Immerse yourself in the “most exciting two minutes in sports” at Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Museum and track tours.
Walk to Wagner’s Pharmacy, a drugstore with a restaurant serving honey-glazed ham sandwiches and patty melts to the Kentucky Derby crowd.
Louisville is known for its glassworks spots that teach and inspire with glassblowing classes and glittering galleries.
Celebrate the city’s bourbon heritage by sampling flights at the nine hot spots on the Urban Bourbon Trail.
Attentive service enhances the upscale Southern comfort food at Harvest.
Fans of historical hotels will love the updated rooms at the 1923 Brown Hotel (from $189). For a late-night meal, visit the ornate lobby bar to try the Hot Brown—a bacon-topped turkey sandwich slathered in Mornay sauce—created here nearly a century ago.
Our pick for breakfast at popular Toast on Market Street is the lemon soufflé pancakes.
Art by Kentuckians takes the spotlight at Local Speed (J.B. Speed Art Museum’s satellite gallery while the museum is under renovation) in downtown’s Nulu district.
Multimedia exhibits at the Muhammad Ali Center re-create the tempest of controversy and adulation surrounding the boxer.
Hillbilly Tea serves loose-leaf brews and creative menu items, such as the Horny Goat Burger with grilled onions, goat cheese and wild onion cream. Or make your way to Lilly’s for not-so-average dishes like fried oysters with grits, chipotle butter and spinach.
Browse the showroom of the nearly 200-year-old Louisville Stoneware Company, then paint pottery of your own.
More information: (888) 568-4784; gotolouisville.com
One big party
Roughly 750 American artists sell their work at St. James Court ArtShow each fall (October 3–5, 2014) amid the Victorian homes of Old Louisville. (502) 635-1842; stjamescourtartshow.com
Stay at 21c Museum Hotel for stylish rooms, art installations and warm hospitality. From $260. (502) 217-6300; 21cmuseumhotels.com
Bring the kids
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory A great stop for fair-weather fans and baseball buffs alike, this factory cranks out nearly 1 million bats a year for everyone from major leaguers to Little Leaguers.
Admission includes a 30-minute factory tour for a behind-the-scenes look at how bats are made.
Don’t miss the exhibits detailing the company’s history; life-size mannequins of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Ken Griffey Jr.; and bats used by the likes of Mickey Mantle. (877) 775-8443; sluggermuseum.com