Sometimes you meet a BFF in an unexpected way/place, right? Well, sometimes you can experience a memorable Girlfriend trip in an unexpected destination too!
We set off with map in hand! On little highways and byways, we headed south/west through Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky to reach our mid-west road trip destination of Louisville, KY. Sometimes you just have to go off the grid to make memories with your girlfriend(s).
Say ‘Louisville, KY‘ and what do most people think? Usually the Kentucky Derby, right? But there is SO MUCH more! We discovered a vibrant city that has so many things for a fun, fab girlfriend trip. A beautiful river town with southern charm, unique (and fun!) attractions, and a big small town of nice people. Located within two hours of Indianapolis, Cincinnati or Evanston. Four hours or less from St. Louis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Columbus OH. Five hours from Chicago, and six from Pittsburg, Cleveland, or Detroit. (All a great road-trip distance away from most cities in the midwest.)
Actually, I did a little research: Louisville is the 30th city based on U.S. population (twice as large as Pittsburgh, St. Louis, or, my hometown, Cincinnati). Located on the Ohio River, the self-proclaimed home of southern cuisine and world-famous bourbon, Louisville deserves the title as one of the ‘Ten Best New Food Cities.’
This year*, my girlfriend and I spent four days in Louisville for our girlfriend road trip / adventure – and definitely will be going back. We filled our days with tours, art, and adventures; and evenings with yummy meals, wineries, distilleries, and even river exploration. Join us …
… Louisville IS home of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs, home of the “Run for the Roses,” aka: “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports,” welcomes over 250,000 people to Louisville for the first weekend in May – and has been run every consecutive year since 1875. As a visitor to Louisville, Churchill Downs and the Derby tour are a wonderful way to experience the most amazing sporting event – especially one that requires fancy hats!
From the history of horses to the couture culture (and hats), Mint Juleps to Kentucky-born Bourbon, the Kentucky Derby comes alive when you tour Churchill Downs!
Definitely, make time in your Louisville visit for Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum. The tour shares the history and facts about the more of a century of horse racing. We heard about the history, learned about the legacies, and watched dozens of amazing horses practicing on the beautiful track. Inside the Kentucky Derby Museum, we watched a history of the Kentucky Derby in a theatre in-the-round. (To be honest, the movie about the horses and history was so powerful, it actually made me cry!) In addition to the movie, the museum was filled with fun exhibits – like the chance to bet on previous races and displays of fancy race outfits and hats. It is a wonderful way to spend a morning or day in Louisville!
After leaving the Kentucky Derby Museum, we found an unexpected treasure … Wagner’s Pharmacy and ‘World Famous Diner.’ To rub elbows with locals and ‘horse people,’ stop by this blast from the past eatery famous for breakfast and the iconic ‘Hot Brown’ sandwich famous as Louisville’s most famous dish. Wagner’s was quaint, cool, and a yummy find – perfect for a meal after visiting Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum!
Another amazing attraction in Louisville is the Mega Cavern. When they say ‘MEGA,’ they mean it! This is Lousiville’s #1 attraction, per Trip Advisor – and rightly so! We were amazed to find this hidden gem underneath Louisville – even under the 134-acre zoo! Even though it’s underground, the Louisville MEGA Cavern is actually the largest building in the state of Kentucky!
Just book it – take the Mega Cavern Zipline tour! (They also have a tram, bikes, electric bikes, and a ropes course through the tavern – so something for everyone and every skill set/activity level.) We went on the Mega Zip which is a two-hour course zip-lining through amazing cavern underground! Take my word on it, I was a little nervous about this and it was totally AMAZING! It is beautiful! The guides were fun and helpful, and we never felt like we had to fear it – every safety precaution has been covered. Get ready to zip line and even cross ropes bridges that you never imagined you could (but, you’re strapped/lined in so are completely safe). I wish I would have taken my phone/camera to show you all the beauty and adventure, but I didn’t want to drop my camera, or, to be honest, miss out on one moment of the fun. DO IT! It was such a fun girlfriend trip adventure!
Another unexpected adventure and wonderful ‘find’ in Louisville was the Speed Art Museum. Okay, I admit. I didn’t do my research. I thought this might be a museum to horse racing (as in ‘speed’) but it wasn’t and it was an amazing find in Louisville! Check out our next blog post on Louisville for what a wonderful FIND the Speed Art Museum was! (And, more on our shopping, bourbon and river adventures!)
Thanks to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau for arranging our trip and to the Kentucky Derby and Mega Cavern Zip tour for hosting us. We LOVE Louisville and will be back! It is a perfect Girlfriend Trip destination!
*See our girlfriend trip from last year when we traveled to Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Canada.