Shelby Park & Smoketown
A culturally rich and vibrant art-filled community
Less than two miles southeast of downtown Louisville are two historical neighborhoods deeply rooted in Louisville’s history, Smoketown and Shelby Park. Founded in 1874, Smoketown is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and the city’s first African American public school was located within the neighborhood. Just a block or two south, you will find the Shelby Park neighborhood, named after Kentucky’s first governor. Between these two neighborhoods, you will discover a culturally vibrant art-filled community.
Inside Louisville’s only urban public market, Logan Street Market, are a few breakfast spots that will jump-start your day. La Maison aux Crepes serves both savory and sweet selections ranging from Belgium waffles to French crepes. For a classic NYC-style bagel with classic “schmears,” pop over to Cold Smoke Bagels. If superfoods and avocado toast are more up your alley, enjoy a smoothie bowl from Pure Blendz. And top off your breakfast with a cup of pour-over Safai Coffee Shop.
Various dining options are available throughout the two neighborhoods, from Six Forks Burger Company to award-winning chili at Toasty’s Tavern. Authentic soul food and Southern cuisine await you on a cozy street corner inside Shirley Mae's Café. Pizza fans can whet their appetites at PERSO while enjoying Roman-style pizza or a house-made charcuterie board. Sweet treats await at Sugar Room Ice Cream. Snag treats for your four-legged family members at Bourbon City Barkery. Take home a bag of hand-crafted whole bean (or ground) coffee to enjoy from Good Folks Coffee.
Enjoy a nightcap (hopefully with bourbon) at one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars in America,” Trouble Bar. A well-stocked bar and a bourbon flight menu await both bourbon beginners and fanatics. With a series of true-to-style beers and evolving experimental beer, Atrium Brewing is a must-stop for craft beer fans.
In the heart of the Shelby Park neighborhood is a 16-acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted designed in conjunction with one of the city’s nine Carnegie libraries for the community to enjoy. Shelby Park is also home to an urban farm like none other. This farm is home to tiny livestock that just happens to fly and crawl. Come face-to-face with butterflies in a walk-through habitat or hold a live exotic insect from around the globe at Idlewild Butterfly Farm and Insectarium.
Throughout Smoketown and Shelby Park are colorful street murals paying homage to the history and people who called the area home like the Woman of Many Talents mural that honors the first African American chemist for Brown-Forman, Elmer Lucille Allen. You will also find an inspirational Muhammad Ali mural – one of many around town honoring Louisville’s native son, along with a mural dedicated to Louisvillian Madame Sul-Te-Wan, the first African American actress to sign a film contract and be a featured performer. Rotating art exhibitions highlight the artwork of local and regional artists at Galerie Hertz. Work alongside artists to create your own distinctive glass art at Acme Artworks.
Antique and vintage hunters will delight in exploring the shops in both neighborhoods with the ever-changing furniture and home décor items at YesterNook and an assortment of global antiques, stained glass, and ironwork at Architectural Salvage. Vintage clothing abounds at Dimoda Vintage, with shirts from popular musicians and throwback college gear. Discover fun and whimsical artwork, including wall art and note cards, created by a local artist at Lovely Earthlings. Finish your shopping adventures back at Logan Street Market, exploring local retail merchants like The Bluegrass Witch and Hunt and Hazel.
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