West Louisville is comprised of nearly a dozen neighborhoods including Hallmark, Park Duvalle, Parkland, Russell, Beecher Terrace, Chickasaw, Shawnee and Portland, bordering the Ohio River.
West Louisville is comprised of nearly a dozen neighborhoods bordering the Ohio River, including Hallmark, Park DuValle, Parkland, Russell, California, Chickasaw and Shawnee among others. The neighborhood celebrates its strong African American heritage with two noted attractions: The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and Muhammad Ali’s boyhood home.
In 2021 the Russell neighborhood saw the opening of the Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Campus, a 24-acre, multi-sport complex that includes the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center and Humana Outdoor Track & Field. The campus features the only banked indoor track in Kentucky and one of only eight of its kind in the nation. With this 200-meter indoor track and 4,000 seats, the facility is a prized host of local, regional and national indoor and outdoor track meets and other sporting events. With continual growth and further investments, this historic area of town is being revitalized by its passionate community.
EAT & DRINK
”SuperChef” and regular on the Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” Darnell Ferguson is a star both in Louisville and nationally. Louisville based, Chef Ferguson has two restaurants in his hometown that draw crowds. Tha Drippin' Crab, on W. Jefferson St., is his latest creation, an “urban eclectic” seafood restaurant with decadent menu items, like the seafood lasagna with truffle Alfredo, creamy tomato sauce, shrimp, smoked salmon, fried lobster tail and cheese. You can even get honey BBQ wings coated with real 24-karat gold.
A few blocks west on Jefferson Street, you’ll find Hip Hop Sweet Shop, colorfully decorated with magazine covers and a graffiti wall covered with favorite rapper names. They serve up all kinds of goodies including cheesecake parfaits, banana pudding and cupcakes, but the showstopper is their oozing milkshakes stuffed with candy. If you’re craving soul food, LuCretia’s Kitchen is a great stop, complete with Soul Food Sundays and Fried Fish Fridays. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all made with a Latin twist, are served Galan’s Meat Market & Deli. Visit Sweet Peaches, a cozy bakery café across from the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, serving up hearty soups, Hungry Man sandwiches, Southern classics and sweet confections. You can’t miss the Ali mural outside.
A landmark in the Russell neighborhood for more than 40 years, Club Cedar is known for having the best and cheapest drinks in the city, along with great DJs and live music, including national R&B acts. The Palm Room was the place to be in the ‘50s, a jazz club where you might run into Redd Foxx, Joe Louis, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Pryor or Muhammad Ali. Recently under new ownership, it is reclaiming its legendary status with frequently sold-out shows. Just around the corner from the Palm Room, BBQ fans can carry out smoky goodness from Stevie J’s. Fried chicken connoisseurs will want to sample cash-only Indi’s where the lines move fast for the spicy treats that await.
If you head over to Shawnee, the rib tips and homemade cornbread from Big Momma’s Soul Kitchen make for a tasty picnic to take across the street to Shawnee Park. Nearby, The Southern Hospitality Bar and Grill on Broadway serves breakfast all day. Besides the supreme customer service and cinnamon brown sugar French toast, you’ll find a wide-ranging lunch and dinner menu covering pizza, wings, burgers and seafood. You’ll want to take off your coat and stay a while, too — there’s a pool table and darts.
Muhammad Ali fans won’t want to miss the chance to cruise by the Champ’s childhood home in Parkland. Ali lived in the house during his childhood in the 1940s through the early 1960s. The modest bungalow has been renovated to return the home’s exterior to its original pink state. A bronze marker is located in front of the house noting its historical relevance (outside photo opportunities available – no inside admittance).
Nearby in Russell is the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. The Center lifts up the contributions of African Americans throughout Kentucky history with rotating exhibits featuring local figures, including artists and black jockeys, as well as long-term installments that interpret the Civil Rights movement in Louisville. The building itself, the former Louisville Street Railway Complex or “Trolley Barn,” built in 1876 is a favorite location for events, with its soaring ceilings, floods of natural light and beautiful brickwork.
Union Station, a railroad depot from the 1890s, is a sight to behold with exceptional architectural features inside and outside. The station served 58 trains a day during the height of rail travel in the 1920s. Today, it serves as the offices for the Transit Authority of River City (TARC).
Along the Ohio River, the 285-acre Shawnee Park exemplifies the green oasis that Frederick Law Olmsted, father of American landscape architecture, dreamed of for Louisville. It’s home to a river walk, biking paths, recreation fields and a public 18-hole golf course, one of the city’s most “player-friendly.” Shawnee Park also plays host to the Dirt Bowl, a summer-long community basketball tournament that’s been a tradition for more than 50 years. Tennis courts, picnic sites and a fishing lake make up nearby Chickasaw Park, and you can take a dip in the swimming pool at Algonquin Park. Other green spaces, as well as outdoor art, dot West Louisville’s landscape. A public art project called Parkland Rising showcases the work of several neighborhood groups who partnered with a local artist to transform a vacant apartment building into a mural that depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Religious institutions have played a significant role in the community. St. Stephen Church, the largest African American church in the region, welcomes visitors who would like to tour the Baptist church and community center’s four-block campus. Simmons College of Kentucky – a historic co-ed African American university in Louisville – has gained recognition for forming a significant partnership with the National Baptist Convention of America International, which has resulted in the national organization relocating its corporate headquarters to the city.
Featured Attractions & Things to Do
Brough Brothers Bourbon is the brilliant brainchild of Victor, Chris and Bryson Yarbrough in Louisville, Kentucky. A...
Park Address: 1200 Southwestern Pkwy Louisville, KY 40211 Year Acquired: 1921 Park Hours: 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. Size:...
The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage is the result of a collection of African American educators, artists and...
The Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center is a 24-acre, multi-sport complex at 3029 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. in...
Shawnee boasts the only complete driving range complex in Metro Parks and a three-hole BellSouth Youth Golf Academy free...
Frederick Law Olmsted designed Shawnee Park as the great public space of the city -- a place for picnics, sports, parades...