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The city on the Mississippi offers visitors a taste of the Old South with all the modern day conveniences of a mid-sized metropolis. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s five best things to see and do in Baton Rogue:
1. Visit the Louisiana State Capitol building. The historic capitol building is a monument to the controversial tenure of Huey Long, who infamously ruled over Louisiana in the ‘20s and ‘30s as governor and U.S. Senator. He commissioned the 450-foot-tall structure — today it’s the tallest state capitol in the United States — where he died in a hail of bullets in 1935. Meander the formal garden south of the building where Long’s grave is located, or head to the observation deck on the 27th floor for views of Baton Rogue and beyond.
2. Meander through Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. On the southern end of the city sits this 100-acre nature preserve. Walk the boardwalk through cypress swamp and beech-magnolia forest, then visit the exhibit building which has live animals, a working bee hive and more.
3. Explore the Old State Capitol. In marked contrast to the soaring current capitol, the Old State Capitol is a neo-gothic fortress on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It houses a museum devoted to state politics — and as any history buff could tell you, Louisiana has had some of the most colorful in U.S. history.
4. Drive through Plantation Alley. The small towns that line the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to New Orleans are home to perhaps the highest concentration of restored antebellum mansions — all located on gorgeously manicured grounds. While touring plantations, be sure to stop at The River Road African-American Museum in Donaldsonville. The slaves whose labor provided the lifestyle for their rich owners are just part of the focus at this museum, which includes numerous exhibits on African-American history and culture.
5. Take in the Capitol Park Museum. Learn all about Louisiana state history at this museum near the capitol building. Displays touch on everything from the Civil War to shrimp and oyster fishing to the colorful pageantry of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.