Downtown Louisville is a great cultural epicenter, with an incredibly diverse number of restaurants, attractions and museums. Natives and visitors alike can experience the bounty of Louisville’s award-winning chefs, innovative mixologists and groundbreaking creatives. Whether you’re a bourbon lover, an outdoorsy type, or someone searching for a decadent meal or to-die-for bar food, there truly is something for everyone in the heart of the Derby City.

Eat & Drink

  • Proof on Main & Proof Bar: Located inside 21c Museum Hotel, Proof on Main offers an eclectic menu incorporating local, seasonal produce as well as an impressive bar with an extensive bourbon and cocktail selection.
  • Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar: Come for the Southern barbeque, stay for the fresh-shucked oysters and bread pudding with bourbon-soaked raisins — you don’t want to miss this Whiskey Row staple.
  • Mussel & Burger Bar: Another surf-and-turf option, Mussel & Burger Bar offers both with just about any topping you can think of, from Greek-style mussels with feta cheese and olives to the Southern Belle burger topped with a fried green tomato and remoulade sauce.
  • Porch Kitchen & Bar: It might be one of the new kids on the block, but Porch is making a name for itself offering delectable breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner options with a modern, Southern flare. Attached to the Louisville Marriott Downtown and featuring décor to die for, this is a must-try!
Porch’s interior is ultra cozy!
  • Brendon’s Catch 23: Louisville’s very own “seafood paradise,” Brendon’s Catch 23 offers an extensive, always fresh seafood menu, plus gluten-free and vegetarian menus.
  • Whiskey Dry: Described as “stylish, fun and approachable,” the brainchild of James Beard award winner Edward Lee and bar director Stacie Stewart, Whiskey Dry offers a delectable selection of burgers and whiskey of all kinds with which to pair them.
  • Milkwood: Another Edward Lee creation, Milkwood is an eclectic mix of Asian and Southern fare featuring dishes like Duck Mazeman Ramen and sweet tea deviled eggs paired with inspired cocktails to boot.
  • Troll Pub Under the Bridge: If you come across Louie the Troll peeking out, then you’re not far from Troll Pub Under the Bridge. Check out this awesome hidden gem featuring all of the bar food essentials, more than 80 beer options and a fully stocked bar. Perfect for a post Cards game celebration.
  • Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse: Louisville is known for having a killer local beer selection, and Against the Grain is no exception. Whether you’re grabbing house-smoked BBQ with friends before a Louisville Bats game or celebrating the Louisville City FC Boys in Purple with a round of beer, we’re lucky this globally known brand calls the ‘Ville home.
  • Marketplace Restaurant on theater square: If you’re looking to explore the city, but also enjoy a tranquil dinner, then Marketplace is the spot for you. Enjoy French- and Mediterranean-inspired Southern cuisine paired with a craft cocktail.
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse: Centrally located and within walking distance of several downtown attractions, Morton’s offers a classic steakhouse menu of prime beef and premium seafood.
  • Jeff Ruby’s: Steak, a raw bar, sushi and an impressive bourbon selection aren’t the only things to look forward to at Jeff Ruby’s. Enjoy live music and unbeatable service in a truly unique and elegant atmosphere.
  • Bob’s Steak & Chop House: Another newcomer just off of the lobby of the Omni, Bob’s Steak & Chop House offers an all-American menu featuring classics like prime ribeye, crab cakes and pork chops.
  • Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC): Located just across Main Street from the KFC Yum! Center, BBC is the perfect stop before a big UofL game or concert. Enjoy three stories of beer, food and fun with the third floor serving as the Four Roses Bourbon Barrel Loft – perfect for hosting private parties and events.
  • Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen: Offering a taste of the classic honky-tonk bars of downtown Nashville, Merle’s features mouth-watering Southern dishes like candied bourbon maple bacon and award-winning fried chicken with scratch-made cocktails featuring a number of local brands.
  • Down One Bourbon Bar: A speakeasy located in the heart of Whiskey Row in the Bourbon capital of the world? Need we say more? Check out Down One for a delicious menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and an impressive bourbon selection.
  • Graham’s Café and the English Grill at The Brown Hotel: Home of the Hot Brown – you can’t miss the opportunity to get a taste of Louisville’s signature dish where it all began.
  • Sidebar at Whiskey Row: Offering one of the more impressive bourbon selections in the city, Sidebar features a punny menu full of legal jargon and delectable burgers that even includes the “Sidebar Statutes.”
  • Impellizzeri’s Pizza: One of Louisville’s pizza staples, Impellizzeri’s has been serving up hot pies and other Italian favorites for around 40 years.
  • 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen: A rooftop bar with a gorgeous view of the city, fire pits, glass walls, craft cocktails and yummy appetizers – a recipe for the perfect summer cocktail hour
8Up's Rooftop Bar

8UP offers a stellar view of LOU.

  • Eddie Merlot’s: Prepare to be transported into an elegant atmosphere featuring a premium menu of prime beef and decadent seafood – perfect for a special occasion with your special someone.
  • DISH on Market: Winner of numerous consumer choice awards and offering “breakfast, burgers, fried chicken, bourbon, and more” according to their website, DISH offers a unique take on classics with dishes like the hot brown burger.
  • Atlantic No.5: It’s charming, convenient and offers fresh baked goods daily – what more could you ask for? Atlantic No.5 is a go-to lunch spot for most of the downtown workforce with a menu full of fresh salads, house-made sandwiches and some of the best chicken salad in the city.
SBGuide-Atlantic No. 5-034

When in downtown Louisville, a stop at Atlantic No.5 is a MUST!

  • The Old Seelbach Bar: Circa 1905 and said to be the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, The Old Seelbach invites you to pull up a barstool and bask in the presence of that kind of history – single barrel on the rocks in hand!
  • Taco Luchador: Who doesn’t love a good street taco? Taco Luchador is serving up staples like barbacoa, tinga, and fish tacos in an environment with a bright color palette and a few luchador masks looking down from above.
  • Oakroom at the Seelbach: Clearly a Louisville hot spot, the Seelbach offers yet another remarkable experience at the Oakroom. Offering decadent, beautifully plated dishes, this is the perfect spot to celebrate your next special occasion.
  • Another Place Sandwich Shop: A “great locally owned lunch spot,” Another Place Sandwich Shop offers sandwiches of all shapes and sizes featuring punny names and various bread types. Try the John Winger, Joni Bologna, or any number of other delicious creations.
  • Library Bar: Located inside the beautiful Omni Hotel, this elegant bar offers a quiet place to get some work done early in the morning and the perfect place for a cocktail by night.
  • Meta: Music, dancing and delicious craft cocktails are on the menu at Meta, one of Louisville’s late-night hot spots open until 4:30 a.m. on weekends.
  • Haymarket Whiskey Bar: Featuring the largest whiskey selection in Louisville (including the most private barrel options), a spirits shop and an arcade. Plus it’s dog-friendly.
  • Hell or High Water: Located below Whiskey Row on Main Street, Hell or Highwater offers a unique experience for each guest. Unlike a traditional bar, patrons are seated in a designated area for the remainder of their stay, which means a personal experience with one or two of their gorgeous cocktails and light appetizers.
  • Heine Brothers’ Coffee: With locations in both the Omni Hotel and on West Main Street, this local favorite is easily accessible whether you’re looking for your morning coffee or a midday caffeine fix.
  • Sunergos Coffee: Tiny but mighty, this Sunergos location is the perfect pit stop on your way into the office. Chatting with your local barista is the perfect excuse for being a few minutes late, right?
  • Blackbeard Espresso: You may have to chase them down, but you won’t regret it when you take your first sip of Blackbeard Espresso. This “coffee food truck” is one of a kind, but recently opened a brick and mortar location at 718 West Main Street.

Play & Explore

The iconic Louisville Slugger bat will make a fantastic backdrop for your picture, even if you have to take it from across the street or from the middle of Main Street. (Watch for traffic on the one-way street!)

The Louisville Slugger Museum is a downtown staple, beloved by tourists and locals alike. Image: Anna Frye

  • Glassworks & Flame Run: Louisville offers yet another incredible art experience with the gorgeous blown glass creations of Glassworks & Flame Run. Enjoy the gallery where you can view technicolor works of art, or immerse yourself in the magic at Flame Run where you can create your own masterpiece.
  • The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts: Not only does Louisville offer a multitude of opportunities to experience galleries and museums, you can also enjoy live art at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The “Broadway Across Louisville” series features Broadway hits such as Hamilton, The Lion King, Wicked, and more with a new series of plays to choose from each season.
  • Fourth Street Live: Known as a stellar dining, entertainment and retail destination, Fourth Street Live offers a little bit of everything from delicious restaurants to late-night spots, exciting hangouts, and nightlife.
    • Restaurants include hotspots like Bourbon Raw, Brazeiros Brazillian Steakhouse, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, The Fudgery, Whiskey Dry and many others.
    • Nightlife and hangout hotspots include Tavern on Fourth, The Sports and Social Club, Goose Island Beer Bridge, The Thirsty Peddler and more.
  • Barbarella: If you’re looking for somewhere to let loose and dance it out, then this is the place for you. As “Louisville’s premier video dance dive,” Barbarella features dancing, drinks, live music, karaoke and, most importantly, fun.
  • Jimmy Can’t Dance: Located just below Another Place Sandwich Shop on South 7th Street, Jimmy Can’t Dance is one of Louisville’s only live jazz clubs. Check it out for great live music and cocktails.
  • Waterfront Park and the Big Four Bridge: The Derby City doesn’t just offer great restaurants and cultural attractions, it also provides the opportunity to experience the great outdoors. Waterfront Park is the perfect place to go for a walk, a run or play a game of frisbee with your pup. If you’re looking for even more adventure, take a trip across the walking bridge to explore Southern Indiana and take in a killer view of Louisville while you’re at it.
There’s nothing quite like a stroll on the Big Four Bridge.
  • KFC Yum! Center: Home to the University of Louisville men’s and women’s basketball teams and concerts by your favorite world-renowned artists, the KFC Yum! Center is also within walking distance of some of the most fabulous restaurants in town.
  • The Louisville Palace: Stepping through the doors feels like you’re stepping back in time — in the best way possible. Check out the palace for an intimate, up close and personal experience with your favorite artist, comedian, or performer surrounded by elegant, ornate architecture.
  • Louisville Slugger Field: Home of the Louisville Bats baseball team and the Louisville City FC soccer team, Slugger Field is the place to be all summer long. Grab a beer and a hot dog and enjoy America’s favorite pastime, or cheer on the boys in purple to another championship-winning season.
  • The Belvedere: Another great option for getting outside in Downtown Louisville, The Belvedere offers beautiful views of the Ohio River and Southern Indiana just steps from the excitement of Main Street.
  • Actor’s Theater: Phenomenal local theater is another thing Louisville is known for. Check out Actor’s Theater to take in a Shakespeare classic, A Christmas Carol or Dracula (holiday staples in the Derby City), or enjoy a brand new story by an up-and-coming playwright during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.


  • Cellar Door Chocolates: Do you love locally made products? Do you indulge in a sweet treat every now and then? Time to pay a visit to Cellar Door Chocolates! This local spot offers craft-made chocolate treats like truffles, fudge, bourbon buttercreams and more plus an espresso bar to provide your midday pick-me-up.
  • A Taste of Kentucky: A Taste of Kentucky offers Bluegrass State and bourbon gifts and goods of all kinds. Whether you’re just visiting the Derby City or you’ve lived here your entire life, this local gem has something for you.
  • Regalo: Another great local spot that has been voted best gift shop in Louisville, Regalo offers fun goods like t-shirts, socks, unique art and more right on 4th Street.
  • Art Eatables: This local chocolate shop combines America’s native spirit with flavors that bring out its defining features, plus you know you’re biting into an Art Eatables Small Batch Bourbon truffle when you see the unique B.I.T. (Brand Identification Token) placed atop each sweet treat. They offer alcohol-free options too!
  • CRAFT{s} Gallery and Mercantile: Contemporary and traditional art gallery meets local goods market, CRAFT{s} offers a little bit of everything there is to love about downtown Louisville from local artist exhibitions to hand-made goods, all housed in a beautiful historic building.
CRAFT{s} Gallery and Mercantile has a rotating exhibit each month, with art for sale.
  • Falls City Market: The definition of a one-stop-shop, Falls City Market is conveniently located in the Omni Hotel and within walking distance of the hustle and bustle of the heart of Downtown Louisville. Whether you need to drop in for a few last-minute ingredients for a recipe, need to grab a quick lunch to take back to the office, or want to stroll the aisles discovering new local housewares and products, Falls City Market is the place to be. Dining options include Batch Bakery, Chop & Roll Sushi Bar, El Toro Taco Truck, Iron Quarter Brick-Oven Pizza and Bridges BBQ. For shopping, check out Falls City Grocery Market, Falls City Market Housewares, The Bottle Shoppe Fine Wine & Spirits, Heine Brothers and Wendell’s Books & Magazines.

Happy exploring!


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About the Author
Emily Gahafer