Home to a booming Bourbon scene, sport icons like Muhammad Ali and the Kentucky Derby, an eclectic menu of local & regional foods, and a diverse collection of walkable neighborhoods, Louisville is an under-the-radar destination great for visitors searching for an authentic travel experience. It's no wonder why the city has been named to both Travel + Leisure and Frommer's Guide Book's lists of Top Places to Visit in 2024.
FESTIVAL & EVENTS
Continuing its title of the longest continuously held annual sporting event in the US, the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on the first Saturday in May. Considered one of the biggest horse races in the world, the event has never missed a year since 1875. The 2024 race will also mark the unveiling of the recently redesigned Churchill Downs Paddock area, which will be wrapping up a $200 million renovation to the National Historic Landmark.
Less than 10 days after the Kentucky Derby, the 2024 PGA Championship will be held at the Valhalla Golf Club in East Louisville, May 13-19. One of the four men's major championships in professional golf, this prestigious event moves around the US annually and has not been held in Louisville since 2014.
A new Broadway musical titled ALI is set to make its worldwide debut in downtown Louisville at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in the Fall of 2024. The production will highlight the life and legacy of Louisville native Muhammad Ali with a creative team comprised of Louisville Orchestra's Musical Director, Teddy Abrams, Direction by Clint Dyer, and music and lyrics by Q-Tip among others.
Named the “Largest Rock Festival in America,” Louder Than Life will return for its 10th year in September 2024. Last year's lineup of musicians included headliners Foo Fighters, Tool, Avenged Sevenfold, and Green Day all taking the stage over the four-day event. Local food and drink culture is on display during the festival, offerings pop-ups from popular Kentucky Bourbon brands and local Louisville restaurants.
BOURBON & BEER
GRAMMY Award and Nobel Prize-winning American songwriter Bob Dylan is opening a bar, restaurant, and music venue inside a 150-year-old church in Louisville’s vibrant NuLu neighborhood. A homeplace and brand experience for Dylan’s co-owned whiskey brand Heaven’s Door, The Last Refuge will feature a retail store selling Heaven’s Door products, Dylan’s albums and books, a bar with a towering whiskey wall featuring over 1,500 whiskey brands, and a music venue occupying the church’s former sanctuary on the second level. Phase 2 of the project will include the opening of an accompanying art experience to showcase some of Dylan’s artwork, multimedia displays, and curated work by other Kentucky artists. Set to be open by early 2024.
Co-hosts of popular whiskey podcast, Bourbon Pursuit, will open a new visitor experience for bourbon aficionados in downtown Louisville on Main Street in Fall 2024. Only steps away from other recently opened bourbon experiences, Pursuit Spirits will join a barrage of tasting rooms and experiences opening in Bourbon City and allow guests to pick their favorite barrel and fill their bottle, along with offering unique education and hosting limited bottle releases.
A new 7,500-square-foot brewery and taproom is scheduled to be opened by early 2024 in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood. The 10-barrel brewhouse will focus on grain-forward, clean lagers to highlight the unique flavor of Kentucky-grown barley, rye, and wheat through a partnership with South Fork Malthouse (Cynthiana, KY), along with other modern IPAs and stouts.
MUSEUMS, EXHIBITS & ATTRACTIONS
Opening in the heart of Downtown Louisville, this $80 million project will be the first major gaming center to come to the area and feature 500 slots-like historical horse racing machines and three unique bar concepts: a main-level sports bar with a stage for music and live entertainment, a premium bourbon library, and an elegant wine and charcuterie lounge. A retail and merchandise store will be located on the street level where guests can shop for Kentucky Derby-themed merchandise. Opening late 2023.
In honor of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Derby Museum will be launching two new exhibits to give visitors a more complete understanding of the Derby experience. Opening first, the Riders Up! exhibit will simulate riding in the Kentucky Derby through the decades and allow guests to race one another in a virtual gaming experience. Next, a yet-to-be-named exhibit will chronicle 150 years of Kentucky Derby fashion with ensembles from various decades along with modern, iconic pieces.
Opening in Louisville's Oxmoor Center early in the year and adjacent to the newly opened Topgolf, Puttshack will offer high-tech mini golf in an indoor setting. A full-scale bar, food, and an outdoor patio will also be available in between games.
Coming to the NuLu neighborhood in the Spring of 2024, this new-build hotel will feature 130 rooms across six stories and a rooftop bar. The property will be within walking distance of some of the city's top restaurants along with Bourbon distilleries, Louisville Slugger Field, and the city's extreme skate park.
Set to open in Downtown Louisville in the Summer of 2024, the Derby City Hotel will be located one block from historic Whiskey Row. This $60 million Canopy by Hilton branded project will bring 168 rooms, a rooftop pool & bar, and a restaurant by popular Louisville restauranteur Kevin Grangier (Le Moo, Grassa Gramma, Village Anchor).