Ah, Louisville….an iconic city full of horses, baseball bats, and food and so much more!
Being Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville is a highly popular tourist destination, annually hosting the Kentucky Derby and Thunder Over Louisville events, and chock full of vibrant history in every step. Here you will be able to explore the culture and history of thoroughbred horse racing while taking in the culture of a completely different sport, baseball, over at the Slugger Museum and Field. Not only that, but you will also be bombarded with all the best Ohio River scenery, friendly southern smiles, and a culinary and culture scene that are out of this world!
Kentucky Science Center - Looking for a spot to take the kids where you can both have fun, and maybe even learn something along the way? Well look no further, the Kentucky Science Center is the perfect "engaging, educational, and entertaining" spot in Louisville. Here you can enjoy the state’s largest hands-on science museum with tons of kid-friendly exhibits, educational programs, and even an IMAX theater to take your learning experience to the next level! See three floors jammed packed with exciting exhibits on chemistry, physics, manufacturing, technology, and even health and life sciences!
Waterfront Park - This 85-acre municipal park adjacent to Downtown Louisville is the perfect spot to hike, bike, walk, picnic, fish, or just enjoy the local culture and nature. This expansive green space on the Ohio River provides excellent city views and access to the popular Big Four Bridge, a wonder of architecture that provides access to Southern Indiana. Enjoy the "front door" of Kentucky, a playground for people of all ages full of culture, history, ecology, and entertainment, with over 120 annual events hosted here every year. One event, Thunder Over Louisville, brings in over 350,000 people to the park at once! You may stumble upon a concert, festival, charity walk, volleyball tournament, picnic, or maybe even just some friendly birds or squirrels!
Churchill Downs - Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Louisville is the classic, history-steeped, extremely interesting Churchill Downs. This horse racetrack is located along Central Avenue and plays host to the annual Kentucky Derby, the event that brings all the finest racers, horses, and best-dressed society in all of the state. Tour the Downs any time of the year with a stroll through the historic grounds and enjoy the ambiance of southern comfort in this, "one of the most hallowed shrines in American sports." If you are lucky you can attend a race or the Derby, but if not you can always head to the Derby Museum or Gift Shop after your tour!
Mega Cavern - If you are a thrill seeker, adrenaline junkie, or lover of all things unordinary you simply cannot visit without a stop, or climb, down into Louisville’s Mega Cavern. This former limestone mine under Louisville stretches from Watterson Expressway to the Louisville Zoo, holding over 100 acres of land and part of a man-made system of 17 miles of corridors. Here you can head to the Mega Bike Park, 320,000 square feet of trails, lines, tracks, and jumps, or the Mega Zip, a giant zip-lining adventure. There is also the only underground aerial ropes course, a historic tram tour, and Lights Under Louisville, a truly impressive and award-winning light display featuring over two million points of light!
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory - Head to Museum Row and get ready to knock your next stop out of the park with a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. This showcase of the history of the slugger brand features a giant iconic baseball bat (the world’s largest as a matter of fact), daily factory tours, and several truly interesting exhibits. Learn the history of the baseball glove, learn the process of making a bat from forest to factory, and discover the Grand Slam and Gallery 125 rooms, full of Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, and Ted Williams gear. You can even get your own baseball bat personalized here!
Louisville Zoo - Get ready to explore one of the region’s most popular family attractions, the 134-acre Louisville Zoological Garden. This zoo features over 1,500 animals within its several themed habitats, ranging from the popular Glacier Run to the Australian Outback. Here you will see all kinds of plants and animals, from the addax antelope or aurora dogwood to the Hartmann’s mountain zebra and Japanese zelkova. There are countless educational programs, lectures, and camps here, as well as several fun rides and shuttles. You will even be able to fill your bellies here, the zoo hosted one really delicious year-round bistro and several different seasonal concession options.
Kentucky Derby Museum - This stop may be included with your Churchill Downs visit, but may also be done completely separately. Here at the Kentucky Derby Museum you and your group will be able to learn everything you never knew about the sport of racing, local influential history of racing, and the racetrack itself. Explore over two levels of exhibits, enjoy a 360 degree immersive sound and visual "Great Race" experience, meet resident horses, and even get your choice of one of many provided tours, from the classic Historic Tour to a chilling Horses and Haunts tour. See trophies, meet racers, and hear gripping tales of the history of the derby, all of which are iconic Louisville things to do!
Cave Hill Cemetery - While visiting a cemetery may not be on the top of your list of things to do while visiting Louisville you may want to reconsider. Cave Hill Cemetery boasts truly breathtaking local scenery, striking architecture and monuments, and outstanding history and local culture lessons galore! This place is visually amazing, a 296-acre Victorian era National Cemetery and Arboretum that commemorates several brave Civil War soldiers and local legends. Taking a walking tour here will allow you to learn all about the history, war influence, and remarkable women buried within, as well as all the interesting geological facts about the surrounding caves, lakes, and plants. Though somber, this is still considered a Louisville must-see, an opportunity you probably don’t want to pass up while in town!