Known for its bourbon and equestrian centers, Louisville combines old Southern charm with a modern vibe. Its revitalized downtown area boasts many gourmet restaurants, a variety of shopping venues and a vibrant nightlife. Any Louisville guide will point out the city's famous landmarks, but there are many more things to do in the area that are slightly off the beaten path.
Those looking for outdoor things to do in Louisville could start with a visit to one of the area's many parks. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the brains behind New York City's Central Park, the extensive park system in Louisville is urban beauty at its best. Between its 18 different parks and various parkways, there are many opportunities to have a picnic, take a hike, go for a swim or play some tennis, basketball, volleyball or a host of other sports.
History buffs have plenty to choose from. The Brown Hotel, home of the famous hot brown, has been operating since 1923. The Louisville Slugger Museum has been producing bats, known as the official bats of the Major League, since 1884. Churchill Downs is home to the Kentucky Derby, the city's major annual event. Although its museum offers an education on its history, the Barn and Backside tour gives insight into its operations, and sometimes a view of the horses.
The city is home to several malls that offer all types of shopping experiences, but there is no experience like a stroll down Bardstown Road with its vintage boutiques and eclectic shops. No guide to Louisville would be complete without mentioning the city's exceptional restaurants. Those looking for high-end cuisine instead of Louisville deals might seek out one of Chef Michael Paley's restaurants, such as Proof On Main, featuring American and Southern cuisine, or Garage Bar, which serves up a variety of artisanal pizzas.