Louisville? Yes Louisville! If you haven’t been there or haven’t been there recently, it’s time for a visit the best of Louisville. And if you like baseball or bourbon, then you definitely need to go. Recently included in US News and World Reports list of the top 12 weekend getaways and one of Travel + Leisure “best places to travel” there is a lot to see and do in Louisville. So we decided to go see what the fuss was about!
Baseball and the Louisville Slugger
If you know anything about baseball, you have probably heard of Louisville Slugger, the famous baseball bat maker. Located right in the heart of Louisville, you can visit the museum and factory, see the famous bats being made and learn the history.
When you enter the building, you can stroll through the museum. It is a who’s who of baseball throughout history: see all the famous players and the records set and broken using Louisville Slugger’s bats.
The factory is right there on site and you can see a demonstration of how the bats were once made by hand. But the most amazing part is watching how the bats are made today. It is all very high-tech and computerized. Preferences including size, weight, color and other options are all programmed into the machine and in under a minute, voila, a bat shaped to exact specifications for the individual player.
Next steps include color, finishes and personalization. And you can see it all right there in the factory. (Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures in the factory.)
You can even order your own personalized bat! Signed by you! A great gift for any baseball fanatic!
Kentucky’s other famous product is bourbon and Louisville is the perfect place to learn all about it. With a wide range of distilleries both in Louisville and just outside of town you can start the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and begin completing your Bourbon Passport. We really enjoyed our bourbon tasting experience learning all about Kentucky Bourbon and what makes it unique in the world of whiskey. We visited the Evan Williams Experience and Angel’s Envy in town on Whiskey Row and then headed out-of-town to Clermont to visit the Jim Beam Distillery.
There are many more distilleries in and around Louisville so there are plenty to choose from depending on your interest and tastes.
An insider tip, if you head out to Bardstown or Clermont to visit the whiskey distilleries, the prefect lunch stop is at Isaac’s Café in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forrest. A local legend in the bourbon industry, the preserve is a beautiful park, but the highlight is Isaac’s Café. Most of the produce is grown in their own garden. What is not is all sourced locally. Our soup and sandwich for lunch were fantastic!
And if you want to learn more about bourbon, Kentucky and the role of prohibition head to the Frazier Museum.
History and Louisville
The Frazier Museum is Louisville’s own history museum. It is a look at history from a Louisville perspective. What does that mean? For several famous historical events, learn the role Louisville played, the impacts on Louisville and about the contribution of some of Louisville’s famous residents.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition is one exhibit. Do you know where William Clark was from? Or how about the history and impact of prohibition on Kentucky? Yes, there is an exhibit on prohibition, and I learned some fascinating facts:
- Who profited from prohibition? Doctors made over $40 by writing prescriptions for whiskey during prohibition. They could make tonics containing alcohol and prescribe them for various ailments.
- Who lost? The USA government lost over $11 billion dollars in tax revenues from the sale of alcohol and it cost them over $300 million trying to enforce it!
- Many believed it was the right thing to do morally and it was often referred to as “the noble experiment”.
The collection of prohibition era posters and detailed history reminds us of an interesting time in American history that had far-reaching consequences.
Food, Drink and Where to Stay- Some Recommendations
Louisville is also gaining a reputation as a great food destination. There is a website Louisville Originals which list locally owned and independent restaurants. There are some great finds on the list. One of our favorite’s that we highly recommend is the Mayan Café. Make a reservation so you don’t miss out and if you go make sure you try the lima beans, a house specialty. I am not a fan of lima beans and I must admit they were delicious! By far the best lima beans ever!
And for the perfect place to stay to explore all of Louisville try the historic Brown Hotel conveniently located and walking distance to anything downtown. It plays a large role in Louisville’s history and for food lover’s it is home to the “Hot Brown”, an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and mornay cheese sauce which is a late-night favorite. It’s historic lobby (look up at the ceiling) is spectacular and makes a great place for an evening drink or a nightcap.
Since we love coffee, we are always on the hunt for the best coffee in town. And we found a great local roaster and barista in Louisville, Sunergos Coffee. Conveniently located between the Brown Hotel and Main Street you can stop in for a cup in the morning!
We were amazed at how much there is to see and do in Louisville and we are already planning our return trip to add some stamps to our Bourbon Trail Passport (someday we will earn that t-shirt) and to explore some of the other local Louisville attractions including visiting the NuLu- New Louisville- one of the ten best foodie streets in America (Food & Wine Magazine), the Muhammad Ali center and zip-lining through the Mega Caverns!
If you need help planning your trip and would like to know all there is to do in Louisville, the visitor website is fantastic!
A big thank you to the Louisville Convention and Visitor Bureau for hosting us on our trip to Louisville. As always, the opinions expressed on Compass & Fork are our own.