I’ve owed you all a Louisville Favorites post for a while. And now that my move is less than a month away, I finally put it together.
Louisville is an AWESOME city. I grew up in St. Louis, and Louisville feels like a smaller slightly more southern version of home. It’s definitely a “midwestern southern town” and a “southern midwest town. ” Tons of parks, a great foodie scene, hometown sports, an super fun traditions like horse racing and bourbon drinking. I’d highly recommend a visit!
**Note — I have not at all experienced all of Louisville! This is just a list of things I’ve found and loved in my year here.**
Mayan Cafe – upscale trendy Mayan food. Delicious, and great for a date night or nicer girls night out!
Grape Leaf – delicious mediterranean food!! It’s not super expensive, you get a ton of food, and you can get carry out too. It’s BYOB, so don’t forget to bring your own wine!
North End Cafe – A super cute cafe with a few locations that is known for it’s brunch, but has a great all day menu too!
Havana Rumba – insanely good cuban food!
Doc Crowe’s – Louisville as a few great BBQ places (Momma’s, Mark’s Feed Store, FABD…), but I love that this one is downtown and has a great vibe inside. It was also one of the first places I ate here and have had tons of friends dinners since.
Simply Thai – I LOVE Thai Food, and Simply Thai is some of the best! The place is always packed, and even the take out wait is an hour on weekends. But it’s worth it. I love the mango salmon!
Varanese – A more upscale but trendy restaurant located in an old garage on the fabulous Frankfort Avenue. There is often live music and the menu is creative “American” food — everything is delicious!
Favorite Places To Workout:
Seneca Park is a few blocks from my house, and is always full of joggers and walkers and soccer games and lacrosse practice and kickball leagues and dogs! It has a great 1.25 mile loop with bathrooms and drinking fountains so it’s the perfect place to run! Cherokee Park is also super popular and much bigger and hillier, but I can’t walk to it from my house.
JCC — The Jewish Community Center is my gym here and I LOVE it. The membership is really reasonable considering you get access to a full gym, tons of classes, an indoor and outdoor pool, racquetball courts, steam room, and more.
Orange Theory Fitness – I found it here and its one of the best workouts I’ve ever gotten. It’s national wide too, so find it wherever you live! (And if they don’t have it, open one 🙂 )
502 Power Yoga – GO HERE. The absolute best yoga studio I’ve ever been a part of, sharing Baptiste style yoga. The community is incredible and will make you feel so welcome. There are so many fun events and workshops all the time, the teachers are so inspiring, and it truly makes me a better healthier person inside and out. 502PY is probably the thing I will miss most about Louisville.
Healthy Living Lovers:
Rainbow Blossom – a natural foods store where you can find organic, vegan, paleo, etc etc etc. It’s not super cheap, but great for finding those items you can’t get at the regular grocery store. It also has a full supplement section.
Ramsey’s Cafe On The World – Ramsey’s has a huge menu of cuisine from all over the world and satisfying almost every dietary requirement. For that, it is fantastic. But it’s not the best food ever — just the best menu ever!
Life Bar — Smoothies and fresh juices, all made with organic products and plant based protein powder.
The Weekly Juicery – fresh fruit and veggie juices with a few food options. You can buy by the bottle or get a few days or weeks as a program. I love popping in for a special treat, especially after a sweaty yoga class.
Favorite Places To Get A Drink:
Drakes – a great sports bar with tons of TVs, a great bar food menu (sushi!), and beer towers. Favorite place to watch a game, but it’s popular so expect it to be crowded!
8 Up – an awesome new rooftop bar downtown. It has great umbrellas, views of the city, delicious unique drinks and a great bar menu if you aren’t up of the expensive dining room. Definitely an “it’ place to be, but much lower key if you go for an earlier cocktail before dinner!
Decca – Decca is known as one of the best restaurants in town, but I’ve never had a meal there. The bar, however, is downstairs so cool. It is dim with all stone walls with cozy couches and old movies playing. Definitely classy and up scale, but great for a drink or two before a date!
Craft House – If you’re into beer, you’ll love this place! The food is delicious but definitely a little heavier and so better for winter. The beer selection is all local and regional, and the bar tenders will help create a special sampler just for you!
Favorite Things To Do:
See a race at Churchill Downs — Derby and Oaks are the big deals, but you can go any time during racing season and place a bet! You gotta see those ponies run in person.
Go to the Louisville Slugger Museum – where most of the major league bats are made! You can tour the factory, try out the batting cages with a famous player’s bat, and get a free mini bat to take home.
See a Louisville Cardinals’ basketball game at the Yum! Center — The Louisville vs. UK rivalry is intense in Kentucky, but I was bred to be a cardinals fan! Basketball is basically the sport here, since there aren’t any professional teams, and seeing games at Yum! is a blast. (Plus it’s one of the few NCAA games you can buy alcohol at!)
Catch a Louisville Bats game, and see some future MLB stars — The bats are a AAA team, the level right below the majors, so you can see some great baseball and great players on the rise.
Walk the Big Four Bridge – a recently completed pedestrian bridge from Louisville over to Jeffersonville Indiana! Jeffersonville has a cute little downtown, and the bridge gives great views over the Ohio River.
Best Things For Families:
Kentucky Science Center – super fun, right downtown, and has a great little kids area that just opened!
MyGym – indoor playground with ball bit and slides and blocks and trampolines just for little kids! They have organized classes by age or just a drop-in class for everyone.
All About Kids – an indoor kids sports center for swim, gymnastics and more. They have a great toddler play area and open up the gymnastics area for supervised kids play each day at noon.
Louisville Waterfront Park – The waterfront area has tons of playgrounds and paths and green space, and the playground right by the Big Four Bridge has a great water park area perfect for summer!
Louisville Zoo – I’m spoiled by the great free zoo in St. Louis, but Louisville’s is great too, complete with a train and merry-go-round and splash park for kids!
(Note – I haven’t tried all these things, but they are all local favs!)
Belle of Louisville – take a cruise on the Ohio.
Thunder Over Louisville – the kickoff to the Kentucky Derby Festival and the largest annual fireworks display in the country!
Waterfront Wednesdays – Free concerts downtown the last Wednesday of the month through the warm season.
Forecastle Music Festival – HUGE music festival at waterfront park each year! Louisville’s version of Lollapalooza.
4th Street Live! — touristy but cool area of restaurants, bars, and outdoor activities downtown.
Kentucky Derby! (And Kentucky Oaks, and Thurby) – Two weeks of fun culminating with the most exciting 2 minutes in sports! Locals often do the day before, called Kentucky Oaks. And that’s so popular now that some are even moving to Thursday’s Thurby events.
Okay I’m sure I forgot a few things, but this took forever to put together so I’m going to bed! I’ll update it when I think of anything I missed. Please add your favorites in the comments below!
- Have you ever visited Louisville?
- What’s are your absolutely favorite things about your hometown?