The city of Louisville, embracing the best of the Midwestern and Southern cultures to which it geographically belongs, is one of the most forward-thinking metropolitan areas in the country. A booming economy, a culturally diverse landscape, an innovative drive toward sustainability and a vibrant tourism scene have led this city to be included in many Top 10 lists of Places to Live/Visit/Start a Business.
Greater Louisville continues to grow. Its business-friendly atmosphere and affordable housing prices draw newcomers to the area. Part of the attraction of Louisville for newcomers and old-timers alike is its progressive nature. As an example, Louisville is a showcase for how sustainable practices are not simply good for the environment, but also for the local community and businesses. Louisville shines a light on sustainability by becoming the first Southern city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy, setting goals of 100 percent clean energy for metro operations by 2030. The city is also setting aside more than $22 million to create more bike lanes.
Louisville’s arts and culture scene thrives in large parts due to its efforts at diversifying. The city nurtures artists through its Fund for the Arts. Louisville Orchestra announced its first three residents as part of its new Creators Corps initiative. Three rising composers began September 2022, composing new works for the orchestra while engaging the community. Louisville Ballet seeks to diversify the city’s dance scene by creating new pathways, such as Ballet Bound, which brings dance lessons to children across the region. I Am An Artist is a Fund for the Arts initiative to democratize the arts by giving everyone in Louisville opportunities to see themselves as creatives.
Louisville’s Unfiltered Truth Collection celebrates the impact of African American contributions on the city’s history, heritage and culture through immersive experiences at venues throughout the city. Some of the locations include the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky Derby Museum, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and Roots 101 African American History Museum. Meanwhile, the new (Un)Known Project Public Art Experience develops artistic spaces and experiences to support learning, healing and reflection by telling stories of the enslaved. One of the most poignant experiences is called On the Banks of Freedom, which invites attendees to stand in footprints representing enslaved people looking toward freedom in Indiana.
Louisville is now home to one of the largest archives of LGBTQIA+ history. University of Louisville has acquired a private collection of documents and publications helping to preserve and share the history of gay rights. Louisville also strives to promote diversity and inclusion through its LGBTQIA+ vibrant spaces, like Black-owned Sis Got Tea, which serves as a safe, sober, queer space in the city, and Louisville’s Play Dance Bar, which hosts drag events and dance parties.
The city’s hotel industry expands, as well. The 122-room Hotel Genevieve opens in spring 2023 in the heart of the food-centric NuLu neighborhood. The Genevieve’s Parisian-inspired rooftop restaurant and bar includes French nods to the city’s namesake, King Louis XVI, and heavily features Louisville’s vibrant local flora. Another new hotel project received the green light for construction in downtown Louisville.Dream Hotel, a $100 million project from Dream Hotel Group, will be located on West Main Street, neighboring Frazier Museum and across the street from Louisville Slugger Museum. The 168-room Dream Hotel is scheduled to open in 2025. The city’s grande dame property is The Brown Hotel, a 293-room downtown property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023.
One of the city’s biggest 2023 events is The Bourbon Classic, back for its 10th anniversary celebration, Feb. 22–25. The new year also marks a decade since the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience became the first bourbon distillery to come to downtown Louisville since before Prohibition. The 2013 opening was a key component in Louisville reclaiming its bourbon heritage. Ten urban distilleries have opened in the past decade. As a result, Louisville is the only city in the world where spirits lovers can walk among a half dozen bourbon distilleries in less than 2 miles.
Bourbon aficionados can soak up Bourbon City culture through special experiences such as sipping at Watch Hill Proper, the world’s largest American whiskey bar; enjoying Kentucky top bourbons at Heritage Farm alongside resident thoroughbreds; attending a cocktail-making class at Frazier History Museum; dining inside a barrel at North of Bourbon; and developing your own whiskey at Barrels & Billets at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
There are several world-class, sports-related tourist sites around town. These include Muhammed Ali Center, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and Kentucky Derby Museum. The latter celebrates the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s Derby win with a new exhibit opening this spring.
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