Before You Go
Coordinates | 38° 19’ 43.4352” N and 85° 45’ 53.1756” W
Baton Rouge to Louisville | 758 miles
Driving Time | 11 hours, 47 minutes
Why Louisville? | Most people know Louisville as the home of the Kentucky Derby, but there’s a lot more to this city of 750,000 residents than the yearly Run for the Roses. Founded in 1798 and named for King Louis XVI of France, the Derby City has the world’s largest bat, standing at a height of 120 feet, historic riverboat cruises along the Ohio River, and some of the best home-style cooking in this part of the country. Plus, the folks are downright friendly.
Where to Stay
Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at one of Louisville’s most historic hotels, the Seelbach Hilton. Built by the Seelbach brothers and opened in 1905, their vision was to create a hotel that would capture old-world splendor of European hotels. Although she’s 114 years old, this grand dame has all of the modern conveniences necessary, including a fitness room and room service. Cribs and highchairs are available for the youngest travelers, and tweens and teens will be happy to know that the hotel even offers in-room, on-demand games.
Where to Eat
Take a trip back to the 80s at Recbar, a laid-back hangout that’s a mash up of a restaurant/bar/grill and entertainment venue. This eclectic spot has everything from tasty food and creative libations to 10,000 square feet of space bursting with video arcade machines and classic pinball games. One of their craziest creations is the Pressed PB&J: peanut butter and jelly spread between warm, crispy waffles.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a DC Comics fan or you side with Marvel, your family will agree that the food is fit for any superhero! This awesome restaurant is the brainchild of celebrity chef Darnell Ferguson and serves ‘urban eclectic’ American dishes with a twist. Breakfast is the winner at this hot spot. Kids will love ‘the Hulk,’ which consists of green waffles, sausage, candied bacon, egg and cheese, with a syrup drizzle. For lunch, try the Spiderman Superdilla which is pulled pork, caramelized onions, blended cheeses and mango BBQ sauce.
If comfort food is a must for the people in your crew, try the Boujie Biscuit. Biscuits at this establishment are topped with most anything you can imagine. One biscuit, The Gravy Train, is a biscuit completely smothered in pork sausage chunks and a delicious three-cheese sauce. Another dish, The Chicken Pot Pie, is rich with chicken breast chunks in a tasty creamy, veggie-filled gravy. Your sweet tooth will really love the Georgia Peach Biscuit that is topped with juicy peaches that are cooked in a buttery brown sugar sauce.
Things to Do
The best way to see downtown Louisville’s skyline is to take a river cruise. There are two options: The Belle of Louisville, a 1914 steam-powered paddle boat and the Mary M. Miller a diesel-powered paddle boat, built in 1985. These charming riverboats offer a variety of different excursions, including lunch, brunch, dinner, harbor history or dance cruise.
Visit two states in one day via the Big Four Bridge. This former railroad truss crosses the Ohio River from Louisville to Jeffersonville, Indiana. A walk across the bridge gives you a stunning view of the river and city skyline. At night, the bridge is illuminated with a rainbow of LED lights.
Batter up! Baseball fans will cheer for the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. In the museum, you can hold a piece of history—bats that were actually used by legends like Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and Derek Jeter. You can also have your picture taken alongside a life-size wax figure of Babe Ruth. The museum tour has been updated and expanded, allowing
close-up views of how these legendary bats are manufactured.
Young explorers will love the Kentucky Science Center. The museum is divided into several different sections: Uniquely Human, The World We Create, Discovery Gallery, and the World Around Us. Catch a movie in the museum’s theater where both feature films and documentaries like Mountain Quest 3D or Oceans: Our Blue Planet 3D.
Saddle up and race over to the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs. The museum features iconic pieces, including the Down’s first electric gate and historic jockey silks, plus interactive displays where you can call a race or test your Derby IQ. They also offer golf cart tours of the track and a walking tour of the backside and the barns where the thoroughbreds are stabled.
Go ‘deep’ at the Louisville Mega Cavern, a mega space underground where you can participate in Mega Zips, Mega Quest, Mega Tram, Mega Walking Tour, and the Mega Electric Bike Tour. During the holidays, the Cavern hosts Lights Under Louisville where you can drive your car through to see thousands of lighted displays. ■