City Spotlight: Louisville

August 8, 2019
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Why visit Louisville, Kentucky?

  • Home to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
  • Culinary hub of southern cuisine and world-famous bourbon
  • Beautiful parks and plenty of green space
  • Brimming with art, culture, and music
  • Blend of history and modern innovation

Frontdesk welcomes you to Louisville! It is home to the Kentucky Derby, the Urban Bourbon Trail, and one of the largest collections of Victorian homes in the country. Located in northern Kentucky, sitting on the Ohio River along the Indiana border, Louisville is rich with culture. It has been named one of America’s best music scenes and boasts a lot of performance art as well. The city is most notably known for its bourbon, but also offers delicious southern cuisine and a wide variety of activities that will thrill vacationers and business travelers alike.

Louisville Vacations

This southern town has something for everyone. Louisville is home to art, music, parks, and museums that will entertain the whole family. Visitors will also enjoy the delicious and world-famous restaurants, bars, and distilleries.

Louisville Business Trips

Traveling for business doesn’t have to be boring! Louisville has a small town feel while offering big city amenities and attractions. You will find plenty to experience and enjoy in your down time.

Louisville Neighborhoods

Downtown Louisville is full of things to do, from visiting the museums and cultural attractions on “Museum Row” to shopping on Fourth Street, plus a variety of dining options.

Old Louisville
History buffs will love Old Louisville, which has the largest collection of restored Victorian-era homes in the country. This neighborhood also has its own Central Park. For travelers into the strange and unusual, Old Louisville is considered America’s most haunted neighborhood and offers nightly haunted tours.

East Market District (NuLu)
Nicknamed “NuLu” for “New Louisville” because of its major rebirth in recent years, this trendy neighborhood offers a mix of art galleries, boutiques, and locally sourced restaurants.

Known as “Restaurant Row,” this neighborhood is a haven for foodies! The Highlands is also a hotspot for nightlife, local boutiques, eclectic shops, and the Louisville Zoo.

South Louisville
This less-central neighborhood is home to the iconic Churchill Downs (site of the annual Kentucky Derby) as well as the Jefferson Memorial Forest, one of the nation’s largest urban forests.

What is there to do in Louisville?

Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, there is no shortage of things to do in Louisville, KY. From restaurants and bourbon hotspots to museums, parks, and shows, there is something for everyone in this southern city.

Experience History

Tour the old Victorian homes in Old Louisville to appreciate the historic architecture. Spend a day on Museum Row to take your pick from museums such as the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, the Frazier History Museum, the KMAC Museum, the Muhammed Ali Center, and more. Fans of the Kentucky Derby can learn all about the race at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.

Catch a Show

Louisville has a rich music scene with many music festivals throughout the year and music clubs hosting concerts almost nightly. Whether you’re into the blues, jazz, rock, or indie, you’ll be able to find a show. For those who appreciate plays more, you’ll want to add Actors Theatre to your agenda. You can also enjoy free Shakespeare in Old Louisville’s Central Park in the summer months.

Actors Theatre

Hop on the Urban Bourbon Trail

Kentucky is known for nothing if not bourbon. The Urban Bourbon Trail is a collection of 44 establishments (and growing!) in Louisville. The trail doesn’t feature distilleries but instead restaurants and bars that excel in bourbon – whether flights, cocktails, or bourbon-infused food. It is different than the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, although there is some overlap.

Explore the Outdoors

Louisville has become a “City of Parks” in recent years, and for good reason. The Parklands of Floyds Fork is comprised of five different parks where you can hike, fish, bike, and enjoy playgrounds. Or, head a little more south to Jefferson Memorial Forest, which offers a vast 6,500 acres to hike, canoe, and picnic.

Pope Lick Park

Restaurants & Bars

Each neighborhood in Louisville offers delicious dining options. Head to Jack Fry’s in the Highlands for authentic southern-inspired cuisine like spicy oysters and shrimp and grits, plus live jazz music. You also can’t leave Louisville without trying the city’s signature dish: the Hot Brown, a sandwich made with turkey, bacon, cheese and mornay sauce. While the dish can be found all over town, we recommend trying it at the place it originated, the Brown Hotel. As for bars – you’ll be getting your fill of bourbon on the trail, so stop by Meta downtown for craft cocktails or Galaxie in Nulu for their famous spicy margaritas.

Frequently Asked Questions About Louisville

Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark, making it one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains.

It was named for King Louis XVI of France, who supported American colonists during the Revolutionary War.

The pronunciation of Louisville is hotly debated. Out-of-towners often mispronounce it as LOU-iss-vill. Since the city is named after Louis XVI, LOO-ee-vill would technically be correct, but most locals insist it is LOO-a-vul.

The Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.

The Urban Bourbon Trail is a collection of 44 bourbon-knowledgeable restaurants and bars in Louisville. To participate, pick up your “passport” at the Louisville Visitor Center or any of the participating establishments. Your goal is to collect at least 6 stamps, which will earn you a t-shirt.