Want to impress your out-of-town guests? Here’s where to take them in Louisville

By Amy Joseph Landon

Source: The Courier-Journal
By Maggie Menderski
June 19, 2019

Have your in-laws unpacked in your guest room? Is your college roommate driving across a few states to sleep on your sofa? Are your old neighbors and their three kids passing through town for the night?

No matter who you’re entertaining this summer, house guests usually want to get out of the house.

And whether they’re bourbon drinkers, horse enthusiasts or not even old enough to drive, Louisville has quite a few ways to keep its visitors busy.

Here’s a how to keep your out-of-town guests entertained for a whole week in Louisville.

Day 1: The Giants at Bernheim

There are three giants hanging out in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest at 2075 Clermont Road. Earlier this year, Bernheim unveiled three giant sculptures made of recycled wood in honor of its 90th anniversary. Spend an afternoon hiking the 2-mile loop where Mama Loumari, Little Nis and Little Elina live. Seeing the giants is free, but a $10 donation per car is suggested for nonmembers.

You may like: How the magical larger-than-life trolls at Bernheim Forest came to life

Day 2: Louisville Mega Cavern

The cavern was a limestone mine from the early 1930’s to the early 1970’s. Mary Ann Gerth/Louisville Courier Journal

Escape the summer humidity underground at Louisville Mega Cavern, 1841 Taylor Ave. The average temperature there is 58 degrees year-round, and the cavern offers a variety of activities. Take a 2 ½-hour zipline tour in the world’s only fully underground zipline course, hang out on the aerial ropes challenge or take a 1.5-hour electric bike tour of the cavern. Visit LouisvilleMegaCavern.com for pricing and booking information.

Day 3: Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse’s cocktail class

Sure you can find a good bourbon cocktail in Louisville, but you can also learn to make one. The Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse in Fourth Street Live offers a 30-minute class that teaches you how to make a handcrafted cocktail to your own taste. It’s a $25 tutorial by the experts, and afterward you get to sit back enjoy the finished product. The class is offered Monday-Saturday at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Adults only.)

Day 4: Historic Middletown

If shopping is your thing, spend an afternoon walking historic Main Street in Middletown. It’s a cozy retail district packed with boutiques, pottery and historic landmarks. You can pick up a map inside of The Shops at the Head House at 11601 Main St., named for Revolutionary War Capt. James Head, who built the home in 1812, and then follow it to hot spots like The Prickly Pear boutique at 11505 Main St. and Chick A D’s at 11728 Main St. Be sure to grab lunch at the Cottage Café at 11609 Main St.

A Day in the Neighborhood: Charm, character and shopping in Middletown

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Day 5: The Evan Williams Speakeasy Tasting Experience

The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience takes the traditional bourbon tasting to a whole other level in this Prohibition-style bar. Your bartender is an actor, who stays in character the whole time. For $20 per person, he guides the bar through four generously poured samples and talks his guests through Louisville’s role in prohibition. Participants leave with a souvenir glass. (Adults only.)

Day 6: Churchill Downs

General admission tickets to Churchill Downs are just $5, so head out to Louisville’s storied track for a day of horse racing. You won’t see the crowds and the fashion that you’d see during the Kentucky Derby, but you can see the dirt, the spires, the winner’s circle and where it all happens. Want to take a deeper dive into the history of Louisville’s historic track? The Kentucky Derby Museum, 704 Central Ave., is just next door and open seven days a week. Adult admissions are $15, children 5-14 are $8 and kids under 5 are free.

Rose garlands to trophies: Inside the storage vault at the Kentucky Derby Museum

Day 7: Waterfront Park and Jeffersonville, Indiana

Spend the afternoon picnicking along the Ohio Riverfront. If you’re feeling ambitious you can rent a surrey for four people for $38 an hour and peddle across the Big Four Bridge to Indiana together. (You can also make the 2-mile trek on foot, too.) Once you’re on the Jeffersonville side, Pearl Street Treats at 301 Pearl St. is a fun place for frozen yogurt and The Alcove at 246 Spring St. is a good place for an adult beverage.

BONUS: The Main Ticket

The Main Ticket acts as a season pass of sorts to parts of Louisville’s downtown Main Street. For about $45 or $30, the pass buys you single admission to six attractions, and you’ve got 365 days after the date of purchase to use it. It’s a trip that would cost you $94 if you purchased individual tickets to all the attractions: Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory at 800 W. Main St., the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience at 528 W. Main St., the Kentucky Science Center at 727 W Main St., Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. at 120 N. 10th St., the Frazier History Museum at 829 W. Main St. and the Muhammad Ali Center at 144 N. Sixth St. Visit museumrowonmain.com to purchase.

One day, 8 attractions: How to get the most out of downtown Louisville for $50

Reach Maggie Menderski at 502-582-7137 or mmenderski@courier-journal.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MaggieMenderski. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/maggiem

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