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Louisville is an exciting city with a modern vibe, and it's a deceptive city. Since it's on the Ohio River, with that great skyline and the riverboat tours, and since it has the annual Kentucky Derby, people tend to dismiss it as only having those two attractions. But the truth is, Louisville has much more to offer. It can easily justify a week or two stay, and it's certainly worth a few days.

However, you really need to stay downtown. Louisville boasts three outstanding hotels. They're historic and grand and make your stay here very special.

Louisville is, after all, a Southern city, so food's important. Some famous foods were created here, and others have been given a unique twist by local chefs. And it's not just Southern cuisine. The city has great ethnic restaurants.

There's a lot of history here. At the beginning, Louisville was a frontier city, and many famous historic characters either lived here or spent a lot of time here.

But the city has also been on the forefront of industrial development, transportation, the civil rights movement, and other historical trends.

You can attend races in both the Spring and Fall, not just at the Derby, but thoroughbred horseracing isn't the only major sport here. Louisville and Kentucky have always been famous for high school, college and pro basketball. Both U of L and Bellarmine play Division I basketball and their games at the Yum Center and Freedom Hall attract large crowds. Louisville hosts many NCAA regionals and has hosted the national title games. Football and baseball are also big and both indoor and outdoor track and field meets attract top national and world athletes. Cassius Clay grew up here and became a world champion before changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

Louisville has a major zoo and a dozen museums. It has a fine tradition of music and fine arts. The downtown is one of the nation's most walkable. With interstates bisecting the downtown both north-south and east-west, getting here is easy.

Fourth Street Live was created to make downtown Lville a destination. Several blocks of Fourth Street were blocked off and made into a pedestrian mall of restaurants and music venues both indoor and outdoor. Fourth Street Live was on its way to becoming one of the nation's most hip urban scenes when the pandemic hit. With no one allowed to congregate, Fourth Street Live was effectively shut down for two years. Now, as we move past the pandemic, efforts are underway to bring Fourth Street Live back, but it's a slow process. Numerous restaurants are already back in business, however, and the music venues are on the way.

Louisville is a big city but is in Kentucky, which is still one of the nation's most rural states. And when those farmers descend on Louisville every August, they produce one of America's very finest State Fairs. Iowa, Texas and Ohio state fairs are bigger, but they don't have the thoroughbred horses, Bourbon, country music or other uniquely Southern elements.

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