Louisville, KY, the “Gateway to the South,” is named after King Louis XVI of France. On the first Saturday of May, the eyes of the horse racing world focus turn to Louisville and America’s most iconic race, the Kentucky Derby.
Top 10 Things to do in Louisville, KY
Louisville's visitors enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences, entertainment districts and museums. Here’s our top ten.
1. Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is the home of the Kentucky Derby. Admission to the museum includes a walking tour of the racetrack. “The Greatest Race” is an immersive 360-degree HD film that puts you in the heart of the action.
2. Louisville Slugger Museum
Step up to the plate and visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. As you arrive in the neighborhood, look for the giant bat. It’s 120-feet high and weighs 68,000 pounds. You can’t miss it!
3. Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center is a museum and cultural center honoring the three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. Forbes calls it one of the greatest sports museums on the planet. Experience the interactive exhibits, and browse a multi-level gallery loaded with boxing memorabilia.
4. Fourth Street Live!
Fourth Street Live! is a popular dining and entertainment destination in downtown Louisville. Hard Rock Cafe and Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse are two of the venue’s many restaurants. Past concerts have featured major acts like the Goo Goo Dolls, Jason Aldean, and Justin Bieber.
5. Kentucky Science Center
The Kentucky Science Center is the largest interactive museum of its kind in the state. What began as a natural history museum in 1871 now attracts more than half-million visitors a year. It includes a four-story digital theater.
6. Conrad’s Castle
Experience the grandeur of the Gilded Age at the Conrad-Castle House Museum. The Richardsonian Romanesque castle is set amid one of America’s largest concentrations of Victorian homes.
7. Kentucky Zoo
The 134-acre Kentucky Zoo is home to more than 1,700 animals. There’s a wide variety of exhibits, including the award-winning, four-acre Gorilla Forest. It hosts 11 lowland gorillas and two pygmy hippos. At the HerpAquarium, visit “King Louie,” a 6-foot albino alligator.
8. Parklands of Floyd Fork
Legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed New York’s Central Park. He also designed the city park system in Louisville. The five parks of the Parklands of Floyd Fork pay homage to Olmsted’s legacy. Enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, paddling, and much more.
9. KFC Yum! Center
When Colonel Sanders first pitched his special chicken recipe, did he imagine that the business would sponsor a sports arena one day? Probably not! The KFC Yum! Center is on the Ohio River waterfront. It hosts University of Louisville basketball games. It is also a popular concert venue that's hosted stars like Elton John.
10. Kentucky Kingdom
Ride, slide, and splash your way through Kentucky Kingdom. The 67-acre amusement park includes a water park called Hurricane Bay. Kentucky Kingdom includes more than 70 rides and attractions. There are lazy rivers and two wave pools as well.
Best Hotels in Louisville, KY
Visitors enjoy a wide selection of quality accommodations. There are warm and inviting boutique hotels. Major brands like Omni, Hyatt Regency, and Marriott maintain a presence in Louisville.
21c Museum Hotel
700 West Main Street
The 91-room 21c Museum Hotel is a centrally located 4.5 star hotel. It is near the Louisville Slugger Museum and Fourth Street Live! Guests. Guests enjoy beds with down comforters and premium bedding. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, spa services, and concierge. Dine at the onsite restaurant, Proof on Main.
The Brown Hotel
335 West Broadway
The Brown Hotel is a historic 16-story hotel dating to 1923. The 4-star hotel features pillow-top beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and down comforters. Individually decorated rooms include hand-woven throws, classic wall coverings, and Mahogany beds. The Brown Hotel is steps away from the Louisville Palace. It is several blocks south of Fourth Street Live!
Omni Louisville Hotel
400 South 2nd Street
The 4.5 star Omni Louisville offers guests popular amenities. Examples include a 24-hour fitness center, spa services, an outdoor pool, and a concierge. The Omni is a 5-minute walk from Fourth Street Live! And a half-mile from Louisville Palace. Guests can dine at any of the hotel’s six restaurants.
Marriott Louisville East
1903 Embassy Square Boulevard
The 4-star Marriott Hotel is in the heart of the East End. It offers guests access to an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a 24-hour fitness center. Down comforters and premium bedding enhance the night’s sleep. The Marriott is near the Louisville Zoo and the Louisville Nature Center.
Embassy Suites Louisville Downtown
501 South Fourth Street
Embassy Suites is a 3.5-star downtown hotel offering an indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and complimentary breakfast. The hotel is less than a half-mile from the KFC Yum Center and the Louisville Palace.
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
500 Fourth Street
The Seelbach Hilton is a historic 5-star hotel that’s hosted nine Presidents. It is near the Louisville Palace and a half-mile from the convention center. Guests enjoy pillow-top beds with premium bedding. Amenities include a concierge desk, 24-hour room service, and a 24-hour fitness center.
Hyatt Regency Louisville
320 West Jefferson Street
The 393-room Hyatt Regency is in Louisville's West Main Historic District. The 4-star hotel is close to Fourth Street Live! It is a quarter-mile from the KFC Yum Center. Rooms include premium bedding and 65-inch HDTVs. Enjoy popular amenities like an indoor pool and fitness center.
Galt House Hotel
140 North Fourth Street
The 4-star Galt House Hotel is a five-minute walk from the KFC Yum Center and the Belle of Louisville. Fourth Street Live! and the Kentucky International Convention Center are less than a half-mile away. Guests enjoy access to a full-service spa, 24-hour health club, and outdoor pool. Walker's Exchange is one of three on-site restaurants.
Drury Inn & Suites Louisville North
9597 Brownsboro Road
The 3-star Drury Inn & Suites offers desirable amenities like an indoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. Guests also receive a complimentary breakfast. In the evening, guests enjoy free soda and popcorn in the lobby. Tom Sawyer State Park is five minutes away. The Mall St. Matthews is ten minutes away.
Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center
830 Phillips Lane
The 588-room Crowne Plaza is a 3.5-star hotel by Louisville’s airport. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and concierge services. Kentucky Kingdom is a five-minute walk away. It is a 12-minute walk to the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Plan Your Trip to Louisville Today
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