Over my fall break this year, I went with a friend on a day trip to Louisville, Kentucky. I had never been to the city for longer than a lunch break during a road trip, so getting the chance to explore for an entire day was incredible. I ended up loving the city and everyone there. So, if you are thinking about going to Louisville for your own visit, read on to find recommendations from yours truly!
The first thing I highly recommend doing is parking at Fourth Street Live! (or near there) and taking a couple of hours to walk around the downtown neighborhood. It is such a beautiful and lively place, and if you hit it at the right time, you can avoid big crowds.
Things to do in Downtown:
- Fourth Street Live, a hot-spot where you’ll find restaurants, music, and more!
- 21C Museum Hotel is, like the name suggests, both a hotel and contemporary art museum. If you don’t want to go in just stop by to check out the huge gold replica of Michelangelo's David.
- The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is a cornerstone of the city. Here you can learn about Louisville’s place in baseball history, but if that isn’t your thing, you should at least stop and get a pic of the giant Louisville Slugger for the ‘gram.
- Make your way down to the riverfront and take in the breathtaking views of the Ohio River (and Indiana on the other side!). If you have some extra time, hop aboard one of the ferries like the Belle of Louisville to cruise down the water.
- Love boxing? Check out the Ali Center where you can learn about the history and legacy of the late, great Muhammad Ali.
- Make sure and pay attention to all of the amazing restaurants and shops in the area as well. There are so many that you might pass right by them!
This may seem like an odd place to visit for someone who has never been to the city, but it is worth the visit. Here you can find the graves of icons like boxer Muhammad Ali and Colonel Sanders of KFC glory. While you’re there be sure to take in the amazing architecture of the tombs and graves that fill the 297-acre burial ground.
Just down the street from the Cave Hill Cemetery is Cherokee Park. With over 400 acres, this park is a great place to slow down and have a picnic lunch or stretch your legs. You can watch cute dogs in the dog park or walk the 2.4-mile scenic loop. There are also hiking trails, horseback riding, playgrounds, golf, fishing, and more to keep you busy.
Located in the Highlands neighborhood, Morel’s is a vegan café that has a fun and photogenic purple neon vibe that looks great in photos. I highly recommend trying the “Chick-faux-le” sandwich with the curly fries; this Chick-fil-a knockoff is scary close to the real thing, but there is zero meat or animal by-products anywhere in their kitchen.
One of the most historic parts of the state (and country!) is this gorgeous neighborhood. Park nearby and take a leisurely walk around dusk. The Victorians are mind-blowingly beautiful and the flora makes for a moody vibe that reminded me of Halloweentown. The historic Conrad-Caldwell House is also in the area, as well as a few picturesque churches. But beware! This neighborhood is said to be America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood, so you may bring home more than just a souvenir.
If you have the time, check out the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Explore over 15,000 acres of forest by car or foot. They have a long list of trails to choose from depending on your time limit and experience level. I suggest driving up to the Canopy Tree Walk, a platform walkway that stands 75 feet above the ground. From this lookout, you can see everything.
Louisville is one of the most amazing cities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, and all I can think about is how much I want to go back. If you ever get the opportunity to travel to this jewel of a town, do it. There is so much to learn and you will never get bored. It was such a wonderful trip that I hope you get to experience for yourself. Here's to you, Louisville. You are one sweet julep.