17 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Louisville

The largest city in Kentucky, Louisville was founded on the Ohio River in 1778 and named after French King Louis XVI. The town’s main claim to fame is the annual Kentucky Derby horse race, held on Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May, and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, who descend on the town for this single. Visitors can learn more about the race at the Kentucky Derby Museum. The city is also known for having the largest collection of cast iron building facades outside of New York City. Sports fans will enjoy the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center.

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1 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby has been held annually on the first Saturday in May on the legendary Churchill Downs track since 1875 . This horse race is one of the most famous and has one of the highest purses in the world. More than 150,000 people attend the event and the energy of the crowd is part of the experience. The event is also known as a fashion showcase and everyone attending is encouraged to dress up for the occasion, including wearing flamboyant hats. For those unable to attend on race day, many spots in Louisville and the surrounding state host Derby Day celebrations that celebrate the sport.

Adres: 700 Central Ave, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/

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2 Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Lou & Traci plus / photo modified
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Lou & Traci plus / photo modified

The Louisville Slugger Museum is located in the factory and headquarters of this famous company. A 120-foot, exact-scale replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch Louisville Slugger bat rests against the wall of the building. Visitors can see how bats are produced on the guided tour. Special memorabilia and exhibits can also be found in the facility, including the engraved Signature Wall and historic bats such as Hank Aaron’s 700th Home Run Bat. Batting cages, photo opportunities, and special seasonal events add even more.

Adres: 800 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://www.sluggermuseum.com/

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3 Muhammad Ali Centre

Muhammad Ali Center sashafatcat / photo modified
Muhammad Ali Center sashafatcat / photo modified

The Muhammad Ali Center provides an international educational and cultural center inspired by the ideals of its founder, Muhammad Ali. The Ali Center features engaging exhibits and multimedia presentations, including a five-screen orientation film to begin the tour of the facility. Other exhibits include historical footage from the civil rights era, video-on-demand of Ali’s fights, and interactive boxing fun. Two changing exhibition galleries also enhance the space, as does the Children’s Hope and Dream wall , a mosaic composed exclusively of children’s artwork from around the world. The facility also has year-round meeting and event spaces, a retail store, and special events.

Adres: 144 North 6th Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://alicenter.org/

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4 Cave Hill Cemetery

Cave Hill Cemetery
Cave Hill Cemetery

Beginning in 1848, Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville is both a cemetery and arboretum with over 500 different trees and shrubs, including more than a dozen trees that are the largest of their kind in the state. The grounds have benches, lakes, fountains and monuments, and guided walking tours are available at various times throughout the year. The cemetery is open to the public during daily opening hours, but it is not a public park and an awareness of other visitors should be exercised on any visit.

Adres: 701 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://www.cavehillcemetery.com/

5 Frazier History Museum

Frazier History Museum Scott Heath / Photo modified
Frazier History Museum Scott Heath / Photo modified

The Frazier History Museum celebrates Kentucky’s history through numerous artifacts, displays, and live performances . Some of the notable items include Founding Father Josiah Bartlett’s ceremonial sword, Daniel Boone’s family bible, the bow attributed to Apache warrior Geronimo, and General George Armstrong Custer’s ivory Colt pistols. Convenient on-site parking makes visits easy, and active play areas and eye-catching exhibits can keep the whole family entertained. The Frazier History Museum is located in downtown ” Museum Row ” on Main Street, near other prominent cultural learning establishments such as the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Kentucky Science Center.

Adres: 829 W Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://fraziermuseum.org/

6 Kentucky Derby Museum

Located on the grounds of Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum offers historical insight and perspective on horse racing and its greatest race. Exhibits in the museum include racing artifacts, interactive displays, and fine art. There are also trophies, photos, riding sails and commemorative Derby goggles on display. In addition to admission to the museum, visitors can take a 30-minute guided tour of the racetrack. The on-site Derby Café is a good place to grab a bite to eat for the day.

Adres: 704 Central Ave, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://www.derbymuseum.org/

7 Locust Grove

Locust Grove stlbites.com / photo modified
Locust Grove stlbites.com / photo modified

Locust Grove is a historic property with a circa-1792 home on the remaining acres of the original estate of William and Lucy Clark Croghan. Three U.S. Presidents, Monroe, Jackson, and Taylor, were just a few of the distinguished visitors to the farm. It was a stopover for the famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The mansion has been restored and furnished to its original appearance and is open to the public. Special events take place throughout the year, including an Independence Day celebration , history camps, and other community events.

Adres: 561 Blankenbaker Lane, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://locustgrove.org/

8 Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

Conrad-Caldwell House Museum Zepfanman.com / photo modified
Conrad-Caldwell House Museum Zepfanman.com / photo modified

Designed as a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion, the Conrad-Caldwell House was built for Theophile Conrad, a Frenchman who made his fortune in the tannery business. Built in the 1890s, the house features gargoyles, swags, massive arches and fleur-de-lis on the exterior. The inside of the house features woodwork, stained glass and impressive fixtures. Tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday and provide historical context for this three-story home. With a downtown location and decadent décor, the Conrad-Caldwell House is a popular venue for special occasions.

Adres: 1402 St. James Court, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://conrad-caldwell.org/

9 Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoo
Louisville Zoo

Spread over 134 acres, the Louisville Zoo features more than 1,500 exotic animals and a variety of award-winning exhibits. Resident animals include gorillas, lions, tigers, polar bears, penguins, and birds in a variety of indoor and outdoor habitats. Regions of the park include Africa, South America, and Australia. The zoo is a great family destination, with many rides and tourist attractions for all ages, such as Papa John’s Splash Park, a butterfly garden, and two large playgrounds.

Adres: 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://louisvillezoo.org/

10 Louisville Palace

Louisville Palace
Louisville Palace

The Louisville Palace was designed by John Eberson, a prominent architect known for his atmospheric theaters. The palace opened as a cinema in 1928 and was restored to highlight the ornate plasterwork and baroque furnishings. The theater now hosts a variety of live entertainment, including local, national and world tourism acts. Events at the Palace range from Broadway performances to stand-up comedians and include contemporary gospel, R&B, and country artists. Whatever performance you see, the unique architectural style of the 2,800-seat auditorium really adds to the experience.

Adres: 625 S 4th Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://www.louisvillepalace.com/

11 Speed Art Museum

Speed ​​Art Museum vincelaconte / photo modified
Speed ​​Art Museum vincelaconte / photo modified

First opened in 1927, the Speed ​​Art Museum underwent changes between 2013 and 2016 with a major addition to the building. It is one of Louisville’s most popular museums. The collections include 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painting, 18th-century French art, Renaissance and Baroque tapestries, and American painting and sculpture. New temporary exhibitions are often unveiled at the museum. Admission is free for members and they also receive discounts at the Speed ​​Cinema and other events and programs, including summer camps.

Adres: 2035 South Third Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://www.speedmuseum.org/

12 Farmington

Farmington jimbowen0306 / photo modified
Farmington jimbowen0306 / photo modified

Farmington is a restored Federal style brick home on 18 acres of land that was a 550 acre hemp plantation in the early 1800’s. The now historic mansion was completed in 1816 and housed members of the Speed ​​family. It was the childhood home of Joshua Fry Speed, who was considered Abraham Lincoln’s best friend. There is evidence that the house was built with plans by Thomas Jefferson. Open daily for self-guided tours, Farmington also offers docent-led tours throughout the winter.

Adres: 3033 Bardstown Road, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://farmingtonhistoricplantation.org/

13 Kentucky Science Center

Kentucky Science Center pmorgan67 / photo modified
Kentucky Science Center pmorgan67 / photo modified

The Louisville Science Center is housed in a restored three-story 19th-century warehouse with hands-on exhibits and a four-story movie screen. Displays cater to all ages, making it a great facility for kids, and regular teen and adult events make it fun for the whole family. The cinema offers both documentary films and Hollywood blockbusters. Special programming at the Kentucky Science Center includes family camps, overnight adventures, and adult-oriented science seminars and discussions.

Adres: 727 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://kysciencecenter.org/

14 Louisville Mega Cavern

Louisville Mega Cavern H. Michael Miley / photo modified
Louisville Mega Cavern H. Michael Miley / photo modified

What began as a massive limestone quarry in the mid-19th century is now one of Louisville’s top attractions. The Louisville Mega Cavern roughly encompasses 100 acres of underground space directly below the city. Since the early 1990s, developers have filled the cavern left by the quarry with high-security storage space, a recycling center, and a range of adventure options. The general public can visit the Mega Cavern and participate in guided zipline and aerial climbing adventure tours, historic tram tours, and a unique underground, non-motorized bike park.

Adres: 1841 Taylor Ave, Louisville, Kentucky

Official Site: https://louisvillemegacavern.com/

15 Thomas Edison House

Thomas Edison House HelloLouisville / photo modified
Thomas Edison House HelloLouisville / photo modified

Het Thomas Edison-huis was de thuisbasis van de uitvinder tijdens zijn korte verblijf als telegrafist van Western Union na de burgeroorlog. Te zien in het huis zijn een verzameling van zijn uitvindingen waaronder fonografen, gloeilampen en de eerste home-filmprojector. Het gebouw zelf werd gebouwd in de jaren 1850 en is een van de laatst overgebleven shotgun-achtige duplexen in het gebied. Rondleidingen zijn beschikbaar van dinsdag tot en met zaterdag, en het wordt aangeraden om van tevoren te reserveren.

Adres: 729 East Washington Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Officiële site: https://www.edisonhouse.org

16 Louisville Metro Hall

Louisville Metro Hall
Louisville Metro Hall

Louisville Metro Hall, voorheen het gerechtsgebouw van Jefferson County, werd gebouwd in de late jaren 1830 en ontworpen door Gideon Shryock, een inwoner van Kentucky. Van bijzonder belang zijn twee beelden: een van Thomas Jefferson door Moses Ezekiel aan de voorkant van de Metro Hall en een van Henry Clay door Joel T. Hart gelegen in de rotonde. Het gebouw staat vermeld op het nationaal register van historische plaatsen. Op de eerste donderdag van elke maand, de Mayor’s Music and Art Series vindt plaats op het West Lawn of Metro Hall en biedt lokale muziekuitvoeringen.

Adres: 527 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Officiële site: https://louisville-metro-hall.business.site/

17 Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC)

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) PunkToad / photo modified
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) PunkToad / photo modified

Almost sharing a wall with the Kentucky Science Center , the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) next door deserves an add-on visit, if not all day. Originally established in 1981 to highlight the state’s rich heritage, KMAC hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the year in three galleries. The work of about 200 artists is on display, featuring everything from folk art to furniture. Signature and regular events at KMAC include yoga sessions, weekly poetry slams, and the annual KMAC Couture , a wearable art runway show that supports the museum’s efforts.

Adres: 715 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Official site: https://www.kmacmuseum.org/

Where to stay in Louisville for sightseeing

The best place to stay in Louisville is downtown, which is home to much of the city’s history. This is also where some of the city’s best restaurants and museums are located. Some of the main areas and attractions here include the Slugger Museum, the 4th Street Live area, and the Kentucky Science Center. Below is a list of highly rated hotels in convenient locations:

  • Luxury Hotels: With creatively and tastefully decorated rooms, the 21c Museum Hotel is a boutique hotel complete with a contemporary art museum. The Louisville Slugger Museum is steps away and the Muhammad Ali Center and the Frazier History Museum are nearby. The lavish Brown Hotel is a leading luxury hotel, operating since 1923, with a great central location. This hotel has been recently renovated and is known for its excellent service. Conveniently connected via skywalk to the Kentucky International Convention Center, the Marriott has recently been completely renovated.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: A short walk from the 4th Street Live area, the Hilton Garden Inn has a rooftop restaurant with great views of downtown. Close to the baseball stadium, the downtown Residence Inn offers oversized rooms and mini-kitchens ideal for families. Nearby is the Hampton Inn, with large rooms and suites and an indoor pool.
  • Budget Hotels: Within walking distance of major attractions and the convention center is the simple yet comfortable Econo Lodge. The Comfort Inn is located 3 miles from downtown, but close to the famous Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Six miles outside of downtown and near the fairgrounds is the Red Roof Inn, with newly renovated rooms and several restaurants within walking distance.

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