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The Highlights of Louisville

Louisville is one of those Southern cities that often goes under the radar, but is one of travel writers favorite places to visit.

It’s a city that has history, culture, wonderful food and no shortage of things to keep you entertained during a trip.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Downtown Louisville

Downtown Louisville

Churchill Downs: It’s impossible to visit Louisville without making a trip to Churchill Downs. This iconic horse racing venue is the site of the Kentucky Derby in May, and even if you’re not able to enjoy the hats and Southern charm of the event itself, you can still visit it anytime. If you are lucky enough to be there during Derby time there are abundant celebrations during the time leading up to the event, and while most of the seats require an invitation for about $40 you can gain access to the paddock area. You may not get an actual seat but you’ll certainly be part of the Derby revelry.

21c Museum Hotel: If you’re visiting Louisville and you want a distinctive hotel experience, book your stay at the 21c Museum Hotel. This boutique hotel is surprisingly avant-garde and modern, particularly in a city that’s known for its Southern traditions. You’ll enjoy a gallery-style setting with stunning art prints, and you may even be lucky enough to snag yourself a river view room.

Old Louisville: If you love history and beautiful homes then you should include a visit to Old Louisville in your trip. Old Louisville is where you’re going to find the area’s stunning Victorian-era homes. This historic district is the third largest of its kind in the U.S., and it also boasts the highest concentration of stained glass windows in the U.S.

The Brown Hotel: Even if you’re not staying at the luxurious Brown Hotel, Southern Living recommends stopping by to enjoy a mint julep, essentially the official drink of Louisville. Make a stop in the hotel bar and enjoy one of these sweet, refreshing treats that the area is so well known for.

Dining: As is true of so many Southern cities, Louisville is really about the food and 610 Magnolia is one of its finest examples. Chef Lee creates stunning prix fixe nightly menus using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Tasting menus are paired with wine and there’s something to be found at 610 Magnolia to suit a range of budgets. If you want some completely classic Southern fare you can also give Limestone Restaurant a try. Here you’re going to find a menu of items like bourbon-roasted salmon and country ham. For something unexpected in the Southern dining scene, make a visit to Havana Rumba. This Cuban-themed venue includes a menu of tapas as well as items like paella. Have a glass of sangria and enjoy the rich, vibrant atmosphere of this authentic eatery.

These are just a few of the many highlights of this culturally rich city which is being put on the map as a premier U.S. travel destination.