I love to spend my summer traveling. Due to lingering COVID-19 restrictions, my vacation plans have changed a bit, but no worries! I’m still finding plenty of ways to get away, even if it’s just a weekend trip.
My boyfriend and I recently took a weekend road trip to Louisville, KY to visit a friend and her boyfriend. We also just so happened to go during derby weekend, which was cool, although we didn’t attend. Before going we didn’t know how festive of an event the derby is. Thousands of people look forward to that one weekend year-round, so it was nice to be in the vicinity at least and see all that goes on. I think that experience definitely added a cherry on top of our already amazing trip.
My boyfriend and I both live in the Chicagoland area, which is about a 4.5-hour drive from Louisville. The drive wasn’t bad and actually went by pretty quick. There wasn’t much scenery, but at least we had each other! No, seriously. Never go on a road trip alone. Having someone to talk to and enjoy the ride with is a must!
Going into this vacation we honestly didn’t have too high of expectations. We’d never thought of traveling to Louisville because we didn’t know what there was to do there. But when one of our college friends moved down and told us about this beautiful city we decided we had to take the drive.
Where we stayed
In less than an hour, we booked our Airbnb. I wish I took photos while we were there, but I was so caught up in the moment.
In my opinion, Airbnb is the best way to go when looking for a place to stay in Louisville. There are plenty of options to choose from and the nightly rates are more affordable than hotels in the area. I also love feeling like a local, even if it’s just for a couple of nights!
This was by far the best Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in. We could tell a lot of thought and care was put into the place to make it feel like a home. In fact, when we walked in the door we saw our host had left us a bottle of bourbon as a welcome gift. This was a nice surprise considering we were only staying for a few nights.
I’ll link the place we stayed here so you can see for yourself. I HIGHLY recommend staying here if you’re ever in Louisville.
What we did
When we visited at the end of April many COVID-19 restrictions were still in place. But we still found plenty of ways to enjoy our time. Each place we went also did a wonderful job of making us feel safe. There were measures taken to disinfect items, plenty of sanitizer stations, and limited capacity in restaurants, etc. We were able to go ziplining in a cave, which I highly recommend, and visit the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville Zoo for a beautiful light show.
We also bought tickets to a bourbon tasting. We knew bourbon was big in Kentucky, so we wanted in on the fun. The bourbon tasting was the first thing we did when we arrived and boy, what a warm welcome! That was some of the strongest alcohol I’ve ever had. I see why it’s so popular now though. It takes years to make the perfect barrel of bourbon and even then it could turn out wrong. It was interesting being able to see what all goes into producing a bottle.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with how much there is to do in Louisville! Everything is also very affordable, so it makes for a great budget trip. If you all don’t know by now that’s my thing!
Since we did so many wonderful things I’ve compiled a list of places to eat, things to do, and sites to see in Louisville, KY. Hopefully, this helps as you begin to plan your summer travel.
Places to eat
- The Mayan Cafe
- Joella’s Hot Chicken
- Royal’s Hot Chicken
- 80/20 @ Kaelin’s
- The Cafe
- Agave & Rye
- O’Shea’s Public House
- Noche Mexican BBQ
- Troll Pub Under The Bridge
- 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen
Things to do and see
- Louisville Mega Cavern
- Bourbon Tasting – Kentuck Peerless
- Muhammad Ali Center
- Louisville Zoo
- Kentucky Bourbon Trial
- Big Four Pedestrian Bridge
- Louisville Sluggar Museum & Factory
- Tour Churchill Downs
If you haven’t started planning your trip to Louisville yet, get started! Traveling to a new city is always fun and this one should definitely be on your list.
If you have any questions or suggestions on other places to eat and visit while in Louisville, feel free to comment below!