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Introduction Region

Louisville ©Fleur-Design

Louisville is world-renowned for being home to America's most exciting two sporting minutes each year when the Kentucky Derby is run at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack. The thundering of the hooves of thoroughbred racehorses, however, is not all this lively city on the banks of the Ohio River has to offer. Kentucky's largest city also offers scores of fine restaurants and a diverse arts community, and boasts some of America's most beautiful parks and renowned art and science museums.

Louisville is definitely a city of good taste, with more than 2,500 restaurants serving an astounding variety of cuisines, ranging from quiet cafés and coffee houses to ethnic restaurants and gourmet palaces. The city is big on the national sporting map, too, being the home of the famed Louisville Slugger, and baseball fans flock to the downtown museum dedicated to the 'Official Bat of Major League Baseball'.

This, together with some exciting attractions like an indoor forest, a restored old sternwheeler river boat, an excellent zoo and a thrilling amusement park, makes Louisville a perfect family holiday destination, set in the very heart of America. The local tourist authority boasts that the city is within a day's drive of more than half the population of the United States.

Climate Info

Louisville's humid subtropical climate is temperate and seasonal. Summers (June to August) are hot with cool evenings, so bring along a light jacket or coat. Spring and summer are the wettest seasons, although rainfall is fairly constant all year round, and snow usually falls in winter, allowing for winter sports. Winter temperatures (December to February) range from 27°F (-3°C) to 43°F (6°C); and average summer temperatures vary between 66°F (19°C) and 89°F (32°C).

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Getting Around

Louisville is regarded as one of the most accessible cities in the United States, having excellent road and rail links in addition to its international airport. Once in the city, it is best to make use of the frequent and efficient bus and trolley services. Taxis are also easy to find, and some hotels run their own complimentary shuttle services between the airport, the downtown area and other landmarks. Louisville has a strong cycling tradition, and there are several on-road bike lanes downtown. Many visitors prefer to hire a car, which makes getting around the city and the surrounding areas easy.

Louisville International Airport (SDF)

LocationThe airport is located six miles (10km) from central Louisville.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: +1 502 367 4636.

Getting to city

TARC buses travel to Louisville city centre at regular intervals. Details on routes and schedules are available at the information desk. Many area hotels provide courtesy shuttles for guests.

Car Rental

Car hire companies represented at the airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Enterprise, National and Thrifty. Car hire desks are in the baggage claim area.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available at the traffic island on the left of the taxi stand.

Airport Facilities

There are a number of ATMs, shops, cafes and restaurants in the terminal. There is also a bank, bureau de change and shoeshine service. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs are advised to inform their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is on Level 1 of the garage, and costs $1 for the first hour, and $1 per half hour thereafter up to a daily maximum of $19. Medium-term parking is on Levels 1-3 of the garage, and costs $2 for the first hour, and $2 per hour thereafter up to a daily maximum of $13 and a weekly rate of $78. The surface lot has long-term parking, charged at $9 per day and $54 per week.

Muhammad Ali Center

Fans of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali can see and experience all aspects of the life of the man dubbed 'The Greatest' at this huge multi-media, interactive exhibition centre, which features 10 theatres and more than 50 interactive stations. Ali's story, including his boxing career, global
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Muhammed Ali Center ©Paul Joseph

Kentucky Derby Museum

Even those who are not horse-racing fans can experience the thrill of the sport at the museum and through tours offered at Churchill Downs, one of the world's oldest (established in 1874) and most famous tracks, which hosts the annual renowned Kentucky Derby.

The Museum conta
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Barbaro Memorial ©Cameron Aubernon

Belle of Louisville

The Belle of Louisville is America's oldest still-serving sternwheeler riverboat, plying the Ohio River from Louisville's waterfront to give visitors memorable sunset cruises, sightseeing excursions and Saturday night party cruises.

The historic boat powered by two steam engi
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Belle of Louisville ©Bo

Thomas Edisons House

Thomas Edison, inventor of the incandescent electric light bulb, lived in the house on East Washington Street in 1866 when he was only 19 years old and had yet to receive acclaim for his many inventions. When Edison lived in Louisville he worked for the Western Union as a telegraph opera
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Thomas Edison's House ©Bedford

Cathedral of the Assumption

The Cathedral of the Assumption is the fourth oldest public building in Louisville as well as the third oldest Catholic Cathedral in the United States in continuous use. Designed in the Neo-Gothic style by William Keeley and Isaiah Rogers, the Cathedral was completed in 1852. The steeple
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Cathedral of Assumption ©Bedford

Kentucky Science Center

The Kentucky Science Center in historic West Main Street, founded in 1871 as a natural history collection, has experienced more than a century of growth to become Kentucky's largest hands-on science centre, visited by more than 550,000 people each year. A highlight of the centre is a 12,
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Science Center ©LuAnn Snawder

Louisville Glassworks

America's first complete centre dedicated to the art of glass, from architectural glassworks to the finest glass jewellery and ornaments, is located in Louisville on the corner of 9th and Market Streets in the historic Snead Manufacturing Building. Visitors can watch glassblowers, flamew
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Louisville Glassworks Centre ©Brendan Adkins

Kentucky Horse Park

The only theme park in the world dedicated to man's relationship with the horse, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington covers 1,200 acres in Kentucky's famous Bluegrass country. A visit to the Park begins with a film show in the visitor's centre, followed by exploring the vast and compreh
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Kentucky Horse Park ©Wes Blevins

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Besides horses, Kentucky is famous for its Bourbon whiskey. Numerous distilleries are open to the public, but one of the oldest still operating is the Woodford Reserve Distillery nestled between lush horse farms in Woodford County on McCracken Pike. Bourbon was first distilled here in 18
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Woodford Reserve Distillery ©Ken Thomas

Fort Knox

This US Army fort, located an hour south of Louisville, is world-famous as the home of America's largest stockpile of gold bullion; however, the repository is closed to visitors. A popular attraction though, is the General George Patton Museum of Leadership, which has exhibitions of US A
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Fort Knox ©48states


The capital city of Kentucky, history-rich Frankfort is situated about 50 miles (80km) east of Louisville, about 50 minutes drive from Louisville International Airport. The state capital boasts a vast array of architectural styles, famous landmarks, museums and enjoyable shopping precinc
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State Capitol, Frankfort ©RXUYDC

Mammoth Cave

The Mammoth Cave National Park near Edmonson in south-central Kentucky boasts the longest cave in the world, with 350 miles (563km) of caverns and passages having so far been explored and, according to experts, 'no end in sight'. The cave has been promoted as a tourist attraction since 1
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Mammoth Cave ©Daniel Schwen

Churchill Downs

The home of the most famous horse race in America, Churchill downs is full of tradition and amazing stories. It opened in 1875, and has hosted the Kentucky Derby ever since. The track also hosts the Breeders Cup. Races are run from May to July, and October to November, and visitors to Ch
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Churchill Downs ©Richard Hurt

Kentucky Derby

Known as the 'Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports', the Kentucky Derby is the highlight of the American horse racing calendar and the first leg of the famous Triple Crown (the other races being the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes). It is one of the oldest races in the US, and is held every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Visitors to the Derby will be able to enjoy traditions like mint juleps, large hats, and gawking at the famous faces in Millionaire's Row. Advance tickets are available from the Churchill Downs website, as the event always sells out.

Date 2017-05-06 to 2017-05-06     Website
Kentucky Derby ©

Blues & Barbecue Festival

The Blues & Barbecue Festival, an annual event, focuses on the enjoyment of both the very best of the blues and great food too.

While quality New Orleans and Memphis-style blues musicians take to the stage, hundreds of expert barbecue stands are on site featuring a number of barbecue styles from what they claim are the best smokehouses in town. Visitors are guarenteed great barbecue-style food and spectacular Blues musical performances. This event is one for the whole family and includes an entertainment area for the little ones, so everyone is kept entertained and having a good time.

Date 2017-07-21 to 2017-07-22     Website
The Blues & Barbecue Festival in Kentucky offers great blues and barbecue. ©Oddjob

Travel Guide powered by, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By its very nature much of the information in this guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. Globe Media and UNIGLOBE Travel does not accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.

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