Louisville’s Entertainment Options
Louisville abounds with fun things to do: Outdoor concerts, plays and horse racing compete with trolley rides through eclectic shopping and dining districts in this vibrant, busy city.
If you can’t find something to do in Louisville, just wait a few minutes. Chances are something fun will find its way to you.
This is a city with something going on almost every day of the week, morning and evening, year round. Festivals and concerts abound, and there are enough eating and nightlife options to keep diners and dancers happy for months. In fact, the Southeast Tourism Society has named Louisville events among Top 20 Southeast Tourism Attractions, and in 2010, Louisville earned the prestigious International Events and Festivals Association World Festival Event City award as the top North American City in its population class.
Here's a rundown of just some of the good times that await in Louisville:
First Friday, F.A.T. Trolley Hops
What a way to start and end the month! To get things rolling, take the First Friday Trolley Hop and live it up in the Main and Market corridor. Jump on and off all along the route to visit art galleries, restaurants, shops and clubs, rain or shine.
At month’s end, the F.A.T. Trolley Hop showcases everything wonderful along the Historic Frankfort Avenue corridor. Shops, studios, galleries, pubs and cafes await you!
Need more to do at night? Mix up your people-watching with some old-fashioned horse sense at Churchill Downs’ new Downs After Dark. The event, which features nighttime racing on select evenings throughout the year, draws huge crowds. It’s been so successful, in fact, the Downs has invested $4 million in new modern lighting.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Waterfront Wednesday, a concert series at Louisville Waterfront Park sponsored by the Waterfront Development Corporation and station WFPK, and supported by the Friends of the Waterfront. It’s held on the last Wednesday of the month from late April through August.
Shopping, Dining, Nightlife
Looking to help “Keep Louisville Weird”? That’s the hope of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, which launched the campaign to encourage residents and visitors to spend some time in its unique shopping and dining districts, and help promote local independent businesses.
Get started with Bardstown Road, which features a three-mile stretch from Market Street south to Taylorsville Road. Here you’ll find unique shopping, especially for antiques, as well as some of the city’s finest restaurants. There are plenty of nightclubs and bistros as well, and like their dining counterparts they’re influenced by every style from artsy and punk to organic and yuppie.
You also don’t want to miss the Historic Frankfort Avenue corridor, where the art’s the thing. There are studios, galleries and showrooms all along this stretch, as well as boutiques and shops offering everything from vintage clothing to wine, books, outdoor gear and much more. On the dining and nightlife side, the options are just as varied, with many restaurants and clubs offering outside patios for optimal people-watching.
And then there’s St. Matthews, which has been around since 1779 and offers Louisville’s largest shopping district. In addition to Mall St. Matthews, there are other large-scale shopping centers, as well as an amazing variety of national chain stores and outlets on Shelbyville Road.
Concerts, Outdoor Activities
Still looking for more fun? Then don’t miss the concerts at the Iroquois Amphitheater, a 2,407-seat venue that’s the state’s official amphitheater. Louisville’s parks also are home to such popular offerings as Shakespeare in Central Park, which marks 50 years in service to the Bard in 2011. And back downtown, Labor Day weekend kicks off right with WorldFest, the city’s international festival that brings together the largest collection of local ethnic restaurants, vendors and exhibits in the state.
Find out more on attractions in Louisville.