Louisville, Kentucky is known as the "Gateway to the South," but you don't have to be southern by the grace of God to appreciate the charms of the city. One of the oldest cities west of the Appalachians, Louisville has a rich and storied history. It's home to a thriving business community, a vibrant independent arts scene, a slew of top-notch educational institutions, and a diverse population that's well-known for its friendliness and fierce local pride.
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If this is your first time visiting Louisville, then you're in for a real treat. There's so much to do and see here that you'll undoubtedly want to return. You may even find yourself wanting to buy or rent a home in Louisville. No trip to "Derby City" would be complete without a visit to Churchill Downs. This legendary equestrian racetrack is the site of the annual Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the world. If you happen to visit when the derby is taking place, it's certainly an event worth braving the crowds for, but historic Churchill is worth visiting even in the off-season. Opened in 1875, it remains much the same as it did in the late 1800s. After your day at the races, head to Fourth Street Live, Louisville's premiere entertainment district. Local hotspots include Hard Rock Café, Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, and Kill Devil Club. Whether you're looking for a fun family afternoon or an exciting night among the bright lights of Louisville, Fourth Street Live is a surefire winner. Bourbon is one of Louisville's most famous exports, so if you're a lover of all things small-batch and barrel-aged, then this is your kind of town. Sample the local wares in the Urban Bourbon Trail tour. You're bound to find some new favorites. Speaking of spirits, Louisville's Waverly Hills Sanatorium is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you're interested in having your own paranormal encounter, book a ticket for the ghost tour. There's nothing like a good scare to help you work up an appetite, and Louisville is a city well equipped to satiate your rumbling belly. Stop by the Brown Hotel for a Hot Brown sandwich. It's a local delicacy that may not look Instagram-worthy, but more than makes up for its lack of visual flair with its deliciousness.
When you're done eating, why not go for a walk to help your food settle? Louisville is known for its beautiful parks, many of which were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. Visit Cherokee, Boone Square, or Central Park, and you'll see why he's called the Father of American Landscape Architecture. While we're on the subject of architecture, if you love stately Victorian homes, then you really need to see Old Louisville. One of the largest historic preservation districts in the country, it's full of grand churches, captivating museums, and thousands of stately Victorian residences. If you're thinking of buying a home in Louisville, try the lifestyle on for size with a few nights at one of the Old Louisville B&Bs, or search for Louisville apartments on ForRent.com, and ease your way into life in Louisville.