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.
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.
Zanzabar is a local institution. Since its opening in 1938 it has changed templates many times, but it has always remained a local watering hole. The recent incarnation has it all, from old-school arcade games and pinball tournament nights to local farm-to-table food and live music, things have surely changed since those prewar days. The food and drinks are outstanding, but a lot of people come just to revert back to their childhood with games like Paperboy, Asteroids, Frogger and Donkey Kong. When you add the live music, this version of Zanzabar appears as if it is the best one in the last 80 years.
Home to the Louisville Bats (the Cincinnati Reds AAA minor league affiliate), Louisville Slugger Field was built in 2000 and has a capacity of over 13,000. This retro-classic venue houses 32 private suites, children's play areas as well as the team and administrative offices. The groundskeepers conduct field tours during the Louisville Bats season, and the diamond is also occasionally rented out for wedding receptions, proms, dances, trade shows, rehearsal dinners, private holiday parties and fund raisers.
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts showcases some of the biggest names in theater, dance, and music. Home of the Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, Stage One, and the Louisville Orchestra, the center's season also includes the hottest touring Broadway shows. Comprised of four theaters, from the 2,406-seat Robert S. Whitney Hall to the far more intimate 319-seat MeX (black box) Theater, the center's venues are as diverse as its artistic lineup. The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts' outreach programs work year-round to bring a wealth of arts programs to the community.
Since it was established in 1964, the Actors Theatre of Louisville has received numerous accolades and awards as an outstanding non-profit resident theater. The stage hosts performances throughout the year and in addition to these creative theatrics, the troupes offer apprentice and internships programs, workshops and tours to the general public. The productions range from lighthearted themes and subjects to more avant-garde and political ones. Productions here definitely offer something for everyone.
This theater, officially known as the W.L. Lyons Brown Theater, is adjacent to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and it's one of the last "Grand Dames" of yesteryear in the downtown Louisville vaudeville district. It holds at least 1,400 patrons comfortably and the shows vary from Disney productions to comedy and holiday specials. In addition to the Louisville Palace Theatre, the Brown is an architectural marvel with its ornate details inside and outside, something hardly seen in theaters constructed today.