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Louisville is a fun river town with many historical sites, museums, art galleries, night life and excellent dining. There are interesting things to see and do all around the area, both inside the city and around the area. In recent years, the city has developed it's riverfront to include restaurants, a venue for live music and festivals, picnic spots , places to walk and bike, an extreme park and a large playground with parking facilities.
Stay this weekend and enjoy a bit of history in Louisville's finest landmark hotel, the Brown. Steeped in tradition, this hotel has experienced several renovations and owners, but still maintains the quality and beauty you'd expect from a five star establishment. Sit in the massive lobby for high tea, or enjoy a bourbon on rocks while listening to soft piano music. Dinner in the English Grill is a special treat. Chef Joe Castro was awarded four diamonds by AAA and it often mentioned in many travel magazines. The atmosphere is lovely- dark wood paneled rooms, white tablecloths, fresh flowers and soft music make it a feast for the senses. Enjoy a traditional Hot Brown, a turkey dish created in the early days of the hotel. A slice of Derby pie makes the meal complete. From the steps of the Brown, you can catch the Toonerville Trolley which you can ride all the way to the river. Along the way, you can stop off at other interesting places. Walking around Louisville is easy and the Brown is a perfect base.
For those who seek an alternative to traditional hotels, Louisville now boasts a hip boutique hotel, 21C named in honor of the century. The entire hotel is an art gallery from the lobby to the rooms. Guests are led to their rooms without the hassle of waiting at a check-in desk. The restaurant, Proof on Main, has been garnishing rave reviews of late. Innovative cuisine using locally grown and organic produce is emphasized.
This is a former mall turned into an entertainment complex featuring bars, restaurants, a food court, live music stages and a huge bookstore. The Hard Rock Cafe of Louisville is housed here as well. Check the calendar of events for concerts, there's always something fun happening here. Nowhere in Louisville will you find such a collection of night spots.
You generally love it or hate it, but you can't deny that Jim Porter's is one of the best places to hear live music and dance in Louisville. On Tuesday nights, they feature a band or disc jockey and play "bop" music for swing, jitterbug and jive dancers. Wednesday night is ladies night, Thursday is big band music. On weekends, the club features a dance band in the big room, a smaller band in the back room and a blues band in the side bar. There's even an upstairs lounge with couches and chairs for some peaceful conversation. The cover charge is five dollars on the weekend, but well worth it. Often, special guest stars appear here in concert. The club has valet parking for one dollar, which is a good feature for ladies especially. The place gets rather smoky in the late hours and it gets a little loud, but it's worth a visit for the music.
People will wait an hour here just to get a stack of North End's heavenly pancakes. Their omeletettes and homestyle potatoes are filling and delicious, and they make great salsa as well. Portions are large and the place is always fun and lively. There are also tables outside.This cafe is on busy Frankfort Avenue which is home to many good restaurants, shops and galleries.
Lynn's is worth a visit at any time. The place is colorful, funky sculptures litter the yard, crazy lamps and art fill the restaurant and they have the wildest gift shop in Louisville. However, the food is consistently good, portions are large and it's a fun place to take a group or children.
For a real Italian family type experience, Melillo's is the best! Chef Michele runs the kitchen, while her daughters, nieces, nephews or her husband share duties waiting tables and tending bar. There is a bocce ball court outside and a nice outdoor dining area with a fountain. The restaurant is in a winery complex and has the feel of a Tuscan villa. The food is great- large portions of southern Italian type food. The meatballs, sauces and salad dressings are all handmade. You won't be hungry after a meal here!
The web site was down, I posted a review and link should it become available. Vincenzo's is a dining experience. Most items are prepared at tableside and the wine list is superb. Upscale doesn't mean stuffy or overpriced; the owner makes the rounds each evening and takes good care of his customers.
Chef Kathy Cary is one of James Beard's favorite chefs and she has appeared on his program many times. Her menu always features unusual creations using locally grown produce. The restaurant is on Bardstown Road in the Highlands- a stretch of road where restaurants, galleries, antique stores and the like abound. It's fun to just sit and watch people here.
The food is delicious, the atmosphere is cozy and the wine list is huge. Thanks to an innovative storage system, over 100 wines are available by the glass. You have the option of ordering bottles, by the glass, or ordering "tasting flights" which you can customize. The bar is smoke free until after 10, which is a plus for serious wine enthusiasts.
Azalea has great food and a very good menu. They have sandwiches as well as bountiful dinners. The appetizer list is one of the best in town, you can create a meal with those alone. However, the restaurant is best loved for it's huge outdoor patio which has tall brick walls and sits under sprawling trees. Though it's on rather busy Brownsboro Road, you neither see nor hear much traffic. It's very lively in the summer and whenever the weather cooperates.
Pacific rim dining is the allure of this restaurant, and no place does it better than Asiatique. Plus, the service is always good and the wine list is outstanding. The ahi tuna is one of the best I've ever tasted- they cook it perfectly. The new location on Bardstown Road gives the place more dining space and a nice area downstairs for socializing.
This restaurant is off River Road and about a 15 minute drive from town. The drive is along the river, however, and you see beautiful sights along the way. The restaurant serves good food, is family friendly and has great river views. There are indoor and outdoor stages for music and there is a lively crowd on weekends.
Take an afternoon or evening cruise on Louisville's landmark riverboat, the Belle of Louisville. One of the few original steam powered paddlewheel boats in America, she has been kept in her original style with beautiful wooden and brass trimmings. Enjoy the music of the steam calliope and see all the sights along the river as you take a leisurely cruise. During the summer, live music cruises are scheduled weekly.
No visit to Louisville is complete without a trip to the historic Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. If possible, visit in season and enjoy an afternoon sipping mint juleps and enjoying the races. Nothing is more exciting than seeing your horse pull a last minute upset, whether you made a two or two hundred dollar bet! The Derby Museum is fascinating, with a 360 degree movie that makes you feel as if you are running with the horses. The museum also offers a tour of the paddock and other areas for a small fee, advance booking required. The gift shop has many horse inspired items and Kentucky made products.
You can't miss this place, it has the world's largest bat at it's door! This is a nice family destination and even girls will enjoy it, trust me. Since 1884, this company has been producing the famous baseball bats, but production didn't move back to Louisville until the last decade. The museum has an interesting interactive display and you can take home a personalized bat.
The Greatest is also Louisville's favorite son and the center houses not only a museum but inspirational art, film and even a training ring that has been built to celebrate Ali's life and to influence others to achieve their dreams.
This trail is over 20 miles long if you walk or bike it starting at the beginning in Cherokee Park. However, you can "jump on" at various locations including the downtown wharf and take a scenic route all the way to shady Shawnee Park. Be prepared to encounter mud, insects and water at certain times! It's best to go when the weather has been dry for a week.
Frederick Law Olmsted designed twelve parks in Louisville.These two adjoining parks are in eastern Louisville and offer lots of activities. There are miles of hiking trails, equestrian trails, picnic spots, basketball courts and playgrounds. Seneca Park has a mile long paved oval for walkers and joggers. Inside the oval are various sports fields where local teams play softball, rugby, field hockey and soccer.You can find a good pickup basketball game at several courts. Each park has a challenging and hilly golf course for public use. Cherokee Park has a designated three mile one way lane for pedestrians and bikers. Though it gets a little crowded at times, it's one place where you can safely bike with children and not have to worry about traffic. Though Beargrass Creek is beautiful and the water is inviting on summer days, wading is discouraged due to pollution. Still, it's nice to picnic on it's banks close to Big Rock at the junction between the parks.
The area around Central Park in downtown Louisville is beautiful and the streets are lined with old trees and Victorian homes and mansions. Many of these have been converted to Bed and Breakfast Inns and are worth a visit. Every October, the huge St James Art Fair is held here and the area is teeming with visitors. There are 5 walking tours of the area and the houses are well marked. There are also several good restaurants here including the Third Street Cafe and upscale Buck's in the Mayflower Hotel.
Just across the river is this amazing fossil site where an interpretive center has been built. They show an interesting film about how the river was formed and about prehistoric creatures. You can actually walk out on the fossil beds, and if the river is low, you can walk a good distance. It's also a nice place to picnic.
Established in 1927, it's Kentucky's oldest and largest art museum. It's located off the Belknap Campus at the University of Louisville. They have ancient and modern art, sculpture, paintings, photography as well as collections from Kentucky artists. There are also special events often scheduled, such as afternoon jazz parties which are good opportunities to meet and mingle.
First Friday of every month, the Transit Authority of River City (Tarc) sends out free trolleys to transport people to art galleries and places along the 4th, Main and Market Street corridors. You'll experience some of the best work from local artists, plus enjoy the festive atmosphere of a big street party. Of course, it's always more fun in good weather! They occasionally have a theme, and costumes and music add to the enjoyment.
Not to be upstaged by the downtown event, the business owners along the Frankfort Avenue corridor put together this event on the final Friday of every month. The Frankfort Avenue trollet transports guests to the galleries, restaurants and shops free of charge and there is always music and entertainment in abundance.
Bardstown Road and the area known as the Highlands is unquestionably the most eclectic area in Louisville. It's cool to be a hippie or a punk or a biker or just about any other form of self expression around here, you see it all! Though places come and go, every time one store closes another one opens, There are many good antique stores here, as well as others such as Joe Ley's on Market Street and the Louisville Antique Mall on Goss Ave.
Always worth a visit to my Alma Mater and home of the Cardinals!
A good family friendly night at the ball game at Slugger Field in downtown Louisville with our minor league team. It's always lively and there's plenty of parking and a very good restaurant in the complex if you're not in the mood for hot dogs!
By now, you know you want to visit! We have something for everyone and plenty to do on any weekend no matter what the weather is like! This site is the official site of the city and provides you with added.information
In downtown Louisville, this venue hosts off Broadway productions, musicals, plays, concerts and many exciting events. It's a stunning place and Jarfi's Bistro inside the Center offers delicious fare.
Many famous authors such as Marsha Norman and famous actors have had their start here. In addition to many wonderful plays and musicals, Humana sponsors a new play festival yearly which is renowned.
The two best shopping malls are separated by only a couple blocks on busy Shelbyville Rd in St. Matthews.
Just a hop skip and jump from the Mall of St. Matthews.
The many stars on the ceiling represent sponsors who helped save this crumbling building a decade ago. It's a gorgeous cathedral.
A fun hands on place for kids and the young at heart. This is where our IMAX theater is located.
Many famous Louisvillians are buried in this gorgeous historical cemetery. Guided tours are offered on Sundays for 25 dollars a person. It's well worth the money to do this, you can miss a lot of facts and even get lost easily here!
The zoo keeps adding exciting features such as the Gorilla Forest. The HerpAquarium is also fascinating. The zoo is hilly, but a lot of it can be experienced by a train ride. In October, weekends host big Halloween parties with candy, characters and spooky decorations.
Rides, parties, water park. Big scary rides for the adventure seekers and nice mild kiddie rides for the rest of us.
If you have not lost all your money at the track, there's always this option. Huge casino also has several restaurants, a nice hotel, golf course and live music. Though it once went out on the river a few feet, it is now grounded.
A recreational running club which sponsors local races and holds fun runs throughut the city. Their website has a message board to help visiting runners find places to run.
Louisville Stoneware dates back to the 1800's. It's been owned by many, but the quality of their products remains intact. You can tour the facility and even paint your own piece of stoneware. They also have a great bargain table where they sell slightly imperfect items.
A great place to spend a rainy afternoon. This place has 4 ACRES of antiques and assorted things on four floors! Even if you're not into antiques, it's a fun place to visit.