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Bourbon, horse farms, and southern charm are the hallmarks of Louisville, Kentucky. Because Louisville has so many interesting things to do, Louisville is a wonderful city for a weekend getaway or a short trip! Louisville is full of interesting history, lively spirits, and amazing museums.
During our two days in Louisville, we got to see so much of what the city has to offer! Downtown Louisville is a tourist hub with plenty of fun things to do, museums, activities, and attractions. So, here is your two-day guide to visiting Louisville Kentucky so you can decide what to do in Louisville during your next trip! We’ve included the top Louisville attractions and some fun things to do in Louisville
A Bit of Louisville History
Louisville was founded in 1778 which makes it one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Louisville is located beside the Falls of Ohio, a major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico. Because of this, the settlement at Louisville grew as a portage site.
Two Day Louisville Itinerary: Fun Things to do in Louisville
When we visited the city for the first time, we couldn’t wait to explore Louisville’s top attractions! In our two days, we toured the Louisville Slugger Museum, saw a show at the Palace theater, and toured the Churchhill Downs!
Day One: Top Louisville Attractions
Visit the Louisville Slugger Museum
Taking a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Louisville. The tour wasn’t your cut and dry tour of a museum. You could actually see demonstrations of how bats are made and hold famous players’ bats.
Did you know that Louisville Slugger is the name of the bat, not the company that makes it? Hillerich & Bradsby Company makes its home in Louisville and makes one of the most important parts of America’s pastime, the Louisville Slugger baseball bat!
J. F. Hillerich opened his woodworking shop in Louisville in 1855. During the 1880s, he hired his seventeen-year-old son, Bud. Legend has it that Bud slipped away from work one afternoon in 1884 to watch Louisville’s major league baseball team. During the game, the team’s star, Pete “Louisville Slugger” Browning broke his bat and bud invited Browning to his father’s shop to hand-craft him a new bat. Browning accepted the offer and got three hits in its first game. Ever since professional baseball players began to seek out Mr. Hillerich for custom bats.
At the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, you get to tour the bat factory and see how the bats were made prior to modern machinery. At the end of your tour, you’ll get to take a mini bat home with you!
The Museum is small but dense with history! Here you can learn about baseball’s history, famed athletes like Babe Ruth, and even hold game-used bats!
For your visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum, allot about 2.5 hours if you want to see everything!
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 11 to 5
Tour Churchill Downs
The Churchill Downs is famed for hosting the Kentucky Derby, the race so often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.”
Even if you aren’t a fan of horse races themselves, the history of horse racing and the microculture surrounding the Derby is fascinating! By visiting the Churchill Downs, you get a tour of the racetrack and entrance to the museum that tells you all about the history of the track and the Derby.
Summer Hours (March 15 – November 30)
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Winter Hours (December 1 – March 14)
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
See a Show at Palace Theater
During our weekend getaway to Louisville, we decided to spontaneously see a concert at the Palace Theater! The Palace Theater was gorgeous inside with its Baroque decor and architecture.
Day Two: Louisville Fun Things to Do in Louisville
Museums on Museum Row in Louisville
Louisville also has other great museums, aside from the Louisville Slugger museum, all of which are located on Museum Row right in downtown Louisville. Museum Row is a great option of something fun to do in Louisville when it’s raining or wintertime.
The Kentucky Science Center is full of hands-on science activities for both children and adults to enjoy. The Frazier History Museum, a museum that began as a collection of historic arms and weaponry. Today, you can see exhibitions on Kentucky and local history, in addition to its original arms collections. The Muhammad Ali Center is also located in Louisville and is dedicated to the life and legacy of the famous boxer.
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
Louisville and all of Kentucky is known for its bourbon! So it’s no wonder that visiting distilleries is one of Louisville’s fun things to do. And it’s ok to bring kids and those under 21+! The tour is more than just a sampling. Bourbon production was a huge business in Kentucky centuries ago because many local farmers had excess corn from their farms that they didn’t want to waste away. So the best way to use all of the corn was to make it into alcohol!
Of the many Bourbon tours in Louisville, we chose Evan Williams because it’s one of the most popular bourbons and was the first distillery to reopen in Louisville since Prohibition. After Prohibition, Bourbon distilleries, like Evan Williams, didn’t return to the city of Louisville until 2010! How crazy is that?!
Calling the tour an “experience” was incredibly fitting. The experience walked you through time; telling you the story of Evan Williams and how he became successful and created a bourbon legacy. In addition to getting a dose of history, we were walked through the distilling process and given a tasting of three bourbons!
If you’re looking for other bourbon distilleries, there are many more in Louisville and Kentucky! Check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for more!
Mon–Thurs, 11 am – 5:30 pm
Fri–Sat, 10 am – 6 pm
Sun, 1 pm – 5:30 pm
Where to Eat in Louisville: 4th Street Live
If you’re looking for the nightlife in Louisville, visit 4th Street Live! This pedestrian street is full of restaurants, bars, and activities like bowling and arcades.
Where to Stay in Louisville: Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown
During our visit to Louisville, we stayed at the Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown and it was perfect for our weekend! The hotel is centrally located near downtown attractions like the museums, bourbon distilleries, and restaurants.
The Holiday Inn and Suites was very modern and clean! Our room was comfortable and featured a king bed, sofa bed, beautiful bathroom, Keurig, microwave, and refrigerator. Hotel parking was available with an upcharge, however, we didn’t mind since it was covered parking in a garage. Breakfast was included in our room rate and it had everything we could have wanted in a breakfast! If you’re looking for a great place to stay for your trip to Louisville, consider the Holiday Inn and Suites!
Fun Things to do in Louisville Kentucky
Who’s Ready to Explore the Best Things to do in Louisville?
We hope this guide provided some inspiration on what do in Louisville during your next visit! Let us know what you’re planning on doing in the comments!