Louisville, the largest city of Kentucky, United States, was established by George Rogers Clark in 1778. Named after King Louis XIV of France, the city of Louisville is located on the Kentucky-Indiana border. It is best recognized as the home of Kentucky Derby, the most popular first race of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Louisville is also historically significant as the site of several important breakthroughs and medical advances, including the invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison, the first human hand transplant, the first cervical cancer vaccine, and the first self-contained artificial heart transplant.
Louisville is also known for its magnificent architecture, which features a unique blend of old and new. The most-frequented tourist attraction in the city is the Old Louisville neighborhood, which is considered to be the largest historic preservation district in the state. This district features a large number of splendid Victorian homes and buildings. The West Main Street in downtown Louisville is yet another prominent landmark in the city. The area boasts of the largest collection of cast-iron facades of anywhere outside of New York’s SoHo district.
Louisville also hosts many cultural events throughout the year. Besides the most popular Kentucky Derby, other events held in the city include:
- 2-week long Kentucky Derby Festival
- Thunder over Louisville, the largest fireworks display in the nation
- Pegasus Parade
- Great Steamboat
- Great Balloon Race
- Humana Festival of New American Plays
- Kentucky Shakespeare Festival
- Adam Mathews Balloon Festival
- Kentucky State Fair
The city is also home to a number of museums and interpretive centers, such as:
- Louisville Science Center
- Frazier International History Museum
- Muhammad Ali Center
- JB Speed Art Museum
- Filson Historical Society
- Portland Museum.
Other points of tourist interest in the city include the Howard Steamboat Museum, the Historic Locust Grove, the “Falls of the Ohio State Park” interpretive center, Louisville Waterfront Park, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Otter Creek Park, and the Carnegie Center for Art and History. Louisville is also known for its performing arts and recreational activities. The city has a lot to offer and is undoubtedly an ideal holiday destination in Kentucky.
- Website: www.louisvilleky.gov
Fort Knox, located in Kentucky, just 35 miles (56.3 km) south of Louisville, is a United States Army Post named after Henry Knox, the Continental Army’s chief of artillery and the nation’s first secretary of war. It encompasses a total area of nearly 109,000 acres (440 sq. km.), covering portions of Hardin, Meade, and Bullitt Counties. With an estimated population of more than 23,000 soldiers, civilians, and family members, Fort Knox has been designated as a census-designated place. The major landmarks on or near the army post include the U. S. Bullion Depository and the General George Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry. Ample public parking space is made available outside the museum.
Fort Knox is also home to the U. S. Army Recruiting Command, the U. S. Army Armor School, and the U. S. Army Armor Center. The Armor Center and School, the largest functioning organization in the area, is dedicated to training all armor Soldiers and Marines. The Army Recruiting Command, on the other hand, aims at bringing talented men and women into the U. S. Army. In addition, Fort Knox also houses the headquarters of the Eastern Region of the ROTC. The headquarters of the Army Accessions Command will also be relocated to this site, as per the BRAC decisions of 2005.
Located adjacent to the city of Radcliff, just 15 miles (24 km) north of Elizabethtown, Fort Knox has a long and rich history that made it the 6th largest urban community in Kentucky. With its cutting-edge technology, high-tech security, and support from the surrounding communities throughout the years, this site has become the world’s leading military training center. Over the years, it has also become one of the well-frequented tourist destinations in the state. It offers a number of sightseeing and recreational activities as well as many different lodging accommodations to its guests.
- Mailing Address: PO Box 995, ATZK-PAO, KY 40121
- Telephone: (502) 942-8381
- Website: www.knox.army.mil/
JB Speed Art Museum
The JB Speed Art Museum, located next to the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus in Louisville, Kentucky, is the oldest and the largest art museum in the state. Inaugurated in 1927, this art museum is best known for its extensive collection of over 12,000 pieces, which span 6,000 years, ranging from ancient Egyptian to modern art. It also holds notable collections of the 17th century Flemish and Dutch painting, 18th-century French art, contemporary American painting and Sculpture, and Renaissance and Baroque tapestries. A remarkable collection of African and Native American works at the museum is also noteworthy. Besides, a major section of the museum houses sculpture, paintings, furniture, and decorative arts created by Kentucky artists for Kentuckians.
Over the years, the JB Speed Art Museum has become a major tourist attraction in the city, serving over 180,000 visitors every year. It hosts a number of events and programs throughout the year, including lectures, UofL School of Music, Hattie Bishop Speed Endowed concerts, film festivals, live entertainment, and family activities. Speed offers interesting and exciting ways to explore art and is a must-see for all the art aficionados.
- Address: 2035 S 3rd Street, Louisville, KY 40208
- Telephone: (502) 634-2700
- Hours: Tues, Wed, Friday, 10:30 AM – 4 PM; Thursday, 10:30 AM – 8 PM; Saturday, 10:30 AM – 5 PM; Sunday: noon – 5 PM, closed Mondays
- Website: www.speedmuseum.org
Kentucky Derby Museum
The Kentucky Derby Museum, situated on the grounds of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, is a popular American Thoroughbred horse racing museum. It is committed to collecting, preserving, and interpreting artifacts pertaining to the history of the Kentucky Derby. It was inaugurated in the spring of 1984 and initially funded by a donation obtained from the estate of James Graham Brown. Over the years, the museum has become one of the more popular tourist attractions in the city.
The Kentucky Derby Museum features two floors of exhibit space and a 360o theater, which presents an impressive HD video, The Greatest Race. Thus, through its films and exhibits, the museum helps visitors understand what goes into the breeding and training of a young colt and the means it takes to the Kentucky Derby’s winner circle. The most impressive exhibit at the museum is the Warner L. Jones Time Machine that honors every Kentucky Derby win, from 1918 to the present-day. However, the museum is still making an effort to locate 10 missing trophies! Some museum exhibits depict the stories of jockeys, trainers, and owners, while others illustrate the significance of African-American jockeys and trainers as well as their contributions to the race and the Thoroughbred industry.
The museum also offers guided tours of Jockey’s quarters, millionaire’s row, press box, Churchill Downs’ barn, and the infield areas. The Museum Cemetery is home to the graves of four past Derby winners, including Brokers Tip, Carry Back, Swaps, and Sunnyâ€™s Halo. The Kentucky Derby Museum offers a great experience and is certainly not to be missed.
- Address: 704 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208
- Telephone: (502) 637-1111
- Summer Hours (Mar 15 – Nov 30): Mon-Sat, 8 AM – 5 PM; Sun, 11 AM – 5 PM
- Winter Hours (Dec 1 – Mar 14): Mon-Sat, 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun, 11 AM – 5 PM
- Website: www.derbymuseum.org
Louisville Slugger Museum
The Louisville Slugger Museum, located at Museum Row in the West Main District of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, is dedicated to the history of baseball, particularly that of the popular Louisville Slugger brand of baseball bats established by Hillerich & Bradsby. The building also serves as the museum’s production facility and its corporate headquarters. Various exhibits at the museum elucidate the production of the bats and the art of hitting.
The Museum also holds an extensive collection of historical bats, such as the 1880’s Pete Browning bat and the bat used by Babe Ruth to hit his last home run in Yankee. However, the major attraction at the museum is a completely free-standing, six-story (120 ft) bat that seems to be leaning against the museum building. Although this huge steel bat is hollow, it weighs nearly 68,000 pounds (34 tons) and is considered to be the largest bat in the world. The painting on the wall facing the Louisville Glassworks is also noteworthy. This mural is of the window being shattered completely with a ball sized comparable to the gigantic bat at the factory.
The museum also features a short film, interactive displays, baseball memorabilia, and a replica dugout. In addition, it offers a number of guided tours, which give visitors a golden opportunity to see Hillerich & Bradsby bats and golf clubs in production (golf clubs were initially made in a Louisville factory in 1916). These museum and factory tours ostensibly succeed in engendering the same must-see status possessed by great ball fields, and Cooperstown, NY’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Address: 800 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202
- Telephone: (502) 588-7228
- Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily, closed Sundays (call to verify)
- Website: www.sluggermuseum.org