Whether you’re traveling for work and looking to learn something new along the way or taking a family vacation, Louisville is a great place to learn and explore! Step outside and explore Museum Row on Main, just steps away from the Red Penguins, or venture a little further to find more opportunities to learn something new are waiting for you throughout the city. Sports, history, contemporary art, science, bourbon and more – find it all here in Louisville, Kentucky!
Stay close and explore Museum Row on Main
First things first. You can’t explore Museum Row on Main without a quick caffeine fix from Blackbeard Espresso – trust us!
KY Science Center
Explore the world of science and natural history at Kentucky’s largest hands-on science museum at the Kentucky Science Center, conveniently located just across the street from the Red Penguins!
Let your little travelers play with larger-than-life bubbles and climb to new heights in Science in Play, step inside a Boeing 747, UPS’s main cargo aircraft, in the One World by Air Cargo exhibit, and discover with STEM activities in MakerPlace. In between exhibits, watch a 3D documentary on the IMAX screen.
Pro-tip: On your way into the museum, be sure to snap a picture in front of the parabolic mirror (aka “Whispering Dish”), which is made up of thousands of small mirrored tiles that together reflect endless optical illusions.
Curious about how the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made? You’re in luck! We’re just a block away from where the iconic bats are made. Schedule a tour at Slugger Museum & Factory during your visit to Louisville and watch the woodchips fly! While you’re there, make sure to take a picture with the Big Bat – the largest baseball bat in the world, weighing in at 68,000 lbs and 120 feet high. Fun fact: Serkan Özkaya’s David (inspired by Michelangelo) pales in comparison to the size of the Big Bat, weighing in at only 3,300 lbs and 30 feet tall!
Consider yourself a history buff? Frazier History Museum is the place for you. As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Frazier documents and reinterprets stories from history using artifacts, exhibitions, and live interpretations written and performed daily by their talented staff of teaching artists.
As if you needed more convincing (but just in case), they are currently featuring an exhibition about why Kentucky is so cool. Cool Kentucky is designed to bring Kentucky to life in all of its many facets. The exhibit inspires thought, provides insight, and brings understanding about who we are, how we came to be, and where we can go. While you’re there, you might recognize some familiar looking penguins… spot a Red and Blue Penguin (from our flock at 21c Lexington) in the exhibit!
Another reason to love the Frazier… it’s the official start of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! History, penguins, bourbon… we call that a win, win, win around here.
Immerse yourself in the life and legacy of Louisville’s greatest at the Muhammad Ali Center. Go back in time through interactive exhibits and historical videos of Ali’s impact on the world.
Connect to art and explore contemporary art by local artists from throughout the region at KMAC Museum.
KY Performing Arts
See musical, dance and theatre performances at the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts. Got plans to see a show at Kentucky Performing Arts? Grab dinner and drinks at Proof on Main before the show!
Before heading back to 21c, be sure to say hello to our neighbors at Moremen Gallery, a quaint gallery featuring local artists and pop-up exhibitions.
For the bourbon enthusiasts
Now, how about a warm hug (we mean bourbon *wink wink*)? You’re in bourbon country after all! There are plenty of distilleries in and around Louisville worth visiting, but there are few within walking distance of the hotel as well! Head towards downtown on Main Street and find yourself at Evan Williams Experience, a distillery believed to be the first in Kentucky. Walk in the opposite direction and experience 5-generations of distilling at Peerless Distillery.
Not our next-door neighbors on Main Street, but worth the trip!
Hit the trails at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Learn from nature and stumble upon art in nature along the way – discover works by Bernheim’s artist-in-residence artists throughout the park, including works by Anne Peabody, artist of the site-specific installation, Wheel of Fortune at 21c Louisville. Walk amongst Forest Giants while you’re there too!
Speed Art Museum
Take a tour or “experience art at your own speed” at the Speed Art Museum. Enjoy everything from rotating exhibitions, gallery talks, film festivals, performances and After Hours at the Speed.
Hungry? Pro-tip: Grab a pastry or lunch from Wiltshire At The Speed while you’re there!
Kentucky Derby Museum
Learn about the history of American Thoroughbred horse racing right where the “fastest two minutes in sports” takes place with a tour at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Explore urban gardens and learn about sustainability at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens.
Stay with the art of today
And as always, you don’t have to go far to find curiosity around every corner when you stay at 21c. Browse our current exhibitions!