Louisville, Kentucky, is a city steeped in history and culture, a city proud of its roots, but also one stepping into modern times with award-winning museums and artistic events. Although it's fairly north on the map and sits just on the other side of the Ohio River from Indiana, Louisville still considers herself a genteel, southern city where the summer days are hot, the drinks are cold, and the hospitality and care of guests is of utmost concern.
Must see in Louisville
Those coming to Louisville for the first time have to make plans to visit Churchill Downs, the sight of the yearly Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Festival, where horse races occur for most of the year, not just on that famous Saturday in May. While there, be sure to check out the Kentucky Derby Museum and see why the race is considered the most exciting two minutes in sports. Finally, don't forget to see another cultural icon, the Louisville Slugger Museum, the only place in the world where those famous bats are still made.
Where to stay in Louisville
Visitors to the city will want to stay as close to downtown Louisville as possible. The city's famous Museum Row is located right along the Ohio River and provides walking access to dozens of museums, restaurants, and the most popular of the city's activities and is perfect for families with kids. Another population destination for history lovers is to stay on the other side of the city, close to Millionaire's Row and other world-famous hotel, close to 4th Street Live, a venue for restaurants and free concerts right in the heart of the city which appeals to those looking for some nightlife as well. Business professionals might want to escape the busy city life and stay closer to the industry center of Louisville on the east end, near Hurstbourne, which also boasts dozens of restaurants, malls, and other shopping centers.
Best and worst times to go to Louisville
It's something of a problem, but the best and worst time to go is during the Kentucky Derby Festival, which happens every year the two weeks before the first Saturday in May. While the city is packed with tourists and residents taking in all the activities, there are so many things to do that it's easy to get swept up with the crowds and forget about the inconvenience. Summer and late spring are also great times to visit as the Ohio River begins the boating season in earnest and Louisville's Waterfront Park opens with free concerts and seasonal parks and activities along the Ohio River.
Where to get lost in the city
For those travelers just looking to wander, make your way to Baxter Avenue, Bardstown Road, and the Highlands. The eclectic shops and restaurants can take days to fully explore. Plus, this area is also home to Cave Hill Cemetery where you see the grave sites of Kentucky's most famous sons and daughters, including Colonel Harlan Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The best deal in Louisville
The best deal in the city would have to be taking part in Museum Row's discount offer. Every time you visit a city museum, you can take your ticket to the next one on your list for a discount. It's a great way to see a lot of the city without spending a lot of money.
Transportation in Louisville
Louisville is very easy to navigate if you decide to drive or rent a car and parking is much easier and more affordable than other large cities. Louisville does offer public transportation on TARC, which has routes all over the city. Some routes even cross over the Ohio River so tourists can see all that New Albany, Clarksville, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, the "Sunny Side of Louisville", has to offer.
Getting in from Louisville International Airport, SDF
Getting in from the SDF airport is a quick drive to almost any downtown city location, either by taxi or by TARC, on Route 2.
Local tip for visitors to the city
First off, if you don't want to sound like an outsider, remember, it's pronounced "Loo-uh-ville". This is a city that prides itself on its culinary creations. While you're in town, you'll be asked to try the bourbon (the only place in the world where the spirit can be made and still be called "bourbon") , Mint Juleps (a Kentucky Derby specialty), Benedictine (a cucumber spread), Hot Brown (an open faced turkey sandwich smothered in cheese), and Derby Pie (pecan pie with chocolate chips melted in). Say yes to as much as you can because you can't get it anywhere else!
Author's bio: CC Thomas is freelance writer and Kentucky native who loves to travel. Follow the adventures at www.iknowfuntravel.blogspot.com.