When you’re a longtime resident, or looking to become one, the last thing you want to engage in is the standard tourist fare. It’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t give you the actual flavor of living there that big flashy attractions do. Luckily, that’s not a problem in Louisville! There’s plenty of things to do that don’t lose their novelty or their excitement just because they’re ever-present and available. Louisville is home to plenty of hidden gems to keep you on some exciting days and weekends out for years to come, provided you don’t mind digging. Here are a few of the ones already unearthed for you, your friends, and your family.
Daniel Boone National Forest
The best day trip for anyone in and around all of Kentucky is, without a doubt, Daniel Boone National Forest. Stretching from nearly the northern tip to the very bottom of the state, Daniel Boone National Forest is the perfect spot for all the outdoorsy and adventurous things anyone could want to get into. Because it’s so large, the forest is also a prime locale for repeat trips up and down the area. Each different recreational area along the full expanse is only slightly more of a drive than the last, so each successive adventure isn’t prohibitive by an unwieldy travel time. Most of the forest’s recreation areas offer the standard hiking and biking affairs, and some also have boating and horseback climbing, depending on the area. Once you and your family find a place you really like, you can come back for more than just a day and spend a weekend camping in the freshest air in Kentucky.
Another place for a nice outing on a sunny day without the commitment of a long road trip is Taylorsville Lake State Park. It’s got its own hiking trails and open country fields, and right outside the city limits. This state park, known for its beautiful horseback riding trails, is perfect for the whole family to make it a spot for weekend picnics, or take advantage of sandy beaches in the warm summer sun, rent some kayaks, or even play a round of golf. Don’t forget to bring a rod and tackle, because Taylorsville Lake is a local hot spot for fishing, boating and tubing.
On a more occasional basis, there’s always the Blackacre Conservancy to visit. It has hundreds of acres of fields and forests, along with the curiosity of a preserved homestead on the grounds. Hiking trails cross the entirety of the grounds, if you’re especially interested in the fresh, rustic air. The homestead also functions as a small farm, and have scheduled feedings on the weekends so you can personally meet the horses, mules, and other farm animals that live there. Blackacre’s structures are historic and educational, showing the history of the Kentucky farming experience and the natural world about it.
The Actors Theatre of Louisville
For those looking less for outdoor picnics and hiking, Louisville is also home to the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky’s State Theatre. It’s organized solely by the community of Louisville and really brings out the fine arts of the city and its people. Running for over 50 seasons, the theatre is a great place to spend your evening for entertainment and supporting the local arts. The theatre offers special rates for various customers, including those under 35, to promote a great diversity of Louisville residents turning out. If your first visit entices you or your friends, they even offer season tickets, so you won’t miss a single production.
In a less planned direction, you can always take the opportunity to explore New Louisville, aka NuLu. It’s the more modern neighborhood of the city with all sorts of interesting new things to keep it lively – specialty stores, antique shops and a plethora of booming upscale restaurants. Joey Ley Antiques has been a fixture of the city for 50 years, housing all sorts of novelties for you to peruse. If that’s not what you had in mind, Flying Axes is literally just that: flying axes! It’s a venue entirely for the recreational axe tossing, something you won’t find anywhere else. NuLu also has an exciting craft brew and bar culture, including the equally literal Garage Bar, a bar built out of a former automobile service station. There’s also several great spots to grab food, like the Grind Burger Kitchen, if you’re hungry for an exceptional take on something classically American. New Louisville is the best part of town for anyone looking for something unique to do, but they’re just not quite sure what.
Hopefully with these suggestions, you won’t feel like a tourist prowling about your own home. With some confidence and knowledge, you’ll be able to plan an exciting weekend or night out among your friends and family that doesn’t involve hitting the pricey tourist traps like the Louisville Slugger Museum or Civil War Museum. If you are stumped on finding weekend activities, search local deals online for your family or a big group of friends. So, go out and hit Louisville with the authority of someone who knows the real ins and outs of the city.