Portland: Louisville's Historic Riverfront Neighborhood : GoToLouisville.com Official Travel Source

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One of Louisville's original neighborhoods

Located on the banks of the Ohio River on the western edge of downtown, Portland has a history deeply tied to the river. In its early years, the neighborhood was an independent river city that served as a port for the boats transporting people and goods around the Falls of the Ohio. During that time period, Portland’s bustling commercial activity attracted many new residents to the area. Today, this growing neighborhood is once again attracting new businesses and residents.


An excellent way to start the day in this historic neighborhood is with a Cup of Joy. Coffee, baked goods, biscuits and gravy, and lunch are available at this non-profit, local ministry. In fact, Portland offers other community-minded culinary adventures as well.

Everyone has a place and diners pay what they can afford at The Table. Run by volunteers, the restaurant serves lunch Monday through Friday and offers classic soup, salad and sandwiches.

For a traditional butcher shop with custom hand-cut and carefully prepared meats, as well as traditional deli sandwiches, visit family-owned Galan’s Meat Market & Deli.

Catering company Porkland BBQ is open for a dine-in fish fry and barbecue too, every Friday for lunch and dinner, with all proceeds supporting the nonprofit Love City Inc.

New to the neighborhood is Kyros Brewing Co., which offers indoor and outdoor spaces where you can enjoy their beer on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Sallyforth Taproom is a friendly neighborhood spot where you’ll find a variety of lunch and dinner specials and local craft beer on tap, including those brewed at the adjoining Shippingport Brewing Co., which takes its name from Shippingport Island, a stopping point centuries ago for cargo boats on the Ohio River near the Falls of the Ohio. Owner and brewer Amelia Pillow has created a warm and homey space for the neighborhood and visitors alike who flock to the weekly trivia nights for a brew and a hot-pressed sandwich.


Located at the Ninth Street underpass, The Louisville Knot is a standout piece of Louisville’s Public Art. This giant sculpture of the city’s name makes for a highly Instagrammable setting and marks the entrance to Portland.

Portland’s tradition of fierce independence is exemplified at Peerless Distilling Co., which is operated by the fourth and fifth generation of the Kraver/Taylor family. Book a distillery tour or tasting to sample their fine Bourbons and ryes.

On the Louisville Riverwalk, you’ll find the On the Banks of Freedom public art installation, which features two limestone benches engraved with the names of those who were enslaved in Kentucky. Intermingled within the names is the word unknown, representing the people who lived but whose names are lost to history. The Portland Museum is a magnet for history buffs. Housed in an 1852 Italianate mansion, the museum uses models, life-sized characters, photographs and film to tell the story of the former river town. During a tour, you’ll learn about the Falls of the Ohio, Portland Wharf and how the canal was built, along with some fascinating facts from a bygone era.

Just a block away, you’ll find the Outsider Art Museum & Gallery, which opened in late 2023 with an inaugural exhibition featuring the art of Louisvillian Mark Anthony Mulligan and which will continue with exhibits celebrating artists who work outside the boundaries of the traditional canon of what is considered “fine art.”

For a little outdoor adventure, Lannan Memorial Park offers baseball, tennis and basketball and features scenic river views of the Portland Canal. The Portland Wharf Park is home to a walking path and trails. Watch riverboats “lock” through the Falls of the Ohio from a viewing station at the McAlpine Locks and Dam Visitors Area.

Nearby, the United States Marine Hospital is a National Historic Landmark and is noted by the National Park Service as the best remaining antebellum hospital in the country. The exterior of this Greek Revival landmark and its historical marker are easily accessible, but the interior is closed to the public.

You can enjoy an arts and cultural experience at Louisville Visual Arts and The Dolfinger studios. For shopping or design-inspiration browsing, the showroom at Barry Wooley Designs is filled with unique furniture, artwork and accessories.

Since 1920, Caufield’s Novelty Shop has been the heartbeat of Halloween in Louisville. The shop sells unique party decorations and costumes for all occasions throughout the year. Muhammad Ali was a frequent customer, and Lance Burton and Mac King both worked there when they were aspiring magicians.

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