comedy!” every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. and features open-mic stand up comedy and special guests from Lafayette Comedy. This event is free to attend and comics must sign up by 7:45PM the day of the event. If you’re looking to lighten the mood, this is the place to do it!
3. Try natural wine from around the world at Wild Child Wine Shop
From tinned fish and natural wine to eclectic decor and art, Wild Child Wines is your neighborhood wine shop and bar, focused on natural wines and conserves from all over the world. Go in and taste by the glass or purchase a bottle to go – your choice!
4. Read a book at Beausoleil Books
Check out this independent book store, gift shop, and lounge for a quiet place to read or if you’re on the hunt for a special gift. Not to mention, Beausoleil Books has a “speakeasy” of sorts next door called The Whisper Room, where they serve craft cocktails, croissants, crepes, and host book clubs.
5. Discover new AND old music at Lagniappe Records
If you’re a music lover and looking for new music, head to Lagniappe Records downtown. This independent record shop has albums from every decade that will be sure to get you in the groove. Visit their website to see the full inventory and don’t forget to check out the vinyl grading scale.
6. Brunch at The French Press
Located across from Parc Sans Souci, The French Press serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch in a casual, old New Orleans-style atmosphere. Packed with bold flavors, they offer a superb selection of French and Cajun inspired dishes. From Cajun Poutine to Boudin Biscuits, each and every meal at The French Press celebrates the region we call home and the roots from which we came.
7. Attend Downtown’s 2nd Saturday ArtWalk
ArtWalk takes place every second Saturday of the month – rain or shine. This event showcases the creative side of Downtown Lafayette’s cultural district. Museums, independent galleries, studios, craft stores and art houses of Downtown all participate in the monthly showcase of Acadiana’s artistic talent. Follow the official ArtWalk Lafayette Facebook Page to stay informed on monthly events.
9. Experience Festival International de Louisiane
Each April, Downtown Lafayette comes alive for a five-day cultural celebration. Festival International boasts top-notch music from around the world, gourmet food, handcrafted artworks and so much more! People of all ages come from near and far to experience Festival’s magic. Where else can you enjoy authentic Asian food, while listening to an acclaimed African band, as beautifully costumed French stiltwalkers dance by?!
To see the full 2023 FIL music lineup, click the link here.
10. Visit Acadiana Center for the Arts
Take an art break! Visit the Acadiana Center for the Arts – check out their galleries, find out about upcoming performances, events, and workshops, then stop by the AcA Café for a handcrafted treat. Their regular operating hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 9am – 5pm.
11. Try a specialty poboy & daiquiri from Pop’s Poboys
Pop’s Poboys is known for their classic interpretations and exciting twists on Louisiana’s favorite sandwich – the poboy – in addition to starters, sides, and delicious drinks! Their team brings an eclectic flare to the Downtown food scene and they have a rotating specialty poboy announced every Tuesday.
12. Go mural hunting (we have a lot!)
Thank goodness for public art! They completely transform a space and tell precious stories of our heritage and communities. A simple walk around Downtown Lafayette will leave you feeling inspired from its breathtaking works of art. Internationally renowned artist, Robert Dafford, completed a majority of Downtown Lafayette’s most iconic murals.
For a full list of Lafayette mural must-stops, click the link here.
13. Stop by SOLA Violins & say hello to Grammy nominated musician, Anya Burgess
She is a violin maker, restorer, and player. Anya Burgess opened her full-service violin shop, SOLA Violins, in the fall of 2014 to serve musicians throughout the region and of all levels. In addition to building and working on string instruments, she plays the fiddle in two Grammy-nominated Cajun bands, Bonsoir Catin and the Magnolia Sisters.
14. Make a candle at the Bougie Bar
The Bougie Bar is the perfect place to have some fun, sip some wine, and make the perfect candle with your friends or family. All of their parties are BYOW, so bring your favorite bottle of wine to sip on, but if wine’s not your thing, then they also allow all finger food and beverage – whatever lights your candle.
15. Visit Vestal for happy hour
This one goes out to the one who loves oysters. During happy hour at Vestal, they offer 50% off oysters AND house cocktails. Vestal’s happy hour is Tuesday – Friday from 4pm – 5:30pm.
17. Explore a new exhibit at the Lafayette Science Museum
Located in the heart of downtown, Lafayette Science Museum is a playful portal into a vast universe of discovery. The museum offers fun, hands-on experiences for curious minds of all ages. Their exhibits and installations are designed to enlighten and educate. Hours of operation are Thursdays & Fridays 9am – 5pm, Saturdays 10am – 6pm, and Sundays 1pm – 6pm.
18. Rock out to live music at Rock ‘n’ Bowl de Lafayette
Downtown Lafayette has a robust live music scene. From Zydeco to Swamp Pop, Classic Rock and Country, Rock ‘n’ Bowl de Lafayette has it all. Not to mention, you can rent a lane and pair of shoes and enjoy live music while you bowl!
19. Swing by Sunday’s Soda Fountain for a sweet treat
Downtown’s newest kid on the block, Sunday’s Soda Fountain is a modern approach to nostalgic classics that we all grew up loving. Stop by this little diner and take a trip down memory lane with a specialty milkshake & BLT from one of the soda jerks.
20. Lunch at Scratch Farm Kitchen
Lafayette locals KNOW how incredible this place is. This farm to table restaurant is known for having the most beautiful dishes made from the freshest ingredients all from local farmers and growers. Scratch Farm Kitchen is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am – 2pm.
21. Meander along Lafayette’s Historic Azalea Trail
Spring has officially sprung when Lafayette turns pink with azaleas! The Lafayette, LA Azalea Trail begins at the Visitor Center located at 1400 NW Evangeline Thruway and meanders through the city passing many historic landmarks.
Download the Lafayette Azelea trail map here.
22. Stop by and see the fiddle leaf fig located in the Gordon Square building
If you’ve got a green thumb or love for plants, we highly recommend stopping by the Gordon Square atrium to admire downtown’s giant fiddle leaf fig. While you’re there, enjoy a bite to eat from Amis Grocery, stop by Adorn for handcrafted jewelry, or swing by Pavy Art + Design Studio for beautiful textiles and prints.
23. Go dancing at Downtown Alive!
For four decades now, Downtown Alive! (affectionately known as DTA!) has been bringing the party to Downtown Lafayette. DTA! provides FREE live music for all ages during its active seasons. Spanning genres from Cajun and Creole to Indie Pop, Rock, Soul, Country, Folk, and RnB, DTA! is an event for music lovers of all kinds. DTA! will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, so everyone is invited to join DLU in Downtown Lafayette EVERY Friday night in March and September for an incredible celebration of Louisiana music and culture!
For more information on Downtown Alive! and this year’s lineup, click the link here.