Louisville Neighborhoods Range From Hip to Historic

Louisville residents find their perfect homes among sleek, modern condominiums and sprawling Antebellum mansions.

On Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 17:24
Louisville, KY

In Louisville, a city as diverse in its living options as its people, residents find their perfect personal spaces among sleek, modern condominiums and sprawling Antebellum mansions, and virtually everything in between. This wide range of living styles blend together seamlessly and beautifully, largely thanks to a park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – the Father of American Landscape Architecture and the designer of New York’s Central Park.

Those traveling into the city for work do so with ease, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, which named Louisville among its 10 Best Cities for Commuters. And when it comes to affordability and market stability, Louisville ranks high as well - Forbes.com named it the second-best housing market in the U.S. in 2010.

Here's a snapshot of Louisville's major residential areas and what each has to offer, from the bustling core of the city to the vibrant districts radiating from it.

East End

Louisville’s urban East End is historic preservation at its finest and the home of Cherokee and Tyler parks. The Highlands, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city, features turn-of-the-century homes framed by sidewalks shaded by century-old elm, oak and maple trees. The Highlands border a three-mile strip of Bardstown Road, a Louisville landmark known for its undeniably eclectic mix of locally owned shops, cafés and coffeehouses, restaurants, and clubs.

Smaller homes – cottages and bungalows – can be found in the neighboring Clifton and St. Matthews areas, also within walking distance of Bardstown Road, or “restaurant row.” St. Matthews is well known as one of the city's major shopping areas and is the site of the state's second and fifth-largest mall, as well as many restaurants.

A bit closer to downtown, historic homes in Butchertown are being preserved, renovated and converted into condos, making it a perfect place for young professionals. It’s also home to the Louisville Extreme Park, a 40,000-square foot public skatepark.

Historic Frankfort Avenue is a pedestrian friendly neighborhood with easy access to independent and local shops, restaurants and galleries along the avenue.

Moving further east, Louisville has a wide selection of suburban neighborhoods and new construction. For example, Norton Commons is an all-inclusive residential area, featuring classic architectural styles and a town center with retail stores, markets and restaurants within walking distance.

South End

Located near the world-famous Churchill Downs, the South End of Louisville is known for its affordability. It also features Iroquois Park, with a 2,400-seat amphitheater and public golf course. Ethnic diversity abounds in the South End’s many communities, including Valley Station, the home of Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing, a historic house and museum; and Shively, with older, ranch-style homes in established subdivisions with tree-lined streets. Known to Louisvillians as PRP, Pleasure Ridge Park is close to Fort Knox and Dixie Highway, a busy commercial strip.

Three of Louisville’s largest employers – UPS, General Electric and Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant – are in nearby Okolona, which offers both starter and upscale homes.

West End

Gentrification and active communities comprise Louisville’s West End, which borders the Ohio River. Olmsted’s Shawnee Park is everyone’s backyard, which hosts formal gatherings on the Great Lawn and has a piece of Riverwalk Trail, which extends across the waterfront.

The neighborhood of Shawnee has late 19th-century architecture and large homes on shaded streets, while Kentucky’s waterfront history is featured at the Portland Museum, and the neighborhood of Portland itself has preserved Steamboat Gothic homes.

New construction is getting great buzz in Park DuValle, where single-family town homes and apartments are creating the result of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development to enrich and bring new energy to this area. 


Louisville’s downtown is a true urban core – a hot spot destination for those seeking a progressive urban environment. Home to the Louisville Slugger Museum, Fourth Street Live! and historic hotels, downtown is also enjoying a renaissance as both locals and newcomers grab up new lofts and million-dollar condos overlooking the Ohio River.

Just south of downtown proper, Old Louisville, the third largest historic preservation district in the country, is ripe with Victorian architecture, cast-iron gas lamps and courtyards with grand fountains.

St. James and Belgravia courts host the prestigious St. James Court Art Show annually. Originally home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents, Old Louisville is now a hipster haven populated with students from both the University of Louisville and Spalding University. 

To accommodate the younger generation, apartments like the trendy and eco-conscious SoHo Lofts and upscale Mercantile Lofts are gaining popularity.

To accomodate urban professionals, condos like the trendy and eco-conscious SoHo Lofts and upscale Mercantile Lofts are gaining popularity.

Learn more about housing in Louisville.