Family Time in Louisville

Arguably the most modern city in Kentucky, Louisville sits on the border with Indiana. It’s where Kentuckians blend urban with rural, farm-style with convenience and southern hospitality with no-nonsense Northern mindsets. While it may be best known for two things — derby and bourbon — there’s so much more to offer visitors. In fact, there’s plenty to attract families beyond the debauchery associated with the May event and every local’s liquor of choice. Museums, festivities and more family fun await!

Wooden bridge over creek in autumn forest. Arboretum and Research Forest near Louisville, Kentucky, USA

© Volgariver |

Learn Something New

There’s something for every child (and child at heart), regardless of interest or age. At Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, enjoy a planetarium or laser show. At the Speed Art Museum, don’t miss Art Sparks, 15 hands-on learning stations allowing visitors to connect with both the art and each other. If the weather allows, check out 14,600 acres of beautiful Kentucky countryside, at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, which also features a canopy tree walk. Take a tour of the American Printing House for the Blind, the world’s largest non-profit company creating services for the visually impaired. At the Kentucky Science Center, explore three floors of interactive exhibits on science, math and technology. If your child leans more toward sports than stargazing or art, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory may be exactly the thing. Then, don’t miss the Kentucky Derby Museum, with a chance to meet the resident thoroughbred and mini horse.

Swing ride at the kentucky state fair silhouetted against the setting sun

© Denise Mcquillen |

Can’t-Miss Events

There’s always something exciting going on in Louisville! Some of the most popular include Thunder Over Louisville, one of the biggest firework shows in the country; World Championship Horse Show; and the Kentucky State Fair. Others you might like include Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Jane Austin Festival and WorldFest.

Bites Beyond Bourbon

Louisville’s culinary scene brings a lot to the table beyond a stiff bourbon on the rocks.

Get your fix of pimento cheese — a classic every Southern cook knows how to make and make well — at Wagner’s, a long-standing, super-casual and incredibly affordable favorite located just across the street from Churchill Downs.

While KFC didn’t originate in Louisville, you can still find plenty of fried chicken in this city. Some of the best is at Sway, located within the Hyatt Regency, serving up southern fried chicken with creamy mashed potatoes, gravy and greens.

Another regional favorite is burgoo, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink stew that can be found at many a Kentucky festival, cooked up en messe. Try it at Harvest, an award-winning restaurant that serves it up on the brunch menu.

Of course, don’t miss your hot brown and derby pie. The former is sometimes called Louisville’s most famous dis, and was originally created at the Brown Hotel (where you can still find it now); the sandwich is toast, turkey, tomato, cheese and a bubbly sauce. Top off your tasty tour of Louisville with derby pie, which you can find at many spots around the city, including The Brown Hotel, Kentucky Derby Museum Cafe and Louisville Slugger Stadium.