Seasonal Story Ideas
GET A TASTE OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY
The longest continually held sporting event in the U.S. continues in 2023 with the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. Once hailed by Magic Johnson as “the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras all rolled into one”, the Derby has become a springtime holiday with its own distinct culture. For starters, locals roll out a unique menu from appetizers to desserts to cocktails. Start with triangle-cut Benedictine sandwiches using the curious light green cucumber spread Benedictine, invented by Louisville caterer Jennie Benedict in the late 1800s. Next you’ll want to dive into a Kentucky Hot Brown, an open-faced hot turkey, bacon, cheese and tomato sandwich invented at the Brown Hotel, which will celebrate 100 years since its opening in 2023. For dessert try Derby-Pie®, the official pie of the Kentucky Derby, invented at a local inn in the 1950s. Or, try Bourbon Balls, a delicacy invented by two Kentucky ex-teachers in the 1930s. Lastly, you’ll want to wash it all down with a Mint Julep, the iconic Kentucky Derby cocktail that mixes up Bourbon, sugar, water and mint, in a signature silver julep cup. The official hotel of the Kentucky Derby, The Galt House, celebrated 50 years in 2022 and features a rotating rooftop restaurant (Swizzle) and legendary bourbon bar, Jockey Silks.
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.
$1 BILLION INVESTMENT IN LOUISVILLE-AREA PARKS
Home to the country’s largest municipal urban forest (Jefferson Memorial) and one of only four completed Frederick Law Olmsted parkway systems in the US, Louisville has plenty of outdoor space to explore. Nearly 700 acres are currently under development in the area anchored by Southern Indiana’s Origin Park, a 600-acre, $1 billion project located directly across the river from downtown Louisville. Just west of downtown, phase IV of Waterfront Park has broken ground on an additional 22 acres planned for the already 85-acre Louisville staple. Butchertown’s Waterfront Botanical Gardens is underway with $65 million planned for the 23-acre site. Previously a landfill, the attraction will feature a Japanese garden, conservatory and Visitors Center. The Japanese Garden is currently under construction with plans to be open by late 2024.
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.
Louisville neighborhoods are seeing an emergence of boutique properties retrofitted in reclaimed spaces. 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. The Bellwether offers “invisible service” with online check-in and keypad entry and is housed in an early 1900s police station. NuLu’s 16-room Hancock House has a similar check-in process and is located in what was once a neighborhood grocery store. Also in NuLu, Hotel Genevieve, opening Spring of 2023, is a new-build property making headlines due to its unique style, rooftop bar, speakeasy, and Parisian-inspired café and restaurant.