Lafayette is a city in Louisiana. It's the unofficial capital of Acadiana or Cajun Country. This flourishing moderate sized city fortunately escaped the worst of the one-two punch of hurricanes Katrina and Rita which devastated much of south Louisiana on either side of the city in 2005.
The city is home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Music and dancing is an integral part of community life. Several restaurants and dance halls thrive in the area and the city hosts several musical festivals throughout the year.
Lafayette is at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 49. I-10 runs through the northern part of Lafayette, linking the city with New Orleans (2.5 hours east) and Houston (4 hours west). I-49 links Lafayette with Alexandria and Shreveport to the north.
- 1 Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT IATA). Has nonstop flights on American to Dallas/Fort Worth, Delta to Atlanta, and United to Houston.
Amtrak provides service to Lafayette via the Sunset Limited, running between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
While Lafayette does have a bus system that is accessible from most areas in town, driving by car is still the most popular way to get around the city. Most businesses have parking lots, and even in the Downtown area there is often plenty of parking on a normal day. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is usually the only area where visitors encounter parking troubles, but while school is in session a shuttle bus links the center of campus with the massive parking lot at Cajun Field (near the Cajundome and Convention Center), providing a quick commute with frequent service. Bike lanes are becoming a growing trend on some major roads as well. There are taxis available.
- 1 Acadian Cultural Center, 501 Fisher Road, ☏ . 8AM-5PM daily. You can spend an hour or so here learning about the history of the Acadian (Cajun) people. Free, donations accepted.
- 2 Lafayette Science Museum, 433 Jefferson Street, ☏ .
- 3 University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 104 E University Ave. A large four-year university with a great campus and a small swamp containing live alligators next to the Student Union. There is a University Art Museum on campus, and an International Film Series is screened every semester.
- 4 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 444 Cajundome Blvd (ticket office), ☏ . Sports teams of the above university, competing in 16 NCAA Division I sports (eight for each sex) in the Sun Belt Conference. As with most major schools, the hot-button sports are typically football and men's basketball, but the most nationally competitive are baseball and softball (the latter a women-only sport in the NCAA). Most of the key sports venues are on university-owned land away from the main campus, most notably Cajun Field (football), the Cajundome (men's basketball), and Tigue Moore Field (baseball). The Cajundome also houses the central ticket office for all Ragin' Cajuns sports. Ticket prices vary by sport.
- 5 Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Road, ☏ . Tuesday-Sunday 10AM-4PM. $8 adults. A heritage and folk-life park depicting the way of life on the Bayou. The park has costumed French interpreters, traditional craft demos, and hosts traditional Cajun music and dance parties each Sunday.
- 6 Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 E. Saint Mary Blvd, 70503 (on University of Louisiana, Lafayette campus), ☏ . Tu-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Museum collection of over 4,000 objects including 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century American, European and Asian art works. $4/adult, $3/senior, $2/student.
- Festival International de Louisiane, Downtown Lafayette. Four-day festival that brings musical acts and other performers from all over the world, with an emphasis on Francophone countries. The festival usually takes place the last weekend of April, and is usually a nice diversion from the expensive and often over-crowded New Orleans JazzFest the same time of year. The amazing food selection from local restaurants is moderately priced, and there are several shopping bazaars with everything from international vendors to local artists. Most importantly the festival is free, with a great deal of funding coming from donations made by Lafayette residents. Jefferson Street and most of Downtown Lafayette virtually shut-down to traffic from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening with around six stages of live music. Free.
- [formerly dead link] LA ICE, 3607 N.W. Evangeline Thruway, Carencro, ☏ , fax: . The only ice rink in Louisiana.
- 1 Sky Zone Lafayette. - located in Lafayette
- Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. Located in the nearby town of Breaux Bridge, this annual weekend veneration of the "mud bug" brings together the best features of Cajun culture. The main centerpiece of the festival is a massive iron kettle which sees a constant flow of the festival's namesake critters throughout the day (also available in abundance in any form you could wish for.) The other centerpiece of the festival is a stage, which sees the most popular Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and Creole musicians around. D.L. Menard was a regular performer there until a few years before his death in 2017. Other events include Cajun dancing contests and lessons, Cajun cooking demonstrations, crawfish races, a crawfish eating contest, a crawfish étouffée contest, and typical (if you can call anything crawfish-themed typical) carnival rides, activities, and vendors. Usually occurs in early May. Entry is $5-10 per day, or $15 for entire weekend.
- Lafayette Pétanque Club, Girard Park. 4PM-sunset, 2nd and 4th Sundays of each moth. Pétanque is a deceptively simple two-player French game played with tennis-ball-sized metal orbs that is similar to bocce or horsehoes. Players score points by tossing their balls as close to a target ball as possible while trying to knock their opponent's away. It's a ubiquitous sight in parks all over France, where it is a national game of sorts, but quite rare in the U.S. Members socialize in both English and French. Visitors are encouraged. Free.
- Mall of Acadiana. Decent sized shopping mall at the corner of Ambassador Caffery Pkwy and Johnston St.
Lafayette is a center for great Cajun cuisine (see the Acadiana article for an overview), but don't think Cajun food is all there is to eat here. Many different styles of food can be found here, and many have developed a Cajun flair. Lafayette is truly a food-oriented city, with more restaurants than cities with a much larger population. We talk about what to eat a lunch over breakfast, and what to eat for dinner over lunch; and we're rarely disappointed with the outcome.
- Prejean's, 3480 North I-49, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 7AM-9:30PM, F Sa 7AM-10:30PM.. Touristy but enjoyable Cajun food. $8-20.
- Maesone Noodle House, 4807 Johnston St, ☏ . Great noodles, mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Laotian cuisine.
- Bisbano's Pizza, 1540 Johnston St, ☏ . Good pizza; free wi-fi.
- Charley G's, 3809 South Ambassador Caffery Pkwy, ☏ . Specialty in seafood. Excellent bar. Live piano music.
- Hub City Diner 1412 South College, +1 337 235-5683. Louisiana cooking in a diner atmosphere.
- LaFonda Restaurant, 3809 Johnston St, ☏ . Tex-Mex menu with great margaritas.
- Randol's Restaurant, 2320 Kaliste Saloom Road, ☏ . Popular Cajun family style restaurant with a dance floor and a bar. Live Cajun or Zydeco music every night.
- Judice Inn, 3134 Johnston St, ☏ . Popular little joint for cheeseburgers and beer.
- Olde Tyme Grocery 218 W St Mary +1 337 235-8165. Great po-boy sandwiches. The atmosphere is basically a few tables in an old grocery building. Lots of character!
- Julien's Po-Boys, 1900 W. University Ave, ☏ . Two other locations in Lafayette. Serves great po-boy sandwiches and spicy platters.
- Thai Cuisine, 607 Kaliste Saloom Rd, ☏ . Fantastic Thai food, especially stir fry.
- Artmosphere, 902 Johnston St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM to 2PM, Su 11AM to midnight. Eclectically decorated restaurant, bar and hookah bar with live music and a wide variety of great food.
- Sakura, 3218 Johnston St, ☏ . Fantastic sushi bar and restaurant. Also has great teriyaki, tempura, and other kinds of Japanese cuisine.
- [formerly dead link] The French Press, 214 East Vermilion St, ☏ . French food. Great lunches and breakfasts.
- Another Broken Egg, ☏ . 112 Rue Promenade, Terrific breakfasts and brunches.
- Agave Cantina, 200 E Vermilion St, ☏ . M-W 11AM-10PM, Th-Sa 11AM-11PM. Great Tex-Mex with some Tex-Mex / Creole fusion dishes. Inside and outside eating.
- Tsunami, 412 Jefferson St, ☏ . Excellent sushi and Japanese cuisine.
- Pho Tien, 3533 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy, ☏ . Fantastic Vietnamese, especially noodles
- Cafe des Amis, 140 E. Bridge St., Breaux Bridge LA, ☏ . Zydeco Breakfast every Saturday morning 8:30-11:30AM.
Downtown Lafayette Hosts live entertainment nightly with its variety of clubs and kind of resembles New Orleans' French Quarter on a smaller scale. The Strip on McKinley Street with its row of bars right next to The University of Louisiana is another popular venue. From The Keg to the McKinley Street Pub there is a bar for every college niche.
Most visitors to Lafayette are often surprised by another feature of the local drinking scene: drive-thru daiquiri stores. Open-container laws are seemingly disregarded as customers can purchase potent frozen drinks without leaving their car, and then simply drive-off. Exercise caution, though, as cops still consider these drinks to be open alcohol containers, as evident by the styrofoam-cupped drinks are often handed to customers with a piece of tape over the lid opening.
For you bar and club patrons, last call in Lafayette is a 2AM Monday through Saturday, and at 12 midnite on Sunday nights.
- 1 The Greenroom, 229 Jefferson St., ☏ . 4PM-2AM. Great local bar in Downtown Lafayette with a easygoing vibe. Several local and imported beers on tap, with the widest bottled beer selection in town. Nightly drink specials, pool tables, shuffleboard, foosball, and plenty of good people.
- [dead link] Hampton Inn Lafayette, 3941 State Road, ☏ , fax: . 26 East. $100 (for an extra $20 get the jacuzzi suite).
- 1 [formerly dead link] Lafayette Microtel Inn & Suites, 301 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy, ☏ .
- 2 Blue Moon Guesthouse, 215 E Convent St, ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 5-10PM, check-out: 11AM. A clean, safe, and very hospitable hostel located in downtown Lafeyette. Dorms $18+, privates $75+.
- 3 The Juliet, 800 Jefferson St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $109.
|Routes through Lafayette|
|Houston ← Lake Charles ←||W E||→ New Iberia → New Orleans|
|Lake Charles ← Rayne ←||W E||→ Baton Rouge → New Orleans|
|Shreveport ← Opelousas ←||N S||→ END|
|Lake Charles ← Rayne ←||W E||→ New Iberia → New Orleans|
|Alexandria ← Opelousas ←||N S||→ Jct W E → END|