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Fun Things to do in Louisville KY | Best Restaurants in Louisville KY | Where to Stay in Louisville KY

Family Fun in Louisville, Kentucky

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Louisville, Kentucky is best known for horse racing and bourbon, neither of which are really the most kid friendly of activities. However, it is a booming city that is full of life, deep-rooted history and a thriving culinary scene. Here are some of our favorite activities to enjoy as a family while in Louisville for a fun weekend trip.

Fun Things to do in Louisville, KY with Kids

Kentucky Science Center

The Kentucky Science Center is located on Main Street in downtown Louisville. One of our favorite attractions at this STEM center is the Science in Play section, which does a great job of combining a fun play structure with learning. For young engineers, there is an awesome exhibit that gives kids an opportunity to build their own flying machines and test them in the center’s wind tubes.

This center is a great half-day attraction and is perfect during inclement weather. And don’t forget, the KSC is a member of the ASTC Travel Passport Program. So if you are a member of your local science center or museum and it participates in this association, you may be eligible for benefits such as free general admission or a discounted rate.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Located across the street from the Kentucky Science Center is the most unique attraction in Louisville: the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Even if baseball isn’t your thing, this factory is so fascinating and full of facts that you have to visit it while in town. Kids and adults love this factory tour, especially when you get to walk down the production line and watch the bats come to life right before your eyes. For baseball players, every slugger knows how important a bat is to the game and learning about the fine intricacies of their craftsmanship here is second to none.

Not to mention, the stories behind the players and their bats are quite amusing. And for true baseball fans, this museum holds the holy grail of bats: Babe Ruth’s legendary notched bat, Hank Aaron’s 700th home run bat, and Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak bat.

Our kids love the complimentary miniature bats given to every participant at the end of the tour, but my favorite part is actually the pitching demonstration where you can see how fast a 90 mile per hour fastball really is. There are batting cages, a bat vault, and even a pitching simulator. This is a fantastic museum that’s fun for the whole family.

Kentucky Derby Museum

Even though I mentioned horse racing as not being the most kid friendly of activities, I do have to say that a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum and taking the Churchill Downs tour is definitely worth your time. Our girls love everything equine, so visiting Churchill Downs and watching the horses train is always a must for us.

Hearing the Derby stories, seeing the track, walking along the paddocks, and weighing in just as the jockeys do on race day is such a treat. So much of Louisville’s history is found on the grounds of this racetrack and experiencing the tour is enchanting, even if you don’t follow horse racing. The track and stadium seem so much different in person than they do on TV when the world watches the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

When you leave Churchill Downs, you realize that the Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race on the first Saturday in May. It is a community, a culture, and a part of Kentucky life that is steeped in rich traditions and superstitions.

Louisville Waterfront Park

If you visit Louisville when the weather is nice, I highly recommend you check out the Louisville Waterfront Park. This amazing park starts on the eastern edge of downtown and spans over a mile along the Ohio River. The activities here include huge playgrounds, splash parks, bike rentals and the Big Four Bridge, which is a half-mile pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing the Ohio River. This is definitely one of the nicest city parks we have visited, and it offers plenty of activities for your family to enjoy.

Best Restaurants in Louisville, KY

Vietnam Kitchen

Since every activity I have mentioned is located downtown, here’s where I’ll make sure you get out of downtown and travel the city to get some of the best food in Louisville. While it may sound crazy, one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. is located just south of downtown in the Iroquois neighborhood of Louisville.

Tucked between a neighborhood bar and a laundromat, the exterior of appearance of Vietnam Kitchen is somewhat lackluster; however, the food that is created inside of their kitchen more than makes up for the neighborhood surroundings. The long simmering broths for their Pho are perfectly clear and divine, and my favorite dish that keeps me coming back for more is affectionately known as K8. My husband loves N1, their take on catfish in a clay pot. And no trip to VK is complete without ordering several plates of A31 and A32, my favorite twists on steamed rice paper rolls.

Breakfast Stops

For breakfast, I recommend a combination of two places also located on the south side of town near the University of Louisville campus. For amazing doughnuts, stop by Nord’s Bakery and then step next door to get your morning coffee at Sunergos. Both locations are unique to Louisville and the owners take pride in their creations.

Against the Grain Brewery

If you do want to stay downtown for food, I highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Against the Grain Brewery. The restaurant is attached to the Louisville Slugger baseball stadium, and the brewery produces some amazing craft beers and awesome hamburgers.

Hot Brown

Before leaving Louisville, there is one culinary treat that you must try before getting out of town, and that is the city’s legendary Hot Brown. This open-faced sandwich is an absolute diet buster but something you must try at least once.

The original Hot Brown was invented in the 1926 by Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel. The sandwich is created by taking crustless Texas toast and piling it with hand pulled roasted turkey and tomatoes, dousing it with a generous slathering of cheesy Mornay sauce, and finishing it off with crisp bacon and a sprinkling of fresh Pecorino Romano cheese. But wait, this legendary original is also thrown under the broiler before its served, making it even more over-the-top delicious. You can still stop by the Brown Hotel and enjoy this original dish at any of the hotel’s restaurants, with J. Graham’s Café being the most moderately priced.

Where to Stay in Louisville, KY

We have stayed at multiple hotels across Louisville, and our favorite is The Seelbach Hilton Louisville located downtown. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, The Seelbach is grand yet perfectly charming and glamorous, and its modern updates and amenities keep guests extremely comfortable while being swathed in style. And did I mention that its downtown location is absolutely perfect?

As a side note, I did NOT receive any compensation, reduced or free admission, or reduced or free food and beverage from any of these venues, restaurants, establishments, or bakeries. I mention and share them because they are simply my family’s favorite places to visit and my most recommended places to cheat on your diet while in Louisville, and I hope you enjoy them too!

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Louisville Slugger photo by Mr. Blue MauMau / CC BY 2.0

Fun Things to do in Louisville KY | Best Restaurants in Louisville KY | Where to Stay in Louisville KY

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Amy grew up in Southern California but has lived all over the globe. Her latest move brought her to Panama City, Florida, where she lives with her…

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