Whether you call it the northernmost southern city, or the southernmost northern city is of little importance, Louisville, founded in 1778, is a staple of American culture and home to some of the most recognizable events and products in North America. Situated in north central Kentucky on the Ohio River, this city of nearly ¾ million is the state’s largest metro area and the county seat of Jefferson County. Whatever it is, if you can find it anywhere, you can probably find it in Louisville.
Louisville has a humid subtropical climate. There are four distinct seasons with seasonal extremes of all kinds. The city averages 87 days per year with temperatures below freezing and 31 days with temperatures above 90. The mean annual temperature is a mild 57 degrees. Annual snowfall is around 15 inches. Rain averages 44.5 inches, with the lion’s share falling in spring and summer.
Here is an abbreviated list of things to do or see while visiting Louisville (a full list would look something like a copy of “War and Peace”):
If you’re in the area during late April and early May, you may consider attending the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. It is held annually on the first Saturday in May, capping the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs. It’s known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate duration. It is also called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes (the other two races making up the Triple Crown) and the Breeders’ Cup.
Kicking off the Kentucky Derby Festival is Thunder Over Louisville. This airshow and fireworks display held in mid-April in Louisville, Kentucky is the largest annual fireworks display in North America and has been held since 1990. The celebration lasts throughout the day, and the fireworks display goes on for around half an hour, along with a synchronized music. The estimated attendance is approximately five times that of the main attraction, the Kentucky Derby.
You might not realize it, but for Beatles fans, Louisville has been popular destination since 2002. Abbey Road on the River is a five-day, multi-stage music festival featuring the music and spirit of the Beatles. The festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend. Over the course of the festival, multiple tribute bands play the music of the Beatles.
There are so many museums in Louisville that the West Main District has come to be known as “Museum Row”. A portion of this district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as it is home to some of the oldest structures in the city. The district also features the highest concentration of cast iron façade buildings outside of New York’s SoHo district. Museums in this district include:
• Frazier International History Museum
• Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
• Louisville Science Center
• Louisville Slugger Museum
• Muhammad Ali Center
Any of these will make an afternoon downtown memorable for the entire family.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Louisville is the Louisville Zoo. This 135 acre paradise exhibits more than 1,300 animals in natural, mixed species settings. Their mission “To better the bond between people and our planet” has been the driving force behind growth and exhibits. These attractions include a Gorilla Forest, Herpaquarium, Islands, Wallaroo Walkabout and the Lorikeet Landing. The Louisville Zoo is also home to the “World’s Largest Halloween Party”. This stop guarantees family-friendly fun.
No matter what you’re into, Louisville has something for you. Louisville is a non-stop flight from Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, FL from the Northwest Florida Regional Airport aboard Vision Airlines 148-seat 737 aircraft. They provide daily service from VPS to the Louisville International Airport (SDF).
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