So you've decided to make our fantastic city your new home. Welcome! Louisville is a friendly and inviting city, so you shouldn't have any trouble fitting in or making new friends. However, there are some pieces of knowledge that are exclusive to Louisville residents that, as an outsider, might alienate you from your neighbors, cause you to get lost, or just completely confuse you. They are things every Louisville resident knows, and the five things you must know before moving to Louisville:
The Meaning of Kentuckiana
Louisville sits right on the borders of Southern Indiana. As such, many residents of the Indiana border cities, namely Jeffersonville, Clarksville, New Albany, and Corydon, come to Louisville to work, eat, drink, and shop. And it is common for Kentucky and Indiana residents to cross state lines to visit local farms and attractions. Additionally, the cities are in such close proximity that the local media outlets cover news in all of the cities. The result of this combined media coverage resulted in a term that refers to both Louisville and Southern Indiana – Kentuckiana. You'll hear this word used in general conversation, hear it on the news, and read it in the paper daily.
The Local Pronunciation of Louisville
A sign on the front of the Louisville Visitors Center mocks the different ways that people pronounce the name of our city: "Lewisville," "Looeyville," "Looavull," "Looaville," and "Luhvull." Phonetically, it would seem that the "Lewisville" or "Looeyville" pronunciations would be correct. However, pronouncing the name of your new home either of those ways is sure to give you away as an outsider. The pronunciation that most Louisville residents use is "Looavull," though "Looaville" and "Luhvull" aren’t uncommon.
College Basketball Is King
There are three major college basketball teams that are supported in Louisville: the Louisville Cardinals (University of Louisville), both men's and women's University of Louisville teams play at the Yum! Center on Main Street, the Kentucky Wildcats (University of Kentucky), and the Indiana Hoosiers (Indiana University), though support for IU in the area is on a smaller scale. UofK fans hate UofL, and vice versa. During the basketball season, you'll have to pick a local team and learn to love it. Expect criticism from fans of the opposing team, but also know that it's all in fun. Supporting both teams just isn't an option.
Spaghetti Junction Is a Nightmare
In the last few decades, Louisville has grown quickly. Unfortunately, the interstates in the area haven't grown with the city. The result is crowded interstates during rush hour times, especially in the area known as Spaghetti Junction. Spaghetti Junction is the area where the three major Louisville interstates, I-64, I-65, and I-71, meet and merge together. From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening, Spaghetti Junction will inevitably be slow, backed up, or even stopped due to the high volume of traffic. This commonly causes delays and even accidents. If possible, it's best to avoid Spaghetti Junction during these times and use either an access (I-265) or bypass (I-264) interstate.
The Interstates Have Names
If you're listening to the radio in the morning for a report of the traffic situation on I-264, you're probably not going to hear it unless you know that I-264 is called the Watterson Expressway by Louisville locals. The same is the case with I-265 in Louisville and I-265 in Indiana – two separate interstates. I-265 in Louisville is known as the Gene Snyder Freeway, and I-265 in Indiana is known as the Lee Hamilton Highway. Traffic reports and locals rarely refer to these interstates by their numbers, so it's best to just learn their names as soon as possible to avoid confusion.
Home to the Kentucky Derby
Ok, you are probably saying to yourself "I knew that, what's the big deal"? In Louisville, the Kentucky Derby is a BIG deal. Schools and businesses close for the running of Kentucky Oaks, Friday before Derby, when the fillies run, and on Derby Day itself, the whole city is at or throwing a party. Make your own plans accordingly!