Home of the Kentucky Derby and Louisville Slugger baseball bats, Louisville, Kentucky is a popular destination and one America's most livable cities. A vibrant park system, including an urban recreation area that stretches more than 2 miles along the bank of the Ohio River, provides residents and visitors with many opportunities for outdoor activities among scenic settings. Many of Louisville's neighborhoods are connected by tree-lined parkways that make cross-town driving a pleasure. Louisville serves as the global air-freight hub for UPS, headquarters for the managed health care company Humana, and the headquarters for Yum! brands, owners of several popular fast-food restaurants, including KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Louisville is among the top 25 cities in population, and was named "Most Livable City" in 2012 by the U.S. Council of Mayors.
Louisville was settled when pioneers traveling by river had to exit the water at the Falls of the Ohio. Settlements grew around the falls, which would later provide power for mills and industrial machinery. The town charter of Louisville was approved in 1780, and the city was incorporated in 1828. A shipping port was established at Louisville because boats transporting goods on the Ohio could not navigate the falls and had to be unloaded. During the Civil War, Louisville was a major stronghold of Union forces, but after the war, prominent Confederate veterans took political control of the city, adding a "southern flavor" to Louisville’s cultural heritage. Horse racing had long been popular in the region, and the first Kentucky Derby was held in 1875, a tradition that continues today. During WWII, Louisville was a center of production for cargo planes and other aircraft. Today, tourism, health care, and manufacturing are important economic contributors to Louisville and Jefferson County.
Louisville features four distinctive seasons, with more precipitation in spring and summer. Temperatures during the summer can exceed 90°F over a period of several days, especially in July and August, and winter lows approach the 20°F range, with January as the coldest month. The area does not often experience severe winter storms, but the region does occasionally experience harsh storms with a capacity to produce tornados.
With a cross-town parkway system designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, a network of mixed-use trails, and a growing network of bike routes, Louisville can be easily navigated on four wheels or two. Drivers also benefit from two expressways that ring the city and a convergence of three interstate highways that meet in the center of the city. Bus service is provided by TARC (Transit Authority of River City) with routes that are accessible to downtown and suburban residents. The Louisville International Airport provides direct flights to twenty major cities including Dallas, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami.
Cost of Living in Louisville
With a cost of living 7% below the national average, a median household income of more than $47,000 and average home price of $130,000, Louisville is considered a great place to live. Use these cost of living calculators to determine how your current budget will match living in Louisville.
The Jefferson County Public School System serves more than 100,000 students and their families through a network of 172 schools and over 6,400 teachers. Eleven of these schools are listed by U.S. News & World Report as being among the best high schools in the country. An additional 412 private schools, including preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools are also available to families residing in Louisville and Jefferson County.
Baptist Health Louisville is a general medical and surgical facility. This hospital is ranked by US News as the second best hospital in Kentucky and as number one in the Louisville metropolitan area. Baptist Health Louisville is nationally ranked for nine of its adult specialties and is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. If you’re planning a move to Louisville, find out about all of the medical resources available to you:
Louisville Real Estate
Louisville is a great market for home buyers, with a median home price around $130,000 and a variety of suburban, neighborhood, and urban settings close to schools, parks, and shopping. Use the links below to explore available homes in Louisville.
There are a variety of choices for an overnight or extended stay in Louisville. The Brown Hotel offers classic elegance and luxury with the convenience of a downtown location. Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel is a boutique hotel unlike any other, with each room given an entirely unique, artistic treatment. The Seelbach Hilton was a favorite haunt of Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and used as a setting in "The Great Gatsby". Use the links below to find your perfect accommodations in Louisville.
Louisville is a place for "foodies", as noted by the magazine, Bon Appétit. Many popular restaurants can be found within several blocks of downtown, but it is well worth venturing out to explore Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road. The city offers an international dining experience with authentic Mayan cuisine at Mayan Café, French cuisine at Bistro Le Relais, and a bit of everything else at Ramsi’s Cafe on the World. For a true Louisville experience, visit the English Grill at the Brown Hotel for a "Hot Brown", Louisville’s signature open face sandwich.
Things to Do in Louisville
Louisville offers a rich calendar of special events throughout the year, from the Kentucky Derby Festival in April to the St. James Court Art Show in October. Annual events include the world’s largest annual Beatles Festival, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, The Forecastle Festival and the Bluegrass Balloon Festival. The Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs is fun to visit anytime, where you will learn about the tradition of horse racing and the horses that run. Tour the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum where you can buy the #1 bat in Major League Baseball. For family fun, take the kids to the Louisville Zoo, featuring the award-winning Gorilla Forest and an antique carousel. For more adventurous fun, experience the Mega Cavern Zipline Tour. This unique attraction was constructed inside an underground limestone quarry covering 100 acres and more than 100 feet underground. Bring a jacket, because the temperature inside the cavern is a constant 56°F.