From its home-style Cajun cuisine and diverse culture to overall Southern charm, it’s no surprise that Lafayette is the talk of Louisiana. If you’re planning on moving to Lafayette, LA, you’re in for great music, historic attractions, and serious southern hospitality.
Home to more than 120,000 people, Lafayette is the fourth largest city in the state of Louisiana. Originally founded as Vermilionville, the city was renamed in 1884 after the Marquis de Lafayette, the french general who fought alongside the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Today, thanks to its rich culture and growing diversity, it’s known as the Hub City.
Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, you’ll soon find out what makes Lafayette such a favorable place to live. Here’s what you need to know before moving down to the Bayou.
Know The Best Neighborhoods in Lafayette, LA
There’s more to Lafayette than its rich history and spicy food. Colorful Lafayette neighborhoods range from the historic metro districts to upscale planned communities. The heart of Lafayette has also recently become a popular area for young and diverse urban professionals. Whether you’re looking for a traditional house in the suburbs or a vibrant scene downtown, Lafayette offers an array of diverse neighborhoods to suit the needs of everyone.
Who is living in Lafayette?
Single residents: 40%
Median age: 35
Median household income: $46,858
College educated: 32%
Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Lafayette, LA:
Being the second largest university in the state, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette gives this neighborhood an urban, bustling college feel. According to The Princeton Review’s 2018 edition of “The Best 382 Colleges,” this university is among the top 15% of the nation’s four-year colleges for undergraduate education. Due to its large student population (nearly 20,000), the area is mostly made up of renters and apartment complexes.
Not far in Central Lafayette, you’ll find a mix of older, charming neighborhoods and new commercial development. Whether you’re looking to appreciate the historic, architectural style or trendy restaurants in the heart of Lafayette’s city center, you’ll find something right up your alley.
Downtown, you’ll find the cultural and economic center with every major attraction within walking distance. From dining, to professional services and entertainment, you’ll be able to park and arrive at your destination in minutes. Downtown you’ll find endless amenities in addition to Creativity Everywhere–a non-profit organization that works to fund artists and promote culture in the Lafayette region. If you’re looking to move to downtown Lafayette, the Downtown Development Authority features real estate available through the Property Finder.
Freetown Port Rico
Once a neighborhood for freed slaves, Freetown Port Rico has recently been named a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Bounded by East University Avenue, Taft Street and Lucille Avenue, the neighborhood dates all the way back to the Civil War era. Since Freetown Port Rico has been named to the register, property owners with structures more than 50 years old can qualify for a 20-40 percent tax credit when making renovations. Residents love Freetown Port Rico for its eclectic, welcoming atmosphere.
Traditional Neighborhood Developments
Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) incorporate a variety of land and house types in a defined area. Striving to be pedestrian friendly over vehicle centric, this planning system offers a network of paths, streets and lanes to provide residents the option of walking or biking to destinations. It aims to create communities that accommodate residential homes, commercial buildings and educational facilities within close proximities.
Lafayette offers several TNDs with lots of personality:
Crime in Lafayette, LA
Despite quaint neighborhoods, crime in Lafayette, LA is fairly high. Crime in Lafayette is 105% higher greater than the national average, to be exact. Much of the crime in Lafayette is property crime. This includes burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny over $50 and arson.
Here’s the good news: despite high crime rates, the number of total year over year crimes in Lafayette has decreased by 4% over the last year, according to statistics released by the Lafayette Police Department. Homicide, robbery, assault, and theft all saw a decrease over the year period.
Downtown Lafayette remains safe for families to enjoy, especially near the museums, parks and attractions. At night it’s best to take caution since the atmosphere can sometimes turn into a rowdier crowd.
What is the weather like?
Lafayette has an excellent year-round climate and topography for outdoor activities, which contribute to Louisiana’s reputation as a sportsman’s paradise. The weather allows residents to enjoy the region’s hiking and biking trails, golf courses, fishing and camping spots, and opportunities for boating.
If you’re a fan of hot weather, we’ve got good news: you’re in the clear of snow and freezing temperatures. With that being said, you still need to find a way to stay dry. Lafayette receives around 61 inches of rain per year, while the rest of the country receives around 39. This wet season lasts from May to September, with more than 40% chance of rain on any given day.
Lafayette summers are hot and long while the winters are short and windy. The hot season lasts for 4.5 months while the cool season only lasts around 2.8 months. Over the course of the year, the temperature varies anywhere from 44°F to 91°F.
Here are some other noteworthy stats on Lafayette’s climate:
Average high temperature: 93 degrees
Average low temperature: 41 degrees
Sunny days: 217
Average rainfall: 61 inches
You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do in Lafayette, LA
If you’re moving to Lafayette and looking for things to do, you won’t have to look far. Take a stroll through Cajun country in the 1800s, experience hands-on fun at interactive museums, visit Avery Island in the heart of the Louisiana Bayou, and see what makes Lafayette the cultural center of Louisiana.
Here are some of the top Lafayette attractions for you and your family to enjoy:
Cajun Food Tours
As the tastiest town in the South, you won’t want to miss out on Lafayette’s unique cuisine. Ranked No. 1 as Tripadvisor’s best thing to do in Lafayette, Cajun Food Tours allows guests to hop on a tour bus while learning all about the history and culture of Cajun food. Located in Youngsville, the tour takes groups up to 14 people while stopping at six different locations for unique tastings. Enjoy fresh gulf seafood, gumbo, boudin, and friendly Cajun hospitality! Tickets run $55 for adults, $35 for kids and group discounts are also available.
Established in the 1970s, Acadian Village is Lafayette’s oldest authentic vision of life in 19th century Louisiana. The 32-acre private park showcases historic homes, Acadian architecture and Acadian history. Featuring authentic building construction, a blacksmith shop and a general store, the grounds offer tours and planned event venues upon request.
Home of the world famous McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce, Avery Island is located just outside Emma in the heart of Bayou country. Family owned and operated since 1868, McIlhenny Tabasco employs more than 200 and sells products in 165 countries around the world. On Avery island, you’ll find Restaurant 1868, the Tabasco Museum, culinary tours, cooking classes and more. The Jungle Garden is also a nature lover’s dream—take guided bird tours, visit the ancient oaks and waterways and enjoy all Louisiana wildlife has to offer.
Vermilionville Historic Village is a Cajun, Acadian and Creole museum dedicated to educating the public on south central Louisiana. The 23-acre park is one of the world’s largest physical representations of an early Acadian settlement using original structures dating all the way back to 1765. The site features restored homes, park workshops, local performances and artisans showcasing early crafts performed by settlers. Working to enhance life along the Bayou, the historic village tours are perfect for groups, students and families looking to travel back in time.
Lafayette, LA offers tons of attractions for museum-goers. Acadia Center for the Arts presents tons of visual art, film and theater. If you’re looking for something to do in Lafayette with kids, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana provides a range of hands-on, interactive exhibits designed to teach kids crafts and practical knowledge. If you’re looking for something more science-related, don’t forget to check out the Lafayette Science Museum & Planetarium. The exhibits explore paleontology, geology, marine biology and an all-digital planetarium.
How to Get Around
Wondering how you’ll get around your favorite neighborhoods? Lafayette transportation offers plenty of options for traveling to and from the city.
- Car– The majority of residents in Lafayette, LA travel by car. While Lafayette is close to a major interstate, it’s surrounded by small, outlying areas, which makes it much more convenient to drive or rent a car when you’re traveling.
- Bike – Cycling is a viable option for getting from point A to point B. With the increased amount of bike paths, bike lanes and cycling safety awareness, Lafayette is well on its way to being recognized as one of the most bike-friendly areas in the state.
- Bus – For residents who rely on public transportation, there is the Lafayette Transit System and CityBus. While there are several routine bus systems in place, some do not run on Sundays (and wait times for stops on Route 70 can often top an hour). But the good news? The fare to take the bus is $1, which means you can travel back and forth to work for $10 per week. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with bus routes and online schedules.
- Rideshare – Don’t forget about Uber! In Lafayette, UberX serves as an economic option that seats four. Without needing cash on hand, it’s a safe option to get home after a late night, a festival or a flight.
- Boat – While boating serves as more of a leisure event than a transportation necessity, you’ll find that this is popular among local residents. Surrounded by lakes, ponds, swamps and bayous, Lafayette is the perfect place for boating, fishing and kayaking.
A Look at the Lafayette, LA Real Estate Market
Home to a growing economy, convenient access to health care and several transportation routes, Lafayette serves as an affordable place to call home. Whether you’re looking for low-maintenance apartments or elegant two-story houses, Lafayette, LA offers a wide variety of real estate.
The overall cost of living in Lafayette remains 4% lower than the national average, which accounts for transportation, utilities, goods and services, groceries, health care and housing.
Owning Versus Renting
Owning Real Estate
Around 55% of the Lafayette population own homes, with the median list price running $220,000. While this is 22% higher than the average property price for Louisiana, it’s 2% lower than the national average.
Renting Real Estate
When it comes to renting in Lafayette, the median rent price is $786. This is comparatively equal to the average rent for Louisiana and 15% lower than the national average.
While housing is generally healthy across the U.S., it’s slightly less so in the energy-dependent states like Louisiana.
“Because of oil and gas, there has been a big decline in jobs,” notes Nationwide senior economist Ben Ayers. “Lafayette has dropped 3,000 jobs in the last year—2,500 in oil and gas. And a recent report from the national Energy Information Administration suggests things may take some time to improve.”
Aside from the housing market, Ayers notes that companies like to focus on four economic drivers–employment, demographics, mortgage market and house prices–and take into consideration the sustainability, not just the present state. When it comes to Lafayette, the economic drivers do tend to show more stability in the summer.
When compared to other metropolitan areas like Fort Worth, Houston and Seattle, Lafayette does offer much more affordable places to live. This lower cost of living comes with even more benefits–like the area’s easy access to quality health care. Local residents can take advantage of the region’s 17 hospitals, 800 physicians and several specialty treatment centers.
Moving Companies in Lafayette, LA
If you plan on moving to Lafayette, LA, chances are you’re going to be booking a moving company in the near future. Whether you’re relocating just across town or hauling your things across the country, there are plenty of moving and storage companies to assist you with your move.
Here are some of the best moving companies in Lafayette, LA:
- Two Men and a Truck. A licensed and reputable company, Two Men and a Truck is one of the most highly rated moving companies in Lafayette. With a 5-star review and guaranteed delivery date, there’s a reason this company stays busy year-round. An obvious downside here is that the company is closed on Sundays.
- Acadiana Movers. Part of the United Van Lines, Acadiana Movers is a locally owned company offering full-service moves as well as individual services. While prices are generally on the lower end, several reviews recommend that customers spend the extra money on Two Men and a Truck for the quality and service.
- Lafayette Moving Services. Lafayette Moving Services has good reviews and also offers some of the lowest rates around (they claim to beat all competitors’ pricing). On the flipside, the company advertises themselves as a college student moving company, which may turn families away who have large furniture to haul cross-country.
- U-Pack. U-Pack is one of the largest moving company brands in the country. While many people know the name, reviews in the Lafayette area have been mixed. Customers have mentioned the customer service is rushed and subpar.
- Louis Moving. Louis Moving is a third-generation moving company that’s locally owned and operated. While the company offers reasonable moving rates, flexible scheduling and seven days of business operation, it’s smaller and less well-known when compared to some of the larger companies in the area.
Moving to Lafayette, LA?
Now that you know everything there is to know about Lafayette, you’re set to head down to Bayou country. After moving to Lafayette, LA, you’ll soon be part of the crowd who takes their food, art and culture very seriously. Just don’t forget to pack your Cajun hospitality.
It’s no secret that the moving process can be quite overwhelming. To make your move as seamless as possible, Life Storage offers a wide range of self storage options in Lafayette in addition to free moving truck rentals.