By DIG Staff
Mungo Jerry had the right of it: In the summer time, when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky.
Summer is all about endless possibilities. And in Baton Rouge, when the weather heats up, so do the opportunities for a good time.
The hardest part is narrowing down your options, but don’t worry, dear reader, we’ve done that for you.
Here’s our summer guide to Baton Rouge. Try one, or try all, and let us know any suggestions by using #TellDIG and #IDigBR on Twitter.
You don’t have to travel to be a tourist. Visit Baton Rouge recently launched the #GoBR initiative, where locals can show their Baton Rouge pride on social media. Visit the VBR website to request a #GoBR keychain, and snap photos of your favorite spots around town for a chance to win prizes. Throw an #IDigBR in there, too, and we’ll give you a high five, free of charge.
2. Paddle the Lakes
The LSU Lakes are set to undergo a transformation in the coming months, as The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is underwriting Destination: The Lakes, a project to sustain the five bodies of water. Celebrate their beauty by experiencing the lakes from the middle. Rent a kayak, canoe, or (my favorite) a stand-up paddle (SUP) board from the LSU Rec. Non-students can rent for $20, and students for just $10 a day. Visit www.BatonRougeLakes.org to get involved in the restoration process.
3. Enjoy Restaurant Week
From July 14-19, DIG is proud to present Restaurant Week Baton Rouge. Diners can visit a bevy of local eateries and get three-course meals from $15 to $35 per person. It’s a great way to tour the delicious food of our city without breaking the bank.
4. Visit a BREC Park
The Comite River Park is beautiful hiking and superb for mountain biking, while the Frenchtown Road Conservation Area is 496 pristine acres with three miles of scenic hiking trails. Get outside and enjoy the beautiful Southern summer weather.
5. Traverse the Levee (Suggestion from Luke Johnson)
Take a casual stroll, a vigorous run, or a breezy bike ride down the levee. For a cooler and more visually stimulating trip, shoot for evening, and watch the sun go down beyond Port Allen and the rest of the West Baton Rouge parish towns. There’s nothing like it.
6. Get Cinematic Outside
The Baton Rouge Gallery’s popular Movies and Music on the Lawn is fun for the whole family. Bring the kids or enjoy a romantic date with classic silent films like “The Man Who Laughs,” “Sunrise,” and “The Lodger,” with local bands providing the score. It’s an interactive, multimedia experience you’ll want to check out. I promise you’ll go back for seconds.
7. Be Thrifty
American Thrift Store by the Mall at Cortana always has a really awesome selection of clothes and accouterments during the summer months. It’s a fun way to purchase unique gifts without breaking the bank. Check out other thrift shops like Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and Goodwill.
8. Explore Space
The Louisiana Art and Science Museum is showing full dome features like “The Great Planet Adventures” and “Spring Sky Tonight” all summer long, and the Highland Road Park Observatory is perfect for stargazing. They’ll even have a viewing of Saturn on July 19.
9. Work on a Movie Set
Ever wondered what it’s like to work on a movie set? Many feature films are shooting in Louisiana and Baton Rouge this summer and are looking for background actors, day players (production assistants, stand-ins, helpers etc.). Visit filmbatonrouge.com for a list of films shooting near you, or check out NOVAC’s offering of training courses if you’re interested in a career in the industry (NOVACVideo.org).
10. Join a Book Club
The East Baton Rouge Parish Library offers a broad selection of book clubs, from historical novels to an anarchists group. Whether you’re into comics or classics, there’s bound to be a group for you. And if there isn’t, you can start your own!
On June 28, 13th Gate presents Escape From Baton Rouge, a post-apocalyptic 5K unlike any other race you’ve ever run. Featuring exploding cars, piles of dead bodies, and quarantine stations, this race is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Experience the feeling of running for your life, without your life actually being in jeopardy.
Volunteers of America: Greater Baton Rouge has a great website with ways you can give your time to others. You can make a PB&J, do light yard work, offer clerical services, or any other of a variety of simple yet fulfilling tasks. Visit www.voagbr.com to help out.
13. Adopt a Dog
Or a cat. The Capital Area Animal Welfare Society and Yelp! always have animals in need of a home. Summer is a great time to get a new pet and save a life at the same time. CAAWS adoptions are at 11 a.m. on Saturdays at their shelter, or at various other events around town. Visit caaws.org and YelpBR.com for information.
14. …And Train It
Summer provides the free time required to train a dog. Dog training is an overlooked responsibility in pet ownership. Obedient dogs are often healthier and happier. Louisiana Capital City Obedience Club (LCCOC) Fleur de Lead, The Dog Run, and a number of other local businesses offer training sessions. It’s fun and it’s a bonding experience for master and pet, alike.
15. Eat Local
The Red Stick Farmer’s Market is open every Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, at the Pennington Biomedical Center (Thursdays) and Main Street Market locations (Saturday). Meet local farmers and find out the story behind your produce. It’s healthy and informative, and a good time, to boot.
16. Cool Off
Play in the water fountains in Town Square, or try Liberty Lagoon or Blue Bayou. Grab a snowball from one of the many stands around town, too. See if you can taste one from each truck. Check out Hot Summer Nights, Cool Jazz at LSU, featuring faculty and acclaimed guest artists performing a variety of music.
17. Make Your Own Milk (and other stuff)
The Louisiana Culinary Institute offers leisure classes for baking and cooking, as does Whole Foods, where you can learn to make your own milk (!) from nuts or grill meat the right way.
18. Play Something
Take a tennis lesson at BREC or the YMCA, or join a BRSA or Premier Indoor Soccer League. Enter the Red Rock and Blue Adult Kickball Tournament at the end of June, or, hell, make up your own sport. Summer’s too fun for sitting around (unless you’re reading DIG, of course),