|Louisville is a city in Kentucky and is the 16th largest city in the United States. Louisville is also the namesake of the Official Bat of Major League Baseball - the Louisville Slugger. |
Louisville's biggest draw is the annual horse races at Churchill Downs, but the city is making a concerted effort to draw tourists year round. You'll need a car to go anyplace interesting because, as with lots of Midwestern cities, local bus services are severely limited and other modes of transportation (e.g. taxis) are pretty expensive and not all that easy to arrange. The architecture in Old Louisville and the Highlands is one-of-a-kind, and the people are friendly.
• Louisville's park system was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the "Father of American Landscape Architecture." Many consider it to be his greatest achievement. Cherokee Park, Iroquois Park, and Shawnee Park are the Flagship Parks, while more than a dozen smaller parks make up Louisville's own "Emerald Necklace."
• Old Louisville is an architectural treasure trove. Just south of downtown, it is the third largest National Preservation District in the country and the largest Victorian district in the United States. A particularly beautiful area is St. James Court and Belgravia Court, which plays host each fall to the St. James Court Art Show. Faced with possible demolition in the 1970's, the area is now considered to be one of Louisville's best-kept secrets.
• Enjoy the view (day or night) of downtown Louisville from Ashland Park, on the Ohio River in neighboring Clarksville IN. Park the car and walk across the street to Widow's Walk, an ice-cream parlor/garden statue shop constructed to look like an old Victorian mansion.
• Downtown has the Louisville Slugger Museum, The Louisville Science Center, The Frazier Museum, and The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft all within a few blocks of each other on Main Street. The Kentucky Derby Museum is south of downtown next to the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs .
• Market Street has a number of art galleries. If you are in Louisville on the first Friday of the month, there is a free gallery hop around the downtown galleries, including a couple of glass studios. The Speed Art Museum is a more traditional art museum on the campus of the University of Louisville .
• For performing arts, there is Actors Theatre, The Louisville Orchestra, The Louisville Ballet, The Kentucky Opera, and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts .
Support Louisville's impressive number of locally-owned businesses by shopping in areas like the Highlands and Clifton/Frankfort Avenue. A local legend that has gained notoriety elsewhere is ear X-tacy, an independent music store with an extensive selection. Shops displaying 'Keep Louisville Weird' signs are members of a coalition of locally-owned businesses.
• Spinelli's - 614 Baxter Ave. late night (open until 5 am wed. to sat.) Philly pizza.
• Gumbo A Go-Go - 2109 Frankfort Ave. Excellent Cajun food. Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etoufee, Creole, etc. Try the drunk chicken, it's excellent. All meals are $5.00.
• Ramsi's Cafe on the World - 1293 Bardstown Rd. A local favorite.
• Kashmir Indian Restaurant - 1285 Bardstown Rd. Right next to Ramsi's Cafe on the World. Good, affordable Indian food.
• Lynn's Paradise Cafe - 984 Barret Ave. Another local favorite.
• The Granville - 1601 S 3rd St. Considered by many to be the best burgers in town.
• Melillos - 829 E Market St. Excellent New York style Italian.
• Avalon - 1314 Bardstown Rd.
• Le Relais, 2817 Taylorville Rd - Fine French food.
The 900 block of Baxter Avenue is a great place to drink and meet new people. O'Shea's, Flanagan's and Molly Malone's are the Irish-style staples with decent beer selections. The Rudyard Kipling and The Magnolia (Mag) Bar are two landmark taverns in Old Louisville.
There are a plethora of good coffeehouses in Louisville. Our local hero is Heine Bros Coffee. There are 2 locations in the Highlands, and 1 location in Crescent Hill. Other selections include Highland Coffee at 1140 Bardstown Rd/627 S 4th St and Old Louisville Coffee House at 1489 S 4th St.
There are three historic downtown hotels. They are:
• The Seelbach Hotel
• The Brown Hotel
• The Galt House
There are many other hotels around town and in downtown, but they are rather generic. If you're going to pay more for a hotel, you might as well get character as well.
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Louisville International Airport (SDF) is not a hub and therefore has few direct flights- you'll probably stop, and possibly change planes, in either St. Louis or Chicago. The airport is "International" in name only - there are once a week flights from Montreal and to Toronto! Too bad you can't fly with UPS whose huge all-points international air hub is here.
Several Interstates pass through Louisville: I-65, I-64 and I-71.
• I-71 (North-South) begins in Louisville and heads Northeast to Cincinnati and Cleveland.
• I-65 (North-South) will carry you from just outside Chicago, through Indianapolis North of Louisville and to the south through Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, all the way to the coast at Mobile.
• I-64 (East-West) travels east through Lexington, West Virginia, on into Richmond, and ends at the Atlantic Ocean in Newport News. To the west you'll find its beginning/end in Saint Louis, the "Gateway to the West"
A few years ago you could have spent 12 excruciating hours on Amtrak's "Kentucky Cardinal" coming from Chicago. But now it'll only get you as far as Indianapolis. A round trip used to cost as low as $30! From there you'll have to take a bus.
Greyhound (1-800-231-2222) services Louisville. Their depot is located at 720 W Muhammad Ali Blvd which is near the center of town.
• Courier-Journal - Local daily newspaper.
• Velocity - Weekly, local entertainment guide.