Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Louisville, Kentucky? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Louisville?”
Louisville is one of the cities that best embodies the United States. Located right where a heart would go on the map of the country, it sits beside the Indiana border (you can actually walk to Indiana on a pedestrian bridge) and is brimming with history as one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachians. Locals know it’s pronounced “Loo-Uh-Vuhl,” and its charm lies within contrasting elements: a Southern city that’s profoundly influenced by Midwestern spirit; a place known for preservation, yet a growing innovation hub.
Ask anyone who hasn’t been to Kentucky about Louisville, and they’ll probably mention horses and booze. They’re not wrong. But the Derby City is much more than bourbon-soaked revelry. Think strolling down the streets of one of America’s most historically significant neighborhoods on your way to a theater festival in a sprawling park. Imagine enjoying a picnic next to the Ohio River after taking in masterpieces by Rembrandt at the largest art museum in the Bluegrass State — and this doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Here we have a crème de la crème of the Bourbon City. If you visit, set aside at least five days to explore and aim to do so in the fall or spring when the temperatures linger in the 70s and you can sip mint juleps without breaking a sweat.