The Best of Louisville: Sites to See

By Vicki Arkoff, June 17, 2019

Louisville, Kentucky, is recognized as an international destination for festival events—most notably the Kentucky Derby—and conferences like Connect 2019. As one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains, Louisville was named after King Louis XVI of France, but is celebrated as the All-American home of Muhammad Ali, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Louisville Slugger baseball bats and three of Kentucky’s six Fortune 500 companies. See what awaits you this August.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Baseball history is made here in front of your eyes, as 5,000 baseball bats per day are carved out of maple and northern white ash. Visitors can watch bats being carved and branded, hold bats used by legends Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and Derek Jeter, take a swing at a 90-miles-per-hour fastball test out new bat models in the batting cages and take home a free mini-bat souvenir.

Churchill Downs There’s no need to wait for the Kentucky Derby to enjoy the ponies at America’s most famous racetrack—thoroughbreds race during Spring and Fall meets. And the Kentucky Derby Museum next door is open daily, year-round, to relate the history, traditions, and thrills of The Kentucky Derby, the USA’s longest continuously held sporting event. For a pick-me-up, try a slice of rich Derby Pie at the museum’s café.

Louisville Mega Cavern One of the largest caverns in North America, this a natural wonder is enhanced by a rich history in mining and green building technology. It features new adventure thrills with Mega Zips, the world’s only fully underground ziplines, and Mega Underground Bike Park, the very first subterranean biking paths.

Big Four Bridge Every evening a colorful LED light show dances across this former Big Four Railroad truss bridge, built in 1895. Now it’s a popular bicycle and pedestrian bridge, luring people to enjoy the two-mile round trip featuring unobstructed views of the city, the Ohio River, and pretty Waterfront Park with free summertime concerts the last Wednesday of each month.

The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts This multivenue complex is the home of Broadway Across America, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet and Louisville Orchestra. The grounds also host masterpiece artworks by Alexander Calder, Joan Miro, Jean Dubuffet and others. This summer, the 2,000-capacity Old Forester’s Paristown Hall debuts as a general admission venue for national touring bands, collaborative projects, new works and non-traditional arts experiences.

Muhammad Ali Center The life and legacy of “The Greatest” is celebrated in his hometown with this $80-million multicultural center and museum. Galleries and multimedia exhibits highlight Ali’s six core principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, giving and spirituality. Ali’s final resting place can be visited at the lush, Victorian-era Cave Hill Cemetery and arboretum.

Speed Art Museum Kentucky’s very first museum has recently doubled in size, adding additional exhibit space for ancient, classical and modern art, plus an outdoor art park and the restaurant Wiltshire at the Speed (an excellent choice for fried chicken and Benedictine spread).

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