Louisville has more than 120 attractions for the visitor as well as a very big wide welcome which will make you feel right at home! There is something to enjoy for visitors of all ages and tastes and many of the things you’ll find here are unique to Louisville and available nowhere else in the country or the world.
Louisville is steeped in history and you can explore the city’s origins as it was founded and established on the banks of the mighty Ohio River in spectacular countryside which spurred the development of horseracing and breeding – the Sport of Kings has been pursued here for generations and Louisville is home to the world famous Kentucky Derby. It is not just the horses which Louisville is famous for either, the Louisville Slugger, the baseball bat to have and use is made here and shipped around the world to baseball players of all standards.
London Royal Armouries has the only display outside of England right here in Louisville with comprehensive historical and educational displays of armor from knights of old, through to vintage muskets, swords, pikes and cuirasses. Staying with the bellicose theme, you can also enjoy the pugilistic displays and exhibits celebrating the life and achievements of Louisville’s most famous son, Muhammad Ali at the downtown center bearing his name. For a more comprehensive history of the town, surrounding area and beyond you should visit the Frazier international History Museum but take a day out for this as you will be quickly immersed in the culture and history across time and space.
Probably the most famous event Louisville is known for is of course, the Kentucky Derby which is held on the first Saturday in May; however, it is not just the weekend that is set aside for this world famous horse race but the entire fortnight preceding it! The Kentucky Derby Festival commences with America’s largest firework display known as the Thunder Over Louisville and continues in what has been described as “The Biggest Party in the South” with a marathon, the Steamboat Race, Pegasus Parade and around 70 different events held in this hectic two week period.
Louisville is also host to the largest Beatles celebration in the world with the Fab Four of Ringo, Paul, Jon and George providing the cause for five days of celebration known as the Abbey Road on the River and attended by tens of thousands each year around Memorial Day.
The summer season sees arts and culture competing with popular themes including the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, also known as Shakespeare in the Round with plays in Louisville’s Central Park (not to be confused with the New York version) and come August there is the Kentucky State Fair held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in the city. With summer coming to an end, in September there is the Bluegrass Balloon Festival with hundreds of hot air balloons competing in racing events or just being put on show in evening balloon glows.
It doesn’t matter what time of year you choose to visit as there is always something going on but make sure you check in advance to get the most out of your trip.