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Overview

Nestled on the banks of the Ohio River, decorated with beautiful parks, and home to several worthy attractions, Louisville is a small town with a lot of heart and gusto. The main attraction here is the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs racetrack in May; in the weeks surrounding the event, the entire state comes alive with parties and festivals. Though it's unlikely you'll be at the race sipping mint juleps and wearing big hats (tickets are reserved years in advance), you can see warm-up and training races throughout the spring, summer and fall. Downtown Louisville has a pleasant blend of architectural styles, from Victorian houses to ...

Nestled on the banks of the Ohio River, decorated with beautiful parks, and home to several worthy attractions, Louisville is a small town with a lot of heart and gusto. The main attraction here is the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs racetrack in May; in the weeks surrounding the event, the entire state comes alive with parties and festivals. Though it's unlikely you'll be at the race sipping mint juleps and wearing big hats (tickets are reserved years in advance), you can see warm-up and training races throughout the spring, summer and fall. Downtown Louisville has a pleasant blend of architectural styles, from Victorian houses to the neoclassical Speed Art Museum and the ultra-modern Kentucky Center for Performing Arts. Look for the 120-foot-high baseball bat leaning against the building at the Louisville Slugger Museum (where the famous wooden bats are still crafted) and spend an evening watching the paddle wheelers cruise along the river.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to October, when the horse-racing season is in full swing.