Wanderlust {Lexington & Louisville Kentucky}

We are headed to Louisville and Lexington for a few days this spring and, while I have our itinerary tentatively outlined, I always love checking in with YOU to make sure we haven’t missed anything!

We have this on our radar:

  • Keeneland race day, thanks to an incredible blog reader and past client!!
  • Keeneland tour
  • Mary Todd Lincoln House
  • University of Kentucky visit
  • Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Angels Envy Distillery
  • Louisville Slugger Museum
  • Muhammad Ali Center
  • Kentucky Derby Museum
  • Mammoth Cave
  • Is there anywhere to listen to Bluegrass music? (Is that a dumb question?)

I received a TON of great restaurant suggestions on Instagram, and these were repeated over and over:

  • Carson’s
  • Jeff Ruby’s
  • Jack Fry’s
  • Dudley’s
  • Tony’s

We love culture, cuisine, history and adventure and are game for pretty much anything. If there’s anything you think I should add to – or scratch from – our list, or if you have any insight on the things already on our list, I’m all ears! We probably don’t have enough time to do all of this so I value your input.

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13 thoughts on “Wanderlust {Lexington & Louisville Kentucky}

  1. We took a trip and did a tour of Churchill Downs and also visited Mammoth Cave NP and both were great! Also in Louisville there is a bridge you can walk over the river into Indiana, that was neat.

  2. If you have time go to dees crafts in Louisville not only do they have the best decor especially at Christmas but they are famous for the derby hats they create. Also Hadley pottery or Louisville stoneware.

  3. Amanda,
    Your itinerary looks fun! Having been to KY several times, we did most things you have listed. We did include in our trip a jaunt up to THE ARK in northern KY. The size was mind-blowing as it was built to the dimensions listed in the Bible. The exhibits, theatre shows and restaurant were outstanding.

    I am really happy you listed Buffalo Trace Distillery. We had a great tour guide and enjoyed learning about the process of bourbon making. Make sure you buy some green mint julep syrup there if you plan on making them for KY Derby Day.

    You asked about where to listen to bluegrass music. The KY Bluegrass Hall of Fame is in Owensboro. We didn’t go so I can’t really comment but I would image its worth a trip. You can check out reviews on TripAdvisor which is always helpful. Also, the Corvette Museum is in Bowling Green and men seem to love this place. Have a great time!

    P.S. Make sure you try a KY Hot Brown sandwich.

  4. Dear Amanda,
    I lived in Louisville for more than 15 years and here are some of my favourite spots and restaurants.
    – The Waterfront Park
    – Bernheim Forrest (Bardstown, KY)
    – Cave Hill Cemetery, some of the oldest and largest ginkgo trees in the US. A park like cemetery with some very beautiful statues.
    – NuLu, great galleries and restaurants
    – The Highlands
    – El Mundo
    – Ramsi’s Cafe of the World
    – 610 Magnolia
    – Heine Brother’s Coffee, for coffee
    – The bar at the Seelbach Hotel, for drinks
    – and as you already have on your list, Jack Fry’s
    Get a LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer), free at many restaurants and stores, to find what music is playing while you are there, maybe you can catch a local bluegrass band.
    Have a great time!

  5. I forgot all about cave hill cemetery. I grew up in Louisville and Cave Hill is beautiful. I suggested Dees and Hadley Pottery above. Also Captains Quarters restaurant on the river. Fourth street live in Louisville has music. Not sure if they have Bluegrass or not.

  6. Love KY…we are big Derby people and go every year…Don’t miss the Gift Shop at Churchill Downs. Kenneland is loads of fun too.
    Hadley Pottery Outlet (a favorite)
    610 Magnolia my very favorite restaurant
    Le Relais is another great restaurant

  7. Louisville native here! Highly recommend Seviche for dinner, as well as LouVino. Also—Jeff’s Donuts or Hi-5 donuts.

  8. We did an adults-only trip to the Bourbon trail last summer. If you don’t already have accommodations, I highly suggest Chateau Bourbon. It’s a gorgeous B&B with the most beautiful rooms, delicious breakfast, and lovely happy hours.

    We enjoyed the kentucky derby tour at Churchill Downs. The Louisville slugger factory was great – be sure to visit the batting cages at the back.

    As I see you have distilleries on the agenda, make sure to book in advance. Many are only open certain days of the week and as they are spread out among different geographic areas, you don’t want to be driving all over the state every day.

    In my opinion, Maker’s Mark has the best tour because the grounds are gorgeous. Favorite tastings were Angel’s Envy and Woodford Reserve. We also enjoyed some of the smaller craft distilleries for unique experiences. At Buffalo Trace, be sure to hit the gift shop to see what the special of the day is – they alternate between EH Taylor, Eagle Rare, and Blanton’s. We were able to snag a bottle of EH Taylor for $40 on the day of our visit. Amazing price!

    I hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did!

  9. Hi Amanda,
    My grandparents lived in Louisville. My sisters and I visited them every summer for a month and they took us everywhere around KY. Here are some fun things we’ve done with the girls through the years.

    Downtown Louisville:
    • Louisville Sluggers Museum
    • Muhammad Ali Center (I’m not into boxing, but we all liked the museum – his career and his philosophies of life)
    • Belle of Louisville cruise on the Ohio River
    • Hadley Pottery (This is more for me)
    • The Seelbach Hotel and Brown Hotel (hot brown sandwich) – landmarks in Louisville
    • ***Must eat Derby pie

    Not downtown Louisville:
    • Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (day before the Derby, easier to get tickets and still fun/fancy)
    • Churchill Downs / Kentucky Derby Museum
    • Mammouth Cave National Park
    • Locust Grove – home of George Clark (Lewis and Clark expedition)
    • Hodgenville – home of Abraham Lincoln
    • Brunch at Captains Quarters (sits on the Ohio River)
    • Bourbon/distillery tours are fun, but must be 21

    Near Lexington:
    • Kentucky Horse Park
    • Claiborne Farms (burial site for Secretariat)
    • University of Kentucky

  10. Have you read the book Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last? It might be fun to do before you go!

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