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Waterfront Zydeco dinner party in Lake Charles, Louisiana
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    Louisiana

There’s a story here – one with a good beat.

Music genres such as Cajun, Zydeco and swamp pop really took off in this Southwest Louisiana town, also known for its savory cuisine and the immersive Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Back in the day, traveling musicians would always make a stop in Lake Charles. Today, Lake Charles remains an ideal place to experience live music. Local bars and pubs showcase an assortment of music by local and regional bands.

Small Town, Big Music Scene

At Luna Bar and Grill, you’re bound to experience the best local bands as well as national acts. The venue prides itself on an impressive lineup of curated live music, but the food and drinks are popular too. The restaurant is continuously voted one of the best places to eat in Southwest Louisiana. If you’re in town on a Sunday, add the jazz brunch to your plans.

Beer and boudin? Check. Crying Eagle Brewing has well over two dozen beers on tap and a full menu, plus – you guessed it – live music three nights a week. Come for the baked oysters and hand-rolled pizzas, stay for a hazy IPA under the Louisiana stars.

Head a few minutes south and follow the irresistible scent of gumbo and boiled shrimp to BeauxDines’. The laid-back venue is a local favorite and features live music on the patio on the weekends.

A few minutes down the road, what started as a beloved food truck is now an equally beloved brick-and-mortar restaurant. Paul’s Rib Shack Barbecue is a favorite for its ribs, brisket and weekly specials (hello, steak night). Grab your favorite menu item and head outside under the magnificent live oaks for live music acts Wednesday through Saturday.

If you can’t get enough good food, great beer and stellar live music, make Rikenjaks Brewing Company your next stop. Housed in a decades-old bungalow, the restaurant and brewery hosts blues brunches and jazz Sundays on the patio. Pair the venue’s live entertainment with some alligator boulette and a Cajun Wit for the perfect afternoon.

Live band performing on the patio at Rikenjaks Brewing Company

Live band performing on the patio at Rikenjaks Brewing Company
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Jam Out at Live Music Series

You’re likely picking up on a theme by now – it’s all about good food and good times in Lake Charles. And perhaps no other event encapsulates that vibe better than Downtown at Sundown. During Fridays in May and through the first week of June, locals and tourists alike gather on Ryan Street to listen to live music and revel in the Lake Charles spirit. Acts vary, but expect to hear anything from zydeco to jazz to southern rock.

Another popular annual event takes place on Fridays in March the shores of Lake Charles. Expect to find plenty of food trucks, live art demonstrations, an arts market and other activities for all ages. All of this will, of course, be accompanied by live sets from some of the area’s hottest bands.

Music fans gathered at sunset for Live at the Lakefront

Music fans gathered at sunset for Live at the Lakefront
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Chad Moreno

Marshland Festival

Summer brings even more good times in Lake Charles. It’s also time for a Southwest Louisiana heritage gathering – the Marshland Festival, held in honor of Southwest Louisiana culture, especially the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, known for its wildlife-rich marshes, and extensive wetlands. Performances are centered around Zydeco, Country and Cajun musical traditions. Expect talented musicians and bands, tasty food booths, regional arts & crafts and spontaneous dancing! Don’t be shy, if the music moves you, get out on the dance floor.

A lakeside musical performance

A lakeside musical performance
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Getting There

Fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and rent a car to Lake Charles; it’s a little more than a two-hour drive. You can also fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, rent a car and drive three and a half hours to Lake Charles.

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