There is a neighborhood for everyone here. Better yet—visit them all.
By LOUISVILLE TOURISM
The East Market District of downtown, also referred to as NuLu (standing for New Louisville), has become known for its unique art galleries, specialty stores, antique shops, and award-winning culinary scene.
Thrillist named NuLu one of the “18 Best Food Neighborhoods in America.”
Kickstart your day with coffee and vinyl at Please & Thank You, a local café and record shop that sells coffee, sweets, sandwiches, and their famous chocolate chip cookies. Or, indulge in house-cured Tabasco Brown Sugar Bacon, crispy Southern fried chicken, Weisenberger Grits, or the Sunergos Espresso at Big Bad Breakfast.
The Top Chef crew sipped on Bourbon Slushies at Feast BBQ, tenders and pimento cheese grits at Royals Hot Chicken, and super food smoothies at Lueberry Acai. Locals rave about the wok-seared lima beans from Mayan Café and dessert at Louisville Cream, home to a rotating menu of premium small-batch ice cream in creative flavors like Bourbon Smoked Pecan and Peanut Butter Feelings.
Unwind at Garage Bar (housed in a former auto service garage) with beer, bourbon, a seasonal cocktail, or wine. The casual neighborhood spot also serves up pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven and a selection of premium country hams.
East Market Street is filled with local shops to explore. For a heart-thumping adventure, try indoor rock climbing at Climb NuLu before enjoying an authentic bourbon experience at Angel’s Envy or Rabbit Hole Distillery, where you can take intimate tours and get an up-close look at the entire operation capped off with guided tastings.
WHISKEY ROW/MUSEUM ROW
Louisville’s Whiskey Row is re-inhabiting the original footprint that once served as home to the Bourbon industry from the mid- to late 1800s, while Museum Row is home to several notable museums all within a few blocks of each other.
Lining Louisville’s Main Street are some of the oldest buildings in the city, built between the 1850s and early 1900s. The Revivalist and Chicago School–style buildings with cast-iron facades are the largest collection, second only to SoHo in New York City.
Named one of the best Main Streets in America, this downtown street is once again a thriving Bourbon and culinary district and is also home to some of the city’s most iconic attractions.
No matter your taste buds, the Whiskey Row/Museum Row area in downtown Louisville has an abundance of dining options. For breakfast or lunch, there’s Wiltshire Pantry Bakery and Café, known for its homemade biscuits, sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastries. If it’s pizza you’re craving, there’s Bearno’s, Impellizzeri’s, and Luigi’s. For straightforward Southern cuisine, there’s Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen and Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar. For a tasty burger, try Sidebar or Mussel & Burger Bar. For upscale dining, pop into Proof on Main, where fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients inspire the restaurant’s ever-evolving menu,
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience gives visitors an insider’s look at the process of crafting Kentucky Bourbon at an artisanal distillery with an opportunity to sip on a cocktail at ON3 Bar on the third floor.
Old Forester Distillery’s tour has an on-site cooperage, urban rickhouse and bottling line, along with George’s Bar to enjoy Brown-Forman’s product. Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery is the city’s most recent bourbon tourism experience to open its doors on Whiskey Row.
Museum Row on Main Street boasts several one-of-a-kind attractions within just 5 walkable blocks. From history to bourbon and modern art, there is something for everyone. In addition to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, you can visit the Frazier History Museum (home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center), Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Kentucky Science Center, Peerless Distilling Co., KMAC Museum, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, and the Muhammad Ali Center.
A trip down Whiskey Row wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Art Eatables, a premier bourbon chocolatier known for its bourbon chocolate truffles. Duluth Trading Co. is home to men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, including its popular “Buck Naked”™ underwear line. The KMAC Shop has a variety of handmade decorative and functional art pieces while the Frazier Museum Store has culinary goods, jewelry and, rare bourbon bottles among other souvenirs.
This is one of Louisville’s oldest neighborhoods, the city’s original meatpacking district, with butcher shops dominating the area in the 1800s. Though these days, though one large meatpacker still anchors the area, Butchertown has experienced a renaissance with tasty restaurants, chic boutiques, the city’s first brandy distillery, and more options for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Start your morning with a doughnut piled high with unique toppings from Hi-Five Doughnuts. Favorites include the Kentucky Fried Buttermilk Chicken and the Bourbon Caramel with Bacon while you get your caffeine fix with a cup of small-batch organic coffee from Red Hot Roasters.
For a locally sourced meal with a unique twist, including several vegan options, try Naïve. For handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza, and craft cocktails, stop in Lupo, while Pho Ba Luu is known for its
Vietnamese specialties and Saigon street food favorites like banh mi sandwiches.
Butchertown is home to Bourbon City’s only brandy distillery, Copper & Kings. Take a tour and then enjoy classic cocktails at their Rooftop Bar & Restaurant.
Don’t miss Butchertown Market, a one-stop shop for a little retail therapy with clothing, jewelry, home décor, and one-of-a-kind gifts at Work the Metal. If you’re looking for something fun to do, throw some axes and enjoy a cold brew, all at the same time at Flying Axes.
CRESCENT HILL & CLIFTON
Take a stroll along Frankfort Avenue, themain thoroughfare through the leafy and charming Crescent Hill and Clifton neighborhoods. You’ll find historic homes and buildings, tree-lined streets, alfresco dining, and locally owned shops peppering this railroad-lined avenue.
Start your day with a pastry, coffee, or brunch at Blue Dog Bakery, touted for its authentic artisan breads and pastry menu. Try the Huevos Rancheros at James Beard–nominated Con Huevos or the biscuits and gravy at Eggs Over Frankfort.
The Hub and The Manhattan Project are great places to catch the big game on TV and grab some elevated pub food and craft cocktails. El Mundo is marked by Mexican eats with local ingredients and fresh-juiced margaritas.
The Crescent Hill Reservoir and Gatehouse became an instant tourist attraction when it first opened in 1879 and is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.
Stop by the American Printing House for the Blind (the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the country) for free guided tours. You can witness the production of Braille publications and the recording of talking books on their free tour.
Consignment shops galore line Frankfort Avenue as well as a fair-trade marketplace, neighborhood bookstore, and specialty spices for any chef at Bourbon Barrel Foods.
Don’t miss Halloween on Hillcrest, a spooktacular street that is THE place for Halloween decorations during the month of October.
This lively neighborhood is Louisville’s original “Restaurant Row,” known for its casual pubs and sushi bars alongside breakfast joints and chef-driven bistros on Bardstown Road.
As well as being a foodie hub, the area is also known for its unique collection of artisan shops and is one of the most popular neighborhoods for local nightlife. If it’s a quieter atmosphere you seek, bookstores and java shops meet that need with a variety of independent coffee shops around the neighborhood. The Highlands is as quirky as it is charming, boasting Victorian homes and turn-of-the-century architecture.
The Highlands has been a foodie haven in Louisville for decades. Long-time staples on the scene, Jack Fry’s and Seviche, are a favorite for locals doing a business lunch or a special date.
Start your day with breakfast at The Café or Big Bad Breakfast, where comforting Southern-accented options will fill you up. Stop in to see the artful pottery from neighboring Stoneware & Co.
If you’re looking for a little adventure, there’s Louisville Mega Cavern, home to an underground zip line, ropes course, and bike park. You won’t find another place like it in the world.
For family fun, visit the Louisville Zoo. Hike, stroll, picnic, or just relax at Cherokee Park, a 400-acre municipal park designed in 1891 by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Fashionistas will enjoy the shopping at the plethora of locally owned boutiques and vintage stores that pepper Bardstown Road.
Old Louisville has the largest collection of restored Victorian homes in the country and is the third largest Historic Preservation District in the U.S.
Built as a suburb in the 1870s, this neighborhood consists of nearly 48 city blocks of Victorian Era homes—considered the oldest, largest, and most beautifully preserved homes in the city.
Amid the rich architecture of this community, you’ll also find quaint bed-and-breakfast inns and unique dining options surrounded by the beauty of mature magnolia and oak trees.
610 Magnolia is considered one of the city’s finest restaurants. Chef-owner Edward Lee (a James Beard finalist who starred on Iron Chef America and Top Chef) blends European techniques with seasonal, local, and organic products during a six-course, prix-fixe dinner.
Buck’s, an official Urban Bourbon Trail® stop, combines European luxury and modern style with linen tablecloths, artfully mismatched china, white flowers adorning the bar, and live piano music nightly in the historic Mayflower building.
Amici is a relaxed Italian eatery with a quaint courtyard, and the Seafood Lady is known for its Cajun and Creole dishes, including gator meat and crab fries.
A Louisville institution since 1947, Dizzy Whizz is a step back in time serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try its famous WhizzBurger, a double-decker hamburger with a secret special sauce. For another nostalgic trip, walk up to the trolley car to place your order for a tasty burger at Ollie’s Trolley, one of the three remaining trolleys in the country.
Old Louisville Brewery is a brother-owned microbrewery aiming to be a destination spot and neighborhood community hangout.
For lovers of the Bard, check out Kentucky Shakespeare, presenters of the oldest free Shakespeare festival in the U.S. At the Speed Art Museum, art lovers of all ages can see paintings and sculpture works from around the world. After a recent major renovation, Kentucky’s first museum has more than doubled its size and added an outdoor art park and piazza and the restaurant, Wiltshire at the Speed.
History buffs will want to tour the Conrad-Caldwell House with its ornate stained glass and handcrafted woodwork, and take in the programming at the Filson Historical Society.
For families, a fun and educational option is the Gheens Science Hall & Rauch Planetarium located on the nearby University of Louisville campus.
Old Louisville has its own Central Park, which also often functions as the center of community events. Also, check out Old Louisville’s walking tours with themes from architectural to ghostly.
In recent years, South Louisville has experienced a renaissance. Young families have moved into this area of second- and third-generation residents, and many have come from across the globe. With this mix of old and new, the area has become a multicultural community that’s rich and diverse.
Start your morning before heading to Churchill Downs like many horsemen do with biscuits and gravy or a Pam & Jack’s omelette at Wagner’s. The old-time pharmacy with a soda fountain has been a Louisville institution since 1922.
Experience the thrill and traditions of the Kentucky Derby every day at the Kentucky Derby Museum, where a tour of Churchill Downs (home of the legendary Kentucky Derby), a 360-degree high-definition multimedia show, exhibits, café, and gift shop await visitors.
See firsthand how bourbon and whiskey are made from start to finish at Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience, located at the site of the legendary, long-closed Stitzel Weller Distillery, where you can have a cocktail and a bite at the onsite Garden & Gun Club.
South Points is also home to Iroquois Park, one of the gems of the Olmsted parks and the site of the region’s best Halloween event, Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular, running nightly in October.
Another spooky site to tour is the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which served for decades as a tuberculosis hospital, with some considering it the most haunted place on earth.
Delicious and inexpensive international dining options are favorites including Jerusalem Café, Annie’s Cafe, and Vietnam Kitchen (a top pick of many Louisville chefs).
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