Day tripping to Louisville. Difficulty: mother/son getaway.
October 11, 2016 5:38 PM   Subscribe

My kiddo and I are taking an impromptu mother-son day trip to Louisville. Help us figure out where to eat and one "mom" thing to do...

Kiddo and I are trekking to Louisville to zipline in the Mega Cavern. This is a thing that's on my kiddo's veritable bucket list. This is not at all my kind of thing. Help me have a fun time in Louisville despite my deep dislike of heights, caves, and speed.

I'm specifically looking for two things: 1) a great place the 12 year old and I can grab dinner on a Friday night. He's a pretty adventurous eater as far as kids go, although he loves a good burger, and I have a real soft spot for southern fare (including bbq). We are open to interesting ethnic options, too (but not too spicy!). Availability of adult beverages (wine or cocktails, specifically) at this dinner: a must. 2) a fun art-y experience we can do together on Saturday morning such as: pottery painting or glass-blowing (or similar kind of craft workshop), a museum (but not the Slugger, great as it is), or a gallery -- with bonus points if there's a particularly immersive installation on offer. Thanks in advance!
posted by pinkacademic to Travel & Transportation around Louisville, KY (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Speed art museum also I believe Churchill downs has a Ky derby museum. Lots of good places to eat downtown. I also believe Bardstown rd has many resturants.
posted by tman99 at 5:54 PM on October 11, 2016


There's the Frazier History Museum, if you two would be interested in that.
posted by dilettante at 7:31 PM on October 11, 2016


I think I recall there being a glassblowing thing, forgive the ambiguity, downtown (near the Slugger museum?) somewhere? There is also a nice park or three on the river that, in part due to close proximity of places to eat and sculptures, meet some of your criteria as well.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:05 PM on October 11, 2016


Abyssinia is a pretty good Ethiopian restaurant about 5 blocks back from the river downtown. Ethiopian cuisine has some interesting comparisons to Southern food. And of course, you eat it with your hands.. Food was not spicy (thus only pretty good..). IIRC the restaurant had a bar.

(On my Louisville trip I stumbled into an Indian festival on the waterfront, and if the plethora of amazing Indian street food on offer there is any indication, there are probably also some good Indian restaurants around.)
posted by joeyh at 8:51 PM on October 11, 2016


Just an FYI in case you're interested in this sort of thing: the Zappos outlet store is in Louisville and IT IS AMAZING. The last time I went I got SEVEN pairs of shoes (TWO pairs of boots, even) for $70.00.

So, you know, if you can squeeze in some shopping, and you like it, I recommend it.
posted by cooker girl at 5:47 AM on October 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


The 21c Louisville has a contemporary art gallery in a pretty space that is usually pretty interesting (the art rotates out every few months). The restaurant/bar in the hotel (Proof) has an extensive selection of bourbons and will make you a delicious cocktail. That could be good for dinner or for drinking while strolling the gallery. Within walking distance of the 21c is the Louisville Glassworks which had lots of pretty and intricate glass art on display. We didn't take any classes there but you could easily observe people working in the studio. Their web site suggests they have some classes.
posted by mmascolino at 6:50 AM on October 12, 2016


Louisville native here! There is a lot here, it is just takes some digging around.

A great place the 12 year old and I can grab dinner on a Friday night. He's a pretty adventurous eater as far as kids go, although he loves a good burger, and I have a real soft spot for southern fare (including bbq).

If there is one thing we're spoiled for here it is amazing food. Basically anything you can think of, we have an amazing restaurant for it. Well ALMOST. I used to be a big foodie but since Louisville's expansion as a "hip" city has halted or even imploded a bit (may be perception bias), I've not really kept up.

My favorite haunt, as a 12 year old at heart, is Zanzibar (Zbar), if you're into barcades. Good selection of beers, retro video games, pinball, good atmosphere, and good food (although not AS good as some, they've had issues with their fryer, and haven't really been able to make up for it with their improvised side items). If the owner is around he might even give you a tour of his collection of machines. However, check to see if they have a show first, if you want to eat after 7, unless you want to pay a cover for music that may or may not interest you. I've heard Recbar is nice too, but it's a bit far out from where I live and I can't really comment on the food.

For a good burger: Grind Burger is at the top of my list, hands down.

BBQ options are varied, and I am not a big fan of it in general, but Feast has been recommended several times. BBQ snobs seem to not be so impressed by it, however.

Also a fan of New Wave Burritos. Quirky and delicious.

On top of this, there is no shortage of breweries with decent Southern food in the Germantown and Highlands area. Pretty much every place now has a version of chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits, etc, but most of the places that were built upon this trend have died off. I CAN recommend some amazing soul food, though, again message me for details. You mentioned not liking spicy, but if you're digging the Hot Chicken thing, Royals is worth checking out. Even the milder recipes are delicious.

We are open to interesting ethnic options, too (but not too spicy!).

Guh, so many of my favorite places for this sort of cuisine have closed and have been replaced with boring brunch joints (RIP Sari Sari). Vietnamese food via Annie's Cafe or Vietnam Kitchen is your best bet. El Molcajete if you're craving legit Mexican fare. Dakshin for the best Indian food in town.

2) a fun art-y experience we can do together on Saturday morning such as: pottery painting or glass-blowing (or similar kind of craft workshop), a museum (but not the Slugger, great as it is), or a gallery -- with bonus points if there's a particularly immersive installation on offer.

Depending on when you're thinking of coming in you may run into a lot of cool events revolving around art. Memail me and I can give you more details about what's going on during specific dates. 21c Museum is cool, and the Speed Art Museum, since it's been updated, is actually quite impressive now. There are several great galleries along Market Street and Main and Frankfort Avenue, and on the first and last Fridays of each month, the city holds a "Trolley Hop" where you can browse them late at night. Sometimes (often) there is wine.

Be sure to check out Idle Wild Butterfly Farm if you and/or your kid digs bugs.

Squallis Puppeteers may also interest you, and they have some weekend shows/workshops, but depending on how mature your 12 year old is, he might be turned off by it.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:11 AM on October 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's been a while since I was home in Louisville, but if this was me I would probably do something like this (this is all minimal driving; from the Mega Cavern, drive downtown and park around 21c, then just walk, maybe drive to the waterfront if you decide to visit that.):

-Zipline at the Mega Cavern (you might be surprised--there's not a lot of heights there, and it only kinda feels like a cave!
-Go downtown and eat a burger and have a beer at Mussel and Burger. Good burgers (better than Grind by a mile, IMO).
-Cross the street to 21c and check out the galleries.
-Walk over to Glassworks and see some glassblowing.
-If time allows, check out the waterfront and the new pedestrian bridge (this is especially nice at evening/sunset, I think).

It's a great city to have a day like that in! I expect you'll have a blast.
posted by still bill at 8:26 AM on October 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


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