Named one of the "Best Places to Travel in September" by The Points Guy, experience the nation's largest rock music festival, cultures from around the world, theatrical performances, and an abundance of Bourbon, all without leaving Louisville this Bourbon Heritage Month.
WorldFest | August 31 - September 4 | FREE
Louisville’s WorldFest is one of the region’s largest international festivals, with nearly 150 international-themed arts, crafts, merchandise, and food booths. Taking place every Labor Day Weekend in Downtown Louisville on the Belvedere, this five-day festival has celebrated cultures from around the world for more than two decades.
Parrotheads in Paristown | September 1 & 2
Parrotheads in Paristown is a two-day music festival featuring a stellar lineup of the nation’s top Jimmy Buffett tribute artists and trop rock bands. "Parrotheads" and live music lovers alike will want to flock to the newly redeveloped Paristown district for this second annual festival taking place over Labor Day weekend.
Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy | September 6-17
Back by popular demand Kate Hamill’s thrilling Dracula is back to historic Actors Theatre of Louisville this Fall. In this inventive adaptation that bounces between humor and horror, Hamill reimagines Bram Stoker’s vampire classic as a full-throated battle cry against toxic masculinity. No damsels in distress, no romanticized villains—just a gleeful stake through the heart of the patriarchy.
Free Movie Nights at Iroquois Amphitheater | September 6, 20 & 27 | FREE
Taking place in South Louisville in Fredrick Law Olmsted-designed Iroquois Park, the Iroquois Park Amphitheater will play host to three free movie nights this September. Catch Star Trek: Into Darkness on Sept. 6, Godzilla on Sept. 20, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Sept. 27. Gates to the open-air venue will open at 7:30 for concessions and door prizes, with the feature starting as the sun sets around 8:30pm.
Oktoberfest at the German American Club | September 8 & 9
Head to the German American Club for one of their biggest events of the year. The annual Oktoberfest celebration will feature German food, pretzels by Klaus, imported beers, live music, and plenty of Gemütlichkeit. The Friday night Oktoberfest will last from 4-11pm, and the Saturday event will occur from 2pm until midnight. The River City Polkatz will play each night, with Rheingold band also making an appearance on Saturday. The cost for the event is $5 for adults and free for children.
Louisville Thoroughbred Society Polo Cup | September 9
Presented by Woodford Reserve, this annual Bourbon Heritage Month event takes place at the historic Oxmoor Farm Polo Fields and brings together world-class design, hospitality, and the "Sport of Kings." Professional polo players from across the country will compete in one of America’s most opulent Polo Cups while spectators cheers champagne, sip fine Bourbon, and mingle amongst a crowd of chic and glamorous guests. Tickets are limited, with General Admission, VIP, Corporate, and other ticket packages available.
Louisville Pride Festival | September 9 | FREE
Held every September in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, this annual block party has become a staple end-of-summer event. The 2023 entertainment lineup includes John Austin Clark, Robbie Bartlett, members of the Louisville Orchestra, Siena Liggins, Bungalow Betty, and a special reunion performance with Carol Kraemer and Laura Shine. The festival is held across multiple blocks on Bardstown Road, which is also home to some of the city’s most popular LGBTQ bars, including Chill Bar and Big Bar, which stay open late after the festival ends.
Big Four Arts Festival | September 9 & 10
The 7th annual Big Four Bridge Arts Festival will be held on Waterfront Park’s Big Four Lawn at the base of the popular Big Four Walking Bridge. Over 150 juried artists will set up shop along the Ohio River during the two-day event, featuring paintings, jewelry, sculptures, photography, and live music. Tickets for the event are just $5 and can be purchased online or at the entrance to the festival.
Gaslight Festival Week | September 10-17
Centered around the small-town ambiance of Gaslight Square, the Gaslight Festival has evolved into an eight-day extravaganza that has become a time-honored tradition of East Louisville's Jeffersontown (J-Town) community. The festival's signature events include a car show, golf scramble, 5K run, parade, balloon glow, motorcycle rally, live entertainment, and over 200 arts, crafts, and commercial booths.
Bourbon & Beyond | September 14-17
Proclaimed the "World's Biggest Bourbon & Music Festival, Bourbon & Beyond is back and bigger than ever with a four-day lineup of award-winning musicians. Headliners for the 2023 festival include Brandi Carlile, The Killers, The Black Keys, and Bruno Mars. In addition to incredible music, more than a dozen distilleries will be on-site, offering over 100 different varieties of rare, vintage, and experimental bourbon expressions to taste. Culinary experiences include intoxicating celebrity and Kentucky chef demos, great eats from local restaurants, and a few surprises along the way.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival | September 15-17
Located just 45 minutes south of downtown Louisville in Bardstown, KY, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival has celebrated Kentucky Bourbon for over 30 years. Both single-day and three-day passes are available for this annual Bourbon Heritage Month tradition, which highlights America’s only native spirit through tastings, dinners, auctions, and the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay. Bourbon enthusiasts can sip their favorite hard-to-find bourbons or get signature cocktails prepared by pro mixologists.
An Evening with Diana Ross | September 16
Named the "Female Entertainer of the Century" by Billboard, former The Supremes lead singer Diana Ross will take the stage at the historic Louisville Palace Theater in downtown Louisville in mid-September.
Louisville Water Lantern Festival | September 16
The annual Louisville Water Lantern Festival takes place at the city's Waterfront Park on the banks of the Ohio River. General admission adult tickets include entry to the festival, one floating lantern kit, marker, drawstring bag, access to food trucks, playing cards, and a scavenger hunt giveaway entry. Individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life will enjoy the incredible sight of thousands of floating lanterns reflecting unique messages of love, hope, and happiness.
PNC Broadway presents: WICKED | September 20 - October 8
Broadway sensation WICKED will be coming to the Kentucky Center with two dozen performances taking place in downtown Louisville this Fall. With a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good,” WICKED has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade.”
Louder Than Life | September 21-24
Named the “Largest Rock Festival in America” in 2019 Louder Than Life will feature an incredible lineup of musicians, with headliners Foo Fighters, Tool, Avenged Sevenfold, and Green Day all taking the stage over the four-day event. Local food and drink culture will also be incorporated into the festival’s culinary offerings with pop-ups from popular Kentucky Bourbon brands and local Louisville restaurants. Single-day, Weekend General Admission, VIP, and Top Shelf passes are currently on sale.
NuLu Fest | September 23 | FREE
Once named "One of the Coolest Neighborhoods in North America," Louisville's East Market District, or NuLu, will have its annual neighborhood street fest on the last Saturday in September. Known for its art galleries, unique retail stores, and some of the most popular restaurants in the city, the neighborhood block party will feature live music, regional micro-brewed beers, Bourbon, and numerous food and retail booths by local vendors.
Downs After Dark | September 23 (Live Racing September 14-30)
One of Louisville’s longest-running traditions extends its hours just a few times a year for what Churchill Downs has coined Downs After Dark. With gates opening at 5pm and the last horse race past 11pm, racing fans will have a chance to see Churchill Downs in a new light. Live music, festive attire, and classic cocktails add to the excitement with general admission tickets starting at $20. If you can't make it to night racing, Churchill Downs will offer live racing Thursdays - Sundays, September 14-30, as part of their September meet.
Paristown Art Festival | September 29 & 30 | FREE
The first-ever Paristown Art Festival will take place over the last weekend of September in the heart of the newly revitalized Paristown Arts District. This two-day event will take over Brent Street and Christy's Garden and feature dozens of painters, photographers, jewelry-makers, designers, wood artisans, and more. Enjoy dining and cocktails at The Village Market Food Hall or The Café throughout the weekend, and a soft-opening concert on Friday night. The festival will be open from 5-7:30pm on Friday and 10am-6pm on Saturday.
Asian Night Market | September 30 | FREE
Sponsored by the Asia Institute – Crane House, this free event at Fourth Street Live! features cuisine, culture, and entertainment from all around Asia. The event kicks off at 5pm and also highlights local entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community who are of Asian heritage.
Steins on Main | September 30
A new Oktoberfest celebration for 2023, Steins on Main is hitting Downtown Louisville on Saturday, September 30, from 2 pm to 7 pm at RePurposed, a multi-use outdoor event venue on historic Main Street (615 W. Main Street). The outdoor celebration will include German-inspired cuisine, games and contests, music, and local breweries, bringing traditional Bavarian festivities to the heart of downtown, and benefiting the Coalition for the Homeless, a local nonprofit with a mission to prevent and end homelessness in Louisville.
For a round up of Halloween activities taking place this Fall click here.