Louisville Tourism: 20 Things to Do in Kentucky

Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY
••• Image © Mali Anderson

Kentucky Derby

Each year, 20 horses compete in “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” Despite all the festivities surrounding Derby, the race itself usually takes just over two minutes. The whole city is alive with festivities and fancy hats.

Louisville Slugger Museum

With a 120-foot replica of Babe Ruth’s bat leaning on the building, it’s hard to miss the Slugger Museum. Tours of the museum take you through the factory where you’ll learn the differences between amateur and professional bats.

Frazier History Museum

On Louisville’s famous “Museum Row,” the Frazier Museum includes armor, historical documents, toy soldiers, weapons and world leader memorabilia.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

The distilleries on the Bourbon Trail are in and around Louisville. Some are as close as eight miles from one another, others are as far as 70 miles. The address and hours for each distillery are noted in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail passport.

Bourbon Tourism

Turns out the Bourbon Trail is a small sampling of the bourbon tourism visitors and locals can explore. Here are some leads on places to learn about the bourbon industry.

Louisville Palace

The Louisville Palace is a live music venue, movie house and historic landmark. The Palace is a popular destination and a piece of downtown Louisville history.

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

Originally called the Art and Craft Foundation, KMAC was founded in 1981. The purpose is to preserve and support Kentucky's art and craft lineage.

The organization grew to be the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation and finally became the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Louisville Zoo

Open year-round, the Louisville Zoo is located at 1100 Trevilian Way in Louisville, KY.

Louisville Mega Cavern

A man-made cavern, originally a limestone quarry, the Mega Cavern has been open to tourists since 2009.

For the adventurous there are zip line tours, and for the history buffs, there are historic tram tours.

Stroll Bardstown Road

Home to shops, restaurants, bars, and more, Bardstown Road is a popular strip for groups of young people as well as established professionals. It is a go-to destination for shopping and nightlife.

Stroll Frankfort Avenue

This street in the Crescent Hill neighborhood of Louisville is lined with places to grab a meal, have coffee and chat, visit a salon, or shop a boutique.

Visit Old Louisville

Home to historic Victorian homes, Old Louisville is one of the few neighborhoods in the country with so many Victorian buildings. The area has grown in popularity over recent years and is a popular place to live for college students and young professionals. There is an annual art show each October, a destination for people around Kentucky and Indiana.

Locust Grove

Historic Locust Grove features the home and farm of William and Lucy Croghan, relatives to the family who founded the city of Louisville. There are tours, a small museum, and Locust Grove is also the site for fairs, events, workshops and lectures.

Belle of Louisville

On the National Historic Landmark since 1989, Belle of Louisville is a river steamboat that still runs using 1890s steam engines and a paddlewheel that is her only means of propulsion.

Cruise the Ohio River in style.

Fourth Street Live!

An entertainment complex that opened in 2004. The strip of restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, and stages, is located on 4th Street, between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Liberty Street. 

Kentucky Kingdom

An amusement park within the city, Kentucky Kingdom is filled with roller coasters, rides, and flying swings. In the hot summer months, visitors and residents enjoy Hurricane Bay, a water park with a wave pool, a lazy river, and more, situated on the Kentucky Kingdom campus.

Water Parks in Indiana and Kentucky
Looking to head to a water park that isn't Kentucky Kingdom? Here you are, plenty of choices.

Big Four Railroad Bridge

Take in the Ohio River and the Louisville skyline from a former railroad bridge. That's right, you can stroll over the Ohio River.

Top 8 Kentucky Caves

When thinking of Kentucky, many think of horses and bourbon, but Kentucky is home to an extensive system of caves, too. It's a stunning thing to see, ideal for science types or family field trips.

Go Shopping!

Yes, admittedly, you can do this almost anywhere, but it's a great way to see a city and pick up some souvenirs.