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Louisville Area

Louisville, Kentucky - known for adventurous restaurants, a vibrant art & music scene, the beautiful Waterfront Park, Kentucky bourbon, the Louisville Slugger, great museums, fantastic shopping, and historic Churchill Downs. Make time to visit all that we have to offer. Check the General Information page for additional details.

     Compassionate City
Back in 2011, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville Campaign – making Louisville an international compassionate city, the largest city in America with that distinction. Louisville is a welcoming city with immigrants from around the world. The Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index awarded Louisville a perfect 100% Rating for providing equal protections and opportunities for all citizens. 

Louisville has gained a reputation as one of the hottest foodie towns in the country. Accolades from national food critics are common as they praise our local chefs interpretations and fusions of southern cuisine that is combined with influences from Louisville’s diverse immigrant community. Check out the local restaurant scene for some truly memorable meals. Learn More

The Farm to Table movement is incredibly strong in Louisville with many restaurants sourcing most of their fare from local providers.

Hot Spots and Restaurant Rows are found in several places around Louisville. The Highlands along the Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road corridor has long been known for independent restaurants and great pubs. Frankfort Avenue has exploded in recent years, especially in the area of fine dining. Closer to downtown you'll want to visit NuLu, an area of galleries, shops, and restaurants on the east end of Market and Main Streets. Near the Yum Center at the Second Street Bridge you'll discover several local casual restaurants and pubs. And all along 4th Street, just outside the doors of the Seelbach, you'll find a vibrant night club and upscale restaurant scene. Louisville is constantly being recognized as one of the top dinning towns in the US, so plan to enjoy some great meals while you are at the Festival. 

Bourbon Bourbon runs through Kentucky's history, from pioneer days to modern times. Plan a trip to experience Kentucky's Bourbon heritage and explore its culture.

The Urban Bourbon Trail in downtown Louisville – a Bourbon town if there ever was one – should be on your list of stops. The trail consists of “the world’s best Bourbon bars,” all of which must serve at least 50 different kinds of Bourbon and hold at least one Bourbon-related event each month. Many of these bars and local restaurants even specialize in Bourbon-related food that will please your palate.

Whiskey Row is located just a few blocks from the Seelbach and features one of the largest examples of cast iron-front buildings of any place in the country outside of Chicago. Restaurants and bourbon venues are plentiful.  

Bourbon Tours are available from two local companies:

Sour Mash Tours offers an expansive and interactive bourbon tasting experience that you can't find anywhere else on the Bourbon Trail. Tour guides lead bourbon tastings through Louisville’s most vibrant neighborhoods at some of the city’s best bars and restaurants.  

Mint Julep Tours has been named one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Guided Drinking Tours in America.” Based in Louisville, Mint Julep Tours’ team of bourbon experts, veteran tour guides, and city concierges do it all to help you explore the living history of Kentucky in comfort and style. 

While it may not pack the same punch as our bourbon, Louisville’s water has been voted the best-tasting water in the country in blind taste tests. You won’t want to waste your money on the bottled stuff - drink it straight from the tap! 

     Historic Attractions & Museums
Churchill Downs is the most historic racetrack in the world and hosts one of the most important horse races of the year each May, The Kentucky Derby. The Spring Meet is happening for several weeks before and after the Louisville Tango Festival, so plan to win big at the track during your visit.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, celebrating the tradition, history, hospitality and pride of the world-renowned event that is the Kentucky Derby. 

Hillerich & Bradsby’s Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is all about celebrating the extraordinary role of the Louisville Slugger in baseball’s past, present and future. The museum delights their guests and creates joyful, lifetime memories. Baseball connects generations. Since the sport is such a big part of American history and culture, even visitors who don’t consider themselves big fans find something here that resonates with them. Maybe it’s the fun stories and fascinating machinery in the factory, or the hands on exhibits, or one of the special exhibitions that broaden the interpretation of baseball. And, really, who doesn’t love a free mini-bat? (Just don’t pack them in your carry-on bag…) 

Belle of Louisville  - Steamboat travel and transportation revolutionized our river, our city, and our nation. To board the Belle of Louisville is to do more than to see Louisville and the Ohio River from a unique perspective — it’s also to step into a piece of living American history. And no matter what you’re boarding for it’s always a very special occasion. The Belle is an authentic steam boat with a rich history and a bright future. A trip to Louisville isn't complete without a ride on the Belle!

Cave Hill Cemetery  is a historic burial ground that is the final resting place of Muhammad Ali, Colonel Harland Sanders, and George Rogers Clark. Started in the Victorian period, as personal wealth increased, so did family aggrandizement. The garden cemetery became the repository of symbols of success in the form of true monumental art. The landscape gardeners embellished the natural setting with exotic trees and shrubs while the marble sculptors and granite fabricators erected elaborate memorials to individuals and families. Cave Hill has been blessed by a succession of competent and innovative landscape gardeners, and Louisville has been a regional center for monument makers. The result is a rural, garden-style cemetery that has always been considered a model to emulate.  

Speed Art Museum - Where art from around the world invites and inspires diverse audiences to experience the power of creativity. Whether you’re an art aficionado or don’t know a Dali from a Degas, you can find fresh inspiration and meaning at the Speed Art Museum. With modern architecture, expanded programming, interactive exhibits and inviting outdoor spaces, the Speed offers countless opportunities for everyone to create their own connections and experience art at their own speed. Located on the University of Louisville Belknap Campus

     The museums that follow are located on Louisville's Museum Row:

The Frazier History Museum is where the world meets Kentucky. It is a home for everything that people in Kentucky are most proud of, bringing history to life for visitors through exhibits, artifacts and live performances every day.  The Frazier is proud to present multiple live performances every day by our talented staff of costumed actors known as “teaching artists”. From the Geronimo's bow and arrows, to the original “Big Stick” of President Theodore Roosevelt, every artifact is displayed with a thought-provoking story. The story of Lewis and Clark’s Expedition is shared brilliantly in the Lewis & Clark Experience as viewers get an up-close look at the 7000 mile journey and the decisiveness it took to make the fabled Western Ocean. The Frazier has been named as the Official Starting Point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. 

Kentucky Science Center is an interactive science playground for kids of all ages. From artifacts from the early NASA spaceflight missions to the latest in technology, the Kentucky Science Center will challenge and delight. 

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft was founded in 1981, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (formerly Art and Craft Foundation) was started as a way to build interest in the state’s rich craft heritage, which lead to a collection of American Folk Art from the region.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience   -Located on downtown Louisville's historic "Whiskey Row," the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience features an artisanal distillery, guided tours, educational Bourbon tastings, and more! Celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky's first commercial distiller, this immersive experience brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky's native spirit.

Muhammad Ali Center  - Guided by Muhammad Ali's six core principles, the Muhammad Ali Center features an interactive museum, educational programming, and special events to inspire young adults and adults to pursue greatness in their own lives, communities and countries. The Center’s three levels of award-winning exhibits and galleries invite visitors to explore Muhammad Ali’s legendary life, as well as to reflect upon one’s own individual values, inner strength, character, and what makes you the greatest person you can be.

Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts    - Home to many of the city’s major arts organizations, The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts brings the finest in music, dance, theater and more to Kentucky! The KCA is home for Louisville’s nationally-renowned arts scene, to the Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, Stage One Family Theatre and PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville, as well as a host of community theaters and our own Kentucky Center Presents performances. The three theaters of the Center, along with our sister facility the elegant W. L. Lyons Brown Theatre, are Kentucky’s showcases for the performing arts. From Broadway to ballet, from blues to bluegrass, from Big Bands to Beethoven, the stages overflow with magnificent entertainment almost every night of the year.

Peerless Distilling Company   - Experience an authentic distillery with real history in downtown Louisville Kentucky. The Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company offers behind the scenes tours for an up close look at how we craft the finest spirits, from grain to bottle – all under one roof. Our urban distillery and vast family history are sure to make this experience one you won't forget.

    Outdoor Activities & Sports
The Big Four Bridge links Louisville's Waterfront Park to Jeffersonville, Indiana over the Ohio River. The Big Four was built as a railroad bridge in 1895 and is today one of the premier features of the park. A walk over the bridge to get some ice cream on the other side is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Waterfront Park is a lush green space that stretches several miles along the Ohio River. A great place for a walk or a run, or just to relax and enjoy the river. 

If you need a break from being on your feet, ride a bike! With 27 stations across Louisville, finding a LouVelo station is quick and easy. Once signed up, you can easily check out a bike and return to any station within the system.   

The University of Louisville has built one of the strongest college sports programs in the nation. The Cards still provide thrilling athletic performances in all of the many collegiate sports. Check out their schedule to see what’s happening while you’re in town.

The Louisville Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The team, formerly known as the Louisville RiverBats, plays in the International League. The Bats play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field, named for Hillerich & Bradsby’s famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Slugger Field is one of the finest minor league parks in the country and it is located downtown on the river.  

Since starting play in 2015, Louisville City FC, Kentucky’s only fully professional soccer club, has quickly established a reputation for winning on the pitch and solid fan support. LouCity is a member of the United Soccer League, now sanctioned Division 2 by U.S. Soccer, only one level below Major League Soccer. 

Other Louisville & Kentucky Festivals