Seasonal Story Ideas
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BOURBON BEYOND THE DISTILLERY
Louisville has reclaimed its Bourbon heritage over the past decade with the opening of 10 urban distilleries since 2013. Now, Bourbon lovers can explore beyond the distillery with unique attractions, restaurants, and hotels all while soaking up Bourbon City culture. Have a VIP Bourbon tasting at Hermitage Farm’s Barn6 to enjoy some of Kentucky’s top Bourbons in a working horse barn alongside resident thoroughbreds, or attend an Old Fashioned cocktail-making class at the Frazier History Museum to learn about the city’s official cocktail. Dine inside a barrel at North of Bourbon where foodies can get a taste of New Orleans-inspired dishes while dining in an oversized replica Bourbon barrel. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is taking a swing at Kentucky’s Bourbon boom with their new experience Barrels & Billets which allows whiskey lovers to sample and create their own whiskey based on individual flavor preferences. Visitors can rest overnight at night at Bourbon-themed accommodations like the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel Distil, B&B style Chateau Bourbon, Louisville Marriott East, or the Omni Hotel.
ANNIVERSARIES TO HAVE ON YOUR RADAR IN 2023
Turning 100 years old in 2023, the historic Brown Hotel is a Georgian-Revival-style, 293-room hotel property located in downtown Louisville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places you may recognize the hotel as being the birthplace of the iconic Kentucky Hot Brown, an opened-face turkey, tomato, cheese, and bacon sandwich invented a few years after the hotel’s founding on October 25, 1923. 2023 will also be the 50th anniversary of both the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and famous thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat’s historic Kentucky Derby and
Triple Crown wins. The Kentucky Derby Museum plans to highlight Secretariat’s extraordinary career in a new exhibit that will be unveiled in the spring of ‘23. 2023 will mark a decade since the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience became the first Bourbon distillery to come to downtown Louisville since pre-prohibition. Their opening in 2013 marked a turning point in the city’s Bourbon boom and was a key component to Louisville becoming Bourbon City. The Big Four Bridge also opened in 2013 and played a transformative role for Jeffersonville, Indiana, a small artsy community connected by the bridge to Louisville’s Waterfront Park. With an estimated 1.5 million people spilling into the town each year the area has undergone a renaissance adding restaurants & bars, apartments, parks, and even a hotel.
BOURBON CITY’S BLACK HERITAGE
A collection of immersive Black Heritage experiences launched in the Spring of 2021 as part of Louisville Tourism’s Unfiltered Truth Collection, which celebrates the impact of African American contributions on Louisville’s history, heritage, and culture through stories many have never heard. Experiences include Unfolding the Story of The Enslaved at Locust Grove where visitors learn first-hand what life was like for the enslaved who worked and lived on the 19th-century farmstead; The Ideal Bartender Experience at Evan Williams Bourbon Experience where guests will meet an actor portraying Louisville native, Tom Bullock; as well as additional experiences at Roots 101 African American Museum and the Frazier History Museum.
LOUISVILLE ON FOOT
Louisville is the only city in the world where spirits lovers can walk between a half dozen Bourbon distilleries. Within a 1.7-mile stretch, you’ll find Rabbit Hole, Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Evan Williams, Peerless, and Michter’s distilleries allowing this portion of Main Street to live up to its pre-prohibition name of “Whiskey Row.” Also, on Main Street you’ll find a stellar lineup of attractions including the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Muhammad Ali Center, Roots 101 African American Museum, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, and the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft (KMAC), which are all located under a 1-mile stretch. Derby City Gaming will join downtown’s lineup of attractions in 2023 with a 43,000 sq. ft. historical wagering facility offering slots-like gaming and three new themed bars.
150 YEARS OF TOM BULLOCK
Born on October 18, 1872, this Louisville native is known as being the first African American to pen and publish a cocktail book with his pre- Prohibition manual The Ideal Bartender. Bullock has ties to Louisville’s Pendennis Club where he is said to have started as a Bellboy before working his way up to Head Bartender. The club is known as the birthplace of the Old Fashioned cocktail and some even point to Bullock as its original creator. Attend the Ideal Bartender Experience at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to learn more about the mixologist and Louisville’s whiskey history with a cocktail-making demonstration and an actor portraying Bullock as your tour host and bartender.
Louisville neighborhoods are seeing an emergence of boutique properties retrofitted in reclaimed spaces. NuLu’s 16-room Hancock House opened in early 2019 in what was once a neighborhood grocery store. The property offers “invisible service” with online check-in and keypad entry. The Bellwether has a similar check-in process and is housed in an early 1900s Police Station. Joining the Bellwether in the Highlands neighborhood, the Discotel will open in the former site of a disco ball factory in spring 2023. In downtown Louisville you’ll find the 51-room Grady Hotel, an 1883 building that was once a pharmacy where prescriptions of “medicinal Bourbon” were filled. Down the street from the Grady, 21c Louisville, the flagship property of the boutique hotel brand which contributes 91-rooms along with a contemporary lobby/art museum, packaged nicely into a group of five separate warehouses that once housed tobacco and Bourbon products.
NEW ERA OF CHEFS ADD DIVERSITY & FLAVOR
Located in NuLu, La Bodeguita de Mima was opened in 2020 by Cuban immigrant and Chef Fernando Martinez. You won’t be able to miss the brightly yellow painted exterior and Cuban-inspired décor that transports guests back in time to 1950’s Cuba. Martinez’s wife, Cristina, brings
flavors from her home country of Venezuela with her own restaurant Señora Arepa. Also in NuLu, The Seafood Lady and local celebrity chef Nichelle Thurston is cooking Southern-inspired dishes at her newest location. Darnell Ferguson is rising in the ranks of Louisville restaurant royalty with his opening of Tha Drippin’ Crab, which is in West Louisville’s Russel neighborhood. You may recognize Ferguson from his multiple TV appearances on The Food Network, TODAY Show, and The Cooking Channel. Black chefs and restauranteurs Pamela Haines (Sweet Peaches) and Lucretia Thompson (Lucretia’s Kitchen) are also adding to Russel’s revival with their Southern-inspired soul food. Mexico City-born Jesus Martinez moved to Louisville in 2011 while working with Brown-Forman. Martinez missed his home-style Mexican breakfasts and started 23-seat Con Huevos in 2015. Seven years later Con Huevos has become one of the city’s top brunch spots and offers three locations. Adding to the city’s myriad of Mexican offerings is NuLu’s Guacamole Modern Mexican which is owned by Habana, Cuba native Yaniel Martinez and comes complete with a Tulum Room and Frida Kahlo mural outside its second-story rooftop deck.
HISTORY & HAUNTS IN OLD LOUISVILLE
Louisville is well-known for its variety of architectural styles - from traditional to modern to somewhere in between. Just one mile south of downtown you’ll find Old Louisville, a registered historic district that owns the bragging rights of having the largest collection of restored Victorian mansions in the country. Originally home to Louisville’s Southern Exposition (1883-1887), you’ll now find more than 40 city blocks of Beaux Arts, Cateauesque, Italianate, Neoclassical and Queen Anne style homes. Learn about the history of the homes and neighborhood during a daytime Old Louisville Historic Walking Tour or take a nightly haunted ghost tour to learn why Old Louisville was once named “One of America’s Most Haunted Neighborhoods.” For an overnight stay in the area, visitors can rest their heads in one of the neighborhood’s many Bed & Breakfasts like the Louisville Bourbon Inn (circa 1870), Historic Rocking Horse Manor (circa 1888) or Columbine Bed & Breakfast (circa 1896). From architecture to the arts, the neighborhood is also home to the longest-running free Shakespeare festival in the U.S. (Kentucky Shakespeare Festival), Kentucky’s oldest, largest, and foremost museum of art (Speed Art Museum), and the annual St. James Court Art Show which is held over three days every first full weekend in October.