At dusk, the city lights reflect on the surface of the Ohio River in shimmering bands of neon. In the daytime, wide swaths of Kentucky bluegrass form a lush, green ribbon along the city’s edge. This is Louisville, a city as beautiful as it is iconic.
Named for King Louis XVI of France, Louisville was founded in 1778, making it one of the oldest cities to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. Louisville’s founder, George Rogers Clark, is celebrated with landmarks located throughout the city. Famous for bourbon, the Louisville Slugger, and (of course) the Kentucky Derby, living in Louisville is an exciting adventure. Stroll along the Ohio River, attend a downtown festival, or head outside the city and enjoy a day in the country where you can admire the acres of bluegrass dotted with horse farms.
Louisville is the “Gateway to the South,” with Indiana across the river to the north. This is also Kentucky’s largest city and the 28th largest in the nation. It is home to the University of Louisville as well as several Fortune 500 companies. Ready for an adventure? Then rent an apartment in Louisville!
Things to Do in Louisville:
The biggest party in America takes place every year in Louisville. The Kentucky Derby isn’t just a horse race – it is an event. It’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby has taken place at Churchill Downs every year since 1875.
Churchill Downs is a designated National Historic Landmark. Visiting Churchill Downs is quite a special event – it is a beautiful place that includes a 36-foot mural by Pierre Bellocq, 79 luxury suites, historic spires, and the iconic front entrance gate. The Kentucky Derby Museum is also located at Churchill Downs and features a 360-degree cinema showing a documentary about the Kentucky Derby.
Before the Kentucky Derby, there’s a two-week Kentucky Derby Festival that includes the largest fireworks display in North America, Thunder Over Louisville. The festival also includes the Great Balloon Race, the Great Steamboat Race, a parade, a marathon and mini-marathon, the Annual Fillies Derby Ball, wine tastings, fashion shows, concerts, and a variety of private events.
But even if you’re not a fan of fancy hats and blankets made of roses, you’ll find plenty to do in Louisville. After selecting a Louisville apartment to rent, head over to the West Main District in downtown. Here, you’ll find “Museum Row” and the terrific Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory (go just to see the giant bat out front – it is six stories high and is the world’s largest baseball bat). Museum Row also includes the Kentucky Science Center, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the Frazier History Museum, the Muhammad Ali Center, the KFC Yum! Center, the Kentucky Center, and Fort Nelson Park. The West Main Street Historic District contains some of the oldest buildings in Louisville and has the second-largest collection of cast iron facades in the US (the largest being New York’s SoHo District).
The Louisville Zoo is fun place to visit, containing six geographic settings – the Islands, African Veldt, North and South America Panorama, Asian Plans, Aquatics, and the Australian Outback. The zoo has several signature exhibits, including the award-winning Gorilla Forest, located on four acres. This exhibit immerses visitors into the world of gorillas. Be sure to stop by Glacier Run, an imaginary mining town in an arctic wilderness that features polar and grizzly bears. The Islands is the first rotational exhibit in the world. It features a variety of species native to isolated islands.
The Belle of Louisville is a historic steamboat that first cruised down the river in 1914. This 100-year-old steamboat is the last true Mississippi river steamboat still in operation. It is a National Historic Landmark that offers dinner or lunch cruises, as well as special events such as Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Belle includes a full-service bar, a dance floor, and indoor and outdoor seating.
Downtown Louisville is an exciting place to be, day and night. Explore Whiskey Row Historic District; see some of the tallest buildings in Kentucky; walk the glass skywalk (the Louie Link) across six blocks, from the Kentucky International Convention Center all the way to the KFC Yum! Center. Go shopping at Fourth Street Live!, a 350,000-square-foot complex filled with shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, a food court, and live concerts.
The East Market District (NuLu) is a hip, artistic district that features some of the oldest homes in Louisville. The Green Building, built in 1891, became Louisville’s first commercial LEED Platinum structure after major renovations in 2010. This building led the way for the district’s “green” revolution –many of the restaurants here offer organic, locally-sourced produce. The area includes art galleries, boutiques, and antique stores. The NuLu East Market Festival is held annually to showcase the neighborhood and features local vendors, food booths, and live music.
There’s so much to see and do in this busy city, you’ll have trouble deciding where to start after you move to your apartment in Louisville. Be sure to add Riverfront Park, the shops along Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue, the Thomas Edison House, Tom Sawyer State Park, and the Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay amusement parks to your growing list!
What to Consider When Moving to Louisville:
Louisville is an important health care and medical sciences hub. Many heart surgery and cancer treatment advances began in Louisville. The University of Louisville and the research park have lured top scientists and researchers to Louisville. Top employers in Louisville include Humana, Brown-Forman, CafePress, Norton Healthcare, PharMerica, Kindred Healthcare, and UPS Airlines.
College sports are big in Louisville! After you move to an apartment in Louisville, get ready for game day! You’ll need plenty of red and black to cheer on the U of L Cardinals! The basketball team has won three NCAA championships and has participated in 10 Final Fours. The Louisville Cardinals play at the KFC Yum! Center. The football team is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference and won the 2013 AllState Sugar Bowl over the Florida Gators. The Louisville Cardinals football team plays at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Another important thing to remember about moving to Louisville – the city has well-established neighborhoods, many of which are historic. The oldest neighborhoods tend to be along the river, such as Downtown Louisville and Portland. The Portland neighborhood used to be an independent town and is still somewhat self-contained. Portland’s Warehouse District features many historic buildings and beautiful waterfront parks. The Portland Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you don’t want to be in the heart of downtown, consider one of the neighborhoods on the outskirts, such as Butchertown. Butchertown is located east of downtown and is a US Historic District. This neighborhood dates back to 1873 and includes the Thomas Edison House, built in 1866. Old Louisville is the third-largest historic district in the US, featuring beautiful Victorian architecture. This neighborhood was built as a suburb of Louisville in the 1870s and was initially called Southern Extension. Old Louisville is located north of the University of Louisville’s main campus.
The Highlands Historic District was built in the very early 1800s on land originally surveyed in 1774. Many of the homes in Original Highlands date back to the mid-1800s. This neighborhood is close to downtown and the Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road and Barret Avenue shopping districts, which offer shops, art galleries, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The Highlands hosts the annual Original Highlands Art and Music Festival, held in September.
Why Louisville Apartments Are Hot:
Life in Lou is exciting! From art galleries to coffee shops, chic boutiques to antique stores, street festivals to the nation’s largest party, Louisville is constantly on the move. With its low cost of living, terrific opportunities, beautiful location, and a wealth of art and culture to choose from, Louisville apartments puts all of that and more in your backyard!
Speaking of backyards, you’ll love the parks in Louisville! Hike more than 30 miles of trails in Jefferson Memorial Forest. Tom Sawyer Park features the off-leash Sawyer Dog Park, a basketball court, badminton courts, a BMX track, community gardens, and an archery range. The city of Louisville offers 122 parks on 13,000 acres. Be sure to visit Cherokee Park, Iroquois Park, Shawnee Park, Central Park, Louisville Waterfront Park, and Central Park.
If you prefer your hikes a little more, um, “spirited,” then check out the Urban Bourbon trail! Whiskey plays a huge role in Louisville history, and you can explore that heritage in some of the world’s best bourbon bars. The Urban Bourbon Trail includes historic locations that once served whiskey to Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald to the latest trend-setting hotspots. Collect enough “stamps” on the trail and you could earn the rank of official Bourbon Country Citizen – a fun way to proclaim yourself a new Louisville resident!
Cheering on the horses at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby!
The University of Louisville, the Speed Art Museum, and the Muhammad Ali Center.
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory — the official baseball bat of the MLB.
Enjoying the beautiful Victorian houses that fill historic Old Louisville.
Louisville is a stunning riverfront city with more than 2,500 restaurants and shops.
Hiking the more than 30 miles of trails in the large Jefferson Memorial Forest.