REVIEW

Travel Review: Louisville, Kentucky - Bourbon, Ali, & Sluggers

February 14, 2010
Aaman Lamba

Some towns are designed to be iconic landmarks. Whether its the people, the positioning, or the happy confluence of a variety of factors, the town becomes more than a mere blip on the interstates.

Louisville, Kentucky is one such place. Founded on the Falls of the Ohio River as a boat halt in the 1780s, it found rapid growth and become a central inland trading station. It had an active slave trade in the years before the Civil War, but was also a vital point in the Underground Railroad, with Indiana to the north being a free state and escaping slaves finding welcoming hands in Louisville.

The Civil War saw Louisville used as critical rallying point for Union forces and many hallmarks of the city date back to this period. It was after the War ended though, that the first of the famous Louisville attractions took ground in the Possibility City. Louisville is home to Churchill Downs, which hosts the Kentucky Derby each year in May, the first leg of the United States Triple Crown. The Louisville Slugger, a legendary baseball bat was also designed and manufactured here.

One of the most famous residents of the city is Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay in Louisville. The greatest boxer in the world has gone beyond being a sports icon to a globally respected figure, and this was recognized by having him light the Olympic torch in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Louisville and Kentucky are also renowned for their variety of bourbons, most brewed in the state. This has given rise to a Whiskey tour of Louisville, where one visits a variety of classic bars and certifies this on a passport. Each bar carries over 50 varieties of bourbon, many over 18 years old.

I visited Louisville this weekend and was entranced by the city. The bohemian yet cosmopolitan downtown has a lot to offer, from the 4th Street Live Entertainment Complex to numerous museums in walking distance. As time was pressing, I could only cover the Muhammad Ali Center, but this was more than worth the visit.

Louisville Downtown

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Hopes and Dreams exhibit, Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Hopes and Dreams exhibit, Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville

Muhammad Ali's Hopes and Dreams ExhibitMuhammad Ali's Hopes and Dreams Exhibit

Muhammad Ali's Hopes and Dreams Exhibit

Muhammad Ali Art

Muhammad Ali's car

Having a Chat

After the Muhammad Ali Center, I began the Whiskey Trail. A return trip is on the cards to complete the other stops on the trail.

The Seelbach Bar, Louisville

The Seelbach Bar, Louisville

The Seelbach Bar in the Seelbach Hotel was the inspiration for F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and is ranked as one of the 50 best bars in the world, as per The Independent.

The Maker's Mark Bar, Louisville

The Maker's Mark Tavern is within the 4th Street Live entertainment complex and has over 150 fine bourbons. Their brewery is an hour away from Louisville and well worth a visit.

I'm looking forward to going back to Louisville. It is a city with character. There is much more ground to be covered and bourbons to be drunk.

Aaman Lamba is the Publisher of Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics network site. He also blogs, more infrequently nowadays, at Audit Trails Of Self
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Travel Review: Louisville, Kentucky - Bourbon, Ali, & Sluggers

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Author: Aaman Lamba

 

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