True Louisville Originals
The Kentucky Derby may put this city in the international spotlight, but the famous horse race isn't all Louisville has to offer. Nestled on the banks of the Ohio River, this vibrant city combines Southern hospitality with big city amenities, a cosmopolitan riverfront district, a diverse art scene, and a growing foodie reputation with two Restaurant Rows. Sports lovers should make a stop at the Louisville Slugger Museum; history lovers can sip mint juleps on a river cruise aboard the Belle of Louisville, a National Historic Landmark.
Muhammad Ali Center (http://www.alicenter.org), Boxing fans have certainly heard Muhammad Ali proclaim Louisville as “the greatest city in the world.” And that’s just one of the many reasons he chose his hometown as the site for his living legacy. The Muhammad Ali Center, near Sixth & Main Streets along the city’s Museum Row, offers an unparalleled experience chronicling the journey of an extraordinary man. You’ll be knocked out by the story it tells.
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (http://www.sluggermuseum.org) Visitors don’t have to be fans of America’s favorite pastime to appreciate the enormity of the world’s largest bat marking the entrance to another one-of-a-kind attraction, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The museum tour begins with an inspiring look at the sport of baseball and its heroes in “The Heart of the Game” film, followed by a tour of the factory where the Official Bat of Major League Baseball is made. A celebrated American tradition more than 120 years old, every visitor leaves with their very own miniature Louisville Slugger.
The Frazier International History Museum (http://www.fraziermuseum.org) opened its doors to worldwide acclaim, largely due to its unique partnership with the Royal Armouries of Great Britain. Visitors are treated to an array of arms, artifacts, stories and interpretations that span 1,000 years of European and U.S. history. Live interpretations of some of America’s most colorful historical figures are performed daily from Annie Oakley to Wild Bill Cody. See Teddy Roosevelt’s legendary “Big Stick,” General Custer’s rifle and Geronimo’s bow.
A visit to the “Derby City” would not be complete without a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum (http://www.derbymuseum.org), located at the main entrance to legendary Churchill Downs racetrack. At the soon –to-be renovated Museum, visitors can experience the power and speed of three-year-old Thoroughbreds as they compete in the “fastest two minutes in sports.” Start with the 360-degree high-definition “The Greatest Race,” which takes you behind the scenes from dawn to dusk on Derby Day. Explore the exhibits to capture the pride, tradition and excitement that is the Kentucky Derby!
These are just a few of the museums housed on Louisville’s Museum Row (http://www.museumrowonmain.com) and nestled in the city’s thriving theatre district. North, south, east or west – Louisville offers a wealth of attractions and historic architecture. Check out the downtown East Market district, Frankfort Avenue and Highlands neighborhoods for enclaves of boutiques, dining and entertainment options galore. At night the city comes alive, anchored by downtown’s Fourth Street Live! entertainment district.
Urban Bourbon Trail (http://www.justaddbourbon.com/planavisit/urbantrail.aspx) Louisville’s distilling history dates back to the early 1800’s. Before Prohibition, over 50 distilleries, barrel warehouses and bottling plants concentrated along Main Street, in a district known as “Whiskey Row.” Today, you’ll find offices of international brands, world-class bourbon bars and the start of bourbon tours along Main as well as nine museums in the six-block historic neighborhood that is now Museum Row. You can start at the Louisville Visitor Center to get a sneak preview of the distilleries, pick up a map of the bourbon trails, buy Just Add Bourbon merchandise and plan your Bourbon Country adventure with the help of travel counselors who have traveled the route.
The Urban Bourbon Trail Passport (available at the Visitors’ Center) provides places to be validated by each of the restaurants and bars on the trail. Note: There is no time limit for completion. Visit each location, make a purchase— and get the Passport stamped. When it’s full, go back to the Visitors’ Center (or mail it in) for a special T-shirt.
Louisville offers a unique blend of regional cuisine blending the best of Southern favorites with the tradition of Midwestern ease. You’ll find Southern favorites like the Colonel’s famous fried chicken to local favorites like the Hot Brown, Benedictine and Derby Pie. And you know you’re in the Gateway to Bourbon Country when America’s only native spirit shows up on menu items from appetizers to dessert.