Whether you are visiting Louisville or live here and are looking for something to do with friends or family in from out of town, sightseeing tours are a great way to explore the city and learn about the great state of Kentucky. If tours appeal to you, you are in luck, there are plenty of tours to choose from; walking tours, bike tours, and even custom tours you can help design. Which one is the best for you?
The answer will be different for everyone, which means you will need some more information to decide. Want some help making that decision? Here ya go! A roundup of the best tours of Louisville, Kentucky.
Have you been itching to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail but are unsure where to begin? Well, there are plenty of ways to explore the history and craft of “America’s Native Spirit” throughout the state of Kentucky. Some visitors choose to pick up the passport of distilleries and take on the challenge of visiting them all, while others stay local and simply visit establishments in Louisville that are known for their bourbon knowledge and collection.
If you have done your research and have decided you would prefer to have someone show you around, know that is an option, too. That is why Mint Julep Tours is in business! They have a few different options, choose the tour that is right for you and your group.
Bourbon Distillery Tours
While you won't see all of the distilleries listed on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, on this tour you will see the inner workings of two historic distilleries. There is a ton to learn within the distilleries, from how bourbon is made to what is mean by the angel's share, plus, this tour includes bourbon tastings and a local lunch.
Looking for a specific outing for your business, family vacation, or bachelor or bachelorette party? If you have a group together, Mint Julep will work with you to create a personalized itinerary. There are oodles of options, from the bucolic scenery at Maker's Mark distillery to the media heavy downtown experience of Beam's Bourbon experience.
These tours offer inside looks into Louisville. For example, some exclusive tours include both a tour of Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Ky and the new Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Downtown Louisville. The two experiences give you a blend of urban bourbon life and what is happening outside of Louisville limits.
Louisville is a lovely place, filled with friendly people and unique places. Kentucky is more than horses and bourbon! These city tours are an opportunity to sample and enjoy the traditional foods of Louisville while seeing the sights of Louisville, KY.
Some of the culinary Louisville favorite's include Jenny Benedict’s Benedictine Sandwich, the Kentucky Hot Brown, Kern’s Kitchen’s Derby Pie, and, of course, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby: the Mint Julep!
Plus, you will have opportunities to see the unique neighborhoods of Louisville. Participants will visit Churchill Downs, stop and check out the Louisville Slugger Museum, discover Old Louisville (including St James Court, home of the annual St James Art Show), Fourth Street, The Falls of the Ohio, and Museum Row.
Trolley de 'Ville
See the city in climate controlled comfort, all while riding in an old time trolley. These tours are over an hour and fully narrated by an experience tour guide. Participants learn historical knowledge and take in the beautiful historic homes of Old Louisville as well as seeing Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby takes place every year, on the first Saturday in May.
What better way to take in the city than by bicycle.
And what if you could bike with a dozen of your closest friends. You can! The Thirsty Pedlar is a pedaling barcrawl. The pedaling bar can seat up to 15 people. There is fun along the way and the bike/vehicle makes three stops at bars and restaurants downtown. There are options on where to stop, choose from Against the Grain, Troll Pub, Proof at 21c, and more. There are specials at the bars you will stop at, too. It's a popular tour, a way to have fun on and off your seat.
Explore underground in this unique tour of a manmade cave. Originally a limestone quarry, the location is now home to historic tours, zip line tours, an underground bike park with over 320,000 square feet of trails (the only underground bike park in the world), an aerial ropes challenge course, and more. Talk about unique!
Mansions and Milestones Tour
Learn about the Southern Exposition of 1883, a famous event that brought the new (at the time) electric light to America’s grandest Victorian neighborhood. It is now home to some 45 square blocks of charming homes and elaborate mansions. A must-see for anyone interested in the architecture of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Moonshine and Madness Tour
Because of the vices in Louisville, a history of distilleries, tobacco houses and horse races, as well as being a favorite place for Al Capone to drop by during the Prohibition, Louisville has had, at points, a reputation as a sin city. Learn more about the sorted past of Louisville, and the Roaring 20s and the Fabulous 30s, when flappers, moon shiners and gangsters kept downtown Louisville and surrounding neighborhoods buzzing with gossip and bad behavior.
Derby City Delights Tour
An opportunity to familiarize yourself with Louisville, this tour shows off the shops and small buinesses along Bardstown Road along with Olmsted’s Cherokee Park as well as the beautiful surrounding neighborhood of the Highlands. Then visitors see the classic choices of Churchill Downs and St James Court before heading downtown to see the Seelbach and Brown Hotels, the new 21c Hotel and Museum, the Palace Theatre, 4th Street Live!, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and the Belvedere which overlooks the mighty Ohio River
The Grand Walking Tour
If you are interested in the Victorian neighborhood of Old Louisville, this could be the tour for you. It is a walking tour that gives participants a look at the stunning architecture and long history of Old Louisville.The tour guide shares local stories of the people who built up the neighborhood and once called it home.
The Old Louisville neighborhood is one of the largest Victorian districts in the country. With all of these old homes—and Waverly Sanitarium, which has tours, too— it's no wonder Louisville is sometimes referred to as one of America’s most haunted places. On this tour, a guide takes you through beautiful Saint James and Belgravia Courts, the mansions of Millionaire’s Row and a sweet side trip to sample some of Louisville's famous candies.
Louisville Stoneware Tour
One of the oldest stoneware manufacturers in the United States, Louisville Stoneware is still churning out functional clay pieces for your home and kitchen, along with artful sculptures for the garden. The factory tour gives will show you how the clay is made and participants can watch the artisans at work. Want a hands on option? There are Paint Your Own Pottery opportunities as well. Participants can pick a plate, mug, bowl or platter and decorate it with the same tools and materials used by the staff artisans.
City Highlights Tour
This is a morning tour, which can be helpful during the spring and summer months as Louisville can be steamy. The tour lasts over 3 hours and beings at Waterfront Park. Along the way, bikers will see the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, Historic Main Street, Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, the campus of University of Louisville , Old Louisville, and more.
The Kentucky Tour
This tour is about 11 miles long and starts at Louisville Slugger Field, the ride features the Kentucky Derby Museum and regional bourbon history. Enjoy a guided experience at the Kentucky Derby Museum including a walking tour of Churchill Downs Race Track. Then, after lunch, everyone can chat over the day at a Jim Beam bourbon tasting downtown.
Unlike the tours above, this is a night ride, starting at 7 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field. Cruise through downtown, exploring beautiful Waterfront Park before pedaling over the scenic Ohio River and visiting the riverfront of Jeffersonville and Clarksville, Indiana.
"Remembering Ali" Tour
Explore Ali's hometown! Mayor Fischer says, "Muhammad's presence can be felt and seen in many locations around town, and there's no better way to experience them than on a bike." This is another morning ride, starting at 9 a.m. The tour, naturally, begins and ends downtown at the Muhammad Ali Center. And while the Muhammad Ali Center is a huge symbol of Ali's history in Louisville, there are plenty of other spots to visit. Cyclists will have an intimate tour of his childhood home in the Parkland Neighborhood, admission to the home is included in the ride. Other stops include Ali's elementary school, his high school, and the Columbia Gym. The gym is where it all started. There, his red bike was stolen. An event that has been noted as igniting his passion for boxing, a drive that led him to an incredible boxing career.