48 Hours in Louisville, Kentucky

Where to stay:

The historic is a 16-story downtown property that maintains its Georgian Revival façade even after numerous renovations. The hotel’s 293 guest rooms and suites are plush and elegant and the bar and restaurants are known for their bourbon selection.

If you prefer something more intimate, the DuPont Mansion Historic Bed and Breakfast has seven suites named after great figures in American history such as Thomas Edison and Hattie Bishop Speed. Furnishings include hand-carved wooden canopy beds and crystal chandeliers.

Day 1

Begin with breakfast at J. Graham’s Café in the Brown Hotel. The Louisville staple serves indulgent classics (like the Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich, which originated at the hotel) along with healthy options like the quinoa bowl with vegetables, avocado, and eggs and an egg white frittata.

Choose your adventure:

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  • Option 1: Culture

    No trip to Louisville is complete without a visit to Churchill Downs. Visit the Derby Museum for insight into the history of the famous horse race, which began in 1875, through vintage photos and interactive exhibitions. Take a guided tour to get a behind-the-scenes peek at the track’s inner workings.

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Cool off from the humidity with a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe trip down Floyds Fork, which weaves its way through the Parklands, a park system that covers nearly 4,000 acres in East Louisville. Pick up equipment at Blue Moon rentals and choose from a number of routes, which range from two- to 19-miles long.

For lunch, choose from a plethora of vegan ingredients at I to make your own Power Bowl. If you’d rather leave the decisions to the chef, order the black bean burger with grilled pineapple.

Before dinner, venture to the Rabbit Hole Distillery in the NuLu arts district for a “grain-to-glass” tour explaining how bourbon is made, followed by a tasting session.

Head to 610 Magnolia for a four- or six-course menu made from local, seasonal produce. Both the food and cocktail selections change regularly, but expect a modern approach to Southern cooking with dishes like okra and carrot with bourbon brown butter and togarashi-spiced catfish.  

Day 2:

Start with breakfast at Lueberry Acai, where owner Luebab Ahmed blends up his own twist on the Brazilian dish. Grab a Blue Majik smoothie with maca, flax, and blue green algae to go.  

Choose your adventure:

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  • Option 1: Culture

    Louisville was the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, whose legacy as both an athlete and a humanitarian is honored at the Muhammad Ali Center. The visitor experience aims to instill the core principles of the Olympic gold medalist’s life (confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality) through presentations, historical videos, and artifacts. Baseball fans should continue on to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory to see where the famous bats are made.

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Rent a bike at the base of the Big Four Bridge and take a two-mile ride through Waterfront Park along the Ohio River and across the former railroad bridge. Adventurous cyclists can explore more of the , which goes on for over 50 miles. Save enough time to walk around the Olmsted Parks, which were designed by the landscape architect behind Central Park and the Biltmore Estate grounds.

Have lunch at Naive, a plant-based restaurant focusing on organic ingredients and environmental sustainability. Share the beet hummus or the lemon-matcha pancakes and then opt for the portobello steak or the kale Caesar. There are also a number of options for meat-eaters, like the chicken pesto sandwich and the smoked salmon grit cakes.

After freshening up at the hotel, walk over to restaurant, which showcases local artists and musicians along with an eclectic menu. Sample the Peruvian lima beans and caramelized carrots, the crispy trout, and the wild shrimp a la plancha. Bid goodbye to Louisville with a nightcap at Decca’s Cellar Lounge. Listen to live jazz or tunes from the vintage jukebox as you sip on a bracing Waysider cocktail made with bourbon, lime, fresh mint, and ginger beer.

48 hours in Milan

There are over 100 miles of cycling paths inside the city.