Friday, February 27, 2009

I Heart My City: Louisville, Ky.

What's so special about my city? Well, everyone knows Kentucky for its bluegrass, bourbon, horse racing and college basketball....but it's time for people learn that Louisville is a city with much more to offer.

Since National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog is hosting "I Heart My City" series, I wanted to expose Louisville for the great city that it is. So, in southern fashion, push your grits to the side and start reading, y'all!

(photo by brittanyculver on Flickr)

I Heart My City: Louisville, Ky.

Louisville (pronounced Lou-a-vull or Louie-ville) is My City!

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to The Highlands for shopping, dining and nightlife.

When I crave delicious Asian cuisine, I always go to the all-vegetarian Zen Garden.

To escape stress and car exhaust fumes, I head to Bernheim Forest near Clermont, Ky.

If I want to go camping and hiking, Louisvillians go to the Red River Gorge.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in my apartment with a good book from one of our public libraries.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the “big bat” in front of Slugger Museum.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from The Bristol, it has to be the green chili wontons.
Swags is my one-stop shop for great running gear.

Locals know to skip franchise restaurants and check out “Louisville Originals” like Ramsi’s, Mayan Café and Café Lou Lou instead.

When I'm feeling cash-strapped I go to Slugger Field for $1 beers and a Louisville Bats game on “Thirsty Thursdays.”

For a huge splurge I go to Mojito's for tapas, good conversation..and, well, mojitos!

Photo ops in my city include a colorful panoramic shot of downtown after dusk, and the best vantage points are across the river at the Falls of Ohio.

If my city were a celebrity, it'd be Colonel Sanders. Though no longer with us, he was a gentleman with a drive to succeed and an innovator with ample pride for Kentucky. Plus, he’s buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, which is located in Louisville, Ky.

The most random thing about my city is that, while we’re near the Bible belt, our bars and nightclubs keep the liquor flowing until 4am.

My city has the most Catholic, bourbon-drinking men.

My city has the most Catholic, bourbon-drinking women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves a run through hilly, scenic Cherokee Park, followed by frisbee with your dog on Dog Hill (and, of course, letting him romp and roll with other canines).

My city's best museum is the 21c Museum Hotel.

My favorite jogging/walking route is Iroquois Park because it’s embraced by beautiful trees and less populated than the other city parks.

For a night of dancing, go to a salsa party or 4th Street Live if you’re looking for something more mainstream. Or, for live music, check out our vibrant music scene at venues like the Louisville Palace, Brown Theatre, Headliners, Uncle Pleasant’s and numerous bars. Always live music in this city from rock to bluegrass!

Spinelli’s is the spot for late-night eats with its delicious pizza and (after 4am) beer selection.

To find out what's going on at night and on the weekends, read the LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer) or go online to the MetroMix.

You can tell a lot about my city from its southern hospitality, where people with white hair or pink hair say “hello” to strangers.

You can tell if someone is from my city if one of their first questions asked is “What high school did you go to?’ (It’s a Louisville thing, seriously.)

In the spring, you should experience the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre in March.

In the summer, you should head down to 91.9 WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesdays and watch great local, regional and national acts for free.

In the fall you shouldn’t miss St. James Art Fair, which draws thousands of people to Louisville in October.

In the winter, you should warm up with the seasonal beers at Bluegrass Brewing Co. and Cumberland Brewing Co. (two fantastic local breweries!).

A hidden gem in my city is Vernon Lanes, which was built in 1886, and offers bowling, beer, live music and a great atmosphere for a night out with your friends.

For a great breakfast joint, try Toast. They have amazing french toast…hence the name!

Don't miss the Forecastle Festival in June, the annual Midwest symposium for musicians, artists and environmentalists.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Bourbon Trail -- touring distilleries such as Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve (my personal favorite).

The best way to see my city is by automobile since Louisvillians claim that they can drive anywhere within 20 minutes…but it’s best by foot when downtown or wandering around the Highlands or Crescent Hill.

If my city were a pet it would be an average-energy dog –- playful and eager, but at times so predictable and languid.

If I didn't live in Louisville, I'd live on the west coast.

The best book about my city is Capture Kentuckiana, a coffee table book that encapsulates the essence of our city and area through local photographers’ lenses.

When I think about my city, the album "Louisville is for Lovers" comes to mind since it's a compilation disc featuring "love" songs by all local artists. Louisville has a great music scene, and My Morning Jacket are our current music ambassadors.

If you have kids, you won't want to miss the Great Balloon Glow, where children see the hot air balloons that will race the next morning (all part of the Kentucky Derby Festival).

The Kentucky Derby could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s a mid-sized city with a small town feel and big-city dreams, as well as a thriving arts scence!

Other reasons that I heart my city:

Do you love your city? Click here to read the original blog post on Intelligent Travel. To participate, fill out our questionnaire and email your responses to They'll feature their favorite responses here on the IT blog. Now go and share your city!


  1. First of all--yay for a blog by you!! Second, you forgot our outstanding Zoo, Lebowski Fest and the amazing Muhammad Ali Center :)

  2. duh...i can't believe that I forgot those 3 things. thanks for pointing them out!

  3. National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog featured this post as part of their "I Heart My City" series. Very cool!

    Check it out at: