A few months ago, my husband was offered a new job so he and I packed up our belongings and moved from the Northern cold of West Michigan to the sunny city of Louisville, Kentucky. We’d both never been to Derby City before but were eager to experience all of the history and glory that it has to offer and discover all the things to do in Louisville.
Right away, we started making a list of all of the amazing things we wanted to do in Louisville and have slowly but surely been checking things off the list. If you’re ever in the neighborhood or have a chance to visit Louisville, be sure to hit these great restaurants and sights to complete your stay. If you’ve been here and think that I missed any of the best things to do in Louisville, please let me know if I missed any of your favorites!
The feature photo is credited to Glorius Gaduang and was cropped to fit the frame. You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you.
Best Places To Sleep
I call this section the best places to sleep because let’s be honest, you’re not going to be hanging out in your hotel. You’re going to be out doing the awesome things I’m going to tell you about! These are a couple places here though that will give you the best experiences for where to stay in Louisville.
1440 St. James Court
If you’re looking for something a little more reserved and less in the thick of things this is the perfect place for you. This little bed & breakfast sits right in the heart of America’s largest Victorian neighborhood and the street is one of my favorite walks in all of Louisville. The Inn is surrounded by the history of Louisville and is in the center of Old Louisville, home to hundreds of houses that were built in the late 1800’s and still shine with antiquity. This bed & breakfast has three exquisite suites, all on the second story of the old house. If you’re looking to embrace the history that Louisville has to offer, this is the perfect place for your stay.
140 N 4th St.
This hotel is probably the most popular in Louisville and there’s a reason for it. Being right on the Ohio River and in the middle of downtown, it is a magnificent sight. The rooms are substantial and the entire building, which includes two towers, a 360-degree gym that overlooks the river is as sleek, and classy as it gets in this town. The fact that it has covered bridges that connect to the KFC Yum! Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center is just icing the cake. You could literally walk out of your hotel room and never have to hit the street to get to several events that are running at one of the aforementioned venues.
Best Places To Eat
316 W Ormsby Ave
On the first night that we were in Louisville, we ate at this restaurant. We had looked for something with great reviews and a local place with great service, which is exactly what this little eatery is. When we first walked up to it, I was in shock at how beautiful it was. The building used to be a house and the ‘yard’ is now a beautiful patio with tables and lights. The service was superb and the food at this little Italian hideaway was one of those places that you can’t wait to come back to. We had no complaints about Amici, and it should be on your list of places to try when you’re here.
140 N 4th St.
This elegant and tasteful restaurant is one of the unique places to eat at in Louisville and an absolute must see. Rivue is on the top floor of the Rivue Tower of the Galt House Hotel and has two rooms that revolve across windows that overlook the Ohio River. The view from your table is dazzling, no matter what angle you’re seeing at the moment. My husband and I ate there for our one year anniversary and when we sat down I was a little afraid that I was going to get a little motion sick, but I didn’t feel a thing once I got used to the ever-so-slow movement of the floor.
Onto the real reason that we went there: the food. We had read some fantastic reviews and they lived up to their words. The seared tuna was the most delectable and tender I have ever tasted. My mouth is literally watering as I’m sitting here writing about it. As a special treat, at the end of our meal, the waiter rolled a cart up to our table and let us each pick out three pieces of their homemade chocolate candies and chocolate covered strawberries. It was the perfect end to a perfect meal.
416 W Muhammad Ali Blvd
I don’t know about you, but I am a sushi loving maniac. When my husband and I first moved down here, this was the first sushi place that we tried and it is still by far my favorite. Situated in downtown Louisville right across from Fourth Street Live!, this stylish restaurant is superb for a date night and a great spot for a refreshing bite when you’re visiting in town.
Things To Do In Louisville
Aside from the thousands of places to eat, which my husband and I love for our entertainment anyway, there is a myriad of local attractions and things to do in Louisville that are more than worth a visit.
704 Central Ave
Have you heard of the Kentucky Derby? I’m assuming that even if you aren’t into horse racing, you know that the Kentucky Derby is a big deal. This museum is so rich in the history of the race and is right in front of Churchill Downs, so you’ll get to actually be where the race is held every April. Making it a can’t miss thing to do in Louisville. You can go on a tour as well as take a look in the gift shop and get a bite to eat at the cafe. This is a great destination for a day of seeing a landmark of Kentucky.
1841 Taylor Ave
This is the ultimate spot for anyone who is adventurous and wants to have a good time. This man-made cave stretches underneath Louisville and the Louisville Zoo and has so many activities that you may even have to come back for another day. They have all sorts of things from underground zip-lining to a mountain bike park to an adult obstacle course called the Mega Quest. Also, if you happen to visit during the month of December, they have this thing called Lights Under Louisville where you drive your car through the cave where they have millions of holiday lights and music. It’s super fun for the family and definitely worth checking out.
There isn’t one specific thing that you have to check out on Bardstown Road, there are several. This is the hotspot for where to be in Louisville. There are so many businesses I can’t even name them all that are awesome to see on this road. It’s a great walk to take a day, park somewhere, and stroll down the sidewalk and check out the shops, restaurants and any other interesting businesses you may find. A great sushi place to stop in at on Bardstown Road is Wild Ginger Sushi. They have amazing pineapple and cream cheese wontons!
937 Phillips Lane
If you’re looking for something a little more family oriented, you can always take a day for the amusement park here in Louisville. It’s called Kentucky Kingdom and even though it’s not the biggest amusement park, it has some pretty awesome rides and of course, they have activities for all ages!
401 W River Rd
The Belle of Louisville is a steamboat owned and operated by the city. It runs all year round, but have limited cruises through the winter months. Normally they have day and night cruises where you can have dinner or just sit and take in the Ohio River in all of its glory. This is a great date night idea if you’re looking for something romantic or a sight-seeing adventure for the day time.
This is only the beginning of all of the great things to do in Louisville, so take a trip and start exploring!
About the Authors
Randi is a 22-year-old blogger. She lives in Louisville, KY with her husband although they enjoy moving around and exploring new places. Keep up with Randi at her blog, Contemporary State of Life. Also, follower her on Facebook and Pinterest!