Part southern belle, part indie-cool hipster, Louisville (LOO-uh-vul) is having its moment. Distilleries fire up bourbon, cafes cook Appalachian comfort foods and one-of-a-kind museums pay homage to boxers and baseball bats. Add eclectic shops and nouveau markets that proliferate as the young and crafty flock to town, and you've got a scene.
Baseball fans can swing by the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where the eponymous bats are made. The Muhammad Ali Center tells the tale of the local boxer and civil rights activist who became The Greatest. Horse races, including the hat-tastic Kentucky Derby, take place April through November at Churchill Downs.
Old Louisville offers a timewarp stroll by turreted Gothic homes along gas-lamp-lit streets. NuLu – aka New Louisville – is a whole different story, a trendy neighborhood of galleries, breweries, antique shops and buzzy restaurants set in renovated warehouses. The Highlands rolls out a strip of vintage stores and funky taverns, while Downtown is ground zero for the Urban Bourbon Trail and historic, Gatsby-esque bars to swirl a drink.