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16 Things to Know About Living in Louisville

Thinking about relocating to Louisville? In addition to the famous Kentucky Derby, River City is also home to many family-friendly activities, great Southern food, rich history, art, and so much more. Here are 16 things you should know about living in Louisville!

Affordable Neighborhoods in Louisville

With a median home price of $143,100, future homebuyers moving to River City have their pick of affordable homes for sale in Louisville! Additionally, Louisville has been named one of the most affordable cities for solo renters in the U.S.—and no wonder, with a median monthly rent of $748! Derby City has a wide variety of neighborhoods for all lifestyles. Looking for an area with lots of dining options, bars, and music venues? Downtown Louisville is a hot spot for singles and young professionals seeking a fun, active lifestyle. Meanwhile, family-friendly neighborhoods in Louisville like Bonnycastle and Clifton Heights are great places to raise kids in Louisville because of their quality schools and recreation for all ages.

A Great Place for Jobs

Downtown Louisville skyline. Photo by Instagram user @nmuleski

Photo via @nmuleski

Moving to Louisville for work? Derby City has several major corporations headquartered throughout the entire city, including spirits and wine company Brown-Forman, Norton Healthcare, Republic Bank, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). With a lower unemployment rate and a higher rate of projected job growth than the national average, the Louisville job market has a lot to offer. This Southern city has also been ranked as one of America’s top tech hubs, so professionals seeking work in related fields will find plenty of tech opportunities while living in Louisville. Meanwhile, remote workers moving to Louisville can take advantage of the city’s many coworking spaces, including Yes Working and FirstBuild.

Terrific Louisville Schools

Louisville University building stands tall in middle campus with tall white columns and red brick. Photo by Instagram user @mackaystuart

Photo via @mackaystuart

Looking to get your degree in Derby City? Louisville has a number of colleges and universities where students can seek higher education. Lay the groundwork for your future with a degree in anything from automotive technology or culinary arts to global studies at Jefferson Community & Technical College. Work toward an accelerated Master’s degree in biology, political science, and many more at the University of Louisville. Join the nursing, education, or esteemed business administration programs at Bellarmine University. Or explore classes in the nursing, psychology, and natural science programs at Spalding University, one of the best private schools in Kentucky.

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The World’s Bourbon Capital

Giant bourbon waterfall with giant glass at Evan Williams. Photo by Instagram user @megatti

Photo via @megatti

Kentucky has distilled bourbon for over 200 years—rightfully earning its name as the world’s bourbon capital. In fact, Louisville produces 95% of the world’s bourbon, bringing billions of dollars into the city’s economy each year. Check out one of the best things to do in Louisville, the Urban Bourbon Trail, to sip amber liquid at more than 34 bars and pubs. Visit over 20 distilleries to sip high-quality liquor from all around Louisville with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Browse a massive menu of bourbon like Cabin Still, Bellows, and more in an upscale yet casual setting at Bourbon Bistro. Or taste test bourbon flights like The Bet, The Exacta, or The Trifecta at Derby Cafe.

Get Tickets to the Kentucky Derby

Horse and jockey race through track at the Kentucky Derby. Photo by Instagram user @kentuckyderby

Photo via @kentuckyderby

Toast with mint juleps and witness the “greatest two minutes in sports” at the famed Kentucky Derby. Since 1875, this event has been one of the most renowned Louisville attractions and one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. People from all over the world travel to Churchill Downs for this elegant, exciting event—the first leg of the Triple Crown championship. Attendees frequently include celebrities, former U.S. presidents, and even members of the British royal family. Or you can experience the excitement of The Run for the Roses year-round at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Green trees stand tall in Cherokee Park as you can see the roots dug deep within the hills. Photo by Instagram user @jkkeeney

Photo via @jkkeeney

Nature lovers moving to Louisville will be happy to hear that Derby City has 120 public parks! Hike the 2.5-mile Scenic Loop or shoot hoops at Cherokee Park, an outdoor space designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect of Central Park. See beautiful plants in the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, practice morning yoga, or attend outdoor festivals at Waterfront Park. Marvel at the largest Tulip Poplar in Louisville, try your hand at archery, or get friends together for kickball on the multi-purpose field at Iroquois Park. Float along the Ohio River on the historic Belle of Louisville. Reel in largemouth bass or channel catfish at Angler Lake in William F. Miles Park. Or practice your kickflips and fakie ollies at one of the best skate parks in the U.S., David Armstrong Extreme Park.

Visit the Louisville Mega Cavern

What was once an old mine shaft and limestone quarry is now the largest building in Kentucky, as well as one of the best Louisville attractions, the Louisville Mega Cavern. Stretching over 100 acres underneath the Louisville Zoo, this massive underground building is home to a variety of family-friendly things to do! Soar high above the ground on six, fun-filled zip-line courses with Mega Zips. Race through the aerial rope courses at Mega Quest. Sit back, relax, and learn about the cavern’s geological wonders on the Mega Tram. Attend the cavern’s seasonal events like the holiday underground light show, featuring more than four million points of light.

The Birthplace of Muhammad Ali

Side view of Muhmmad Ali Center building lighted up at night. Photo by Instagram user @alicenterlou

Photo via @alicenterlou

Born Cassius Clay Jr., world-famous boxer Muhammad Ali threw his very first uppercut when he was living in Louisville, his hometown. Today, you can visit several historic Derby City attractions devoted to his legacy. Tour the Muhammad Ali Childhood Home Museum, a single-story pink house that Ali and his family lived in for 14 years. Learn about his life and legacy, see contemporary art exhibits that showcase Ali’s core principles, or attend an event in the auditorium at the Muhammad Ali Center. Take boxing lessons where Ali learned to fight or see the red bicycle that hangs in his honor at Columbia Gym. Attend an event at the same venue Ali had his first professional match, Freedom Hall, in the Kentucky Exposition Center. Or pay your respects to the Olympic gold medalist at his memorial in the Cave Hill Cemetery.

Explore Local Art & History

Whether you’re an art fan or history buff, there’s something for everyone at the many museums in Louisville along Museum Row. Explore interactive exhibits and art in Louisville, see one of the largest miniature soldier collections, or sign up for the Ready, Set, Go! Bourbon Experience to sample authentic Louisville bourbon at the Frazier History Museum. Browse the Art of Ancient Cultures collection of old-world sculptures, pottery, and other pieces from the distant past, or see contemporary photography, paintings, and multimedia art from around the world at the Speed Art Museum. Snap for slam poetry readings before viewing stunning Contemporary glasswork, printmaking, and more at KMAC Museum. Smile until your cheeks hurt at comedy shows, jam to live music, and see other performances in the historic Louisville Palace Theatre. Or support new and emerging artists during the First Friday Art Walk in the Louisville Arts District.

Attend Exciting Louisville Festivals

Fans of the theatre rejoice! Louisville is home to the largest internationally-renowned American playwright festival, Humana Festival of New American Plays. However, this Downtown Louisville event isn’t your typical three-day festival. For six weeks, more than 36,000 people from around the world join together to appreciate and celebrate their love for the performing arts. Throughout the course of the event, festival-goers have the chance to see one-of-a-kind plays, listen to panel conversations with famous writers and theatre trailblazers, and attend parties with great food and live music!

A Hot Spot for Haunted Attractions

Long and emty tuberculosis hospital at The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Photo by Instagram user @novamajors

Photo via @novamajors

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a fun, unique Louisville attraction perfect for thrill-seekers, as it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the United States! This old tuberculosis hospital gained attention after appearing on shows like Ghost Hunters, Scariest Places on Earth, and Ghost Adventures. Many people claim to feel a paranormal presence looming over them while visiting, as well as see apparitions and shadows of doctors that roam the tunnels. Whether you’re a skeptic or a ghost fanatic, booking a tour here is one of the most interesting things to do in Louisville.

The Place to Be for Sports

Looking down at the center Louisville basketball court and jumbotron during game. Photo by Instagram user @brigidkaelin

Photo via @brigidkaelin

Sports in Louisville are a big deal. Louisville has hosted successful sporting events beyond the Kentucky Derby, including PGA Championships, the Ryder Cup, the NCAA Field Hockey National Championship, and many WWE events. And Derby City continues to be a hot spot for sporting events today! Watch the Louisville Cardinals (NCAA) men’s basketball team battle their rival team, the Kentucky Wildcats, or see the women’s basketball teams shoot nothing but net at KFC Yum! Center. Catch the Cardinals (FCAA) running it into the end zone at the Cardinal Stadium. Jump to your feet as the Louisville Bats (MiLB) hit home runs and cheer on the Louisville City FC (USL) footballers as they go for a hat trick at Lynn Family Stadium. Hold your breath as Olympic athletes and international BMX racers land tricks in the USA BMX Derby City Nationals at E.P Tom Sawyer Park.

Home to the Louisville Slugger

Looking up at a giant bat statue that leans against big red brick Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Photo by Instagram user @styleblueprint

Photo via @styleblueprint

Although Louisville may not have its own professional baseball team, Derby City still has strong ties to America’s favorite pastime, largely thanks to the Louisville Slugger bat. The official bat of Major League Baseball, the Louisville Slugger was developed in the 1800s in a family-owned woodworking shop and has since become one of the city’s most prevalent symbols. The Louisville Bats (MiLB) are named in reference to the Louisville Slugger, as is their home field, Louisville Slugger Field. Baseball fans can find exhibits dedicated to the creation of the Slugger, as well as Babe Ruth’s famous bat, with a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

Explore Louisville’s Diverse Foodie Scene

Louisville is the best foodie city in the U.S., with cuisines spanning all around the world. Savor Peruvian-style Charcoal Chicken with homestyle sides like Potato Salad, Fried Yuca, Steak Fries, and more at Yummy Pollo. Order elevated dishes like Spring Vegetable Pappardelle or Lamb Chops at one of Louisville’s locally-loved restaurants, Jack Fry’s. Book a table and try authentic Mayan fares like Papadzules, Cochinita Pibil, or Cauliflower Al Pastor at Mayan Cafe. Get fresh, delicious seafood dishes like Cornbread Crusted Salmon, Grilled Wild Caught Grouper, or Panko Fried Shrimp from Brendon’s Catch 23. Enjoy a date night featuring Italian plates from Ravioli Vodka to Risotto Di Maiale at Volare Italian Ristorante. Or dig into classic American eats like Baked Mac & Cheese, Grilled Salmon, or Turkey Meatloaf at Porch Kitchen & Bar.

Savor Authentic Southern Food

Open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and Mornay sauce in skillet. Photo by Instagram user @judiaann

Photo via @judiaann

Because it’s located in the heart of Kentucky, the Louisville restaurant scene is dominated by savory Southern cuisine and soul food. Try iconic dishes you won’t find anywhere else, like a famous Hot Brown turkey and bacon sandwich at The Brown Hotel. Savor mouthwatering barbecue in a Chopped Pork Sandwich or Spare Ribs by the pound, or bring a group to take on The Pit Experience, a barbecue spread that feeds four to five people at Against the Grain Brewery. Pick up home-cooked comfort food like Chitterlings or Southern Fried Chicken Wings at one of the best southern restaurants in Louisville, Shirley Mae’s Cafe. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a big slice of Derby-Pie Chocolate Nut Pie or Golden Pecan Pie from Kern’s Kitchen.

Experience the Louisville Nightlife

Outside street view outside of TAJ Louisville with a statue of a mint julip. Photo by Instagram user @tajlouisville

Photo via @tajlouisville

Curious about Louisville nightlife? Party the night away at one of the best nightlife destinations in Downtown Louisville, Fourth Street Live! Get $2 tacos on Taco Tuesday and $5 well drinks on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Sports and Social Club. Belly up to the bar-turned-art-exhibit to taste over 100 different types of wine and bourbon at Proof on Main. Beat the high score on vintage arcade games, order from the wide bourbon menu, or rock out to live music at Zanzabar (also known as Z-bar). Laugh at standup sets from established local comedians like Johnny Watson and Vince Morris, or try your hand at an open mic night at The Caravan. Sing your heart out with country artists like Kip Moore and Billy Currington during the Hot Country Nights concert series. Or get tickets to see artists of all genres like Steve Aoki and Chase Rice at the Derby Concert Series.

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Moving to Louisville? Extra Space Storage has self storage throughout the Derby City area to help with your transition. Find storage near you!

Louisville, KY: 16 Things to Know