One of our favorite things about Kentucky… you can actually enjoy every season! All year long, explore our parks – everything from kayaking and biking in Beckley Creek Park to art-filled adventures amongst giants in Bernheim Forest and evening strolls in Cherokee Park; indulge in locally–sourced, one-of-a-kind eats all over town; and find no shortage of craft beer and bourbon when you need to quench your thirst. But that’s not all. Here are some events that will have you coming back to Louisville year-after-year with the season of travel in mind…
SPRING (March – May)
Spring into travel with sports and chill vibes.
1. For the sports fans… Let your inner futbol fan out with a match at the newly completed Lynn Stadium cheering on Racing Louisville and LouCity. Swing into opening season with a hot dog, beer and Bats game at Louisville Slugger.
2. Derby – and we don’t just mean the races. The city really starts to shine the weeks leading up to the “fastest two minutes in sports” with the Kentucky Derby Festival. See one of the most impressive fireworks displays and air shows in the country along the Waterfront at Thunder Over Louisville. See the sky filled with hot air balloons at the Great BalloonFest glow and race. Or test your physical strength with a run through Louisville’s neighborhoods and parks in the KDF Mini and Half Marathon. By the end of it, you’ll be ready to sit back and relax with a Mint Julep in hand.
3. Climb aboard for good music, bourbon and all the vibes at Forecastle Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend. See a lineup of artist from across the world on multiple stages along Waterfront Park and at night, keep the party going with an after-party on the Belle of Louisville.
SUMMER (June – August)
Cool down in Summer by the waterfront or with a brew, and shop local too.
1. Live like a Louisville-local and support makers, business owners and farmers throughout the region by shopping at nearby weekend markets, including: Bardstown Road Farmers’ Market (open Saturdays year-round), St. Matthews Farmers’ Market (open Saturdays starting in mid-May thru September) and Douglas Loop Farmers’ Market (open Saturdays starting in April). Enjoy live music, food trucks, craft beer, seasonal cocktails, movies and more at Flea Off Market (open 2nd weekend of each month, May-December) or Paristown Flea (open 3rd weekend of each month, May-October), monthly pop-up flea markets featuring over 100 vendors.
2. Pack a picnic and head to the Big Four Lawn with the whole family for Waterfront Wednesdays hosted by local radio station WFPK. Best part… these community concerts are free to attend! Enjoy live music by local musicians while you watch the sun set from Waterfront Park.
3. Enjoy family-friendly, pet-friendly outdoor entertainment, live music, food trucks and local craft beer in Louisville’s oldest neighborhood at Old Louisville Craft Beer Festival. Or enjoy a kid-free night at the zoo with Brew at the Zoo.
FALL (September – November)
Fall in love with a city full of makers, aviators and beyond!
1. Bourbon meets a celebration of food and music at Bourbon & Beyond. Artists from around the world hit the stage, while you enjoy the best food and drink made by local chefs and master distillers from the region. Note: 2021 events have been cancelled due to uncertainty with Covid-19 – mark your calendars for 2022! Also worth checking out: Hometown Rising (country music) and Louder Than Life (rock music; LTL is returning in 2021) festivals.
2. Support local makers of every medium at the historic St. James Court Art Show, which spans 4 blocks of historic Victorian homes on the first weekend of October, annually.
3. Celebrate over 100 years of aviation history in Louisville at Bowman Aviation Fest, a two-day festival held in and around the area of the historic Administration Building and the 1929 Curtiss Flying Service Hangar, currently home of Central American Airways. Let your little ones pretend they are pilots in the front seat of a vintage aircraft, learn about the history of aviation in Louisville at the hangar and enjoy craft beer and bites from local vendors.
WINTER (December – February)
Get spirited (in more ways than one) and adventurous with a winter escape!
1. Need a little help getting into the holiday spirit? It’s very difficult to be a grinch when you live in Louisville. Pack up the car and crank up the tunes while you drive through Lights Under Louisville at Mega Cavern and Winter Woods Spectacular in Iroquois Park. Every year, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens transforms into a magical winter wonderland with Yuletide at Yew Dell. Bundle up and grab a hot cup of cocoa for a cozy stroll across the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, which connects downtown Louisville and New Albany. Soak up sweeping views of the city along the .25 mile walkway with changing lights and holiday music overhead.
2. Bourbon… yep, we said it. And trust us, nothing compares to cozying up with a glass of that Kentucky gold on a cold winter day. So, here are a few downtown distilleries to have on your radar: Angel’s Envy, Rabbit Hole Distillery, Kentucky Peerless, Old Forester Distillery, Michter’s Fort Nelson and Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Planning to venture to the countryside? Distilleries like Castle & Key, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Distillery and Wild Turkey happen to be conveniently located between us and our sister property in Lexington! Eat, stay and explore with the Blue Penguins at 21c Lexington while you’re out there.
3. Calling all thrill seekers… just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean you have to be locked up indoors. Get your adrenaline pumping with over 17 miles of underground passageways beneath the City of Louisville with Mega Zips at Louisville Mega Cavern.
Need some more tips on where to go during your visit to Louisville? Here’s our guide.