In recent months, the “staycation” has comfortably settled at the top of our minds as a way to get a little R&R, without any fuss. To keep things interesting, we’ve gathered some great ideas and insider suggestions for spending time around town. Here are three fun Louisville staycation itineraries to offer up a fun break from routine when you need it most!
Itinerary #1: Family Fun
You might think you’ve seen and done it all in Louisville when it comes to family fun — we bet you already love the zoo, where we can visit our elephant pal, Fitz, and the museums downtown showcase everything from baseball bats to scientific wonders, but we there are always a few hidden gems yet to be discovered — especially for younger family members!
Escape rooms are all the rage, and a new favorite hot spot is Breakout Games, an interactive entertainment venue featuring seven different rooms: Undercover Alley, Submarine Survival, Runaway Train, Mystery Mansion, The Kidnapping, Museum Heist, and Island Escape. Each one features an hour-long scenario where family and friends crack crazy codes and solve puzzles to find their “escape.”
Another fun family activity (and in partnership with Breakout Games) is Activate Games, which offers guests an interactive gaming experience in a high-tech 12,000-square-foot space. With a touch-activated climbing wall, laser mazes, and electronic basketball arcade-style games, this is perfect for players 10 and older.
Kentucky is known for the great Ohio River as well as some smaller waterways, so get back to nature and explore this beautiful state via kayak or canoe. Nachand Canoe and Kayak Rentals in Prospect offers four-hour and eight-hour rentals of single and double kayaks, three-person canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. You can paddle the Ohio if you’re an experienced kayaker, or take to historic Harrod’s Creek — an offshoot of the river — which offers a tamer ride.
After your time on the river, continue the adventure at Steel City Pops, where you’ll find delectable treats made of fresh fruit and organic cane sugar, and they’re gluten-free. Some of our favorite fruity pops include the Arnold Palmer, clementine, and passionfruit. Creamy pop options include buttermilk, butter pecan, chocolate, coconut, peppermint, and coffee; and there’s the cookies-and-cream cookie pop, too. Not to mention you can customize each pop with a sweet topping, like a chocolate dip, pecans, pistachios, sprinkles, and more.
To really make the most of your staycation, book a stay at Progress Park Airstream Resort & Event Venue. Progress Park offers two Airstream trailers and bunkhouses that have all been fully remodeled. All units have heat and air conditioning, bed linens, bath towels, and modern decor. Besides providing a place to hang out or sleep, rentals include full access to the three-acre pond where you can swim, canoe, kayak and paddleboard. Each unit also includes a fire pit with wood, a grill with charcoal and lighter fluid, and plenty of supplies to make s’mores!
Itinerary #2: Couple’s Getaway
A short 30 minute drive east of Louisville is Shelbyville, a historic town with plenty to do — and it’s perfect for couples looking to get away from it all (without much fuss). One of Shelbyville’s loveliest hideaways is Saddlebred Suites, located between Louisville and Lexington. (It’s also a midway spot located between Churchill Downs and Keeneland race tracks.) Saddlebred Suites is situated in a building constructed in the 1890s, and the owners have done their share to preserve the historical integrity of the property. But when you walk into your suite, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a high-end New York loft. The rooms have beautiful hardwood flooring, exposed brick walls, and recently-renovated bathrooms.
The Paddock Coffee, Eats & Gatherings, owned by Jeff and Stacy Rogers, is on the lower floor of the Saddlebred Suites. Jeff and Stacey refer to their place as the “Paddock Experience” — a gathering place for everyone. The Paddock is relatively new — open since the summer of 2019 — and serves specialty coffee drinks and teas, including chai, matcha, blueberry hibiscus, and chili mango. Hungry? The Paddock fills that empty spot with its yummy grab-and-go homemade treats, including muffins, biscotti, cookies, and seasonal menu items like pumpkin rolls and strawberry babycakes. Homemade English muffins topped with Purnell’s sausage patties, energy bites, fresh fruit, light brunch treats, and gluten- and dairy-free offerings round out the menu.
Kentucky is known as a bourbon destination, but if your taste buds are craving a different flavor, visit Talon Winery. Sipping a glass of its Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in Kentucky oak barrels, or one of the fruit wines, such as the blackberry or chocolate strawberry, is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with your love. The winery offers tastings seven days a week. Monday through Friday, you can try six wines for $5, and on the weekends, you have your choice of three selections for $3. Free live music also takes place on the weekends from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., which adds fun to your wine tasting experience. Bring a picnic to enjoy with your wine, too!
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If you are a patron of the arts and enjoy theater, be sure to also check out Shelby County Community Theater. Its talented cast has performed marvelous performances of Mama Mia!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Christmas Post. The theater seats 134 patrons, and ticket prices are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $11 for children and students. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming performances!
Itinerary #3: Girls’ Staycation
Treat yourself to elegance and opulence when you spend your staycation at the 21c Museum Hotel. Bourbon lovers, cultural connoisseurs, and anyone who’s just looking for a good time will be in the heart of it all when they kick back at this iconic downtown Louisville location. You’ll experience genuine hospitality and culinary creativity, all anchored by a multi-venue contemporary art museum. One of the hot spots at 21c is Proof on Main, the on-site restaurant and bar offering plates infused with local flavors.
You and your friends will be nestled in the lap of luxury as you enjoy the on-property Spa with massage services, a sauna, and a steam room. If you need to get a workout in, a 24-hour fitness center with the latest equipment is also available. Free cultural programming is offered, too, including guided docent tours.
If you’d like to take the day and relax at a full-service spa, Louisville’s Z Salon & Spa has everything you need to make your body and soul shine. It offers hair coloring and texturing, and body services include a Dead Sea mud treatment, body polish and body exfoliant, body polishing, and a rejuvenating sea mask. Other services include facials, makeup, and waxing. You’ll be ready to take on the town after a full day of pampering.
One of the best ways to vacation (and party) in Louisville is to head downtown to Fourth Street Live! This marvelous location is like an amusement park for adults, with loads of restaurants, bars, and live music. One of our favorite weekend spots is Howl at the Moon – a high energy dueling piano bar that brings the audience into the show. If you’re looking for a tasty meal while you’re at Fourth Street Live, check out Pizza Bar, Hard Rock Cafe, or Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse.
In these uncertain times, it can be a nice treat to enjoy all of the fun and adventure that can be found close to home. Have fun, and stay safe!
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