Play all day. Play all night. We’re a region who really knows how to play up our strengths. We invented bourbon, the cheeseburger and the Kentucky Derby! We’re the home to the Greatest, Muhammad Ali, the world’s largest indoor bike park, and the Humana Festival! When we come to play, we play hard with a twist of Southern charm. No matter what your version of “Play” is, you’ll find it here in Greater Louisville.
Greater Louisville is an absolute flambé of dining possibilities. Where else could you start your day in a funky little café where the cuisine is as eclectic as the décor, put your elbows on the counter and dig in at the birthplace of the great American cheeseburger for lunch, and wind up that night savoring Louisville life in an oak-paneled AAA 5-diamond classic?
Best of all, with a slew of locally-owned restaurants that span the gustatory gamut from Bosnian to Vietnamese and back again, there are plenty of flavorable options leftover for tomorrow.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a few others with some strong (and savory) recommendations:
Greater Louisville started life as a river town. It’s the largest city in the state that invented bourbon. The bars can stay open 22 hours a day (and all night during the Kentucky Derby). No wonder it’s a place where people know how to cut loose. And for your cutting-loose pleasure, we’ve assembled some of the coziest dives and swankest nightclubs you’ve ever seen.
We’ve got brewpubs, Irish bars, gay bars, a first-rate comedy club, and as many places to watch a basketball game as there are basketball games to watch.
There are establishments that’ll make you think you stepped into 1961, or 2161. But not all nightlife is liquor-based: We’ve got coffee shops, restaurants, paintball emporia, midnight movies, billiards palaces…. However late you want to go, Louisville stays open. One tip: Keep your ear cocked. The city’s original musicians have made joyful noise since the jug-band era, and the city is still producing artists as popular as My Morning Jacket and as creatively intense as Will Oldham (AKA Bonnie “Prince” Billy). Take notes, next show you go to, so in five years you can brag about who you saw, way back in 2016, in a little place called Greater Louisville.
It’s impossible to feel cooped up in Greater Louisville. We sled in the winter, run in the spring, picnic in the summer, hike in the fall. We have the country’s largest municipal forest, a world-famous skate park, and free Shakespeare under the stars.
And we aren’t finished yet. Louisville’s City of Parks project is the largest urban park expansion on the continent, adding 4,000 acres and a 100-mile loop around the city. Take a walk on Waterfront Park’s Big Four Pedestrian Bridge which not only crosses the Ohio River, but state lines spanning from Kentucky to Indiana.
That means wherever you are in the Greater Louisville Region, you’re never far from open space and the chance to play. You can swim, ride horses, golf, fly model airplanes, fish, play tennis, canoe, paddle board, watch musicals, join a fierce pick-up basketball game — or simply gaze into the wide Ohio. City of Parks, no doubt.
Either way, Greater Louisville is a place where artists find inspiration and art-enthusiasts find inspiring art.
Audiences enjoy Broadway shows, intricate ballets and rousing orchestra performances at the Kentucky Center. Friends, family and neighbors gather for “Free Will” Shakespeare plays in historic Louisville’s Central Park. And visual art addicts get their fix via free tour-by-trolley of the dynamic downtown art scene during the First Friday Trolley Hops.
But we’re not just a city of spectators; we’re also a hotbed for performers and artists. Louisville’s community-wide passion for the arts manifests itself in the Fund for the Arts, Arts Council and LOOK consortium – organizations dedicated to helping creative people turn the art they live for into something they can live on.
The Kentucky Derby is the most beautiful and reliably thrilling championship in sports. And this is one of the country’s best towns for college sports. The arena downtown is the home to the University of Louisville men’s basketball; both they and U of L’s football team make regular appearances in the Top 25.
We’ve got Triple A baseball in a beautiful downtown ballpark, a professional soccer club, and arena football. We’re a major golf town: The PGA owns Valhalla golf course, bringing in such events as America’s victory in the 2008 Ryder Cup and the PGA Tournament, one of golf’s four majors (Tiger Woods won a thriller in 2000).
Even without a game on the schedule, Greater Louisville has three sites any sports fan should see – the Kentucky Derby Museum; the Muhammad Ali Center; and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. You can find that last one by looking for the 120-foot bat leaning casually against a building on Main Street. Gigantic, but just about the right scale for the athletic pursuits of Possibility City.