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Top Things To Do In Louisville

Often called the Gateway to the South, Louisville is a growing city that still has a small town Southern charm. The city gains much of its fame from the world famous Kentucky Derby at the famous Churchill Downs. Louisville also has a thriving arts scene and rich history, celebrated in the many museums and annual festivals throughout the city. Check out the following attractions to see the one-of-a-kind Derby City in person.  

Louisville is the home to the Famous Kentucky Derby Festival, a month long festival held every year in Louisville. Before the Kentucky Derby horse race on the first Saturday of May, the city is full of festivities, including balls, parades, races, and fireworks. Make sure you have your Sunday’s best as you watch your favorite horse compete for first place.  

Here are the best things to do in Louisville:

  • Cruise on the Ohio River with the Belle of Louisville
  • Camp out close to home at Jefferson Memorial Forest
  • Learn Kentucky history at the Frazier History Museum
  • Ride the zipline the Mega Cavern
  • Master the boxer’s six principles at the Muhammad Ali Center

A trip to Louisville isn’t complete without learning more about baseball. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is a baseball lover’s dream come true. The museum has exhibits on the company’s history, the cultural impact of baseball, and baseball themed attractions. Bring your cleats so you can take a few swings in the batting cage before you leave.

Check out these top tourist attractions in Louisville:

  • Appreciate the range of exhibits at The Carnegie Center of Arts and History
  • Take a photo in front of Abraham Lincoln Memorial
  • Go back in racing history at the Kentucky Derby Museum
  • Place a bet at Churchill Downs
  • See how Kentucky whiskey is made with the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

The Louisville Mega Cavern is one of Louisville’s most exciting attractions. Once a limestone mining excavation, the cavern has been repurposed as a 100-acre warehouse and adventure destination. Pop down to try the world’s only underground zip-line or ride the Mega Tram.

Other exciting activities in Louisville include:

  • Eating a bison burger at Proof on Main
  • Seeing an international film at Speed Art Museum Cinema
  • Admiring the contemporary pieces at the KMAC Museum
  • Touring distillery at Copper and Kings American Brandy Company
  • Training for the Derby Festival Marathon on the city wide Louisville Loop

Trying to see your favorite bands play tonight? Louisville has that covered. The Derby City has plenty of live music bars and concert venues to see local and touring bands. Buy tickets to a show at The Bourbon Hall, Headliner’s Music Hall, or Mercury Ballroom.

Check out these other nighttime activities in Louisville:

  • Nowhere Bar has retro decor and a busy dance floor
  • Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar plays live music almost every night
  • The French Lick Resort has a concert venue and casino
  • The Caravan comedy club is always good for a laugh
  • Louisville Palace hosts performances by the Louisville Orchestra.

Louisville Zoo is home to more than 1,200 different animals from all over the world, and has a number of other family-friendly attractions, including a splash pad, a train ride, playground, rope climbing, and more. Be sure to stop by the Butterflies N Blooms exhibit to interact with the world’s prettiest tiny flyers in flowers.  

Family-Friendly things to do near Louisville include:

  • Watching a performance at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
  • Getting a hands-on learning experience at the Kentucky Science Center
  • Riding the thrill rides at Kentucky Kingdom
  • Signing up for horseback riding lessons at Silver Lining Stables
  • Splashing and playing in The Parklands of Floyds Fork

Louisville residents are students for life, and take pride in having engaging things to do indoors. Take some time to explore all of the museums and learning centers the Derby City has to offer, including the Kentucky Science Center, the Frazier History Museum, and the Carnegie Center for the Arts.

Here are some other things to do indoors in Louisville:

  • The Mokara Salon & Spa is a relaxation paradise
  • Metro Arts Center offers art classes in different art styles
  • The Actors Theater of Louisville puts on more that 500 shows a year
  • Gheens Science Hall & Rauch Planetarium offers visitors a chance to explore the stars
  • Louisville Orchestra whisks listeners away with modern and classic compositions

The Louisville Nature Center is a free urban oasis complete will trails, gardens, a pond, and a library. Spend the day looking for wildlife, appreciating the sensory garden, and exploring the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve.

Check out these active things to see in Louisville:

  • Tee off at Iroquois Golf Course
  • Race at the Eva Bandman Park & Cyclocross Venue
  • See the wildlife at the Louisville Nature Center
  • Hire a boat at the Waterfront Park Fishing Charter
  • Splash around at Atlantis Water Park in Clarksville Indiana