13 Best Things To Do In Louisville, Kentucky - Updated 2021

things to do in louisville ky

If you are looking to experience an authentic place to visit with great food and culture, then come to Louisville, Kentucky. This city is just the place for you. It is the largest city in Kentucky, USA and is home to one of the world’s most popular fast food chains: Kentucky Fried Chicken. You can explore old Louisville, which is famous for its historic architecture and museums. There are also parks, like Cherokee Park, which is loved by locals and visitors. And if you’re looking for the best places to stay in Louisville, plenty of options are available - from bed and breakfasts to the top hotels with hot tub in Louisville. Check out these 13 best things to do in Louisville, Kentucky.

1. Explore Cherokee Park

Autumn In Cherokee Park (part 1)
Source: Photo by Flickr user LuAnn Snawder Pho... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Those wondering what to do in Louisville should make their way to Cherokee Park. It is one of the most beautiful and visited parks in the U.S. The main feature of this park is its 2.4-mile (3.8 km) picturesque loop, which has separate lanes for vehicular traffic. It was designed by Frederick Law, and has green pastures set amid the hills, green meadows, and thick woodlands. Families like to come here to have a picnic at the park and children love to play in the open spaces. It is a must see place for those visiting Louisville.

Cherokee Park

Address: 745 Cochran Hill Rd, Louisville, KY 40206, USA

Website: Cherokee Park

2. Go on a tour to the Historic Locust Grove

Locust Grove, Louisville, KY
Source: Photo by Flickr user Warren LeMay used under CC0

The Historic Locust Grove is an 18th century National Historic Landmark which is located on a 55-acre (22 hectare) farm site. It lies in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky. Visitors can come and see this historical place that features a 1790 Georgian mansion, which was the home of the Croghan family and a meeting place George Rogers Clark, Lewis and Clark, and many of the U.S. Presidents. There is a visitors center, which has a gift shop, a museum, and meeting space. It is a National Historic Landmark now, and is a good example of the early Kentucky history, architecture, and excellent craftsmanship.

Historic Locust Grove

Address: 561 Blankenbaker Ln, Louisville, KY 40207, USA

Website: Historic Locust Grove

3. Visit the Racetrack at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, spring meet 2014
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Calstanhope used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most fun things to do in Louisville is to visit Churchill Downs. It is a famous Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky and is home to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. It is located on 147 acres (59.5 hectares), it has a 1-mile (1.6 km) dirt oval along with a 7-furlong turf course. Its racetrack holds thoroughbred races during its Spring Meet and Fall Meet, and the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks thoroughbred racing has been running continuously here since 1875. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships more than any racetrack in the entire country.

Churchill Downs

Address: 700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208, USA

Website: Churchill Downs

4. Explore the architecture of Old Louisville

Werne's Row 4th and Hill, Old Louisville
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Retired username used under CC BY 2.5

The old part of Louisville is an architectural gem. When you go on a tour of the Old South of Louisville, you will see a 45-square-block residential community with a huge historic area. There are lavish homes built with the industrial fortunes of the 19th-century. It was in the ‘50s and ’60s, when these homeowners moved to the modern and developing Louisville suburbs, many of these huge houses deteriorated, but a few of them still remain and have been preserved.

Architecture of Old Louisville

Address: Baptist Towers, 17, 1014 South 2nd Street at Kentucky Street. Hillebrand House, 16, 1235 South 3rd Street at Ormsby Ave

Website: Architecture of Old Louisville

5. Catch a movie at the iconic Louisville Palace Theater

Palace theater, Louisville, Kentucky
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mark used under CC BY 2.0

The iconic Louisville Palace Theater is located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky and can seat 2,700 people. It started operating in the year 1928 and was designed by architect John Eberson. It displays a Spanish Baroque motif complete with arcades and balconies. It has a ceiling with 139 sculptures of historical figures and is heavily ornamented. The Palace Theater is a two story building with a floor and a balcony. It was rejuvenated in 1994 and is a premiere venue for theater and live performances. After catching a movie, explore the area and dine in one of the local restaurants.

Louisville Palace Theater

Address: 625 S. 4th Street Louisville, Kentucky United States

Website: Louisville Palace Theater

6. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, Kentucky
Source: Photo by Flickr user PEO ACWA used under CC BY 2.0

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, Kentucky is a popular museum which gives you a glimpse into the history of baseball in America. This factory specifically lets you learn how baseball bats are made. You will be amazed to see the world’s largest baseball bat sitting outside at the entry to the museum – it is more than 36 m (118 ft) tall.

When you walk around in the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, you will see history come alive as you will witness and see for yourself the world’s most famous Louisville Slugger bats being created. It is a business by the Hillerich family, who have been making baseball bats since 1884.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Address: 800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

Website: Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

7. Ghost hunting at Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Royasfoto73 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Louisville, Waverly Hills Sanatorium will certainly interest you. It is a place where all ghost chasers would love to visit. It is a fascinating hospital building in Louisville that is filled with stories of horrible, pain-filled memories of deaths. This has caused many ghost hunters from around the world to visit, as it is considered the most haunted place on Earth.

There was an astounding number of people dying from tuberculosis at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, so the hospital had to build a chute (called “death tunnel”), leading to a hill below the hospital. The dead people were secretly lowered into the tunnel, so that the living people would not know of the terrifying number of people dying.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Address: 4400 Paralee Ln, Louisville, KY 40272, USA

Website: Waverly Hills Sanatorium

8. Go on the Urban Bourbon Trail

Mint Julep
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jessica Dillree used under CC BY 2.0

To experience the famous Bourbon country in Louisville, you must take the Urban Bourbon Trail where you will experience classic and modern cocktails with live music and the incredible talent of Louisville’s best bartenders and chefs. The stops are stocked with 50 to 150 types of Kentucky’s signature spirits. You will be able to polish your newly acquired taste of bourbon when you go on the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville, which is home to many distillers and also some of the best bourbon bars in the world.

You can travel on the Urban Bourbon Trail with a free booklet, which you can pick from the visitors center or from the participating stops. This booklet will guide you though the history of its bourbon heritage and its famous bourbon bars. You also get a free Urban Bourbon Trailblazer t-shirt and an official Citizen of Bourbon Country certificate.

Urban Bourbon Trail

Address: 401 West Main Street, Suite 2300 Louisville, KY 40202

Website: Urban Bourbon Trail

9. Take your kids to Louisville Zoo

Warthogs at Louisville Zoo 4
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ltshears used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A wonderful way to spend time with your kids in Louisville is by taking them to Louisville Zoo. Spread across a large area, this zoo is home to a variety of animals like warthogs, elephants, wallabies, sloths, camels, monkeys, seals, polar bears, sea lions, grizzly bears, tigers, amphibians, reptiles, birds and more. There is also a petting zoo, interesting displays, activities, and more. Louisville Zoo certainly offers a lot of fun for the entire family.

Louisville Zoo

Address: 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213, United States

Website: Louisville Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 5.25 USD

10. Ride a coaster at Kentucky Kingdom

VEX Worlds 2017 - Kentucky Kingdom
Source: Photo by Flickr user VEX Robotics used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Take a break from all the sightseeing and spend a fun day at Kentucky Kingdom, an amusement park in Louisville. This sprawling park has a number of rides, roller coasters and attractions for visitors of various ages. Thrill-seekers can try Lightning Run, Kentucky Flyer, Cyclos and such other rides. Family-friendly rides, a 5-D cinema, a carousel, and a variety of shows are also available here.

Kentucky Kingdom

Address: 937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209, United States

Website: Kentucky Kingdom

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 8pm

Price: 29.95 USD onwards

11. Go ziplining at Louisville Mega Cavern

Louisville Spring Break 2013 9
Source: Photo by Flickr user H. Michael Miley used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Louisville Mega Cavern is a unique attraction in the city that is a former limestone mine converted into an adventure activity zone. Besides going for a historic walking tour of the cavern, you can also try a range of thrilling activities like ziplining, tram tours, and a challenge course. All attractions at this cavern are separately priced and are of variable duration. Louisville Mega Cavern is a highly recommended spot for adventure sports enthusiasts.

Louisville Mega Cavern

Address: 1841 Taylor Ave, Louisville, KY 40213, United States

Website: Louisville Mega Cavern

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 8:30am - 8pm (closed on Tue)

12. Learn about derby history at Kentucky Derby Museum (from USD 17.0)

Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous attractions of Louisville and it’s a great activity to do alone. And those interested in learning more about its history can pay a visit to Kentucky Derby Museum. This two-level museum offers a range of exhibits that includes artifacts, photographs, trophies and other immersive displays. After exploring the museum, you can also enjoy a guided walking tour of Churchill Downs Racetrack. This family-friendly attraction is a must-visit for all horse-racing enthusiasts.

Kentucky Derby Museum General Admission Ticket

Duration: 2 hours

6 reviews

13. Splash about at Hurricane Bay

Kentucky Kingdom
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Thompson used under CC BY 2.0

Part of Kentucky Kingdom, Hurricane Bay is a water park that you will enjoy splashing about in the whole day. At Hurricane Bay, you can enjoy fun rides like Mega Wedgie, Calypso Run, Conquistador Canyon, and more. Thrill-seekers can go for Deepwater Dive, Deluge, Tornado and such other fast-paced rides. For some family-friendly fun, try Adventure River, Buccaneer Beach, and Big Surf.

Hurricane Bay

Address: Louisville, KY 40209, United States

Website: Hurricane Bay

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 7pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 8pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm

Price: 29.95 USD onwards

An authentic vacation in Louisville will leave you with great memories!

Louisville Skyline
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris Watson used under CC BY 2.0

Louisville is a great place to enjoy a holiday with your family or with your buddies for your bachelor party. There are plenty of Louisville attractions to keep you occupied for days on end, as well as great vacation rentals to keep you comfortable and conveniently settled. The art and cultural experience as well as the great food will leave you wanting to return again soon.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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An Ex Investment Banker with a zest for life, now a full time mom who has a bag always packed to explore the universe, have traveled through the whole of India, loves adventure and enjoys...Read more

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