Louisville, Kentucky, known as either the southern-most city of the north or the northern-most city of the south, is the perfect compromise. This diverse city will expose visitors to the best of both the southern and northern parts of the country. In addition to its diversity, Louisville also has a delightful array of annual festivals. Every season of the year has some wonderful event -- you will find yourself wanting to visit again and again throughout the year.
If you are in Louisville on the first Saturday in May, you can try to watch the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby Museum, adjacent to Churchill Downs, is open year round for visitors to learn about the history of horse racing and the Kentucky Derby. In the two weeks preceding the Kentucky Derby, Louisville hosts the Kentucky Derby Festival with plenty of events and the annual fireworks display. Thunder Over Louisville, the fireworks display during the festival, is the largest annual fireworks display in the country.
Over Memorial Day weekend there is a Beatles festival -- in fact, it is the largest annual Beatles festival in the world. The festival, called Abbey Road on the River, is a five day long celebration that will delight all Beatles fans. Every September, the residents and visitors to Louisville enjoy the Bluegrass Balloon Festival. Throughout the festival there are morning balloon races and balloon shows. This is one of the largest hot air balloon festivals in the country.
In addition to many wonderful yearly festivals, Louisville has a wide range of historic and modern architecture. Visitors who enjoy Victorian architecture will surely love a visit to the Old Louisville neighborhood, a historic preservation district dedicated to Victorian era buildings.
Science and history fans won't want to miss the Thomas Edison home in Louisville's Butchertown. It is now a museum that's open to the public with a nice collection of pieces that reflect Edison's life. Another notable historic home is Whitehall which was built in 1855 and was renovated in 1909. This home was left to the Historic Homes Foundation in 1992. Whitehall is now open for tours and events.
There are plenty of attractions for sports fans in Louisville as well. On top of the Kentucky Derby, the city has a huge fan base for college sports, especially basketball. Sports fans can also visit the Louisville Slugger Museum, the factory and museum where Louisville Slugger bats are manufactured. Visitors to this museum will learn all about the bats and even have a chance to watch the bats being produced. Louisville is also home to the Muhammad Ali Center, which is both a museum and education center.
Lovers of the outdoors will also find much to delight in the city of Louisville. The Louisville Parks System has over 120 city parks. Louisville Waterfront Park is located on the Ohio River. Each year, the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show delights viewers at the park. The city also has many parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the architect of Central Park in New York City.
One of the most popular parks designed by Olmstead, Cherokee Park, is one of the country's most visited parks. Cherokee Park features a scenic mixed-use loop that travels a distance over 2 miles. Louisville also has an urban forest, which is classified as a National Audubon Society Wildlife Refuge. The Jefferson Memorial Forest is one of the largest municipal urban forests in the United States. The forest has plenty of hiking trails, all within the city limits.
- Category: Camping Gems