The largest city in Kentucky, Louisville (pronounced “lou-ah-vul” by residents) is one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachians. It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the home of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Whether you visit or live in the booming Midwestern-Southern metropolis, it graces you with a hint of charm as it rapidly grows and develops.
What Makes Louisville Great
- Small-town feel: A lot of big cities boast having a small-town feel. In Louisville, it’s actually true. The city has a population of less than 1 million, making it simple to become a regular at your favorite watering hole in the bourbon capital of the U.S.
- Parks galore: In lieu of gyms on every corner, Louisville has parks. Among the best is Cherokee Park outside downtown. Skateboarders and BMX riders flock to David Armstrong Park for its 24-foot half-pipe.
- Food: Louisville has a rapidly growing food scene filled with international cuisine. It’s recognized as one of the best food destinations in the U.S.
- Festivals: The city likes to celebrate throughout the year. Forecastle is a popular summer music event on the waterfront that spans a week. Browse handcrafted goods at the St. James Art Festival. Waterfront Wednesday will remind you of an outdoors First Friday.
- Convenient location: Commute times tend to be less than 25 minutes in Louisville. It’s also within a day’s drive to two-thirds of the U.S. population.
- Video rentals: Miss those evenings of browsing through the aisles of a video store? Trade a night of binge-watching for a movie marathon with a selection from Wild and Woolly Video.
Louisville has a humid subtropical climate with four seasons. Because of the Ohio River valley, it might seem a bit unpredictable. Winters are chilly and experience 9 inches or less of snowfall. The average high during the winter is around 34°F. It’s not uncommon for highs to reach 90°F during the summer.
Neighborhoods in Louisville
Louisville is filled with great neighborhoods. Some of the more popular include:
- Downtown: Filled with residential lofts, restaurants, entertainment, museums and more. Many attractions are within walking distance.
- The Highlands: Located within minutes of popular parks, the eclectic mix of local businesses keeps the area hopping.
- NuLu: The former East Market District is trendy with a mix of shops, restaurants, and galleries.
- Clifton / Crescent Hill: Filled with antique stores, coffee shops, and restaurants, this area also has Victorian homes.
- Old Louisville: The third-largest historic preservation district in the U.S. is filled with old, beautiful Victorian homes and mature trees.
- St. Matthews: The area is close to some of the best retail therapy in the city.
- Norton Commons: A planned community that’s highly walkable.
- Portland: The oldest neighborhood in Louisville and an artist community on the edge of a revitalization movement.
- Germantown: An eclectic neighborhood with a large collection of shotgun and camelback houses.
Average Housing Costs
Housing in Louisville tends to be more affordable than housing in other major U.S. cities. At the time of publication, the median home value was $158,700. Housing prices are expected to climb 0.6 percent during 2019. The median rent price is $1,095 per month.
Things to Do in Louisville
- Explore Mammoth Cave. The world’s longest cave system has more than 400 miles of unexplored terrain. Visitors are welcome to hike through 10 miles of the most passable terrain. If hiking seems boring, there’s also a zip line.
- Check out the activities at bars. The bars in Louisville mix booze with fun activities. The Hideaway Saloon has video games, pool, and ping-pong tournaments. Hit the dance floor at Nowhere Bar. If you’re a gamer, you’ll love the arcade at Zanzabar.
- Hit the Bourbon Trail. About 95 percent of the bourbon in the world comes from Kentucky. Travel along the Bourbon Trail for a great distillery tour.
- Embrace the arts. Louisville is filled with art galleries, stages, theaters and more. It’s one of the few cities in the country with independent companies for all five performing arts sectors. It also has independent art operations.
- Celebrate the Derby. Don your best headwear and make your way to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby at least once. If you can’t make it to the Derby, at least enjoy some of the celebrations throughout the city, such as Thunder Over Louisville.
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