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The city of Louisville is located in Jefferson County, Kentucky on the widest and deepest part of the Ohio River. Founded by Colonel George Rogers Clark in 1778, Louisville was named for King Louis XVI of France in honor of his assistance to America during the Revolutionary War. Billed as the “Possibility City,” Louisville boasts numerous metropolitan amenities that include fine dining, a vibrant shopping and entertainment district, world-class performing arts, numerous venues devoted to the historical and cultural arts, and great sports.
Louisville is famous the world over for the Kentucky Derby, widely known as the “Run for the Roses,” held the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. The Derby has run consecutively every year since 1875 and is the first step in the pursuit of the Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, respectively. College basketball and football are also very popular in Louisville. Home to the University of Louisville Cardinals, the city of Louisville takes pride in being one of the great college sports towns of America.
The city of Louisville has an award winning park program and is home to more than 120 metro parks situated on over 14,000 acres, several of which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, famed designer of Central Park in New York City. Popular parks within the city include Louisville Waterfront Park, an 85-acre municipal park situated on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville, and Cherokee Park, an original park by Frederick Law Olmsted that provides an urban oasis of hills, meadows, and woodlands amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Louisville. Other notable parks in the system include Seneca Park, situated on 531 acres, featuring baseball and soccer fields, tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, horseback riding, a cross-country trail, and biking paths; and Shawnee Park, situated on 284 acres, with baseball, football, and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, a bike path, and river frontage with an adjacent multi-use path.
Major attractions around the city include the Louisville Zoo, home to more than 1,300 animals housed in both natural and mixed habitats. The Zoo was the recipient of the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums Exhibit Award in 2003 for its four-acre "Gorilla Forest" exhibit. The Louisville Slugger Museum is another popular attraction. Actually a factory as well as museum, it is where the Louisville Slugger bats used by Major League Baseball are manufactured. Residents and visitors alike will enjoy taking a ride on the Belle of Louisville, the oldest steamboat in operation in the U. S. and a National Historic Landmark. Originally named the Idelwild when she was built in 1914, the Mississippi River-style steamboat was initially designed to be a ferry and day packet vessel meant for freight work. Guests can participate in public lunch and dinner cruises that feature live entertainment and a narration of historic facts that are shared periodically throughout the cruise. Other attractions of interest include the Falls of the Ohio State Park, located in Clarksville, Indiana just across the river from downtown Louisville, and Fourth Street Live, a premier entertainment complex that houses a variety of entertainment venues, restaurants, and nightclubs, including Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge, and the Hard Rock Café, just to name a couple.
For those interested in experiencing the history and culture of this great city, downtown Louisville is the place to start! Visitors will find numerous cultural venues of interest, including the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, a premier performing arts establishment that is home to ballet, Broadway, opera, orchestra, and children's theater. Dedicated in 1983, the Center features a variety of concerts and plays and is home, as well, to the Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, and Louisville Orchestra.
Art lovers will enjoy exhibits at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, featuring the works of more than 400 regional artists, and the Speed Art Museum, which houses ancient, classical, and modern art collections from around the globe.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to Old Louisville, home to one of the nation’s largest historic preservation districts, where visitors will find an amazing collection of preserved Victorian architecture.
The Muhammad Ali Center is a popular destination as well, featuring exhibits and collections relevant to the life of Louisville’s most famous resident and native son.
The shopping in Louisville is as wide and diverse as the city itself! Whether you shop the stores of downtown Louisville, browse one of Louisville’s three suburban malls, or visit any of the hundreds of locally owned shops and boutiques located throughout the various city neighborhoods, you will be well pleased with the opportunities available for your shopping pleasure.
Mall St. Matthews, a 1.1 million square foot retail establishment located on Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews, is one of Louisville’s most popular shopping destinations. The mall features more than 130 stores that include popular favorites such as Aeropostale, Ann Taylor Loft, Aveda, bebe, Brooks Brothers, Brookstone, Dillards, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. Also, in St. Matthews is the Oxmoor Center Mall, featuring 960,000 square feet of retail space, anchored by Sears, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Von Maur.
With literally hundreds of excellent restaurants to choose from in the city of Louisville, it is hard to close in on the top ten. However, after searching numerous sites and drawing comparisons, this list contains eateries that consistently appeared at the top on all sites. At the top of the pack were Proof on Main (Italian/Casual Elegant), Havana Rumba (Cuban/Uptown Casual), Wild Eggs (Casual/Breakfast & Brunch), 610 Magnolia (American with a Southern Flair/Smart Casual). Other popular Louisville eateries of note include the Come Back Inn (Italian American/Casual), Bristol Bar & Grille (American/Casual), Asiatique (Pacific Rum/Smart Casual), The Mayan Café (Authentic Mayan/Casual), and August Moon (Chinese/Casual). Diners would do well to pick their poison, so to speak, deciding on cuisine, atmosphere, style, and price, before going to the considerable effort of choosing from so many fine local restaurants!
The city of Louisville loves a celebration and what better way to celebrate than the numerous festivals and special events held each year in honor of the city’s rich history and heritage! The city’s best-known event is the Kentucky Derby, but it is so much more than just a horse race! One of the premiere events of its kind in the world, the Kentucky Derby Festival begins two weeks before the actual race with a community-wide celebration that features more than 70 events, including concerts, steamboat and hot air balloon races, marathons, celebrity events, the formal derby ball, and more!
Other popular festivals include the two-day Waterfront Independence Festival, the city’s 4th of July celebration that is held downtown on the Great Lawn with live music, food, fireworks, and family fun! The Mayor’s Hike, Bike & Paddle is held twice a year on Memorial Day and Labor Day. The event brings neighbors together in a citywide exploration of neighborhoods and parks by means of hiking, biking, jogging, canoeing, and kayaking!
Music has long been important to the city of Louisville! A sampling of music festivals hosted by the city include the Kentucky Bluegrass Music Festival, one of Louisville’s oldest music events; the National Quartet Convention, gospel music’s biggest event that showcases the finest in Southern gospel music; and the National Jug Band Jubilee, a one-evening jubilee that brings the nation's best jug bands back to the city that started it all!
Ranked in the top ten among the safest large cities in 2005 and 2006 by Morgan Quitno Press, and third in Sperling’s 2010 “Safest Cities for Families with Young Children,” Louisville is considered a good place to raise a family. The city is home to several institutions of higher learning, including five four-year universities, a two-year community college, and several independent business and technical schools; additionally, the city is served by the Jefferson County Public School System, 27 Catholic schools, and the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Louisville is a great city for living, working, and raising a family! Boasting economical, recreational, educational, and cultural benefits that show to its advantage, it is definitely a city for all seasons with something to offer everyone!
4 Louisville > Official City Website > http://www.louisvilleky.gov/visitors/
4 Kentucky > Official State Tourism Website > http://www.kentuckytourism.com/
4 University of Louisville Cardinals > http://www.uoflsports.com/
4 “Possibility City” > http://www.possibilitycity.com/
4 Louisville Zoo > http://www.louisvillezoo.org/
4 Louisville, Kentucky > Metro Parks > http://www.louisvilleky.gov/metroparks/
4 Kentucky Derby Festival > http://kdf.org/about-us.html