The Germantown neighborhood of Louisville has traditionally been known as a blue-collar neighborhood. For years it was thought of as a neighborhood inhabited by generations of families that don’t move away. However, Germantown has changed recently, the neighborhood has grown and is attracting young families. It is suspected this is because the neighborhood is close to the Highlands and Old Louisville. bridging two neighborhoods that were already attracting interest. Add to this new restaurants, bars, and shopping options, and the pot was sweetened. Germantown became homebuyers first choice, rather than a second or third option. Germantown was once a less expensive option as far as cost of living is concerned, but prices have gone up as the neighborhood has attracted attention. Many individuals have chosen to adopt Germantown as their home.
Germantown was originally settled by German immigrants in the mid 1800s. The German settlers built large Catholic churches and then settled around them in Louisville areas such as Germantown, Butchertown, and the Phoenix Hill neighborhood. By the Civil War, so many immigrants had moved to the area that they covered the neighborhood with shotgun houses. Today, Germantown is still covered in shotgun and camelback houses, and many descendants of its early settlers still call the neighborhood home.
Germantown’s boundaries are Barret Avenue in the north, Eastern Parkway in the east, and the South Fork of Beargrass Creek in the south and west. If you drive from The Highlands to Old Louisville, chance are you are driving through Germantown.
Germantown was once known for its Caucasian-dominant population of working class Louisvillians, but the demographics of Germantown are rapidly changing due to the neighborhood's recent popularity. Most of Germantown’s newest residents are college students and young couples.
Germantown Picture Tour
Explore Germantown through pictures of some of its biggest attractions, restaurants, and stores. But know that some of this is for nostalgic reasons. For example, Lynn's Paradise Cafe is closed for good, but it still remains a topic of Germantown conversation, the closing was a surprise and is still mysterious to many.
Top Germantown Restaurants
Many think of restaurants in Germantown as dives with cheap and unremarkable food. But that's not true for all Germantown fare. Many restaurants are serving up some of the best food in Louisville. Check out Check's Cafe at the intersection of Hickory and Burnett Streets for live music and solid sandwiches, Come Back Inn for Italian-American restaurant specialities, Hammerheads for a hip vibe and house-smoked meat, Eiderdown for a classy date night, and Cottage Inn for savory southern classics (and remember to save room for dessert, they serve Derby Pie at the Cottage Inn).
Because of its recent influx of new residents and the high local interest in the neighborhood, the number of bars in Germantown has been growing. Many Germantown bars cater primarily to the long-time residents of the neighborhood, but many also cater to the college and young professional crowds. A couple of Germantown favorites are on our Top 5 Dive Bars in Louisville list, perfect if you are on a budget. Music lovers, head to Zanzabar. It is a great music venue, plus there is an extensive collection of pinball machines and vintage arcade games to fill your time and eat your quarters.
- St. Therese Catholic Church--Located at 1010 Schiller Avenue, St. Therese is one of the original Catholic churches built by Germantown’s settlers. It’s gorgeous architecture and placement on the National Register of Historic Places makes it one of Germantown’s most prized attractions.
- Schnitzelburg World Dainty Championship--Dainty is an old German game that is played with a stick. A player uses a handheld stick to force another stick jump off of the ground, and then hits the airborne stick like a baseball with the stick in their hand. The person who hits their stick the farthest wins. Each July, the Schnitzelburg World Dainty Championship is held in front of Hauck’s Market in Germantown.
This article was updated by a current expert in September, 2016.