Things to do in Louisville when you're (not) dead.
August 16, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Fun things to do in Louisville, Kentucky? Seeking suggestions for especially cool museums, galleries, theatre, cinema, people-watching, eating, walking.

Things I'm not interested in, unless they're truly exceptional in some way: Bars, nightclubs, shopping.

Bonus points for places within walking distance of downtown. (My tolerance for walking is much higher than most people, so a coupla-three mile radius is just fine.)

I consulted this thread but I'm interested in Louisville specifically.

Thanks in advance!
posted by buxtonbluecat to Travel & Transportation around Louisville, KY (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do love me some Louisville. I wish I got there more often. Bear in mind that the best of Louisville is mostly outside of downtown, so you may want to expand your geography a bit.

A few suggestions:


Actors Theatre one of the best regional theatres in the nation. Most of Marsha Norman's plays premiered there, if that gives you some idea of its prestige.

The Speed is a great smaller art museum, but I also recommend Farmington, which is a great house museum. It's also fun to visit the Glassworks.

Although not quite as great as it used to be, the Hadley Pottery Company has a neat story to tell, and of course, sells seconds at a big discount.


Brunch at Lynn's Paradise Cafe is a must.

It's hard to beat lunch at the Blue Dog.

Lilly's is a great place for an upscale dinner.

You'll find great coffee at every Heine Brothers.

Have a drink at the Sealbach.

Ehrman's is gone, so the best ice cream in Louisville is no longer available. But the Cincinnati-based Graeter's now has an outpost. For a more local dessert, visit the Dundee Candy Company and pick up modjeskas and bourbon balls (no web site, but they're on Dundee, naturally.)


I know shopping is low on your list, but Louisville is a great town for antiques if you're interested in that sort of thing.

The Belle of Louisville is famous, and great for a quick cruise on the Ohio River.

And if you have even the teensiest, tiniest interest in horceracing, go to Churchill Downs. (Speaking of which, you don't say where you're going, but if it's the weekend of the Breeders Cup, and you don't already have a hotel room, you won't find one.)
posted by j-dawg at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2006

Though kinda outdoor-mally, we had a great time at Fourth Street Live two nights in a row. We drank, we ate dinner, we drank, we bowled, we drank, we played pool, we drank. We didn't dance, but we could have. Tons of people. Sort of interesting architecture. Many bars and restaurants if you hadn't gathered that already. I guess that qualifies as "people watching," "eating," and "walking."
posted by Work to Live at 2:54 PM on August 16, 2006

Joe Ley Antiques. It costs $1 to get in and has rooms and rooms full of weird and freaky stuff. Some of the stuff I've seen there:

* Giant fiberglass shark.

* Rooms filled with streetlights.

* Human skeletons from old doctor's offices in a vintage coffin.

* A living room set made from cowhide and cow horns.

* Art deco brass elevator doors.

* A row of vintage pinball machines.

* An entire cabinet of ceramic and glass knobs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:28 PM on August 16, 2006

Jucy's BBQ. We drive down from Cincy just for the pulled-pork
posted by Mick at 3:56 PM on August 16, 2006

You can walk around Old Louisville or the Highlands, or sit around in Waterfront Park, Cherokee Park, Falls of the Ohio (technically in Indiana, but within range of downtown) or Cave Hill Cemetery (no, really).

If you get a chance, you can try to find some kind of show or movie at the Palace, where you can stare at the decoration. Of course, Churchill Downs has the Derby Museum.

Oh, yeah - you can tour some distilleries, but the more interesting ones are an hour or so away. There are one or two in town that offer tours, but I've had no luck finding out which ones online.
posted by dilettante at 3:58 PM on August 16, 2006

Even if you're not particularly interested in guns, the Frazier Arms Museum is really cool. It's only been open a few years, so all of the displays and exhibits are really modern.

For walking, I second the Highlands suggestion above. Walk down Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road until you get bored. It's definitely one of the more interesting areas of the city for people watching. The Baxter Avenue Theatres are also in the area, though they seem to be showing fewer indie films than they used to.
posted by komilnefopa at 6:39 PM on August 16, 2006

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