Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, or a unique dining experience, Louisville has something for you.
You may want to begin your exploration of the city at the Visitor’s Center, located at the corner of Fourth and Jefferson Streets. Visitor’s Center guides map out free walking tours around specific sites in the city and provide interesting historical facts and details.
The Louisville Slugger Museum is home to the world’s largest baseball bat and features exhibits and a factory tour at 800 West Main Street. Tour the museum and factory Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Pick up a free mini bat as part of the tour. Or, on days when bats are being made, order a personalized bat when you arrive and it will be ready by the time you finish your tour. There is no bat production on weekends, but your personalized bat can still be shipped to you at a later time. The museum is undergoing renovations until April 2009, but tours will still be held. Learn more at the Louisville Slugger Web site at http://www.sluggermuseum.org.
You can’t visit Louisville without learning more about one of the city’s biggest events. Churchill Downs racetrack, located at 700 Central Avenue, is home to the Kentucky Derby. The big event is held on the first Saturday in May.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is the world’s largest equine museum. It offers information about every Derby and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. View the high-definition film about the Derby, “The Greatest Race,” on a 360-degree screen that places you in the center of Derby Day action.
The Derby Café, located on the museum grounds, is open for lunch on weekdays. A variety of paid tour options is available to museum guests. A free guided walking tours of Churchill Downs also is offered every hour on the half-hour to those who have paid for admission to the museum. This tour will take you through the Churchill Downs site, to the paddock and grandstand, providing fun facts and Derby trivia along the way. Tours are held as the weather permits, with some tours offered on a limited basis during the winter. Check out the Kentucky Derby Museum Web site for details and suggested itineraries for visiting the Museum at www.derbymuseum.org/index.html.
Shopping, Sipping, Stepping Out
Fourth Street Live, located at 400 South Fourth Street, is a premier dining, entertainment and retail destination located between Liberty Street and Mohammad Ali Boulevard. Restaurant and entertainment venues include Hard Rock Café, Lucky Strike Lanes, Red Star Tavern, The Improv Comedy Club, TGI Fridays, The Pub, Sully’s, J. Gumbos and the world’s first Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. Bars and nightclubs include Tengo Sed Cantina, Angel’s RockBar, Saddle Ridge, and Sully’s. Live music is featured nightly at Howl at the Moon. Fourth Street Live also features a major food court. Retail amenities include Borders Books & Music, Foot Locker, T-Mobile, Ginny’s Hallmark, and GameStop. Learn more about Fourth Street Live online at www.4thstlive.com.
Lynn’s Paradise Café, located at 984 Barret Avenue, is described as a national attraction and local treasure that makes a simple meal into an event for all ages. The restaurant offers a unique and quirky atmosphere, tasty “down home” cooking, wacky décor and southern hospitality with events such as “prom all day” (complete with leisure suits and fluffy dresses) thrown in to make things interesting. Lynn’s Paradise Café is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. View the menu online at www.lynnsparadisecafe.com or call 502/583-3447 for more details.
Glassworks, at 815 West Market Street, showcases artists from around the world in a multiuse facility offering galleries, glass-blowing classes, and both guided and self-guided tours. There are three working glass studios and two glass galleries at Glassworks. For more information, visit www.louisvilleglassworks.com or call 502/584-4510.
The Visitor’s Center can provide a passport that will guide you along the Urban Bourbon Trail. The passport lists bars in the downtown area that offer some of Kentucky’s famous bourbon brands. You don’t actually have to drink all of that bourbon; you can simply stop by the bars to get your passport stamped. Then you can turn in a full Urban Bourbon passport to earn a free Urban Bourbon Trail T-shirt.
If your feet need a break, hop on one of the trolleys that run throughout the downtown area. An all-day Trolley Hopper pass costs $3.00. Learn more about the trolleys online at www.ridetarc.org/trolleys.asp.
The Louisville Science Center, 727 West Main Street, features exhibits, programs, an IMAX theater with a four-story screen, and a café called the Galaxy Bistro. The Louisville Science Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Learn more online at www.louisvillescience.org.
The Muhammad Ali Center is located at 144 North Sixth Street, between historic Main Street and River Road in downtown Louisville. The center uses a series of media stations and exhibits to portray Ali’s life story. You can view video footage of Ali’s career and “train with Ali” in a replica of his training facility. The Muhammad Ali Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The center is closed on Mondays. Visit www.alicenter.org.
The Speed Art Museum, located at 2035 South Third Street, is Kentucky’s first and largest public art museum, spanning 6,000 years of history. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m., and is closed on Mondays. View the museum’s Web site at www.speedmuseum.org/about_the_museum.
See both arms and armor at the Frazier International History Museum, located at the corner of Ninth and Main Streets in downtown Louisville. The 100,000-sq.-ft. museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Learn more at www.fraziermuseum.org.
Louisville’s West Main Street is home to seven museums in a six-block area. This “Museum Row” is located one block south of the Ohio River.
Louisville’s fascinating historic sites bring to life the early days of Kentucky history. Several preserved Victorian mansions are open for tours.
Locust Grove is the former home of George Rogers Clark, founder of Louisville and a Revolutionary War hero. The 55-acre farm is a National Historic Landmark and museum with a house built in 1790, outbuildings and a collection of gardens. Learn about Kentucky history, hear stories about George Rogers Clark and discover what life was like on the frontier during western expansion. Visit Locust Grove at 561 Blakenbaker Lane between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the last tour each day beginning at 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.locustgrove.org.
The Thomas Edison House, at 729-31 East Washington Street, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The shotgun-style house displays some of Edison’s inventions. The Thomas Edison House is located in Louisville’s historic Butchertown neighborhood, where the city’s meatpacking industry was once located. For more information, visit www.historichomes.org/edisonhouse.
Louisville’s Waterfront Park is nestled between Butchertown and the downtown central business district. The park sits along the Ohio River and includes a 14-acre Great Lawn, miles of walking and biking paths, a children’s play area, picnic areas and two restaurants. The entire 85-acre park is a hot spot for free wireless Internet.
To learn more about all that Louisville has to offer, visit the Louisville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Web site at www.gotolouisville.com.