Often called Red Stick, this Louisiana city offers a wide variety of residents a great place to live, including young professionals, families, and retirees. Here are 12 pros and cons of living in Baton Rouge!

Pros of Living in Baton Rouge

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Baton Rouge draws people in with its interesting history, excellent career opportunities, delicious cuisine, and more. Uncover what makes the Red Stick a fantastic place to live with these pros.

Pro: Baton Rouge Offers Affordable Living

If you’re hoping to find affordable living in the South, consider moving to Baton Rouge. Not only is the cost of living in Baton Rouge 7% lower than the national average, but the median home price in Baton Rouge remains on par with the U.S. average. Plus, buying a home in Baton Rouge costs around $65,000 less than in NOLA. You’ll also be saving money living in Baton Rouge thanks to the low taxes in Louisiana—in fact, the property tax rate in East Baton Rouge Parish is almost 30% less than the national average!

Pro: Several Top-Tier Colleges in Baton Rouge

Those looking to continue their education will have a fantastic selection of colleges in Baton Rouge to choose from. Become a Tiger for opportunities to participate in research programs and high-profile sports teams at Louisiana State University. Enroll in esteemed programs for agriculture, engineering, nursing, and more at Southern University and A&M College. Discover your career path with programs in liberal arts, business, or general studies at Baton Rouge Community College. Get a Catholic education at a four-year school known for excellence in academics at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. Earn an associate’s degree in process technology, office administration, or information technology at ITI Technical College. Or consider medical assistant, dental assistant, or graphic design programs at Delta College of Arts & Technology – Baton Rouge campus.

Pro: Great Baton Rouge Employment Opportunities

The job market in Baton Rouge is currently thriving, with industries like construction, education, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare continuously on the rise. Not to mention, Louisiana’s unemployment rate is also at its lowest in history at just 3.3%! If you’re interested in a career in engineering, construction, or maintenance, check out Brown & Root Industrial Services, which is known for hiring people from diverse backgrounds. Nurses and healthcare professionals can look into working for Amedisys, a top home health and hospice care company with plenty of work-from-home opportunities. Find jobs in education with groups like LSU Online & Continuing Education—this branch of Louisiana State University offers hundreds of courses to meet the needs of all kinds of students.

Pro: Beautiful Outdoor Recreation

There are plenty of fun things to do in Baton Rouge if you love spending time outdoors! Take an airboat, kayak, or walking tour to see Louisiana’s bayous, wildlife, giant trees, and more with Baton Rouge Swamp Tours. Observe a working beehive and live animal displays, or walk the boardwalks and paths in the beech-magnolia forest at Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Enjoy 14 magnificent acres of nature, including the cathedral of trees, bamboo grove, and wildflowers at LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum. Fish in the lake, bring your pooch to the dog park, and let your kids splash in the spray pad at Forest Community Park. Stroll through breathtaking surroundings in the Louisiana Iris Garden, Sensory Garden, and Southern Classic Walkway at Independence Botanical Gardens. Or admire the water gardens and Mississippi River views, and catch live shows and concerts on the amphitheater and event stages at Riverfront Plaza & City Dock.

Pro: Baton Rouge’s Dedication to History

Baton Rouge is a city full of history to explore. Tour the current capitol tower building to see the House Chamber, Senate Chamber, and Observation Deck at the tallest state capital building in the U.S., the Louisiana State Capitol. Marvel at the stained glass dome, tour the State House, and see rotating historical exhibits like Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol. Visit the museum and historical home of past Louisiana governors, built by famously controversial Huey P. Long in 1930, The Old Governor’s Mansion. Find out how different groups of people shaped Louisiana, and explore exhibits on Louis Armstrong, a Civil War submarine, and more at Capitol Park Museum. Step into Louisiana’s past with 32 historic outbuildings, cultural and physical artifacts, and exhibits on the Civil War, Industrial Revolution, and 19th century horse-drawn carriages at the LSU Rural Life Museum. Or explore the “Pirate of the Pacific,” a WWII Fletcher-class destroyer ship, along with military artifacts at the USS KIDD Veterans Museum.

Pro: Year-Round Festivals

It’s not Louisiana without celebrations, and Baton Rouge festivals do it right! Join thousands in observing Baton Rouge Mardi Gras at various parades such as Krewe of Oshun, Krewe of Orion, and the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade. Get decked out in beads to see the Budweiser Clydesdales and floats, or participate in the Wearin’ of the Green Shamrock Run at the long-standing Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Celebrate blues music on three stages with excellent musicians like Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples at the free, family-friendly Baton Rouge Blues Festival. Show off your cooking skills or just enjoy the cuisine from skilled chefs and vendors, along with live music at the Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival. Dance the night away in the spring and fall at outdoor concerts in all kinds of music genres such as funk, rock, and country at Live After Five. Support the LGBTQ+ community with parades, drag shows, and celebrity guests like Carson Kressley, Kennedy Davenport, and Jasmin Masters at Baton Rouge Pride. Or meet great writers, join thoughtful literary discussions, and attend writing workshops at the Louisiana Book Festival.

Pro: Exceptional Cuisine

The food in Baton Rouge is known worldwide for its excellence, so don’t miss out! Start your day with a Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee or Cappuccino Icer with Beignets at family-owned Coffee Call. Sit down to a brunch of Gumbo Soup, a Chicken Breast Club, or Build Your Own Omelet at Louie’s Cafe. Try Cajun dishes like Boudin Egg Rolls, a Crab & Brie Bowl, or Crawfish Salad at Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant. Grab a seat on the patio and indulge in Smoked Duck Breast, Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, or a Brisket Sandwich at Cocha. Sample Creole recipes such as Pasta Chandel, Eggplant Camellia, or Shrimp Vacherie at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Fill up on meals made from locally-sourced ingredients like Curry Shrimp or a Jerk Burger, and be sure to order the Butter Rum Cake for dessert at Royal Taste of Jamaica.

Pro: Exciting Baton Rouge Nightlife

You can always find something intriguing going on in the Red Stick! Catch concerts, comedy shows, Broadway musicals, and more at Raising Cane’s River Center. Enjoy casino games, live music, and karaoke nights at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge. Bring your dog along while you enjoy an Empress 75, Brewski Smash, or another one of dozens of beer varieties at Mid City Beer Garden. Attend fun events like Yoga on Tap or take a brewery tour to taste ales, IPAs, and stouts at Tin Roof Brewing. Play classic arcade games and pinball while sipping on a Bride of Pina Colada, Night of the Comet, or a Gnarly Barley Jucifer at BR.Cade. And find plenty more to do—including tap rooms, music halls, and restaurants—along Third Street in Downtown Baton Rouge!

Cons of Living in Baton Rouge

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While Baton Rouge has many positive aspects, it’s always smart to be aware of any obstacles a city faces. Learn about the cons of moving to the capital of Louisiana.

Con: Higher-Than-Average Crime

It’s no secret that Baton Rouge struggles with crime. But while it’s true that Baton Rouge’s crime rate is 139% higher than the national average, keep in mind that the entire U.S. is included in that average—and not everywhere is a giant city like the Red Stick. More densely populated areas are bound to have more crime, simply due to having that many more people. For example, the larger nearby city of New Orleans sees a crime rate that’s 150% higher than the national average—which is 11% higher than Baton Rouge’s. If you’d like to find an area where crime is less of an issue, consider living in safe, affordable neighborhoods of Baton Rouge like Addis and Brusly.

Con: Unpredictable Weather in Baton Rouge

The weather can sometimes impact daily living in Baton Rouge. From June through November, Baton Rougeans are at high risk of damaging winds from hurricanes. Although the impact from tropical storms is lower here than in cities closer to the Gulf of Mexico, like New Orleans and Lafayette, living in the South comes with steeper risks of hurricane damage. But the trick is to be prepared! The National Weather Service recommends safety tips like assembling an emergency kit ahead of time, bringing in outdoor items like patio furniture when heavy wind is predicted, and evacuating as soon as you’re told to do so. When not facing severe winds, Baton Rouge’s climate can also be oppressively hot and muggy in the summer. With that said, one perk is that Baton Rouge experiences fairly mild winters, so it rarely falls below 30 degrees and seldom snows, making this city a good choice for those who hate the cold.

Con: Limited Public Transportation

Unfortunately, you may not always have an efficient daily commute in this city. Baton Rouge traffic is the fifth worst among major U.S. cities during rush hour, and public transit is limited and rarely used, with only 1.7% of workers utilize public transit—so there’s an abundance of personal vehicles on the roads. However, if you’re not traveling during rush hour, it’s not too difficult to get around this bustling city. Hop on the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) 29 bus lines to get almost anywhere in Red Stick—including Route 16, the free circulator service around Downtown Baton Rouge. And cruise around downtown on e-bikes for a more sustainable way to travel with Gotcha by Bolt.

Con: Lack of Variety in Sports

If you’re a sports fan, you won’t find much variety in Baton Rouge since it’s all about football. This is because Louisiana State University’s football program is so popular, and nearby New Orleans has several different professional sports teams to cheer on. However, you do have some options when it comes to football! See the Baton Rouge Redsticks (UFL) kick a field goal at Lamar Dixon Expo Center. Grab tickets to enjoy a Southern Jaguars (NCAA D-1) game at A.W. Mumford Stadium. Watch the LSU Tigers (NCAA D-1)—the team with the second-most SEC championships—take on rivals at LSU Tiger Stadium. Take part in one of the biggest traditions of LSU football with fellow fans by joining in on LSU tailgating. And when you’re not watching athletes on the football field, get active yourself by signing up for sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball in Baton Rouge Adult Leagues.


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This post was originally published 04/12/2019, and last revised on 10/25/2023 with updated information.

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