The Heart Of South Louisiana
Things To Do
Looking for things to do in Acadiana & Lafayette, Louisiana? Check out our exploration page
Places To Eat
Acadiana is home to Cajun cuisines such as gumbo, to jambalaya or boiled crawfish!
Find local events throughout the Acadiana area on our Events Calendar.
Whenever possible, shop with local Acadiana businesses to help support the community.
What Makes Acadiana A Special Place?
Welcome to Acadiana, the heart of South Louisiana! This region is home to the vibrant city of Lafayette, also known as the Hub City, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a unique Cajun culture which is a unique blend of French, Spanish, and African influences that is all its own. From the Cajun culture and cuisine, such as the iconic gumbo, crawfish etouffee, spicy jambalaya, and of course, boiled crawfish, Acadiana is a foodie’s paradise. Once you add in the lively music scene to dance off all of the great food you’ve eaten, Acadiana is a place like no other.
The city of Lafayette is the hub of Acadiana, and it’s easy to see why. With its bustling downtown, vibrant nightlife, and diverse cultural attractions, Lafayette is a great place to explore. Whether you’re looking for delicious Cajun food or a night out on the town, Lafayette has something for everyone. And don’t forget about the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which is home to some of the best academic programs in the state.
Acadiana is a place of culture, history, and fun with the area also being home to some of the best festivals in the state, such as the Festival International de Louisiane and the Festival Acadiens et Creoles. From the Cajun music and cuisine to the unique architecture and art, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant region. Whether you’re looking for a great place to live, work, or visit, Acadiana is the perfect destination.
Annual Festivals in Acadiana
Acadiana is a unique region of Louisiana that is home to a vibrant culture and a variety of annual events. From the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival to the Lafayette Mardi Gras Parade, there is something for everyone in Acadiana. The Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival is a celebration of the traditional music of the region, featuring live performances from some of the best Cajun and Zydeco musicians in the area. The Lafayette Mardi Gras Parade is a colorful and lively event that brings the community together to celebrate the start of the Mardi Gras season. UL Lafayette also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the annual Homecoming Parade and the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Football game. These events are a great way to experience the culture and spirit of Acadiana.
Festival International de Louisiane
Festival International de Louisiane, located in Lafayette, LA, is a jewel in the crown of Acadiana’s annual festivities. Held annually in April, it is the largest international music and arts festival in the United States, with a special emphasis on the connection between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Over 300,000 festival-goers converge on seven stages across Downtown Lafayette for five days of world music. The festival boasts a variety of performing arts disciplines, from world music and jazz to Latin, folk, Caribbean, and more. Festival International is a unique platform where cultures converge, and Lafayette’s vibrant spirit is truly on display. It’s a must-visit for any art and culture enthusiast.
Festival Acadian et Créole
Festival Acadian et Créole is another feather in the cap of Acadiana’s rich cultural offerings. This annual event, held in October, is a vibrant celebration of the region’s Acadian and Creole heritage. Combining music, food, and craft, the festival offers a joyous immersion into the heart of Louisiana’s folk culture. Over the years, it has become a hub for the best Cajun and Zydeco musicians, attracting both local and international attention. Visitors can look forward to a weekend of foot-tapping music, from traditional fiddle tunes to the pulsating rhythms of Zydeco. Festival Acadian et Créole is more than just a festival; it’s a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of Acadian and Creole cultures in the modern world.
UL Lafayette & Education in Acadiana
At the heart of Acadiana, nestled in the vibrant city of Lafayette, stands the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette), a beacon of education and cultural preservation. Established in 1898 as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute, it has evolved dramatically over the years, expanding its curriculum and becoming a pivotal player in the higher education landscape.
UL Lafayette is the second-largest university in Louisiana, boasting a student population of nearly 20,000. These students hail from diverse backgrounds, creating a rich tapestry of experiences and perspectives that enrich the university’s academic atmosphere.
Located in the cultural hub of Lafayette, the university anchors its academic pursuits within the context of Acadiana’s unique historical and cultural heritage. This setting is not just a physical location, but a source of identity and pride for the institution and its students.
In line with the traditions of the region, the university celebrates its roots in Acadian and Creole culture, annually marking events like Lagniappe Day – a student-run tradition that dates back to 1972. This day is a celebration of the spirit of ‘a little extra’, reflecting the generous heart of the Acadian people.
The university is also home to the Center for Louisiana Studies, dedicated to researching, publicizing, and preserving Louisiana’s cultures and history. Through academic programs, community outreach, and tradition, UL Lafayette proudly carries on the essence of Acadiana, reinforcing its position as the heart of the region.
Moreover, UL Lafayette is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity among its students, faculty, and staff. The university offers a variety of resources and initiatives that foster an inclusive community that values diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
In addition to its academic programs, the university also boasts a vibrant campus life with over 200 student organizations ranging from cultural associations to academic clubs. These organizations provide opportunities for students to engage with their peers, develop leadership skills, and make lasting connections.
As Louisiana continues to evolve and face new challenges in areas such as energy production and coastal restoration, UL Lafayette remains at the forefront of research and innovation through its partnerships with industry leaders. This collaboration not only enhances the educational experience but also contributes to the economic growth of the state.
From its rich history and cultural traditions to its commitment to diversity and innovation, UL Lafayette truly embodies the spirit of Louisiana. Whether you are a student, faculty member, or alum, being a part of the Ragin’ Cajun family means being a part of something special – a community that celebrates its heritage while embracing progress and change. So come be a part of our vibrant campus and experience the unique blend of Acadiana’s past, present, and future at UL Lafayette.
In addition to its strong ties to Acadian culture, UL Lafayette also embraces Creole traditions. Creole people have been an integral part of Louisiana’s history since the 18th century when French colonists began settling in the region. With influences from African, Native American, and European cultures, Creole cuisine, music, and language have become iconic symbols of Louisiana’s diverse heritage. At UL Lafayette, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this vibrant culture through courses in Creole studies and participation in events such as the annual Festival International de Louisiane.
UL Lafayette takes pride in its commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. As a coastal university situated near the Gulf of Mexico and experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand, UL Lafayette is dedicated to promoting sustainable practices on campus and throughout the community. This includes initiatives like alternative transportation options for students, energy-efficient buildings, and partnerships with local organizations focused on environmental preservation.
Support Local Acadiana Businesses
Supporting local businesses in Acadiana boosts the regional economy and fosters a sense of community. When we patronize local establishments, we’re not just customers — we become part of the story that shapes our neighborhood. Each transaction contributes to the success of family-owned businesses and promotes local job growth. Moreover, local businesses often provide products and services unique to Acadiana’s culture and heritage, preserving our distinct identity. So, let’s strive to support Acadiana’s businesses, helping our community thrive.