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Lafayette Travel Guide, Louisiana

Nested on the Vermilion River in south central Louisiana, Lafayette is the fourth largest city in Louisiana with a population of 104,899 residents.

Being an important medical, commercial and shipping center, a lot of people were drawn to the city, including a variety of racial and ethnic groups. People also came from colder places to settle here because of the humid, sub-tropical climate. Here they could enjoy long summers and 214 days of sunshine a year.

Disarmingly pleasant and easygoing, Lafayette is well worth a stopover of a couple of days. You will find yourself in the heart of French Louisiana with a colorful Cajun and Acadian atmosphere. The ancient Acadian culture and history dating back to the original settlers has its center in Lafayette.

It has activities for every age range, price range, and interest and if you are looking for great events you'll feel like your vacation just went over the top! To find what’s right for you and suits your taste head to the Visitors Commission Center near the intersection of Willow Street and the thruway where you will get all the information you need for your visit in the city. You can even sit on the benches near the center and plan your visit while enjoying this part of the city that gives you a taste for what you will see: great views of Cajun-style homes and a relaxed city that's also remarkably well organized for visitors.

In the middle of town on the grounds of the University you can enjoy an oasis, a little piece of the wild with a lovely natural swamp featuring alligators a variety of water birds, turtles, and in April the Louisiana irises are in bloom.

You will have great fun and great memories if you come at one of the festivals the city hosts year-round, including the popular Festival International de Louisiane. It is a festival of music and art celebrating the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana going on for 6 days in the center of town. This largest outdoor Francophone event in the U.S. is community-based and its aim is to promote southern Louisiana’s culture, a combination of French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences with special emphasis on the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Many famous artists come from all over the world to perform next to local artists. It is similar to New Orleans's Jazz Fest just at a smaller scale. It might not boast such great artists as the Jazz Fest, but at least it not so crowded and you can enjoy the festival better and what’s even more appealing is that it is free and even those with a small budget can have some fun at the best festival in Louisiana, provided they have some time to spare at the end of April as that’s when the festival is held.

The festival period is not the only time when you can listen to some good music. Downtown is a great place to start with fun-tastic bars, nightclubs, lounges, dance clubs and live music venues. Some of the places to experience your next fabulous night are the El Sido's and the Grant Street Dancehall where you will listen to the best local music. Cajun and Zydeco music and dance are the most appreciated.

The diversity of cuisine available is second only to the diversity of the city itself. But perhaps the most tempting is the authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Get ready for one-of-a-kind of culinary adventure tasting spicy crawfish, Jambalaya, barbecued alligator, and fresh seafood gumbo. Wherever you are, whatever you want to eat, and however much you want to spend, that's what you'll get from Lafayette restaurants.

Outdoor enthusiasts come to Lafayette to explore its bayous and swamps. The chance to see the birds and the native water creatures in their natural habitat is what draws people into the outdoors. Tours are also available by Angelle's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Tours that offer guided information on the area.

For a vacation filled with fun, education, entertainment, delicious food, great music and more, look no further than Lafayette.

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