10 Things to Do with Out-of-Town Guests in Louisville, KY

Where to take friends and family when visiting Louisville

Have family or friends coming to visit? Living here in Louisville, we all know there are plenty of interesting stops to make. Here are a handful of ideas on places to go and things to do with your out-of-town visitors.

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    Big Four Bridge in Louisville
    Big Four Bridge in Louisville. Image © Mali Anderson

    A compelling way to take in the Louisville skyline, the Big Four Railroad Bridge spans the Ohio River, connecting Indiana and Kentucky. It is open to pedestrians and bicyclists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, there are exceptions. For safety reasons the bridge does close during bad weather and, of course, during Thunder Over Louisville.

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    Churchill Downs

    Churchill Downs in Louisville
    Churchill Downs in Louisville. Image © Mali Anderson

    Even if you aren't the betting type, it is interesting to see the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs. The main attraction, of course, is the Kentucky Derby in May, also known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” Plus, in front of the track, is a statue of Barbaro, a Kentucky Derby winner who was favored to be a Triple Crown contender but he was injured. A fracture that ultimately led to the ending of his life.

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    Frazier History Museum in Louisville
    Frazier History Museum in Louisville. Image © Mali Anderson
    With 1,000 years of history packed into three floors, the Frazier History Museum contains armor, historical documents, toy soldiers, weapons and world leader memorabilia. There are also special temporary exhibitions and historical interpretations.
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    Historic Locust Grove

    Historic Locust Grove
    Historic Locust Grove. Image © Mali Anderson

    History buffs will appreciate this farmstead, built in the 1790s. Locust Grove was the home of William and Lucy Croghan. Lucy Croghan was the sister of General George Rogers Clark, a hero of the Revolutionary War. Tour the restored home, learn about the era in the small exhibition area, walk the gardens and/or shop the store.

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  • 05 of 10

    Hot Brown Hop

    Hot Brown Sandwich
    The Hot Brown Sandwich where it all began, at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY. Image © Mali Anderson

    Similar to the Bourbon Trail, the Hot Brown Hop is essentially a structured way to consume a Louisville favorite. The Hop focuses on the sandwich invented at The Brown Hotel in the 1920s. Now one of Louisville's favorite foods, the Hot Brown is served up around the city. Try it as a pizza, a crepe, a soup and more.

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    Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Bourbon aging at Maker's Mark distillery
    Bourbon aging at Maker's Mark distillery. Image © Mali Anderson

    The Kentucky Distillers Association launched the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999. It is a unique way to learn about the art and science of making bourbon whiskey and visitors can learn a lot about the state of Kentucky. Distilleries on the Bourbon Trail include Evan Williams Bourbon Experience (downtown Louisville); Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, KY)Heaven Hill (Bardstown, KY); Jim Beam (Clermont, KY); Maker’s Mark (Loretto, KY)Town Branch Bourbon (Lexington, KY); Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, KY); Woodford Reserve (Versailles, KY).

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    Originally called the Art and Craft Foundation, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has been preserving and supporting Kentucky's creative community for over 30 years. The current executive director has brought in international contemporary artists as well.
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    Louisville Stoneware

    Louisville Stoneware
    Fleur de Lis hand painted dishes at Louisville Stoneware. Image © Mali Anderson

    Gift shop and production facility, Louisville Stoneware is one of the oldest stoneware factories in the United States. The current location is housed in two buildings; one a former candy factory, the other a former distillery. Stop in to tour the factory, paint-your-own pottery and/or shop.

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    Kentucky Science Center
    Downtown Louisville. Image © Mali Anderson

    Historic Main Street is lined with cast iron buildings, many containing museums, hotels, and restaurants. Beautiful architecture, award-winning performances and delicious food, sounds like a great afternoon to me!

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    Historic Tram Tour of Mega Cavern
    Historic Tram Tour of Mega Cavern. Image courtesy of the Louisville Mega Cavern
    The Mega Cavern is a huge cave underneath our urban center. The historic tram tour is an educational and entertaining way to learn about the cave and the history of Louisville. It is dusty and eerie. When it's over, you'll be glad to see the sun.