Louisville is a city of originals. It’s a city with a sense of self, defined according to its own terms. Louisville balances longstanding traditions with an increasingly progressive way of life, embraces diverse cultural roots, and mixes urban excitement with cozy neighborhoods and resplendent natural areas.
Likewise, Louisville provides an original and unexpected experience for visitors.
No visit to Louisville would be complete without the bucket-list experience of Churchill Downs, home of the world’s most famous thoroughbred horserace: the Kentucky Derby. Purists nostalgic for the time-honored traditions of old Kentucky can find their pleasure on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail or the Urban Bourbon Trail or relive a bygone era aboard the historic Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat in the nation, now over 100 years old!
The arts are alive and well in Louisville. Both the casual observer and the devoted patron of the arts will find themselves enamored with the diversity of museums, theatrical performances, and live music venues.
For the history buff, the neighborhood of Old Louisville is home to one of the largest historic preservation districts in the nation. Visitors will find the country’s greatest collection of preserved Victorian architecture. Alternatively, guests can find a fresher look at history with a visit to the Muhammad Ali Center where they’ll experience exhibits that tell the life story of Louisville’s most famous native son.
Known for its numerous parks, Louisville has always known the importance of beautiful greenspace. The city’s park system was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, undoubtedly the most prominent landscape architect of our time. Louisville’s Waterfront Park stands as the gold-standard for other cities looking to reclaim public space. Louisville is so committed to understanding the value of its parks it wants to be known as the “City of Parks.” As part of the initiative, the Parklands of Floyds Fork has begun. The Parklands includes four major parks linked by a park drive, a world-class urban trail system and a remarkable water trail, all tracing Floyds Fork, a classic Kentucky stream. This nearly 4,000 acres development is unique in the region and unlike anything currently in development across the country. Jefferson Memorial Forest in south Louisville is the nation’s largest urban forest offering more than 30 miles of hiking trails through a designated wildlife refuge within view of downtown Louisville. Part of the soon to be completed Louisville Loop connecting the city’s parks by a paved walkway, visitors will be able to stroll from the Jefferson Memorial Forest all the way to Waterfront Park. For walkers, runners, or cyclists; Cherokee Park is known most to the locals as the hub for some of the best walking routes and better yet....hiking/biking trails!
Louisville’s growing food reputation is putting the city on the culinary map. And it’s not just the city’s eclectic, innovative and award-winning restaurant scene, but also locally made products that are setting the city apart. Saveur Magazine recently honored Louisville with a Notable Award for Best Culinary City in Restaurants and Dining. For the past two years, Southern Living magazine has named Louisville as one of the “top 10 tastiest towns in the South,” and Zagat named Louisville “one of the top eight ‘awesome foodie getaways in the world’” – the only US destination. The range of restaurants includes elegant white-tablecloth establishments, intriguing ethnic places and creative bistros. In fact, the restaurant community is so unique that a group of local & independent restaurateurs have joined forces calling themselves the Louisville Originals.