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It’s hard to figure out why this little slice of Americana is so terribly underrated in the pantheon of America’s great cities. It is after all hometown to America’s greatest athlete, America’s signature liquor and produces the tools of the trade for America’s pastime. Sure, the legendary Kentucky Derby drives most of the city’s traffic, but why take off so soon after when there’s so much more to explore?
A little bit midwest, a little bit south, Louisville has it’s own flavor - with a booming foodie scene and signature liquor to match. Top chefs have flocked to Louisville, joining homegrown culinary heroes to create a vibrant restaurant scene. Though for many years the Hot Brown Sandwich reigned, it’s being pushed aside by a new culinary movement taking southern classics and putting a modern twist on them. Wonderful farm-to-table experiences and heaps of new gastropubs await in Louisville. Colonel Sanders who?
Then there’s that sweet American ambrosia, Kentucky Bourbon. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is your passport (they even helpfully give you an actual passport) to all the major bourbon distilleries in the region; from Jim Beam’s dual distilleries, the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center to the countryside locale of the Maker’s Mark distillery or the mammoth Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, there’s a bourbon for all tastes and types. Off the trail, you might even be able to sniff out a taste of that rarest of bourbon breeds, the elusive Pappy Van Winkle (good luck!).
The famed Churchill Downs and accompanying Kentucky Derby Museum showcase the past and present of the most important horse racing event in the world, the Kentucky Derby. The sport of kings endures here in Louisville, as thousands flock to Churchill Downs to get gussied up and bear witness to the equestrian quest for the glory of the Triple Crown. The derby isn’t Louisville’s only sporting claim to fame as it also hosts the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, a shrine devoted to the official baseball bat of Major League Baseball (and also the largest bat in the world, towering over the five story factory itself). If living, breathing sports is more your thing, head on over to the Louisville Slugger Stadium and catch a Louisville Bats game (sensing an overarching theme here?). Once baseball season winds down, there’s always the thrilling action of the University of Louisville Cardinals battling it out in College Football’s ACC division.
You’d be remiss to visit without paying tribute to The Greatest. He floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee; he’s the one, the only, Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay in a humble home in Louisville, his childhood home still stands as a landmark to this incredible boxer, activist, speaker and influencer. The massive Muhammad Ali Center is a dedicated museum and cultural center featuring archive video footage, memorabilia and exhibits recounting the life of this incredible man. Greatness springs forth from Louisville, why not stick around and discover some for yourself?