Things to do in Louisiana

Pick up a Creole-country souvenir—seasonings and sauces are full of heat; alligator busts make a statement—at this shop dedicated to all things local to the Bayou State.

The specialty at this character-filled shop—once filled with market staples—is po’ boys (the owner hails from New Orleans) made with friend shrimp, oysters, or catfish. Look out for nightly specials when select sandwiches are $5 a pop.

See artist Craig McCullen at work at his studio and art gallery in downtown Louisiana. Not only does he make large-scale pieces for houses and churches, he also creates multi-medium works—paintings and collages—that are on display.

Climb about the quirky, 14-passenger bus for six-stop food tour of some of Lafayette’s best Cajun restaurants. Along the way, a guide fills you in on cuisine and city history.

There are over 4,000 exotic, threatened, or endangered animals at the one-of-a-kind center on 900 acres. Take the half-hour guided Safari Wagon Tour to spot giraffes, camels, and kangaroos.

You’ll encounter alligators, great blue herons, and eagles as you slowly motor through cypress swamps on boats. If you’re looking for a more private experience, request a ten-seat boat, and a guide that will entertain the kids.

This lush, central city park dotted with lagoons and oak trees full of Spanish moss is an ideal spot for a romantic picnic.

Designed like an English club with dark wood furnishings and equestrian-themed décor, the Polo Lounge is an elegant, intimate place for a classic cocktail such as a French 75 or the WhistlePig Sazerac.

Over 600 paintings and sculptures are counted among the permanent collection at this intimate museum, the most important of which are 16th-century tapestries hailing from France. Don’t overlook the impressive gardens: Of the 15,000 plant species, there are over 100 native varieties.

Head here on Saturdays for a brewery tour—Great Raft is the only local craft beer brewery in northern Louisiana—or just head to the tasting room to sample suds such as “Born in a Barn,” a Belgian Saison.

This new Warehouse District wine bar and meat market combo from the owners of Herbsaint and Cochon brings a loving Cajun inflection to the art of cured meat.

Located in the third-floor lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, this cocktail lounge is named in honor of the hotel’s headlining trumpeter, Grammy-nominated Jeremy Davenport.

Located in the Garden District, this destination day spa offers hydrotherapy, massage, and skincare.