Footsteps of Greatness
Visit these places when tracing in Ali’s footsteps to see some of the Louisville locations that helped shape his life and career.
When flying into Louisville, you'll arrive at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, which was renamed after the hometown hero in 2019. When you arrive to the city, be sure to check out the Louisville Visitor Center for a self-guided tour brochure or to see the Muhammad Ali exhibit.
Muhammad Ali Center | 144 N. 6th St.
A vision of the Ali family, the six-story multicultural center and award-winning museum celebrates the life and legacy of the world-class boxer and global humanitarian.
Learn more here.
Ali Childhood Home | 3302 Grand Ave.
Ali lived in the house during his childhood in the 1940s through the early 1960s. A bronze marker is in front of the pink house, noting its historical relevance (outside photo opportunities available -- no inside admittance).
Columbia Gym | 824 S. 4th St.
Ali first learned to box at the Columbia Gym, located in the basement of the Columbia Auditorium, now the Spalding University Center. The gym, where Ali first practiced his cutting jabs and fast footwork, is still used by Spalding athletes today.
Cave Hill Cemetery | 701 Baxter Ave.
The scenic 296-acre Victorian-era National Cemetery and Arboretum is the final resting place of Louisville's native son. Visitors can follow a painted green line from the cemetery entrance to Ali's grave.
Learn more here.
Other Ali-related Louisville Landmarks:
- Central High School | 1130 W. Chestnut St. – Ali graduated from this Louisville high school in 1960. After winning the gold in Rome, a celebration was held at the high school, which is still in operation today.
- Freedom Hall | 937 Phillips Ln. – Ali made his professional boxing debut at the multipurpose arena on the Kentucky Exposition Center grounds. It’s still used today and was the site of a special Muslim service, a Jenazzah, held the day before his burial and attended by 10,000 people.
- Metro United Way | 334 E. Broadway – Ali’s first televised boxing match was in what is now the Metro United Way building in downtown Louisville.
- Second Street Bridge – Legend has it that this is where Ali stood and is thought to have thrown his Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River after he and a friend were denied service at a local restaurant.
- Muhammad Ali Boulevard – In 1978, Walnut Street in Louisville was renamed to honor “The Greatest.” The street runs nearly five miles through downtown to West Louisville.
- Smoketown Unity Monument | 755 S. Hancock St. – Created by local sculptor Ed Hamilton and the late artist Zephra May Miller, it honors the spirit of the neighborhood and its historical link to boxing and the start of Ali’s career with local trainer Fred Stoner. The 12-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture features two boxing gloves overlapping to form a heart in the middle and has stood at the corner of Hancock & Lampton streets since 1991.
To learn more about Muhammad Ali's Louisville, click here.