Set along a bend in the Ohio River, the densely packed central business district is filled with culture both high (the acclaimed Actors Theatre) and low (the raucous Fourth Street Live! entertainment complex). One of the most exciting corners of the neighborhood is Whiskey Row, which was home to as many as 50 distilleries in the first part of the 20th century. These days, that stretch along Main Street is seeing a major revitalization that includes new hotels, restaurants and, yes, the return of bourbon distilling.
Address: Downtown, Louisville, KY, USA
Courtesy of Louisville NuLu
Also known as the East Market District, this catchily nicknamed (for “New Louisville”) micro-hood is a roughly five-block stretch of Italianate and Victorian commercial buildings, which now house trendy boutiques, antique shops and award-winning restaurants, such as Feast BBQ and Decca. With a new bourbon distillery (Rabbit Hole) and a trail of unpretentious bars, this is an especially pedestrian-friendly strip—perfect for a bar crawl of any stripe.
Address: East Market District, Louisville, KY, USA
Courtesy of Chris Higdon
The ethos of this diverse neighborhood is best summed up by Bryan Patrick Todd’s building-sized mural on the corner of Bardstown Road and Lucia Avenue, which proclaims: “Weird, Independent & Proud.” With its eclectic shops, bohemian cafés and innovative breweries, the area has the vibe of a progressive college town—without the college. It’s also one of the best places in the city to grab a meal. Bardstown Road has historically been Louisville’s Restaurant Row, and this strip of densely packed dining venues includes area legends like Jack Fry’s and new classics such as Seviche.