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Top Rated Attractions in Louisville

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Churchill Downs

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.

Farmington Historic Plantation

Thomas Jefferson designed this archetypal Federal-style mansion on the sprawling estate of slaveholders John and Lucy Speed. It was built using slave labor sometime between 1815-16 on the site of a former hemp plantation. Abraham Lincoln spent three weeks on the plantation in 1841, while courting Mary Todd. The home still contains period furniture from the early 19th Century, a stone barn, a blacksmith's shop and a museum store. Seven days a week, the staff arranges tours for tourists visiting the grounds and the visitors' center also provides a comprehensive map that is a great guide to the 18-acre estate.

Locust Grove

This mansion from 1790 is older than the state of Kentucky itself (it entered the Union in 1792), and it stands as a symbol of American land usurpation against the backdrop of the Northwest Indian War. The 55-acre estate once belonged to William Croghan, slave-owner and businessman, then it passed hands frequently after he sold it in 1878. The Waters family bequeathed it to the Commonwealth as a state treasure in 1964. Today the estate staff conducts tours around the house as well as the property. They last anywhere from 45-minutes to an hour. This property is open all days of the week, with an extended hour during the summer months.

Whitehall House & Gardens

This aristocratic antebellum estate located in lower Crescent Hill faithfully displays the splendor in which many of its owners lived since its creation in 1855. The mansion was originally built in an Italianate manner, however when the property was transferred in 1909, the new owners reformed the house into a Greek Revival style. It continued to receive renovations over the years until it's final private owner bequeathed it to the Historic Homes Foundation in 1994. The tour includes a walk through the rooms as well as to the magnificently manicured gardens. These include the Arboretum, the Woodland Fern Garden, the Formal Florentine Garden and the Specimen Garden, respectively.

KMAC Museum

Ever wanted to learn tapestry weaving or carve delicate features in stone? The Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft is the place to explore hidden talents in an array of workshops, browse art exhibits in the gallery or shop for unique cadeaux at the gift store. Workshops for adults and children teach skills as varied as quilt-making and drawing and classes are also offered for special needs students. Moreover, there is always a touring art exhibit of some type as well as a permanent collection; the museum does charge a small fee for admittance.

Thomas Edison House

Although the 19-year-old Thomas Edison only resided at 729-31 East Washington Street for a year, it was during his time here working as a telegraph key operator that he explored improvements to the telegraph. Today, the Thomas Edison House continues to support the inquisitive spirit by organizing the annual 'Invention Convention', where school children compete with their own wunderkind ideas. The 'Edison Extravaganza Evening' is another annual event that presents silent and live auctions. Have a party or group function that requires a historical inventor's living quarters (and tranquil backyard garden)? The house is available to rent for up to 50 people.

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