Old Louisville is one of America's finest neighborhoods. It is known to have some of the best examples of Victorian architecture in the entire country and walking along its charming streets is always a delight. The area roughly encompasses the area between Broadway in the north to Cardinal Boulevard at the University of Louisville in the south. Along the parallel 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets visitors will see many preserved Italianate, Romanesque and Queen Anne homes and buildings, one of note is the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. Other gems within the district are St. James Court, Belgravia Court and Central Park, where it literally feels as if you've traveled back to 1870.
The historic Louisville Palace from 1928 is a remnant of yesteryear, where once there stood several theaters along 4th Street, this extant one still stands. After its initial opening as a vaudeville palace, the theater converted itself over the years as a spot for films. It was only in the late 1994 when the theater reconverted itself back into a full-fledged performance venue. With acts as varied as ballet and bluegrass to comedy and touring Broadway shows, it's Louisville's classic hub for performing arts once again.
Muhammad Ali is one of Louisville's most prodigious sons, and this stunning multipurpose facility devoted to the boxing great promotes his ethos and six core principles of "Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality." The building also provides event space and it offers guests an opportunity to relive the life and times of the man who was born as Cassius Clay. Some exhibits include a movie, a number of interactive video displays, and educational programs on how to become involved in social justice projects within the community.
The Kentucky Derby, held annually at the fabulous Churchill Downs, is often said to be 'The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.' The museum, which is located just outside the racecourse, elaborately presents the history of this racing tradition through more than 20,000 items that have been collected since its inception in 1875. Exhibits include trophies, sculptures, photographs and paintings along with Derby souvenirs and the private collections of former horse trainers and jockeys. Tours can be made with the museum to visit the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs as well.
A world-renowned racecourse commemorating Henry Churchill, the Churchill Downs is the holy grail for aficionados of horse racing. Spread across more than 140 acres (56 hectares), the track rekindled Louisville's hope for horse racing after two of the city's favorite venues were shut down. Since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has prospered on this track garnering many raves from jockeys and equestrian sports lovers from across the globe. Featuring more than 70 luxury suites, the interior of the site is decorated with murals of Kentucky Derby winners thus celebrating the augustness and exclusivity of the sport. A museum, stables and a clubhouse are also a part of the Thoroughbred racetrack's extensive layout.
Whether you are a whiskey connoisseur or not, if you want to try a bit of one of Kentucky's main exports, then the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is a must visit. This establishment is named after Kentucky's pioneering distiller and offers an insight into Williams' life and work. A guided tour of the distillery features an audio-visual interactive exhibition on the history of bourbon and its how distillers turn corn into this smooth swill loved all around the world. At the end of the tour, sample some different varieties as well as some small-batch versions, then take home unique souvenirs like bourbon mustard, maple syrup and toffee.
Fourth Street Live is one of the main attractions for nightlife and dinner in downtown Louisville. Its a mega-entertainment area that primarily features restaurants and bars all under one roof. The dining options run the gamut, from Brazilian BBQ at Brazeiros to American fare at Gordon Biersch Brewery, there is usually something for everyone. Club options are also varied, from the hip Marquee Bar to Country Western camaraderie at PBR Louisville, all crowds are welcome.
While the Kentucky Science Center is not as famous as the Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian, it is a very educational and fun place to bring the kids. Adults will also enjoy the interactive exhibits, educational events and huge IMAX presentations, so it's not just a destination for children. The museum's exhibits focus on both general science and regional Kentucky attributes such as agriculture and coal.