State 7: Kentucky | Louisville

Kentucky: land of fast horses and slow pours. Although we did not have any bourbon or see any horse races while we were in Louisville, we enjoyed exploring everything else that the city had to offer.

This trip was the second installment of our mother/daughter journey to a new state. One of the coolest experiences in Louisville was Al J’s at The Conservatory in the Galt House Hotel where we stopped on our first day in town. The entire bar ledge was an aquarium tank. You could place your drink on top of the glass and marvel at fish swimming right past your knees.

Al J's
Al J’s

Although several locals hailed Louisville as a “foodie” city, we found it a little difficult to find restaurants for dinner. There weren’t many in-between eateries. There were several steak houses that served fine dining where the plates were upwards of $50, which we did not want. Then, there were also some very casual places, which we weren’t looking for either. Some of the food was different than we were used to at home, much of it fried or including heaps of dairy. Both my mom and I are lactose intolerant so if a restaurant had mostly dairy-heavy dishes, it was off the table. We also do not frequently eat fried food, so we were seeking some healthier options. 

Louisville Art
Louisville Art

The restaurant we settled on for our first night was called The Old Spaghetti Factory. This was a great choice. Pasta is my favorite food and there were many dairy-free options. The prices were affordable (for both food and drink – Santa Margherita wine was only $9 a glass!), and the portions were plentiful.

The second night we walked to the downtown district called Fourth Street Live! and tried a restaurant by Guy Fieri called Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse. There was a Kane Brown concert going on in the square, so it was quite crowded. The restaurant was southern BBQ-themed. Luckily there were several dairy-free options here as well. Meals came with cornbread and items that stuck out were pulled pork or pulled chicken with beans and cole slaw. Although chain restaurants aren’t my favorite, I enjoyed my plate and the wait staff was very friendly.

KFC Yum!
KFC Yum!

I have to mention that we did have some fried food. We ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken at the airport, because well we were in Kentucky. We kept seeing KFC around as if it was calling our name, and we hadn’t eaten there in years. Our hotel was right across from the KFC Yum! Center, but there weren’t any events we wanted to see that weekend. 

Alligator
Alligator at the Zoo

Of course we visited the zoo while in Louisville. The zoo was a lot of fun and had animals galore including tigers, a rhinoceros, butterfly garden, elephants (which seemed like you could get very close to) and even an albino alligator.

Butterfly Garden at Louisville Zoo
Butterfly Garden at Louisville Zoo

Near the zoo was a mega cavern. Here you could go on a tram tour down into the caverns. It was a little chilly inside, as the temperature is consistently 58 degrees all year round. The tram is guided, and part of the tour guide’s job is to eat a live worm on each tour. This is certainly not a job for me! I wonder how many worms each tour guide has eaten in his/her lifetime. Protein, I guess. Inside you can see all the limestone, hear the history of site, as well as see how it was set up as a shelter in case of emergency. During a catastrophic event, certain people were selected to have a “seat” in the cavern. These people were those who were deemed worthy to repopulate if necessary and people who would be useful while underground. This included medical professionals, as well as people who were highly educated or had special knowledge that would help the community. Good thing there was not an emergency. I don’t think I would be invited…

Inside the Mega Cavern
Inside the Mega Cavern

Walking around the downtown area was a lot of fun. There were monuments and art sculptures every few blocks. We passed by the lovely Belle of Louisville riverboat. We also passed by the Evan Williams Distillery (we didn’t go in since we don’t drink bourbon), but it was cool to see the merchandise through the window. We also saw the Muhammad Ali Center as well as the Louisville Slugger Museum. You can spot the museum from pretty far away! There is a humungous bat attached to the outside of the building, which is a unique site to see. 

Louisville Slugger Museum
Louisville Slugger Museum

The city is on a river, and several hotels by the water have top-floor bars and restaurants where you can eat and enjoy the view. While we were visiting, there was a Riverfront Arts Festival by the Big Four Bridge going on with many local craft and food vendors. Here we found one of the best ice pops we’ve ever had. They were dairy-free and made with freshly frozen fruit pieces. They were so much more delicious than processed ice pops you buy at the grocery store that are loaded with sugar. A local couple made the pops themselves. They should expand their business and sell on the East Coast. Too bad it’s not so simple to ship frozen items, unless I would be eating these all the time.

Riverfront
Riverfront

There are also both pedestrian and vehicle bridges that go right from Kentucky to Indiana. I walked over the Big Four pedestrian bridge after the Arts Festival and we had a taxi drive us over another bridge to our next new state (for me at least, my mom had been before). In my next post, I will tell you what we explored over the bridge in Indiana. 

Bridges of Louisville
Bridges of Louisville

Louisville is a great city to visit to hit two states and spend some time in both Kentucky and Indiana. 

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