Things to Do in Louisville, KY
Are you considering a move to Louisville, KY? If so, we’ve got some great news. Louisville is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture, and there is never a shortage of things to do. From world-renowned bourbon distilleries and horse racing to outdoor adventures and unique dining experiences, there is something for everyone in this city.
At 1 Percent Lists Purple Door, we understand that when you’re considering a move to a new city, it’s important to get a sense of what life will be like there. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you explore all that Louisville has to offer.
Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a great place to call home, we’re confident that you’ll fall in love with Louisville just like we have. So, let’s dive in and discover all the amazing things to do in Louisville, KY.
Located north of the University of Louisville and south of Broadway and downtown Louisville, Old Louisville is a historic district renowned for its exquisite Victorian architecture, as well as one of Louisville’s best neighborhoods. Comprising 48 city blocks, it is the third largest historic district in the United States and boasts the largest concentration of houses featuring stained glass windows. In fact, it is the largest historic district in the nation almost exclusively featuring Victorian architecture.
During the Victorian era, several architectural styles such as Italianate, Queen Anne, and Romanesque were in vogue, and these styles are reflected in most of the brick buildings in Old Louisville. Although the area is referred to as Old Louisville, it was actually constructed in the 1870s as a suburb of Louisville, almost a century after the city’s founding.
Churchill Downs, located on Central Avenue in south Louisville, is home to the iconic Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Two of the longest continually running sporting events in America.
The racetrack opened in 1875 and has since become one of the most prestigious thoroughbred racing venues in the world. The venue hosts three race meets annually and has also had the honor of hosting the Breeders’ Cup World Championship a staggering eight times.
Encompassing 147 acres of land, Churchill Downs boasts a seven-furlong turf racecourse and a one-mile dirt race track in an oval shape. The venue’s grandstand is a sight to behold and is topped by the Twin Spires, a world-renowned symbol of the racetrack.
The clubhouse is also beautifully designed and features private luxury suites and The Big Board, which is the world’s largest 4k video screen. Whether you’re a horse racing enthusiast or just looking for a memorable experience in Louisville, Churchill Downs is a must-visit destination.
Kentucky Derby Museum
If you’re a fan of the Kentucky Derby, or just interested in learning more about this legendary event, the Kentucky Derby Museum is a must-see destination. The museum is dedicated to celebrating, engaging, and educating visitors about the extraordinary experience that is the Kentucky Derby. It’s no wonder that the Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the top attractions in Louisville
Inside the museum, visitors will find a variety of world-class exhibits that showcase the history, hospitality, and tradition of this world-renowned event. Among the highlights are the Resident Thoroughbred and Miniature Horse at the museum stable, and The World’s Greatest Race exhibitions, all of which have attracted visitors from around the globe.
Admission to the museum includes a historic walking tour of the Churchill Downs Racetrack, The Greatest Race exhibition, a state-of-the-art 360-degree high-definition film, and access to all of the permanent and temporary exhibits and displays. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just curious about this iconic event, the Kentucky Derby Museum is an experience not to be missed.
Kentucky Science Center
If you’re looking for a fun and educational experience in Louisville, be sure to check out the Kentucky Science Center. Located on West Main Street in the heart of the West Main District, the center is the largest hands-on science museum in Kentucky, offering a wide range of interactive exhibits and activities.
Originally founded in 1871 as the Louisville Museum of Natural History & Sciences, the center has since evolved into a dynamic and engaging space for visitors of all ages. The center comprises two adjacent buildings – the 150,000 square foot main building, which was built in 1878 as a dry goods warehouse, and the 37,000 square foot Alexander Building, which was built in 1880.
Inside, visitors will find a four-story digital theater, a Science Education Wing with hands-on workshop labs, and three floors of interactive exhibits. Whether you’re interested in biology, chemistry, physics, or any other field of science, the Kentucky Science Center is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for fun things to do in Louisville, especially with kids.
Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center, situated in the West Main District of Louisville, is a tribute to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Since its inauguration in 2005, this cultural center and museum has been a must-visit attraction in Louisville.
The building, comprising six floors, boasts a two-level theater spanning 40,000 square feet, interactive exhibits, galleries, and an outdoor plaza. In 2013, a walkway was added that connects the center to other prominent downtown landmarks.
Among the many exhibits is a mock boxing ring, which is a replica of Ali’s training camp at Deer Lake. The center also houses a two-level gallery showcasing Ali’s boxing memorabilia and his life story. Additionally, the center provides educational outreach via films, lectures, and tours.
Louisville Mega Cavern
The Louisville Mega Cavern offers an extensive underground experience that allows visitors to discover Louisville’s history, geology, mining, and building technology. It is also renowned for being the exclusive location of the world’s only underground zip line course.
Originally a limestone mine discovered in the 1930s, this massive man-made cavern spans 17 miles of corridors beneath the city and presents a diverse range of entertaining and educational opportunities for people of all ages.
Embark on a MegaZip Tour and soar through previously unexplored areas of the cave; test your skills on challenging roped walkways during a MegaQuest tour; or take a ride on the MegaTram and enjoy a Jeep-driven journey through the cavern’s vast halls and caves. All tours are led by expert guides and are suitable for all age groups.
The Louisville Palace
The Louisville Palace, located in downtown Louisville’s theater district on South Fourth Street, is a historic venue that first opened its doors in 1928. With a seating capacity of 2,700, the theater hosts a diverse range of events, including concerts, films, performances by the Louisville Orchestra, and children’s shows.
Designed in the Spanish Baroque architectural style, the theater’s exterior is adorned with turrets and other intricate details. The building is recognized on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and the interior is equally impressive. The lobby features a curved vaulted ceiling decorated with 139 sculptures of famous historical figures. The theater itself consists of two floors, the main floor and a balcony.
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory
Prepare to indulge your senses with the aroma of wood, watch wood chips fly, and delve into the history of an American icon at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Since 1884, when 17-year-old Bud Hillerich handcrafted the company’s first bat for a local baseball legend, we’ve been producing baseball bats.
Today, the Hillerich family still owns the business and values the customer service that goes into every bat made for the pros. While the award-winning factory tour is a highlight, there’s so much more to explore!
Be awed by the World’s Biggest Bat towering 120 feet into the sky. Clamber through a massive baseball glove hewn from prehistoric limestone. Brace yourself for a 90-mph fastball hurled by a major-league pitcher.
Count the home run notches carved by Babe Ruth into his Louisville Slugger bat. Swing a replica model of your favorite player’s bat in the batting cages, or test the latest line of aluminum and composite TPX and TPS baseball and softball bats.
The world-renowned tour begins with an exciting movie that transports you to the forests and mills where every Louisville Slugger bat is born.
Then, wander through the heart of the factory production line and witness the bat-making process, including the creation of our fan-favorite mini-bats.
At the end of the tour, you’ll receive a free souvenir mini-bat in a newly revamped gallery that showcases quotes about Louisville Slugger from legends like Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, and Cool Papa Bell.
You can even create a bat with your name on it, just like the pros, and personalize it with a special message. They make fantastic gifts for all sorts of special occasions, from newborns to groomsmen to team trophies and more.
Louisville Slugger Field
Louisville Slugger Field, the home of the Louisville Bats baseball team and the Louisville City FC professional soccer club, opened its doors in 2000. With a seating capacity of over 13,000, the stadium boasts unique features such as the incorporation of an old train shed into its design, which visitors can enter through.
The train shed was once the Brinly-Hardy Company warehouse. The stadium also has 32 private suites, concessions, press facilities, and a children’s play area. From the stadium, visitors can enjoy scenic views of both the state of Indiana and the Ohio River.
The Belle of Louisville
The Belle of Louisville is an enduring U.S. National Historic Landmark and the oldest steamboat still operating on the Mississippi River. It was originally launched in Pittsburgh, PA in 1914 and operated as a ferry between Memphis, TN and West Memphis, AR before being utilized for transportation to the Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks in Louisville.
Extensively restored and rebuilt in 1963, the Belle of Louisville now provides an array of river cruises on the Ohio River, allowing visitors to experience the charm of a bygone era on the water.
Flame Run Glass Studio and Gallery
Flame Run Glass Studio and Gallery is a haven for art enthusiasts who appreciate the beauty of glassblowing and glass art. The gallery is committed to showcasing contemporary glass art exhibitions, offering community classes, hosting visiting artists’ workshops, and providing art glass gallery tours and hot glass demonstrations.
Located near the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the studio boasts a fully operational glass-blowing hot shop, a welding and fabrication studio, and an exhibit gallery where visitors can purchase artworks from twelve resident artists.
Aside from art exhibitions, the studio provides an array of classes and workshops for glassblowing enthusiasts of all skill levels, and daily glassblowing demonstrations. Group outings are also available after-hours. Admission to the gallery and viewing area is free of charge, making it a perfect stop for art lovers.
Mint Julep Experiences
Mint Julep Experiences is a tour company that provides unique opportunities to experience the rich culture of Kentucky. They offer exceptional tours, starting from Louisville, that explore the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, celebrated Horse Country, craft breweries, and more.
One of their most popular tours is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which takes visitors to 14 member distilleries where they can learn about the making of world-famous bourbons and taste each of them. Horse Country tours provide the chance to visit Kentucky Derby winners, see foals at the nursery, and witness the training of future champions at a training facility.
Custom food tours feature Kentucky staples such as bourbon balls, mint juleps, and the Hot Brown, and offer the opportunity to meet some of Kentucky’s best chefs or take a mixology class. The Mint Julep Experiences gallery is also available for free viewing.
Angel’s Envy Distillery
The concept of Angel’s Envy Distillery was first conceived in 2006 by a father and son, and in July 2013, three generations of the Henderson family broke ground on the distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Today, the fully operational urban distillery welcomes visitors to take a behind-the-scenes look at its Main Street facility.
Guests can witness the entire distillation process, from the beginning stages to the final product in the bottle, and conclude their tour with a tasting in the Finishing Room. To ensure availability, it’s advised that guests book their tour online at least one or two weeks in advance.
The Big Four Bridge
The Big Four Bridge, constructed in 1895, is a former railroad truss bridge that spans the Ohio River, linking Louisville to Jeffersonville in Indiana. The bridge spans a length of 2,525 feet (770 m) with six spans, rising to a height of 547 feet (167 m). In 1969, it was converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, earning the nickname “Bridge That Goes Nowhere.”
Restricted to pedestrian and bicycle use, the bridge provides a scenic and safe way for people from Louisville, Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Clarksville to travel between the cities. The bridge is surrounded by urban green spaces on both ends, featuring lawns, fountains, pavilions, and a children’s playground, providing visitors with the opportunity to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Jack Fry’s, founded in 1933 by Jack Fry and his wife, has become a Louisville landmark and a must-visit destination for both locals and visitors alike. With a storied past as a popular sportsman’s hangout, the walls of the current restaurant are adorned with historic photographs that transport diners back in time. Over the years, Jack Fry’s has earned both local and national prestige, becoming a culinary institution on the Louisville food scene.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly lunch or a romantic dinner, Jack Fry’s offers a menu of authentic all-American and European cuisine with a creative twist. Start your meal with a mouth-watering selection of starters, including shrimp and grits, scallops, escargot, and roasted duck breast.
Move on to entrées featuring lamb chops with potato au gratin and haricot verts, or indulge in succulent veal tenderloin with garlic whipped Yukon gold potatoes, kale, poached eggs, and porter-espresso reduction. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, such as the sweet Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, rich ganache, and pecan brittle, paired with a freshly brewed coffee or digestif.
With years of experience helping clients find their dream homes in Louisville, we can confidently say that this city has something for everyone. From historic neighborhoods with Victorian architecture to modern developments with all the latest amenities, Louisville has a diverse range of housing options to suit any lifestyle.
Whether you’re a young professional looking for a trendy condo in the downtown area or a family seeking a spacious home with a yard in a peaceful suburb, our local experts can help you navigate the local real estate market and find the perfect Louisville home.
And with so many attractions, restaurants, and events to enjoy in Louisville, you’ll never run out of things to do here. So if you’re ready to make the move to this vibrant and welcoming city, contact us today!