The outdoor power equipment industry’s premiere event, GIE+EXPO, will be held October 16-18 in Louisville, Ky. Louisville takes pride in being a mid-sized city with a small-town feel. The Kentucky Exposition Center’s location across the interstate from the airport and a short drive from downtown make it easy to get out and explore.
Once you get downtown, you’ll find it’s very walkable. But if you decide you need some wheels, hop on the free Lou Lift, an all-electric bus service that travels downtown circulator routes (https://www.ridetarc.org/services/loulift); look for LouVelo bike share (https://louvelo.com/); or grab an electric scooter.
When it comes to exploring, there’s something for everyone – from one-of-a-kind museums and attractions to unique twists on food and drinks. Maybe that’s why people have been known to say it’s easy to get to Louisville, but hard to leave.
Take in free pre-concert attractions
New this year, GIE+EXPO attendees can enjoy free visits to two popular downtown museums Tuesday and Thursday between 5 and 8pm before heading to Fourth Street Live! for the GIE+EXPO concerts.
Tuesday evening (Oct. 15), explore the Frazier History Museum, which showcases the history of the United States from early settlement through Colonization, the Revolutionary War, Civil War and the multi-faceted origins of America’s cultural landscape. As the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and home to the Trail’s Welcome Center, the museum is known for The Spirit of Kentucky exhibit (https://fraziermuseum.org/).
Thursday evening (Oct. 17), spend some time in the Muhammad Ali Center. This cultural attraction and international education center was inspired by the ideals of the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali. Carrying on his legacy, the center encourages visitors to explore over two floors of award-winning exhibits and interactive Ali experiences (https://alicenter.org/).
Stay the weekend for seasonal fun
Louisville is home to two unique seasonal attractions that create a perfect reason to extend your stay into the weekend.
At the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular, 5,000 carved pumpkins line a 1/3-mile walking trail, illuminated at night as an “art show.” MSN.com rated it as one of the 10 Best Places to Celebrate Halloween. The show runs daily from dusk (approximately 7:15pm) to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and closes at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Visit www.jackolanternlouisville.com for information or to purchase tickets in advance.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium has been featured on the TV show Ghost Hunters as being one of the most haunted hospitals in the United States. Test your bravery with a haunted house tour in this old sanatorium that once accommodated tuberculosis patients. It’s open 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday nights in October. Details are available at www.therealwaverlyhills.com.
You won’t go hungry here
With a booming culinary scene, Louisville boasts unique and delicious food around every corner. Here are a few downtown spots that are new since last year’s GIE+EXPO:
Built on the legacy of a Louisville legend and former Utah Jazz basketball player, Darrell Griffith, Griff’s Sports Bar provides an unparalleled sports entertainment experience, but also a delicious dining experience. With a menu reflecting Griffith’s favorite dishes from years of travel in the NBA, there is something for everyone. If the sports theme doesn’t tempt you, Griff’s Fastbreak Burger – with melted white cheddar, over-hard egg, thick-cut Applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato and praline sauce between homemade sweet potato waffles – just might (www.griffs35.com).
Taco lovers, rejoice. MexA Tacos, a fast-casual taco bar, now has a downtown spot just a couple of blocks from Fourth Street Live! While MexA is known for its fresh steak tacos served with house-made corn tortillas, the restaurant also offers shrimp, fish, pork pastor, chicken and veggie tacos. If you’re hankering for fresh, homemade tacos, this is your spot (www.mexatacos.com).
For some real-deal German food and an impressive beer selection, you will want to seek out The Hall on Washington St., tucked away on the backside of Whiskey Row. Take a seat at the 65-foot bar and enjoy options such as bratwurst, schnitzel and sauerkraut. While you wait for your food, enjoy one of the many beers on tap – from local brews to German imports – while playing a game of shuffleboard with friends (www.hallonwashington.com).
On the east end of downtown’s Market and Main streets you’ll find the NuLu neighborhood – chock full of cool spots. New to the neighborhood, Biscuit Belly, open for breakfast and lunch, is known for mixing southern cooking with unexpected flavors and, of course, some amazing biscuits (https://www.facebook.com/biscuitbellynulu/).
In addition, NuLu boasts several tried and true favorites such as Grind Burger Kitchen, Feast BBQ, Royals Hot Chicken and Garage Bar. Locals line up at the door at Royals for their Nashville hot chicken (https://royalshotchicken.com/). At Grind, the Cuban sandwich was a favorite of Guy Fieri when he brought “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to town (https://www.grindburgerkitchen.com/). Smoked meats are the specialty at Feast (http://www.feastbbq.com/). And, at Garage Bar you can enjoy some amazing wood-fired pizza and a game of ping pong (https://www.garageonmarket.com/).
Explore bourbon country
Of course, we can’t talk Louisville without mentioning bourbon. You’ll find it all over town in everything from drinks to entrees and desserts. In fact, Griff’s serves up wings with a bourbon sriracha sauce, Royals puts it in a milkshake, and Feast serves up a refreshing Bourbon slushie.
If you’d rather have your bourbon in a more traditional form, or want to learn its history or see how it’s made, Louisville is your town. The newest downtown distillery, Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery is located on Main Street in a historic building from the 1890s. It has been renovated and restored, and now offers guided tours, expert tastings, and a wide variety of classic bourbon cocktails. If you’re staying the weekend, schedule a tour and tasting. Or if you just want to do some sipping before or after the concerts, The Bar at Fort Nelson is open Thursday night (https://michters.com/fortnelson/).
Speaking of the concerts, if you’re headed to Fourth Street Live! the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse is worth a visit. The tour includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, a tasting experience and a unique bottle-your-own-bourbon experience. It’s open until 9 p.m. through the week, so you can easily fit in a tour before the music begins (https://www.jimbeam.com/visit-us/urban-stillhouse).
Show your badge for discounts
Be sure to take along your GIE+EXPO or HNA badge when you’re out and about in Louisville. Many local restaurants, bars, attractions and entertainment venues offer discounts through the Show Us Your Badge program. Check out the list of participating businesses at http://bit.ly/2tGCxYe.
Article provided by GIE+EXPO.