Southern Travel Guide: Louisville

From bourbon and horses to bluegrass and steamboats, we're sharing our can't-miss spots in the Derby's city.


Pull up a chair, crank up the bluegrass and order a glass of perfectly aged bourbon while toasting to my old Kentucky home. Here's our list of the can't miss spots in the Derby City. No discussion of the Louisville culinary scene goes without mention of Chef Edward Lee. He fell in love with the city after a visit to the Derby and then took over the restaurant 610 Magnolia. The basement dining room pays tribute to Edward's Korean roots, while mingling with his adopted city in the south. Think fried chicken and waffles with korean chili paste and collard greens with kimchi. The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating steamboat in the United States. Climb aboard and take a ride down the Ohio River. You can choose to join for lunch or dinner, but stellar sight seeing along the river front is always on the menu. The [INAUDIBLE] is the birth place of 21c, the eclectic hotel that is equal parts museum and overnight digs. Since its opening, it expanded to two other locations throughout the South. With many more on the docket. Grab a drink at Proof on Main, the hotel's on-site bar, and stroll through the gallery, which is free to the public. Come for the Kentucky Derby in early May and watch three-year-old thoroughbreds run for the roses. Or, if you can't make it for the big event, catch a smaller race, which happens several times a week, also at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby Museum displays trophies, offers the chance to mount up for a simulated horse race, includes a tour of the track and stadium, and showcases an interactive 360 degree film Film highlighting the event's rich past. It's the perfect way to experience the tradition that runs deep in the derby city. For shopping, Revolver on East Market Street, stocks a highly curated selection of home goods and accessories from dining tables to delicate rings all with a central theme, woodsy charm with all natural materials. A few blocks down on East Market you'll find Joe Let Antiques. A three story complex piled high with showroom worthy items and kitschy collectables. Once the sound goes down its time to toast Kentucky's biggest star, Bourbon, and there's lots of it here. Drink it straight, on the rocks, or in a Mint Julep. Follow the Urban Bourbon trail and try some of the city's best. Stopping points include the old Seelbach bar, which served as inspiration for The Great Gatsby and was once an Al Capone hangout and The Silver Dollar, a A more modern watering hole that stocks more than 100 varieties of bourbon. Cheers to seeking out the good life in a legend soaked city with lots of southern swagger
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