Downtown Louisville: Explore the Heart of the City : Official Travel Source

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Downtown Louisville

Explore Downtown's three main districts: Whiskey Row, Museum Row & South Fourth Street

Downtown Louisville is a vibrant and historic district that offers something for everyone. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's rich history and architecture, experiencing the local culture and cuisine, diving into a distillery experience or enjoying outdoor activities along the Ohio River, there's no shortage of things to see and do. From the Muhammad Ali Center and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and Waterfront Park, the area is home to a range of cultural attractions that are sure to please. Downtown Louisville is a must-do experience that offers a unique blend of entertainment, education, and fun. Explore its three main districts to learn more.


Lining downtown Louisville’s Main Street are some of the oldest buildings in the city, built between the 1850s and early 1900s. The Revivalist and Chicago School-style buildings with cast-iron facades are the largest collection in the U.S., second only to SoHo in New York City.

Louisville’s Whiskey Row is seeing a revival with new distilleries and attractions re-inhabiting the area that once served as home to the Bourbon industry from the mid-to-late 1800s. Museum Row is home to notable museums all within a few walkable blocks.

Named one of the best Main Streets in America, this downtown thoroughfare is a must for Bourbon experiences and some of the city’s most iconic attractions.


As the city’s primary retail and entertainment corridor for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Fourth Street was the place to see and be seen. Folks flocked to the area to enjoy an evening out at the theater, dine and shop, especially at the old Stewart’s Department Store (now an Embassy Suites), where they came decked out in their finest attire. After undergoing a recent retail revitalization, South Fourth Street has once again become a trendy place for local shopping, dining and attractions. The 500 and 600 blocks of the street have been dubbed Sou4th.

Est. 1778

Downtown Bourbon Experiences

Explore Louisville's walkable collection of immersive bourbon attractions.

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Whiskey Row & Museum Row


No matter what your taste buds are, the Whiskey Row and Museum Row area has an abundance of dining options. There’s Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Cafe Downtown for breakfast or lunch, known for its homemade biscuits, sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries. If you’re craving pizza, there’s Bearno’s and Luigi’s. For straightforward Southern cuisine, there’s Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar or Dasha Barbours Southern Bistro. For a tasty burger, try Sidebar or Mussel & Burger Bar. For Mexican, there’s Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant or Zombie Taco at Bar Moxy. For quick, yummy pub fare, there’s O’Shea’s Downtown and Troll Pub Under the Bridge. For upscale dining, pop into Proof on Main, where fresh, local and seasonal ingredients inspire the restaurant’s ever-evolving menu or visit one of downtown’s steakhouses like Morton’s, Jeff Ruby’s or Repeal. Inside the Galt House Hotel, you’ll find Walker’s Exchange and Swizzle, a rotating restaurant and bar high atop the hotel overlooking the Ohio River. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a stop at Ehrler’s Ice Cream, a 150-year-old area tradition.


The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience gives visitors an insider’s look at the process of crafting Kentucky Bourbon at an artisanal distillery. Old Forester Distillery’s tour has an on-site cooperage, urban rickhouse and bottling line, along with George’s Bar. After an extensive restoration, Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery in the 19th-century building named for the historic fort that once protected Louisville. Distillery tours end with tastings and guests are welcome in The Bar at Fort Nelson, an elegant second-floor space overlooking Main Street. At Hillerich & Bradsby Co.’s Barrels & Billets, you’ll learn about the art of whiskey making and create your own blend that you can take home. The newly opened Bardstown Bourbon Company features interactive education and tasting experiences.

The KFC Yum! Center
is a 22,000-seat, state-of-the-art downtown arena that continuously hosts a who’s who of musical acts and performances.

Founded in 1964, Actors Theatre of Louisville occupies a theater complex with three performance stages. The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, just a few blocks away, is home to the Louisville Ballet, Louisville Orchestra, StageOne Family Theatre and the PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville series, as well as numerous community theater performances throughout the year. The Louisville Comedy Club brings local and national comedic acts to Whiskey Row.

Museum Row on Main Street boasts several one-of-a-kind attractions within its stretch of walkable blocks. From history to Bourbon to modern art, there is something for everyone, including Frazier History Museum (home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center), Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Kentucky Science Center, KMAC Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Roots 101 African-American Museum, and 21c Museum Hotel, whose art exhibits are free and open 24/7 to the public.

For nightlife, there’s a cocktail bar Expo and hidden speakeasies Wild Swann and Hell or High Water. If you want live music, head to Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar or Number 15.

Relax after a night out at Pelo West or Bourbon & Blush, both offering a wide range of salon and services.


A trip down Whiskey Row wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Art Eatables, a premier Bourbon chocolatier known for its Bourbon chocolate truffles. Duluth Trading Co. is home to men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, including its popular “Buck Naked”™ underwear line. The Shoppes at The Galt House Hotel include Third Floor Spirits & More (liquor, chocolates and souvenirs), Hey Lady! (women’s clothing and accessories), Koi Gallery (jewelry, art and gifts) and Talbott Fashions (men’s clothing and shoes). The KMAC Shop has a variety of handmade decorative and functional art pieces while the Frazier Museum Store has culinary goods, jewelry and rare Bourbon bottles among other souvenirs.

South Fourth Street


Treat yourself to a Mint Julep or an Old Fashioned at The Brown Hotel Lobby Bar & Grill before ordering Louisville’s Official Sandwich – the world-famous Hot Brown. It was created at the hotel in the 1920s and has been a fixture on the menu ever since, inspiring other versions across the state.

For elevated views and cuisine, go to 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen. This open-air rooftop bar and restaurant is located on the 8th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. During the winter months, you’ll find themed igloos, perfect for parties and special occasions. The historic Seelbach Hotel is the location of Tom and Daisy’s wedding in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. Head to the Old Seelbach Bar, which conjures an opulent, early 1900s vibe worthy of Jay Gatsby himself, to order a Seelbach cocktail.

Look for the Tom Bullock mural outside of Sway, the Hyatt Regency Louisville’s restaurant, which serves farm-to-fork Southern-inspired fare.

If you’re in the mood for seafood or steak, there’s Brendon’s Catch 23. This official stop on the city’s Urban Bourbon Trail® boasts a selection of more than 100 Bourbons.

Fourth Street Live!
is filled with restaurants to suit any taste or mood. It’s home to Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, where the celebrity chef’s passion for barbecue is evident. For meat lovers, Brazeiros Brazilian Steakhouse serves up carnivorous delights and gourmet sides. For German-crafted beer and eclectic American food, there’s Gordon Biersch Brewery. Pizza Bar boasts many pies and slices, and TGI Fridays serves classic American fare.

For your sweet tooth, there’s The Fudgery. A short walk south on Fourth Street, you’ll find even more restaurants and bars. For Mexican food, there’s La Terraza and Mi Casita on 4th. Sicilian Pizza & Pasta offers an array of melt-in-your-mouth pizzas, including the Kentucky Hot Brown, which is piled high with roast turkey, bacon and cheese sauce.

For a craft cocktail, Meta is a must. You’ll find classics as well as playfully modern concoctions. Enjoy specialty cocktails, like the Oliver Lewis Old Fashioned, named for the jockey who rode Aristides across the Kentucky Derby’s first finish line in the elegant Black Jockeys Lounge.


Experience the thrill of Derby City Gaming Downtown, a newly opened 43,000-square-foot entertainment complex with three unique bars and lounges, live entertainment, sports betting and historical racing machines.

See a show at the Louisville Palace, which originally opened as a movie theater in 1928 and now hosts internationally renowned musicians, comedians and performing arts events. The Palace is famous for its ornate interior baroque architecture and design.

Nearby, Mercury Ballroom is another excellent place to catch performances by both national and up-and-coming artists. Embark on an adventure at Locked-In: The Louisville Escape Game, where you and your group engage in immersive challenges and puzzles.

Louisville entertainment district Fourth Street Live! is an epicenter of nightclubs. With 35+ HDTVs, The Sports & Social Club is a great place to watch the game and enjoy classic pub food. For dancing, head to Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. For bull riding, mosey over to PBR Louisville. For a comedy show, check out Laugh Louisville.

One block over, the Neo-Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption is one of Louisville’s architectural landmarks. Built in 1852, the cathedral still celebrates mass daily and welcomes visitors.


Discover the region’s first Bourbon-certified chocolatier and Bourbon Truffles in the adorable chocolate shop Art Eatables. Around the corner is Beaded Treasures, where women entrepreneurs handcraft jewelry using semi-precious gemstones. A few blocks away is the K.U.L.A. Art Gallery, filled with contemporary artwork. Fourth Street Live! also hosts various events, such as Hot Country Nights, The MELANnaire Marketplace, and many others.

A downtown shopping trip is not complete without a stop at the Louisville Visitor Center to pick up Bourbon and Louisville-themed gifts to enjoy at home.


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