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Louisville, Kentucky: Kentucky Derby, Bluegrass and So Much More!
Louisville is known for the famous Kentucky Derby horse race as well as Bluegrass music, but there’s much more to see and do for those visiting this lovely city. Louisville is always busy with its beautiful nationally-acclaimed parks, historic district, shopping areas, restaurants and local sports activities.
Louisville is situated on the Ohio River in the Bluegrass region of Jefferson County. It’s the county seat and had an estimated population of 248,762 as of 2003. Nearby cities include Audubon Park, Seneca Gardens, Strathmoor Manor and Parkway Village.
Looking Back through Louisville History
Louisville was first settled in 1778 by Colonel George Rogers Clark while on a campaign against the British north of the Ohio River. He felt the area would make a great place for a permanent settlement and a communication post. The next year, the settlement was established and called “Louisville” to honor France’s King Louis XVI.
The area saw more growth during the early 1800s when the Louisville and Portland Canal was complete. The city was incorporated in 1828 with a population of around 7,000. John Bucklin was the first mayor. In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was held at the Louisville Jockey Club track. The area expanded more and more as universities, businesses, sports facilities and exciting attractions were built. It’s still a fast-growing metro city.
Attractions in Louisville
Visitors to the area enjoy a warm, friendly atmosphere with all the amenities of a big city. From arts to sports, from parks to historic districts, Louisville is an exciting place for all people.
Louisville is a magnet for sports fans with some key sites being the Louisville Slugger Field, Kentucky Derby Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. At the Kentucky Derby Museum (http://www.derbymuseum.org/), horse race fans get to tour several floors of thoroughbred racing history. Then, horse race fans will want to see the Churchill Downs racetrack, which has been the home of the Kentucky Derby since 1875.
Boxing fans can learn about the life and inspirations of the legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center (http://www.alicenter.org/).
Historians can tour museums and historic sites in Louisville such as the Farmington mansion, Locust Grove, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Thomas Edison House, Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery and the African American Heritage House Museum.
Several specialty museums are in Louisville as well. One is the Louisville Auto Museum, where guests can see antique cars, vintage cars and other great exhibits about early automobiles. Another interesting museum is the Colonel Harland Sanders Museum, where visitors can learn about the famous KFC founder, Colonel Sanders, and how his fried chicken came to be so loved by everyone.
Fun for Kids and Family
Kids are drawn to the Louisville Zoo and its sea lions, gorillas, birds, tigers and other fabulous animals. They also love taking a stroll in one of the city parks. Some great parks in Louisville include Cherokee Park, the rugged Iroquois Park and Central Park. Most of the parks are picturesque with plenty of space to bike, hike or jog. Louisville is also home to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.
Louisville Local Activities
The city of Louisville hosts a couple of major festivals each year – the Kentucky Derby Festival during spring and the Lewis and Clark Ohio River Festival in the fall.
For years Louisville has been known as a wonderful place to live and visit. Learn more about Louisville, Kentucky USA at the city’s official Web site. (http://www.louisvilleky.gov)