Louisville Waterfront Park
Louisville KY 40202
Louisville Waterfront Park has long been known as 85-acres of fun and fireworks as the home to the nation's largest annual fireworks show and one of the top five air shows in the country during Thunder Over Louisville, the kickoff event for the two week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. When the Derby is over, Waterfront Park stays active with free spring and summer concerts, a rambling bike path along the Ohio River, a waterpark for kids, and play areas and green spaces that have become a mecca for Louisville residents. The newest, and latest, phase of the multi-million dollar expansion and renovation to the downtown is the opening of the Big Four Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, an LED-lighted path linking Kentucky and Indiana.
How to get to Waterfront Park
Riverfront Park is easily located downtown and is accessible from any of the interstates in Spaghetti Junction, I-71, I-64, or I-65. Take the first exit nearest the Ohio River on the Kentucky side and drive towards the water. There is free, ample parking along the miles of park and activity space.
Best and worst time to go to Waterfront Park
The worst time to go is during the Derby Festival, typically beginning mid-April and lasting until the first Saturday in May when the Derby is run. The best time to go is at night. While the Big Four Bridge is open all the time, the LED lights are only from twilight to 1 a.m. Summer months are the most popular, but since there is so much open space with plenty of parks and trails, the park rarely feels crowded any time of year.
Admission to Louisville Waterfront Park
Admission to the park, bridge, waterpark, and concerts is free. The only exception is during the Derby Festival, when visitors are required to purchase a wrist band in order to access the area.
Must see/do at Waterfront Park
The Big Four Bridge is the best thing to do at the park, especially at night. A photographer's dream, the LED-lights are more of a light show and reflect beautifully on the historic spires. The Bridge is an easy 1/4 mile walk and the ends are open on both sides of the Ohio River with restaurants. Another must do is to ride the historic Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat in the United States. There is a fee for steamboat ride, which departs daily for a one-hour trip down the Ohio.
Other places to visit near Waterfront Park
The Lincoln Memorial at the park is a memorial history walk along the Ohio. Large plaques display Kentucky's most famous native, 16th President Abraham Lincoln. World-renowned artist Ed Hamilton created a 12-foot statue that guest can climb on, sit down on, and take pictures with.
Insiders tips for visitors to Waterfront Park
The best way to enjoy the park is by spending the whole day there. It is the perfect place for an old-fashioned picnic where visitors can use the many picnic tables and grills or spread a blanked on a knoll and watch the Ohio River. The bike path is another treasure, with paths that wind for miles and is easy enough for a beginner and kids, or more challenging if you want to ride the whole trail.
Author's bio: CC Thomas is freelance writer and Kentucky native who loves to travel. Follow the adventures at www.iknowfuntravel.blogspot.com.