Things to do, places to go in Louisville
Congress, of course, still main
R. Kevin Clark
Editor, APWA Reporter
We all know why APWA members will be heading to Louisville, Kentucky, in September. Its to attend the International Public Works Congress and Exposition, thats why. What with more than 400 exhibitors showcasing the largest display of public works equipment and services in North America, and more than 200 experts sharing their knowledge in a multitude of sessions, it truly is The Best Show in Public Works.
But just what else awaits us in Louisville? I mean, is there anything worth seeing or doing in Louisville in addition to Congress?
The answer is yes-plenty. Join me for a quick overview of some of the cool stuff you can do while in Louisville (you can get more specific information about each with a telephone number and web site provided below).
Lets start with the museums. The Louisville Slugger Museum, featuring a history of baseball along with a number of hands-on activities, is quite unlike any other museum in the country. The museum is located in downtown Louisville, just walking distance from a number of the convention hotels.
Then theres the Kentucky Derby Museum, which has recently doubled in size. Not only will you get a history of the Kentucky Derby, but you can also take a walking tour of Churchill Downs.
Other museums worth checking out include the Louisville Science Center, a science, math and technology museum, thats located right across from the Slugger Museum; Farmington Historic House Museum, a federal-styled house built in 1810 and designed by Thomas Jefferson, a nice side trip for anyone who enjoys historic homes; and the Speed Art Museum, Kentuckys largest public art museum, located on the campus of the University of Louisville.
Theatre your ticket? Well, as of this writing, most of the theatres featuring live drama or musicals havent yet offered their fall schedules. However, as September draws nearer, you can contact the various theatres through the 800 number and web site listed below. For the record, here are some of the theatres in Louisville: Actors Theatre of Louisville; Kentucky Center for the Arts; the Louisville Palace; and the Brown Theatre. All of these are in downtown Louisville. Across the Ohio River in southern Indiana (three miles from downtown Louisville) is a dinner theatre, the Derby Dinner Playhouse.
If you enjoy knocking the little white ball around-what the heck, even if it lands in a hazard-there are plenty of golf courses in the Louisville metro area. Member courses of the Louisville and Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (available to Congress participants) include Persimmon Ridge and Quails Chase in Louisville; L and N in Brooks, Kentucky; and Hidden Creek, Covered Bridge, and Hoosier Hills in southern Indiana, a short drive from downtown.
And of course, for you tennis and bowling enthusiasts, there are plenty of tennis courts and bowling alleys scattered throughout the metropolitan area.
Downtown Louisville sits right next to the Ohio River, and there is a new park that is walking distance from the downtown hotels called Waterfront Park. The park has great walking trails, and is also a terrific spot for running or rollerblading.
If gambling is your thing, not to worry: Caesars Indiana-also known by the more frou-frou Caesars Glory of Rome-is the largest gaming vessel in North America, and is located across and about 10 miles downriver from downtown Louisville. The executive director of a recent convention in Louisville won $10,000 one night at Caesars, just in case that whets anyones appetite for gambling
As far as nightclubs go, there are plenty to choose from. Hurricane OMalleys has several clubs in one: a country bar called Coyotes, a disco called Vinnies, the Rocket Club, and a dueling piano bar. Jillians, a little more upscale, has a dance club called Atlas, a cigar lounge, pool tables, sports bar, hibachi restaurant, and video game room. Stevie Rays is a blues bar with live blues Wednesday through Saturday. There is also a very popular dance club called Phoenix Hill, and nearby is a bar called the Brewery featuring sand volleyball.
And lets not forget the Have a Nice Day Café, which features a 70s theme. If youre perpetually stuck in the 70s and into the likes of Farrah Fawcett and John Travolta, youll love this place.
For anyone who has a car and wants to do some out-of-Louisville things but stay within an hours drive of downtown, theres always Jim Beams American Outpost, a distillery, in Clarmont, Kentucky, and Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. About 45 minutes outside of Louisville is My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, a two-hour train excursion featuring both lunch and dinner, and is located in Bardstown. Bardstown, a small town with a very historic feel, has much to offer in the way of antique shopping, and also offers a number of bed and breakfast spots.
Theres more-lots more. The Strictly Bluegrass Festival will be at the Iroquois Amphitheatre in Iroquois Park on September 8 and 9. If you have a hankering for comedy clubs, check out the Comedy Caravan on Bardstown Road. Theres Louisville Stoneware Company, where you can have stoneware pottery custom designed or simply watch the artists at work. Or Hawks View Gallery, if youre interested in watching glass blowing practitioners. Or take a river cruise onboard the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating sternwheeler in the United States. Last but not least, theres the Louisville Zoo as well as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
Thats it in a nutshell. As you can see, theres plenty to do in Louisville, and you can have lots of fun doing it. Almost as much fun as going to Congress.
I promised Id give you some contact info, and here it is: to contact the Louisville and Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 800-626-5646, or access their web site at www.gotolouisville.com. Also, in case you havent received your Congress Preview, check it out on our web site at www.apwa.net or call 816-472-6100 and well send you a copy.