You don’t have to have a lot of time to have a lot of fun in Louisville, KY. I joined one of my girlfriends from college for a kid-free girlfriend getaway.
We only had one night away due to our schedules but we found plenty to do in Louisville in a short amount of time.
I’m sharing more about the fun and unique things to do in Louisville during your next visit.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Visit Louisville.
You can add these adventures to your list for your next getaway with as little as 24 hours away.
Visit a Museum in Downtown Louisville
Muhammed Ali Center
144 N 6th St, Louisville
Louisville has lots of museums to choose from. This was my first visit to the Muhammad Ali Center even though I’ve visited Louisville several times.
Located a short walk from the 21C Hotel, the Muhammad Ali Center shares more about the life and philanthropy of Muhammed Ali.
I recommend starting your experience with the “If you can dream” movie on the top floor and then working your way back down to the main floor.
You will learn more about his early life, obstacles, and adversity that he had to overcome including racism, his boxing journey, activism, and his philanthropy.
The museum has lots of photographs and video clips from his fights that you can watch and you don’t have to be a big fan of boxing to appreciate this museum.
The museum focuses on six core principles of Muhammed Ali’s life. As you go through the museum you will see a focus on those principles (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) through interactive exhibits.
Kids and adults will love the interactive area of the museum where you can shadow box the Champ, step in the ring, hit the heavy bag, and learn more about boxing techniques.
I tried to box with the Champ… but I think the Champ one…
The memorabilia from Muhammad Ali’s life and boxing career are really interesting from boxing trophies to an Olympic Gold Medal.
At the end of your visit, you have the opportunity to reflect on what you learned during your visit and you can see responses of how the museum impacted others.
Depending on your exploration preferences you can drive or take Uber/Lyft to the NuLu neighborhood. If you are driving you will find several areas with free parking on the street.
Caffeine & Cookies
If you need a caffeine boost or you have a sweet tooth, Please and Thank You coffee shop is a MUST!
You’ll find a great range of specialty coffee and tea options on the menu. I had to try the Ganache Latte known on the menu as the “city’s best”.
Don’t leave without trying their chocolate chip cookies or at least taking a few to go. (They are known for their chocolate chip cookies)
Another noteworthy stop for sweet tooths is Louisville Cream, specializing in small-batch ice cream located at 632 E Market St, Suite 101.
Shopping Stops in Nulu
The Nulu neighborhood has lots of great shops to check out ranging from art, cooking, home decor, fashion, and more.
Take a Distillery Tour in Downtown Louisville
711 E Jefferson Street
Located in the Nulu District in downtown Louisville, Rabbit Hole Distillery was designed with the visitor experience in mind.
The building design was intentional in details that create a great guest tour experience that also doesn’t disrupt production.
Our distillery tour with Josh was off to a good start with an intro and bourbon tasting.
“There’s No Going Back” – You’ll notice that sentence boldly stated on the walls as you begin your distillery tour.
A reminder that the founders are all in and giving it all they’ve got to make it work…. and it has worked very well with a range of award-winning spirits.
The distillery was founded in 2012 and opened to the public in August of 2018.
The tour walks you through the bourbon-making process from grain to glass with viewing windows and even sections of the floor that allow you to learn more about the production process.
During your tour, you will walk by the fermentation tanks and even have the opportunity to taste a sample of the mash.
The ceiling architecture is also worth noting with a cool design that also helps with ventilation.
Rabbit Hole Distillery has the most bourbon per sq ft of any distillery. As a smaller distillery, they really maximize their space.
Enjoy a Tasting and Stay for Cocktails with a view
Our distillery tour ended with the best part, the tasting!
We enjoyed a sensory tasting of their award-winning bourbon, rye, and gin that also included craft chocolates in the Overlook event space.
We tried the Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Kentucky straight Rye whiskey, Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey finished in PX Sherry casks, and the London Dry Gin.
After your tour concludes, Rabbit Hole Distillery has a great cocktail bar where you will want to hang out afterward!
*Tip- After 3pm you can get a cocktail at the Overlook without a tour ticket.
The Views from Rabbit Hole Distillery
You have fantastic views both inside and out with the windowed walls and outdoor seating area on the balcony.
Guests are recommended to arrive 20 minutes before their tour starts and the tour lasts about an hour. There is a parking lot available for guests at the distillery.
It’s recommended to purchase your tour tickets a few days in advance and there are more tours available during the weekend.
If you don’t want to take a tour, you can do a tasting downstairs for around $15 a flight.
After your tour, you can purchase your favorite spirits in the gift shop. They also have really cool merchandise if you want a t-shirt or other mementos from your visit.
Don’t forget to ask a worker to stamp your Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport before you go. If you don’t have one already, you can get one there.
Local BBQ in Louisville
909 E Market St #100, Louisville
Craving some great BBQ?
You will definitely want to make a stop at Feast BBQ while you are in Louisville!
A few of my menu favorites were the bourbon slush, fried pickles, pulled pork, and the mac and cheese. There is also a variety of great sauces to try as well.
Seating is first-come, first serve but there are dining options inside and out and the service is fast-casual.
Dinner at Decca
812 E Market St, Louisville
Another great option in the Nulu district, Decca uses locally farmed and small production ingredients in a historically renovated 1870’s building.
We started with the Fried Green Tomatoes and the Pan Roasted Mussels. The sauce on the mussels was delicious!
For veggies, we tried the snap peas and the broccoli.
For the entrees, we tried the Wood-Grilled 16 oz. Rib Eye Steak and the Crispy Salmon.
I know it’s hard but save a little room for dessert, even if you are just sharing one and taking a few bites. The Buttermilk Pie made with Peaches, Rye Crumble, Basil is a great option.
The basement of Decca has an additional bar and seating area if you are looking for a cozy setting to get drinks.
1201 Story Ave, Louisville
Another great shopping area to check out is Butchertown Market.
I’m a big fan of street art and I was pretty excited to spot several murals in the area before we entered the building.
My friend found several gifts to bring back to her friends in Australia at this stop.
Eat Your Bourbon- Soy Tasting at Bourbon Barrel Foods
1201 Story Ave., Ste. 175, Louisville
A bourbon soy sauce tasting?
You’ll find the handcrafted soy sauces to be really unique in the best kind of way.
You will definitely want to try their signature sauce, the Bluegrass Soy Sauce. It’s the only microbrewed soy sauce made in the US with the original soy sauce fermented and aged in bourbon barrels.
Other soy flavors by Bourbon Barrell Foods are the Bourbon Smoked Soy Sauce, Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu, and Imperial Double Fermented Soy Sauce.
You’ll learn more about the best ways to use/pairings for each of the sauces during your tasting.
The gift shop also has lots of Bourbon smoked spices and foods.
Discover a Speakeasy in Downtown Louisville
112 W Washington St, Louisville
Hell or High Water speakeasy offers a seated cocktail experience in a cozy atmosphere.
There is a limited number of people that they can serve each night and reservations are highly recommended. If you arrive and there is a wait, the host can take your information and then contact you when the seats are available.
The entrance to the speakeasy is a small room at the street level and then you are led to the lower level.
We enjoyed some Cellar Door Chocolates and I ordered the Humble Cobbler made with New Riff HoHW Single Barrel, Cognac, Lemon Juice, Demerara Syrup, Bitters.
Hell or High Water also has live music during the week which is a great excuse to mix things up.
Another nearby option that’s a unique dining option is the Troll Pub Under the Bridge located at 150 W. Washington Street.
Zipline Underground at Louisville Mega Cavern
1841 Taylor Ave, Louisville
The perfect adventure for all thrill levels, you can zipline fully underground at Louisville Mega Cavern “Mega Zips.”
I’ve been fortunate to go zip lining many times and now I’m at the point where I try to find unique ziplining experiences. Ziplining underground at Lousiville Mega Cavern is definitely a unique adventure!
The zipline tour lasts up to 2.5 hours depending on the size of your group tour.
You’ll learn more about the history of the man-made cavern and the geology in the cavern that has over 17 miles of underground passageways under the city of Lousiville.
The zipline course includes 6 zip lines, two challenges bridges, and includes a dual racing zip.
Mega Cavern has changed their policy on cameras so if you want pictures from your zipline adventure you will need to purchase them for an additional fee. There are two places where the guides will stop for a photo op.
If you don’t want to zipline, you can challenge yourself on the multi-level ropes course, Mega Quest, bike in the only underground bike park in the world, or take a cave tour with Mega Tram.
Where to Stay in Louisville
700 W Main St, Louisville
21C Hotel in Louisville
During our visit, we stayed at the 21c Hotel. The boutique hotel is a fusion of hotel + art museum.
Art is everywhere in the hotel. You’ll notice the red penguins on the building outside, art in the lobby, the museum, each floor across from the elevator, and in your room.
21c offers valet parking or you can park at the same garage where your valeted vehicle would be parked for a fraction of the cost depending on your preference.
Play with the 21c Penguins
One of the signatures and beloved pieces of art at 21c are the penguins. In Louisville, there are Red Penguins located throughout the hotel.
Guests at the hotel take pictures with them and move them around the hotel during their stay.
We invited our penguin in the room for a silly photoshoot before returning him back to the hallway where he was later moved to a new location by other guests.
The red penguins were originally going to be a temporary exhibit but their popularity with the guests made them part of the permanent brand identity.
Each 21c Hotel in the chain has its own color:
- Yellow Penguin –21c Cincinnati
- Green Penguin -21c Bentonville
- Blue Penguin -21c Lexington
- Fuschia Penguin –21c Durham
- Purple Penguin -21c Oklahoma City
- Teal Penguin -21c Nashville
- Sky Blue Penguin –21c Kansas City
You can’t take the giant red penguins home with you but you can purchase a smaller one in the gift shop.
Explore the 21c Museum
The art exhibit space at 21c Hotel is free to view and available for guests and non-guests.
You’ll find thought-provoking art along with interactive art outside of the lower level elevator and on the lower level.
Breakfast at Proof on Main
702 W Main St, Louisville
Connected to 21c, Proof on Main offers fantastic menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner surrounded by incredible art.
We enjoyed breakfast the “Egg Sandwich” made with smoked bacon, pimento cheese, arugula, sunny side egg, toasted butter bun, and peasant potatoes, and the “Egg White Frittata” made with cave-aged gruyere, spinach, and forest mushrooms.