Louisville, Ky., is well known for two things: bourbon and horse racing, but the city of 250,000 has barrels full of other attractions. Visitors could easily find a week’s worth of entertainment in town.
Any seasoned southern traveler knows that a day that starts with a southern breakfast is a good day. There are plenty of places to get a gravy-laden gastronomic monstrosity, but Hillbilly Tea keeps things a little lighter.
The Hillbilly Scramble features smashed potatoes, grilled bread, eggs and fresh fruit — it’s a favorite around town. The large assortments of tea will wake you up with unique blends and expert brewing. The biscuits and gravy breakfast isn’t the typical belt-loosening feast, but their slightly sweet biscuits are the perfect platform for sausage and gravy.
If you’re around later in the day and feeling a little too classy, Hillbilly Tea also serves up moonshine and frog legs. If you’ve had enough bourbon around town, try a moonshine flight and say goodnight.
With some food in your belly, it’s off to the races!
Even if you don’t like gambling, the elegant Churchill Downs is a must see Louisville attraction. The thrill of the race, the thunder of hooves and the silly hats make the racetrack a cultural institution. Since it opened up in 1875, countless celebrities, presidents and queens have shared the view with everyday racing fans.
Everyone knows the famous Kentucky Derby, but every day is race day at Churchill Downs. Races start after noon on most days, but visitors should check the schedule, races often run from morning until night on special race days. Be sure to grab a program as a souvenir!
Ready to spend your track winnings? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Louisville makes plenty of great bourbon.
There are plenty of bourbon bars in Louisville, but many flirt with being one of those dreaded tourist traps capitalizing on the city’s oak-aged claim to fame.
Bourbon’s Bistro, however, is a local favorite. While it can get a bit pricey, the award-winning restaurant is the place to get a good taste of local bourbon. It features an expansive list of 130 bourbons to choose from. Everything from local small-batch flavors to world renown spirits are available neat or mixed up in classic cocktails. The expert staff can also help create the perfect taste test with their bourbon flights.
The restaurant is an elegant spot to share an appetizer (like the decadent lobster grilled cheese or the flavorful roasted garlic and goat cheese) and discuss your new favorite bourbon. Come early if you’re looking for a quiet night out, the local hotspot can get quite busy on weekend nights.
For a central home base for your Louisville travels, check out the Louisville Metro KOA, the park gets good marks for clean bathrooms and plenty of fully hooked-up spaces. It’s just across the Ohio River from Louisville proper and it’s a cheap cab ride in case you overindulge in the local flavors.