Louisville is many things -- original, eclectic, dynamic, and energetic. Within its boundaries you'll find sports, history, nature, art, music, amazing food and lodging that take overnight stays and vacations to the next level.
Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Situated on the Ohio River the city is known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, the University of Louisville and its Louisville Cardinals athletic teams, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky's six Fortune 500 companies. Its main airport is also the site of UPS's worldwide air hub.
Things to do in Louisville
Kentucky Derby - Leave it to Louisville to take a two-minute horse race and turn it into a two-week party. You can experience the famed event at Churchill Downs by coming early to enjoy over 70 events during the Kentucky Derby Festival. The festival kicks off two weeks before the Derby with the largest fireworks event in North America, Thunder Over Louisville.
Kentucky Derby Museum - The Kentucky Derby always takes place during the first weekend of May. If you are visiting any other time of the year you still can see a race, watch the horses in training or visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. Located at Gate 1 of historic Churchill Downs, the Museum presents the traditions and excitement of the "greatest two minutes in sports." Highlights include 2 floors of interactive, horse racing-related exhibits, a 360-degree high-definition video presentation and a walking tour of Churchill Downs.
But sports don't stop with the Kentucky Derby. For even more, check out the University Louisville, the Louisville Bats, the AAA minor league baseball affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and, of course, the world famous Louisville Slugger Museum.
For art and history, explore venues such as the Mellwood Arts Centre, the Speed Art Museum, the Frazier International History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Centre (museum and cultural centre that honours the internationally-known, world-champion heavyweight boxer and his values).
Whiskey Row - Located on Louisville's historic "Whiskey Row", you will find the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, an artisanal distillery, featuring tours, tastings and celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky's first distiller and the namesake of Heaven Hill's flagship Bourbon brand.
Louisville Mega Cavern - Unique only begins to describe the underground adventure that awaits below Kentucky's most populated city. It is home to the world's first and only complete subterranean zipline. Travel along five lines, including a fun-filled dual racing zip, and across three suspending bridges on an exhilarating ride for up to two hours. Louisville Mega Cavern also boasts the world's first underground bike park. With BMX style technical features, the total trail mileage currently totals 12 miles. Covering 100 acres beneath Louisville, Kentucky, the Louisville Mega Cavern has 17 miles of corridors to explore some of the most unique sights in the commonwealth. With an average temperature of around 58 degrees the cavern stays comfortable throughout the year. Knowledgeable guides will lead you and your family on a tram tour throughout the underground and teach you about early cavern formations, view a replica of a Cuban Missile Crisis Fallout Bunker & historical remains of the old mining operation.
Urban Bourbon Trail – The establishments on the Urban Bourbon Trail vary from historic hotel properties that once served Kentucky Whiskey to the likes of Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald to cosmopolitan “scenes” where urban trend-setters are making retro drinks such as the Old-Fashioned and Manhattan in vogue again. Five are in downtown hotels, four have been internationally recognised and all are serving up bourbon-inspired dining. All offer bourbon flights, special bourbon cocktails and all have at least 50 different bourbon labels on the bar with trained staff that can explain the nuances and tasting notes in the varied offerings from Jim Beam Black to Elmer T. Lee.
There are two ways to travel the Urban Bourbon Trail – with a printed booklet style passport or an electronic version. You can pick up your free passport at the Visitors Center (4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville) or at any of the participating stops (just ask your server). You can also download an electronic passport using the iPhone or Android app.
Stamp collecting has never been so much fun. When you’re travelling along the Urban Bourbon Trail, you’re in for cocktails classic and modern, live music, and the bourbon-inspired creativity of Louisville’s best bartenders and chefs. Each stop is well stocked with anywhere from 50 to 150 varieties of Kentucky’s signature spirit.