From the expanded and renovated convention center to the thriving culinary scene and popular Urban Bourbon Trail, Louisville offers you and your attendees plenty of pre- and post-conference activities all within the downtown district. With Louisville’s unique brand of Southern hospitality and 6,000 hotels within walking distance of the convention center, it is easy to see why meeting attendees always have an unforgettable and fun time here.
Here are the top reasons to host your next event in the uniquely authentic city of Louisville.
The Kentucky International Convention Center completed a $207 million expansion and renovation in 2018, providing planners and attendees competitive pricing and a best in class convention center, making it one of the country’s premier convention centers.
The building’s exhibit space has increased from 146,000 to over 200,000 square feet of Class A space featuring a 40,000-sq.-ft, column-free ballroom. This main ballroom allows you to customize the venue to your needs with color-changing LED walls and has the kitchen capacity to create an astonishing 15,000 meals per day.
With 52 meeting rooms and a 175-seat tiered conference theater, the LEED Silver certified Kentucky International Convention Center is also home to 100,000 square feet of pre-function space, advanced Wi-Fi technology and features the unique Oak & Brew—an on-site coffee shop and bourbon bar, perfect for attendees to catch-up in between sessions.
Louisville is unique in that the downtown area is pedestrian friendly with iconic attractions and 130 restaurants within walking distance of the convention center.
From nightlife and historic museums to honoring heroes and enjoying a bit of sports fun—there’s plenty to explore in downtown Louisville. Save time to visit Whiskey Row, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center, the popular 4th Street Live, the Frazier History Museum and more.
No matter your group’s budget, the downtown area is home to affordable and upscale accommodations. Set among dining, nightlife and meeting venues is the historic Galt House Hotel & Suites located along the Ohio River and the historic Brown Hotel—both legends in the Louisville history. More affordable options in the downtown area include the Embassy Suites Louisville Downtown, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Louisville Downtown and the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown. Both the Hyatt Regency Louisville and the Marriott Louisville Downtown connect directly to the Kentucky International Convention Center.
In addition to the easily accessible nightlife and attractions, downtown Louisville is also home to seven bourbon distilleries and attractions.
The popular Urban Bourbon Trail features 44 bars and restaurants all home to at least 50 bourbons with some locations having as many as 250 bourbons.
Pick up an Urban Bourbon Trail® Passport at the nearby Louisville Visitor Center, located at 4th & Jefferson Streets. Collect six stamps in your passport by visiting any of the 44 establishments and redeem your passport for an Urban Bourbon Trailblazer T-shirt.
Some of the downtown stops on the Urban Bourbon Trail include the 8up Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen, featuring great views of the downtown neighborhood— and a variety of bourbon too. The Corner Restaurant & Bar features more than 60 bourbons for tasting and sipping. Located on Whiskey Row, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar features 100 wines, 30 beers and a variety of bourbon alongside American Southern cuisine and barbecue.
From educational sessions and distillery tours to tastings and event space— treat your attendees to an off-site event at one of Louisville’s unique bourbon venues. Popular distilleries in the downtown area include Angel’s Envy Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse and Kentucky Peerless Distillery.
Get ready for great eats during your time in Louisville. From upscale dinner meetings at Bob’s Steak & Chop House to casual barbecue lunches at FeastBBQ, you’ll find something for all budgets and taste buds in the area.
USA Today named Louisville one of “America’s Best Local Food Scenes,” and National Geographic also chose the city as one of the top 10 food cities in 2017. Louisville and other cities in Kentucky are also the setting for this season of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” series, with a recent episode showcasing Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and head chef David Danielson.
Louisville is where James Beard meets Jim Beam with many restaurants pairing bourbon and spirits with local favorites. Don’t miss tasting the succulent Hot Brown—made famous at the Brown Hotel. This is a legendary open-faced sandwich made with turkey, bacon, tomatoes and cheesy Mornay sauce— all served hot. To find other restaurants that serve this delicacy, check out the Hot Brown Hop.
Local favorites in the downtown area include the trendy Proof on Main featuring American food with Tuscan influences all while focusing on artisan products and sustainable farming. After a long day of meetings, stop in at Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen to catch up with colleagues and grab a bite to eat, surrounded by a true “honky-tonk” ambience . For an upscale night of dining, the English Grill at The Brown Hotel is a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant named “the finest restaurant in the city” by Wine Spectator magazine.
With so many distilleries and award-winning restaurants in close proximity, there’s no wonder the culinary scene is so imaginative and continues to set trends.
You’ll always find a friendly, smiling face ready to make you feel at home in Louisville. The locals will show you firsthand why Travel + Leisure named the city one of the “Friendliest Cities in America”.
From site inspections and locating the perfect facility for your needs to on-site concierge services and skilled registration staff and more, the Convention Sales and Convention Services team at Louisville Tourism are local experts to help you plan a successful event. With over 75 years of combined experience, the team is always striving to take events to the next level.
Work together with the team to bring your next convention to Louisville, and allow your group to take advantage of the world-class Kentucky International Convention Center.