No river in American is as culturally, historically, and economically significant as the Mississippi. Here in Baton Rouge visitors and residents are able to take advantage of the city’s proximity to this famous waterway and partake in a wide variety of activities including a bike and walking trail, museums such as the LASM and USS KIDD, parks and greenspaces, direct access to North Boulevard Town Square and the River Center, all within sight of the vistas of one of North America’s most important rivers.
A 4.31 mile stretch of the levee bike path extends from the end of the downtown promenade just north of the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge and continues south past Skip Bertman Drive at LSU to Farr Park. The 15 foot wide path includes separate lanes for bicycles and walkers/joggers as well as lighting, seating and water fountains. The bike path links to the existing one mile riverfront promenade in Downtown Baton Rouge.
The Baton Rouge Levee offers many recreational activities. The activities range from biking to jogging, as well as, a quiet walk or rollerblading along the Mississippi River. People looking for a quick, downtown calorie-burning exercise can follow the .5 mile and 1.5 mile Levee Loop Paths on the map below. Come enjoy one of Baton Rouge’s greatest assets.
Sitting prominently on the banks of the Mississippi the silhouette of the Baton Rouge City Dock is unmistakable. The City Dock welcomes thousands of tourists each year from several grand riverboats on the Mississippi. Connected to the levee path, the dock also serves as a gateway into Downtown’s Central Green and entertainment destinations. The city is currently planning to expand the dock to be ready to accommodate multiple vessels from new lines and destinations to fuel Baton Rouge’s fast-growing tourism industry.
Visitors to the riverfront have a multitude of entertainment option available to them including the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel which offers a unique experience to visitors and guests. The Casino campus stretches across the top of the levee and allows guests to enjoy the Casino and the many restaurants and bars on property with the added benefit of being able to spend the night in one of Baton Rouge’s nicest hotels with access out onto a moored riverboat casino.
The third major attraction in the Mississippi connected to Baton Rouge is the USS KIDD, a Fletcher-class destroyer. The KIDD was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Admiral Kidd was the first US flag officer to die during World War II, and the first American admiral ever to be killed in action. The Navy set aside three Fletcher-class ships for use as memorials: the Sullivans, the Cassin Young, and the KIDD. Louisiana congressman William Henson Moore selected the KIDD to serve as a memorial for Louisiana’s World War II veterans. The KIDD was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on May 23, 1982, where she was transferred to the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. The KIDD has since been on public view there as a museum vessel, and youth groups are able to conduct overnight encampments on board.
Centrally located between the Mississippi River, the Pennington Planetarium, the USS Kidd war museum and memorial and the Baton Rouge River Center, the Riverfront Plaza provides seating and views atop the Mississippi River levee. The park features a multi-basin fountain, four panel mural, observation deck, and access to the USS KIDD and City Dock. A set of walkways offer great access up and down the levee without having to worry about vehicle traffic. A pedestrian bridge starts at the Plaza and takes visitors over safely over River Road to Repentance Park and the River Center.
Not on the Riverfront per se, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum is an unmistakable building nestled into the Mississippi River levee. Housed in a historic railroad depot on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum offers educational entertainment for visitors of all ages. The art galleries showcase changing fine art exhibitions and selections from the permanent collection. In the interactive art and science galleries designed just for children, creative and enlightening fun comes in many forms. The Ancient Egypt Gallery houses ancient artifacts and a Ptolemaic-era mummy that rests in a re-created rock-cut tomb. The Irene W. Pennington Planetarium features sky shows, large-format films, visual music shows, and galleries devoted to space science.
Whether you’re looking to rest after a jog along the top of the levee, you’re coming from downtown and are curious about what the river has to offer, or just want a shady place to take in the sunset from, the new Florida Street Gateway pulls together all those coming to the river with a clean, accessible, and most importantly shaded landing. Future plans include Adirondack chairs and a sculpture, be sure to keep coming back.