Food, festivals, the great outdoors and a lively arts and culture scene are just a few things that make up the unique Cajun paradise for which Lake Charles is known. The uniqueness of an alligator crossing the road, a Cajun fiddler playing to a two-stepping crowd or a family netting blue crabs straight out of a roadside canal are just a few common sites seen in Lake Charles.
On March 7, 1861, Lake Charles was officially incorporated as the town of Charleston, Louisiana. Six years later, citizens expressed dissatisfaction over the name Charleston, so on March 16, 1867, it was renamed and incorporated as Lake Charles. In 2017, the City commemorated the 150th anniversary with a year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration featuring a historical exhibit, parade, community celebration and more.
The City of Lake Charles, the Parish seat of Calcasieu Parish, is located on the Interstate 10 corridor, 142 miles east of Houston and 205 miles west of New Orleans. The city is located on the banks of the Calcasieu River in southwestern Louisiana and borders both Lake Charles and Prien Lake. Contraband Bayou, Henderson Bayou and English Bayou flow through the city and stately oaks and pine trees dot the landscape.
Lake Charles offers a humid, subtropical climate with temperatures topping out at an average ranging from 60 to 91 degrees depending on the time of year. The spring and fall seasons are very mild and pleasant, while summer weather is consistently warm and humid. The winter months feature mild weather with the occasional cold spell, typically of short duration. Outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round.
Lake Charles' Great Outdoors
A Sportsman’s Paradise, there are myriad of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Ample park facilities can be found throughout the city with opportunities for fitness classes geared to seniors and adults of all ages, walking trails, biking trails and more.
Golfing is also a year-round attraction in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana. With six public courses, there is variety in the designs, and award-winning golf courses are sure to enchant golfers of all levels. This golfing destination features lush scenery, making the area one of the most beautiful in the country with the natural atmosphere of the courses becoming a picturesque backdrop for pleasant conversations over a round of golf.
Arts, Culture, Music and More
Lake Charles offers a variety of opportunities for residents and visitors to experience culture through concerts, theatre and dance. The City of Lake Charles hosts an annual concert series called Downtown at Sundown that features live music every Friday night for four Fridays between May and June. This street festival is free to enter and artisans and food trucks turn out to sell their creations. The City also partners with the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana to present Live at the Lakefront each spring. This free concert series, featuring live music, food trucks and artisans, takes place three Fridays in March and is held on the grounds of the Lake Charles Civic Center. For the theater lover, the Artists Civic Theatre (ACTS), Lake Charles Little Theatre, Children’s Theatre and McNeese State University Theatre provide shows year-round. The Lake Charles Symphony is currently in its 60th season and the Lake Charles Civic Ballet and Lake Area Ballet Theatre provide entertainment throughout the year.
There are many ways to enjoy local sounds and delicacies. Lake Charles, the Festival Capital of Louisiana has more than 75 festivals and special events each year, including Mardi Gras, the Louisiana Pirate Festival, the Black Heritage Festival, the Cajun French Music & Food Festival and the Calcasieu-Cameron Fair.
Savor delicious food at one of our culinary festivals or catch a live concert just about every weekend!