I have such a city crush on Louisville these days, that I’m going back yet again this summer for a friend’s bachelorette party I’m organizing. How is it that I went 30 years being so close to this amazing city yet not knowing all the beauty and art it held?
Of course, this weekend is the biggest party in Louisville all year long, the Kentucky Derby, and one day I will don a huge hat and a sundress and join the masses for the occasion.
As someone who has a wee bit of a shopping obsession, I spent the majority of my inaugural trip to Louisville popping in and out of shops along East Main Street, the city’s up-and-coming art corridor dubbed “NuLu” for New Louisville. (Don’t worry, I didn’t buy…much.)
There are a lot of fun, little boutiques, and I purchased an awesome “Bless Her Heart” print from Gifthorse.
Though my favorite place to poke around was Joe Ley’s Antiques.
I didn’t buy anything there, but I did find some things I would have liked to own.
Like for example, this coffin. I mean, who doesn’t need a coffin…just in case?
After I’d exhausted my personal budget—OK, most of it went to bourbon from this adorable tasting room, I’ll be honest—I headed over to Bardstown Roads and its quirky stores.
Why Louisville, which now has a second location in NuLu, was just as adorable as I expected.
But what blew my mind most was the food. Oh. My. Yum.
If you’re heading to Louisville, be sure and grab a burger and sorghum cookie at Wiltshire on Market.
Have a drink on the outdoor patio of Garage (complete with Ping-Pong tables!).
My trip ended with the house favorite ganache latte at Please & Thank You, during which time I met the adorable owner Brooke. I didn’t want to leave, but a pending storm of apocalyptic proportions (and my 30th birthday, which was two days later) nudged me along back to Tennessee.
I have a neighborhood story on NuLu coming out this month in Southern Living, so if you’re a subscriber, keep your eyes peeled for it!
I’ve been to Louisville so many times – even got married there – and never knew any of these places existed! Now I need to go back.
You totally do! Where did you get hitched in Louisville? So cool–hope you served lots of bourbon 😉
We got married at The Olmsted just outside the city. Old masonic grounds. Gorgeous venue.
Loved the info, Kristen…we are looking for a bed and breakfast ther for our anniversary…are 3rd-6th streets in a nice part of town? We no nothing about the city. But would like to visit…thanks!
That sounds awesome! I actually didn’t come across many B&Bs in Louisville while there, but 4th Street is the bustling part of the city with a lot of shopping, bars, etc. so I’d say if you’re close to it (search the B&B in relation to 4th Street Live), then you are golden!
Check out the bed & breakfasts in Old Louisville, which is the nation’s largest collection of Victorian mansions. It’s near downtown and the University of Louisville. There are a lot of great options there: 1888 Rocking Horse Manor B&B, Bernheim Mansion, Columbine B&B, Culbertson Mansion, DuPont Mansion…
Also as a Louisville native, can I just say that you should enjoy all the awesome stuff Kristin posted about (NuLu, Bardstown Road plus Frankfort Ave area) but avoid 4th Street Live itself. It’s generic and none of us natives like it a bit!
And Kristin, I’m thrilled that you love Louisville. It will always be the place I call home. I’m working on updating my KY guidebook right now, and exploring the ever-changing scene in Louisville is one of my fave parts of it (and yes, the food).
Kristen, thanks so much for your help! You are my new travel advisor haha! I am from Tullahoma, your mom was in school with my husband. Our daughters are Ginger Jones Dillehay and Jessica Jones Craig, you are younger so you may not remember them. We are friends with your mom’s neighbors, the Poseys and the Phillips. About Louisville, the pictures you posted here, are they close…as in walking distance to 4th St. My husband was concerned about the area of town because we know nothing about it. After I read your blog, I told him I wanted to go there. I do love all your pics and hearing about your travels, you have such a fascinating career!! Sorry this is so lengthy, I was trying to give you info on our connections. Wishing you safe travels!
I so badly want to travel around the south of the US. The shops look so cute and the food…oh the food!
I have a friend who’s always raving about Louisville, too – maybe I’ll have to really go visit sometime!
Haven’t been to the Derby in over a decade, but it’s quite the experience! And I think after last weekend’s jaunt to Nashville, Swede is itching to explore more of the Kentucky/Tennessee area…as am I!
So cute – absolutely love the antique store. And I too want to don a big hat and do the whole Kentucky Derby thing – it’s just one of those things I feel like I need to do in my lifetime.
I know I’m late, but if you come to Louisville [again] you should definitely explore Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road as well! Lots of little local shops and eateries, and a super fun bar scene.
I did shop on Bardstown Road! It was great (just wasn’t part of my Southern Living assignment, which focused on NuLu). Am hoping to get one of my engaged friends to have her bachelorette weekend in Louisville, so I have an excuse to get back up there soon!
Excellent! It’s a great part of town.
How fun! The Brown Hotel, The Galt House, and The Seelbach are all really amazing hotels.
If you have any need for a formal venue, The Gillespie is an amazingly beautiful building.
Headed to Louisville for the Forecast Festival in a couple of weeks- I think that sorghum cookie and ganache latte are going to be must-eats/drinks!!!!
Have an awesome time! It’s been two years since I’ve been back to Louisville, and I can’t wait to make a return and see what all has cropped up of late.