Connecting college students to the downtown community plays an important role in building vibrant energy throughout the district. Downtown Lafayette welcomes students and encourages everyone to embrace downtown as their own. Whether you’re new to Lafayette or have been here your entire life, chances are you haven’t experienced everything our downtown has to offer. There’s no shortage of tasty eateries, cozy cafes and study spots, live music, events, art, and many small businesses to fall in love with. Regardless of what day of the week you choose to make your way downtown, we’re here to highlight the must-stops and some of the coolest affordable options for college students to enjoy and take advantage of while they are spending time here.
For starters, did you know that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus is less than a mile away from downtown? That’s right! With places to eat, shop, study, volunteer or catch live music, Downtown Lafayette is only a walk or bike ride away for students. So, if you’re a Ragin’ Cajun or a higher-ed student attending a different school in the Acadiana area, this blog post is crafted just for you!
Best Places to Kick Off the Morning
If you need to start your day with a cup of caffeine or want to wrap up some homework you forgot to finish the night before, you’re in luck. Downtown has incredible coffee shops and cafés. Besides, breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip it!
- Rêve Coffee Roasters
- Carpe Diem Café & Wine Bar
- AcA Café
- Black Café
- Dwyer’s Café
- Sunday’s Soda Fountain
- Ton’s Downtown coming soon…
For all the weekend brunch enthusiasts out there, here are the must-stops you need to add to your list.
Where to Find “Everyday” Items
From local goods, fresh produce, snacks, energy drinks, medication, or even laundry detergent, make sure to swing by downtown’s corner stores and pharmacy before making a trip to Walmart…odds are, they have what you’re looking for!
The Downtown Parcs
Downtown Lafayette is home to a network of public parks that are accessible to the community and visitors.
- Parc Sans Souci is located in the heart of downtown and is home to the Y Lafayette letters and splashpad, two great places for a photo op!
- Visit Parc de Lafayette and enjoy lunch near the waterfall.
- Parc Putnam is the perfect shady spot for a picnic in the grass located across the street from the federal court house.
- Parc International is the only park that is not open to the public during regular business hours. This park serves as an events venue and hosts downtown’s larger community events like Festival International de Louisiane, Downtown Alive!, ACLA’s Latin Fest, and Downtown Rising.
How To Park Downtown
First and foremost, start by downloading the mobile app, Park Mobile. The Park Mobile App makes it easy to pay for parking and extend your parking time from your phone. No need to run to the meter and throw in another quarter if you think your time is out, just open the app and voilà!
Wondering where to park downtown? Parallel parking spots are located throughout the downtown district. Public parking lots can be found at 100 E. Garfield St., 700 Jefferson St., 800 S. Buchanan St. We also have a public parking garage located at 815 S. Buchanan St. and a private parking garage located right next to Parc Sans Souci at 121 E. Vermilion St.
Fun Fact: It is FREE to park downtown all day on weekends and any time after 5:00 PM on weekdays in public parking zones (parallel spots, public parking lots, and the Buchanan parking garage).
Plate Lunches, Desserts & Everything in Between
One of downtown’s biggest assets is the number of places to choose from when it comes to food! Downtown Lafayette is home to a fun and eclectic Downtown Food District. Below we’ve highlighted some popular options to consider when you’re looking for your next meal.
Specialty Shops & Retail
Support the small businesses of Downtown Lafayette AND come across really cool finds! We’re home to an abundance of unique retail shops that will definitely grab your attention.
- Habibi Vintage
- Advintage Thrifts
- Heat Academy
- Lagniappe Records
- Beausoleil Books
- Genterie Supply Co.
- Wild Child Wines
- Miss Reba’s Green House
- Hub City Cycles
- Sans Paquet
- Cajun Jesters Disc Golf
- Root Floral Design
- Deuxieme Vie Creative
Downtown After Dark
When it comes to live music venues and a busy nightlife, downtown does not disappoint. Make sure to follow these businesses on social media so you know when your favorite local band is performing!
Looking to Live Downtown?
Why not live, work, and play all in the same place? Downtown Lafayette has recently grown its residential base by adding three apartment complexes to the district. Consider signing a lease today and call Downtown Lafayette “home” by tomorrow!
Check out all of these places and you’re one step closer to becoming a local. We invite college students to join the community and embrace the downtown district as their own! With plenty of places to share ideas, meet new people, and celebrate the joie de vivre that makes us one of a kind, we hope Downtown Lafayette can be a safe space where all students feel welcome.