The largest city in Kentucky, Louisville is perhaps best known for its famed Kentucky Derby Race, held annually at Churchill Downs each May. But while that might be a big reason Louisville stands out on the map, it’s not the only one. The city is full of unique experiences and activities that delight visitors and keep them coming back for more. Get off to a great start with these four can’t-miss experiences in Louisville:
It’s not a trip to Louisville without a stop at the Louisville Slugger Museum. The company’s 114-year history parallels that of America’s national pastime, and you’ll be impressed with the behind-the-scenes tour of the creation of the Louisville Slugger - the official bat of Major League baseball. Even better, every tour comes with a free baseball bat, so you can have a piece of the magic for yourself. Take a walk through the main entrance and try to spot the name of your favorite player (past or present). Then, try your skills in the batting cage before stopping for a photo opportunity at the massive bat and baseball glove outside.
This 91-room, boutique hotel opened its doors on West Main Street in Louisville in 2006. And while its rooms with exposed brick walls or private rooftop access make it a solid choice for a relaxing stay in the city, it’s most widely known for its contemporary art museum and award-winning restaurant, Proof on Main (not to mention the eye-catching red penguins). With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, guests can experience curated exhibitions and site-specific installations that reflect the global nature of contemporary culture. Galleries are open every day and the exhibitions vary, so you can visit more than once and see something different each time.
Next on the list is the Muhammad Ali Center, dedicated to Louisville-native, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. (aka, The Greatest, The People’s Champion, The Louisville Lip). Located in downtown Louisville, the museum takes you through Ali’s life on a journey spanning three floors filled with interactive exhibits. Visitors can begin with a 14-minute inspirational film before trying to shadow box with the champion during a train with Ali exhibit - taught by his daughter, Laila Ali.
Last but not least is the Kentucky Artisan Distillery, just northeast of downtown Louisville in Crestwood. A modest craft operation in the heart of bourbon country, the distillery churns out its own spirit, Whiskey Row bourbon, as well as serving as the home to Jefferson’s Bourbon and Highspire Rye. They like to keep things local, too. Their grains are grown a mile from the distillery, their stills are historic, and their bottling is done by hand. Another great aspect is that it shares its fully-equipped space with entrepreneurs looking to make spirits of their own. You can tour the facility for a behind-the-scenes look at their process, including a private group tasting after, if you choose.
Obviously, there's plenty more to do in Louisville than we can mention here. Start with one of these four or make time for them all. Whichever you choose, it'll be well worth it to experience more of the city.