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Did you know … the Old-Fashioned cocktail was invented in Louisville? That 95% of the world’s bourbon is produced in the state? That Churchill Downs racetrack is the home of the Kentucky Derby, which is one of the longest continually-running sporting events in America? That Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Lawrence and Diane Sawyer were raised in Louisville? That nearly all disco balls are crafted in the city?
Kentucky is known for its bourbon, so naturally the No. 1 must-see thing to do in Louisville is visit a bourbon distillery. There are three fantastic distilleries located in downtown Louisville, but the Jim Bean Urban Stillhouse is the only one that is open until 9:00 pm – perfect for an “after five” traveler! Take a tour of the distillery, which gives you the opportunity to sample the bourbon.
How to Get to Louisville
Louisville is home to the Muhammad Ali International Airport. Expect a 10-minute car ride from the airport to downtown Louisville. Lyft and Uber have designated pick-up locations at the airport – it’s easy and convenient! Check with your hotel. Most have complimentary shuttle services.
Most business travelers (and tourists as well) stay in downtown Louisville, primarily because the Kentucky International Convention Center is in the heart of the downtown central business district. The area is completely walk-able. Uber, Lyft and taxis are readily available should you need them, as well as Bird and Lime scooters.
Where to Eat in Louisville
The English Grill at the Brown Hotel // Indulge in the original hot brown (open-faced sandwich) at the opulent Brown Hotel. Be sure to split it – it’s a huge sandwich!
Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar // Home to one of the best bourbon bars in downtown Louisville, Doc Crow’s Southern comfort cuisine is sure to liven up your evening after an all-day conference.
Mayan Café // Famous in Louisville for its exceptional service and farm-to-table cuisine, Mayan Café is a popular spot downtown. Don’t miss its most popular side dish – spicy lima beans!
Proof on Main // A hotel, art museum, restaurant and bar all in one! This one-of-a-kind experience is not to be missed (unless you’re with your boss – the artwork can be a tad risqué). After dinner, wander through the contemporary art museum with a cocktail and take a photo with the iconic penguins!
Hammerheads // A quick ride from downtown to the Germantown neighborhood, Hammerheads is a no-frills dive restaurant. It’s a casual joint but known in Louisville for the best tacos, barbecue and mac and cheese.
Mussel and Burger Bar // A creative twist to the traditional cheeseburger. It also offers a great beer selection.
After a night out on the town, hit up the local coffee joint, Please and Thank You, for delicious coffee (and its popular chocolate chip cookies). This hip coffee spot is always a fun hangout.
What to Do in Louisville
Big Four Walking Bridge // Stroll over the pedestrian-only bridge to Jeffersonville, Ind. Grab a beer and appetizer on the patio of Flat 12 Bierworks before walking back to Louisville. It’s an easy (and free) walk – just under a half-mile! The bridge is a former railroad turned pedestrian walkaway to allow for easy access to nearby Indiana.
Catch a Louisville FC soccer game or Louisville Bats baseball game // Check out the team schedule to see if there is a game. The tickets are cheap, and the stadium is located downtown! Before the game, grab a beer at the connecting brewery, Against the Grain.
Wander through Fourth Street Live // The tourist capital of Louisville. You won’t find many Louisvillians dining here, but this outdoor pavilion can be a fun place for travelers to hang out. You can even bowl at Sports and Social Club or play arcade and bar games at Tavern on Fourth.
Pop into the historic Seelbach Hotel // (The luxurious hotel that inspired much of the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald!) Be sure to check out the Rathskeller in the basement before indulging in a cocktail at the lively hotel bar.
Louisville has a thriving arts scene // Check out the events calendar for the Kentucky Center, Actors Theatre and Louisville Palace. On any given night, there’s a production, show or concert being held at one of these downtown venues.
Louisville is home to many renowned museums (such as the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville Slugger Museum, Speed Art Museum and the Kentucky Derby Museum), but unfortunately most close their doors at 5 p.m. If you have time during the day, these are worth checking out!
Also check out:
- Louisville After Five
- Salt Lake City After Five
- Paris After Five
- Chicago’s Gold Coast After Five
- Chicago’s Lincoln Park After Five
- Amarillo After 5:00 pm