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Top Rated Attractions in Louisville

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Louisville Palace Theatre

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.

Kentucky Derby Museum

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.

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.

Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage showcases the legacy and cultural contributions of African-Americans in the state. Notable and prominent Kentuckians include Muhammad Ali, jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, songwriter Wilson Pickett and many others that have left their indelible mark. Through exhibitions, programs and activities, the center creates programs that promote social justice, activism, art and awareness among the public at large. Additionally, the center celebrates the cultural legacy of the African-American community with nights that promote poetry readings, plays, dinners and concerts.

Louisville Mega Cavern

Explore Louisville Mega Cavern in a historic tram where you ride through 17 miles (27 km) of dark passageways beneath the city of Louisville. Learn about geology, history, mining techniques, recycling and green business technology as well as witness where 50,000 people would have sheltered during the Cold War Era. You can also go on 'Mega Zips', an adventure tour that features five underground zip-lines, three challenge bridges and over two hours of adrenaline. Another great tour only offered from November through December is 'Lights Under Louisville'. This underground holiday light show is perfect for the season, where guests drive through an underground passageway festooned with holiday lights.

Zanzabar

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.

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