Whether you want to hobnob with the horses, enjoy a day of historic sightseeing, or take a walk on the artistic side. Come along for the ride as we show you 21 ways to enjoy this lively city.
Sneak an inside peek at historic Churchill Downs, wander the hip downtown entertainment district, or nourish your love for the arts at the first-rate theaters and museums.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Churchill Downs offered by the Kentucky Derby Museum, and watch Thoroughbreds go through their morning workouts.
Try the lemon soufflé pancakes at Toast on Market and you’ll be tempted to order more.
At 21C Museum Hotel, immerse yourself in art and comfort at this cutting-edge stay in the heart of downtown Louisville. Guest rooms feature beds with lush, handwoven throws; iPods to use during your stay; and art posters. Some even boast views of the Ohio River.
Begin your day of artsy fun in Louisville at Speed Art Museum, where you'll find Reclining Figure: Angles by sculptor Henry Moore.
The hearty braised pork osso buco comes in a small black skillet at Proof on Main, one of Louisville's best and latest hotel restaurants.
Just follow the sound of music and laughter. Stroll the Fourth Street Live district in downtown Louisville.
In 1934 Carl Kaelin threw caution to the wind--along with a piece of American cheese on a hamburger patty--in his new restaurant. A culinary delight was born, and Kaelin's still claims to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger. I really enjoyed the miniature version ($6.25 for a half-dozen). A full-size cheeseburger platter comes with fries and creamy slaw ($7.50). Best Side Dish: fresh hash browns ($3.95). Best Dessert: Hands down, it's the creamy Dreamsicle Shake ($3.50).
Take in a Louisville Bats baseball game at Slugger Field. You'll love the stadium, with its friendly feel and excellent food. Browning's, one of the restaurants in the ballpark, serves up a great pulled-pork barbecue sandwich and a plate of miniature cheeseburgers.
A few years back, Edward Lee stopped by Louisville for the Kentucky Derby but ended up in the kitchen at 610 Magnolia instead. Now chef/owner, he savors the South for one major reason: "Southern cuisine is the only thing I consider to be truly American." His emphasis is natural, from the region, fresh, and diverse.
Every piece of pottery is created by hand here, as you will discover when you take a tour. A guide escorts you through displays of fragile dishes, birdhouses, and music boxes and into the manufacturing area. Conclude your wanderings in the retail showroom, where the company’s signature dishware is displayed in a variety of patterns, including Pear, the one that put Louisville Stoneware on the map more than 70 years ago.
To be sure, rooms at the two towers of the Galt House Hotel are spectacular, but for us the real draw is its rooftop restaurant called RIVUE. After taking the elevator to the 25th floor, prepare to be stunned by the panoramic view of glittering downtown on one side and glistening river on the other. The restaurant slowly revolves, so you won't even have to choose which view is best.
At Actors Theatre, three stages host outstanding plays, and you can have a delightful―and timely―dinner beforehand in their Intermezzo Café.
You don't have to don a big hat and purchase a Derby ticket to enjoy the unforgettable taste of mint juleps year-round. The Kentucky favorite has been the official drink of the Derby for nearly a century, and fans can find the beverage at The Brown hotel. The popular spot serves the Southern drink upon request in its lobby bar daily.
Enjoy the Greek Scramble or the killer French toast, with a side of BLT fries at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Don't miss the fabulous, quirky gift shop.
Choose from 60 different bourbons at Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. Toast the town with a perfectly made mint julep ($8), or just sip on a smooth Woodford Reserve bourbon ($6). They have Late Night Bites and drink specials after 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Don't miss shopping on Bardstown Road, one of Louisville's premier streets for browsing and dining. Elizabeth Kizito, Louisville's beloved cookie lady, greets with a smile. Kizito Cookie's loyal customers choose from biscotti, brownies, muffins, and 10 different cookies, including our favorite, the "Lucky in Kentucky". She also ships gift boxes, trays, and baskets.
It's not just the wine that brings people to Napa River Grill--the creamy bread pudding will make a sweet finish to any meal.
Shopping with an equine theme is easy in Louisville. The best place to find horse-related items is A Taste of Kentucky. Sherry and John Hassmann fill their friendly store with everything from sterling silver mint julep cups ($260) to fun T-shirts that say, "Talk Derby To Me" ($15).
Personalize a legendary baseball bat by Louisville Slugger for a keepsake to pass down to the next generation. SluggerGifts.com or 1-877-775-8443.