Located in Louisiana, situated in the heart of Cajun Country, is a gem that’s been labeled the ‘Happiest City in America’. After visiting, it’s no surprise why Lafayette has been given this title. From foodies to history buffs, there’s truly something for everyone. Here is my guide to what to see and where to eat while visiting Lafayette.
Where to Eat:
214 E. Vermilion St. Lafayette, LA 70501
The French Press is a great place to grab breakfast (or lunch). James Beard nominated, Chef Justin Girouard, creates his own versions of traditional cuisines inspired by his Cajun, French, and Italian heritage. I highly recommend the Cajun Benedict. Share it with your loved one as it’s certainly not a small portion. This casual dining spot has been named one of the Top 100 Inspiring Places and Things to Eat by SAVEUR Magazine and rated as one of Urban Spoon’s Top Breakfast Restaurants in the country.
218 W. Saint Mary Blvd Lafayette, LA 70506
I’ve been dreaming of the Olde Tyme Grocery poor boys since my trip to Lafayette. You can’t get more ‘local’ than this place. This family-owned restaurant is especially busy on Ash Wednesday and Friday’s during Lent. Crawfish and shrimp poor boys are extremely popular on these days due to Catholic’s abstaining from meat. Seafood becomes the staple. It’s such a busy time that after the 40 days, Olde Tyme Grocery employees are rewarded with special Lent t-shirts.
201 Jefferson St Lafayette, LA 70501
In 2011, Dat Dog was opened in a post-Katrina New Orleans and over time has spread to multiple locations including Lafayette. From Polish Kielbasa to Bratwurst and even Alligator Sausage, there’s something for all taste buds. Their menu also includes vegetarian and gluten free options. I decided to go with ‘Chef’s Choice’ where all of the toppings were chosen for me. This is a great casual spot to hang out, have a beer, and watch sports.
What to See and Do:
515 Rue Cathedral Lafayette, LA 70501
You don’t want to miss seeing this beautiful Cathedral that’s been a downtown landmark for over 200 years. The on-site Cathedral Museum features memorabilia of the early bishops, historical documents, liturgical vestments, and vessels of the pre-Vatican II era.
Hwy. 329 Avery Island, LA 70513
Avery Island, located right outside of Lafayette, is home to the most famous pepper sauce in the world-TABASCO. Invented by Edmund Mcllhenny in 1868 it’s still owned and operated by his descendants. Not only can you tour the TABASCO museum but you have the opportunity to tour the factory and greenhouse to learn how the sauce is made. If you are brave enough, have a sample of their hottest sauce on the market- Scorpion.
Louisiana 329 & Main Road Avery Island, LA 70513
Avery Island, home to TABASCO Pepper Sauce, is also home to Jungle Gardens and Bird City. Edward Mcllhenny wanted a place where others could enjoy and study nature for years to come. There are beautiful live oak trees through the gardens but one of my favorite things about this area is the Buddha statue. It was gifted to Mr. Mcllhenny in 1936. It’s said to be more than 900 years old. He created a beautiful shrine for the Buddha which has now become a focal point for visitors. It has also become an active place of worship for local Buddhists.
5505 Rip Van Winkle Rd New Iberia, LA 70560
This beautiful home was owned by American actor Joe Jefferson in the 1800s. Mr. Jefferson was known for his portrayal of Rip Van Winkle on stage and eventually silent films. On Jefferson Island, you have the opportunity to tour this beautiful mansion, the Rip Van Winkle Gardens, and dine at it’s on-site cafe (where you must have the Seafood Cream Bisque). The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the gardens sit among 350-year-old oak trees.
300 Fisher Road Lafayette, LA 70508
Vermilionville is an incredible living history museum exploring the Acadian, native American, and Creole cultures from the time periods of 1765-1890. The park sits on 23 acres and has seven restored original homes and over 13 local artisans on site. Vermilionville also offers summer camps (in French and English), weekly Cajun jam sessions, and boat tours of the Bayou Vermilion.
Paddle Tour of Lake Martin with Bayou Teche Experience
17 E. Bridge St Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
I love to be out on the water so my guided paddle tour of the Cypress Island Nature Preserve at Lake Martin with Bayou Teche Experience was a great time and extremely educational. This ecosystem supports a variety of water birds and native plants. It’s also the home to a large population of alligators.
Looking for a place to stay while in Lafayette?
1521 W. Pinhook Rd Lafayette, LA 70503
Interested in attending Mardi Gras in Cajun Country? Read about my recent experience http://passportsfromtheheart.com/2018/03/mardi-gras-cajun-country.html