Explore the vibrant streets of Bourbon City, where each corner holds a story waiting to be told. From sipping bourbon to immersing yourself in the city's rich black heritage, Louisville offers an unforgettable journey for every traveler.
You’re going to cover a lot of ground in Bourbon City, so coffee first. Grab a Blak Boy Joy, signature iced espresso, and breakfast platter at Blak Koffee. It’s not your ordinary coffee shop, but more of a hangout for locals. Grab a smoothie and a big cinnamon roll if a big breakfast isn’t your thing!
Drive or walk to the end of Tenth and Main Streets until you find a riverwalk overlooking the Ohio River, where Louisville’s history began thanks to the Falls of the Ohio causing riverboats to stop along the riverfront to portage around the rock formations. Follow the multi-use path along the river that leads you to the (Un)Known Project’s “On the Banks of Freedom Public Art Installation.” Created by Kentucky-based artists William M. Duffy and Dave Caudill, “On the Banks of Freedom” is a creation of two limestone benches engraved with the names of those who were enslaved in Kentucky, along with portraits representing an enslaved man and woman. Intermingled within the names is the word unknown representing the people who lived but whose names are lost to history. The Ohio River historically served as the dividing line between Kentucky, a slave state, and Indiana, which was a free state. Around the base of the benches are broken chains symbolizing freedom.
Afterward, head over to the Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company, a true grain-to-bottle distillery that’s still family-owned, for a tour and tasting. After your tour, head back towards Main Street to explore Museum Row— home to several museums and distilleries within five walkable blocks. Learn about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® begins at the Frazier Kentucky History Museum. While at the museum, explore the exhibits on your own, or travel back in time with the Black Americans in Bourbon tour. You can even download the Frazier Museum’s self-guided, audio walking/driving tour, “The Journey: Unsung Stories of the Underground Railroad,” that takes you around Louisville and Southern Indiana.
It's hard to miss the 120-foot baseball bat across the street, signaling that you’ve arrived at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. You’ll understand why they’re known as “one of the greatest sports museums in the world” through their immersive experiences to highlight how baseball connects generations. Their factory tours put how it all began into perspective, but their special exhibits, such as "The Best Black Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of," make it personal to Louisville. If you’re feeling thirsty, book a tasting experience next door at Barrels & Billets to learn how to blend bourbon and craft your own bottle to take home. Nowhere else in town can you craft your very own blend of our favorite spirit.
No doubt that’s now time for lunch, and the Bristol Bar and Grille is the place to go for their famous green chili wontons, Bristol burger, and some Derby Pie®. This Louisville landmark and local favorite has been on the dining scene since 1977. If that doesn’t whet your appetite enough, it’s also a stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail®, which is a curated collection of local bars and restaurants featuring their robust bourbon offerings and bourbon-inspired food. You can download and access your passport anytime! Visit at least six participating locations to receive your official Urban Bourbon Trailblazer t-shirt.
Still looking for a sweet afternoon treat or a special snack to take home? Walk over to Art Eatables for a small-batch truffle™ created by founder Kelly Ramsey, who is the world’s first bourbon-certified chocolatier. With carefully selected chocolates and bourbons to complement one another, Art Eatables truffles are different than the traditional bourbon ball. Another Louisville original (and favorite), the Modjeska, is also available for purchase.
Just around the corner on Sixth Street, learn about Louisville’s native son and the “Greatest of All Time,” Muhammad Ali. The Muhammad Ali Center is a cultural attraction and international education center inspired by Ali’s guiding ideals. You can even walk in Ali’s footsteps with the Footsteps of Greatest self-guided tour that takes you to the influential Louisville places in his life from his childhood home to his final resting place at Cave Hill Cemetery.
Top off your afternoon with a tour at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to learn about Evan Williams who founded Kentucky’s first commercial distillery on the banks of the Ohio River. You can even meet Tom Bullock, the first African American person to write and publish a cocktail book in their speakeasy through the Ideal Bartender Experience, or just relax in their On3 Bar with an Old Fashioned, which was invented by Bullock.
Louisville is known for having some culinary treasures, and Dasha Barbours Southern Bistro’s fried chicken fits the bill. Every dish on this menu is Southern, soulful, and has large portions to share. If you have enough energy after dinner, don’t miss Actor’s Theatre’s production of “Loving and Loving”, that’s inspired by the lives of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who were arrested in 1958 for the crime of being married. (Running February 7-18.)
Or you can enjoy a nice stroll in the Nulu neighborhood and see Savant by local artist Braylyn ‘Resko’ Stewart at Revelry Gallery. Lastly, don’t forget dessert at Louisville Cream before heading back to your hotel.
For more trip additions, or to learn more about Louisville's Black Heritage, click here to discover experiences and attractions honoring the impact and influence of Black culture on Louisville.
Looking for additional culinary delights? Check out Yelp’s recommendations for “Top 10 Black-Owned Restaurants” in Louisville.
Click here for a collection of Black History Month events taking place around town.