I can’t tell you how excited I am that my friends and colleagues will be arriving in my town for the 2024 NCRA Convention.  First of all, LU-a-VIL and LU-EE-VIL are acceptable pronunciations.  If you pronounce it LU-IS-VIL, you will promptly be escorted to the Indiana border. 

Louisville is a big small town (or a small big city.  You decide.).  For those coming from big cities like Chicago, San Francisco, or New York, you may miss your big city skylines, but what you won’t miss is your traffic.   SDF/Louisville Airport is only a 15- to 30-minute drive to the Galt House, located right on the Ohio River, and there are lots of local attractions within walking distance.  But if you really want to soak in the Southern charm that Kentucky offers, renting a car is worth the expense if you’d like a drive through horse farms on your way to a Bourbon Tour.


$-$$$ Fourth Street Live: For a food snob like me, Louisville doesn’t disappoint.  I have a self-imposed rule when I travel:  No chain restaurants.  But Fourth Street Live offers a myriad of restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from a few short blocks from the Galt House.  https://www.4thstlive.com/

$ Safier: If you walk a little further down Fourth Street, one of my favorite Mediterranean restaurants in the city is not big on ambience, but it’s huge on flavor. https://safierdeli.com/

$ Main Street Eatery: Located on the corner of Main and Seventh Street, this is my favorite Friday lunch spot.  It’s the only day they offer their panini grilled cheese, accompanied by homemade Omish pickles.  Get the chicken soup, made daily from the owner’s grandmother’s recipe.  Soups, salads, sandwiches come served with an eclectic soundtrack playing in the background.  Don’t let the line fool you.  It moves fast, and it’s worth the wait.  Lunch hours only. https://www.themaineatery.com/

Cravings: Located a block away in the basement of 101 South Fifth Street, Cravings offers a grill, cafeteria with great soul food, salad bar, and soups.  Breakfast and lunch only.

$$ La Bodeguita de Mima:  Cuban approved!  Put your name on the waiting list and stroll down the revitalized NULU area on East Market Street.  A great place to pick up a souvenir in one of gift shops and people watch.  https://www.labodeguitademima.com/

$$$ Jack Fry’s:  You really can’t go wrong with any restaurant in Louisville’s Highlands area on Baxter/Bardstown Road, but I always feel like I’m stepping back in time to a speakeasy when I dine at Jack Fry’s, my first choice for every special occasion in my life.  Southern fine dining at its finest with live music and white tablecloths.  Worth the Uber ride—promise! https://www.jackfrys.com/

$$$ Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse:  Right next door to our convention is one of Louisville’s best seafood and steakhouses.  https://www.jeffruby.com/louisville

Kentucky Bourbon Tours

Learn the secret behind why Kentucky is famous for the best racehorses and Bourbon. Book your tours months in advance.  They fill up fast. If you plan to rent a car, there are many distilleries to choose from.  https://kybourbontrail.com/  My personal favorite (so far) is the Woodford Reserve tour because it gives you the feel that you’re stepping back into a time capsule.  If you need a tour within walking distance, Old Forrester is located on Main Street about four blocks from the Galt House.  https://www.oldforester.com/distillery/


Muhammad Ali Center:  Two blocks from our convention, learn about Louisville’s favorite son and his legacy dedicated to inspiring change and advancing social justice.  https://alicenter.org/

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory Tour:  Take the tour, or at the very least, pose for a picture in front of the biggest bat in the world.  Just remember to pack your souvenir in your checked luggage because you can’t take it home in a carry-on.  https://www.sluggermuseum.com/

Kentucky Science Center:  Interactive fun for kids and adults alike.  https://kysciencecenter.org/

Kentucky Derby Museum: Learn how the Kentucky Derby got its start in 1875 and all of its history in between. https://www.derbymuseum.org/

Churchill Downs:  I don’t run in the height of summer in Louisville, and unfortunately, the horses don’t either during our convention.  (Who am I kidding?  I don’t run, period.  The best I can muster is a brisk walk.)

Big Four Pedestrian Bridge:  Cross over from Louisville to Southern Indiana and enjoy the river from above as you explore more restaurants and bars in the heart of Jeffersonville, Indiana. 

Belle of Louisville:  Cruise down the Ohio River on the only remaining authentic steamboat from the great American packet boat era. A National Historic Landmark and an icon of the Louisville waterfront, the Belle is the most widely traveled steamboat of her size in American history.  (Open Wednesday through Sunday) https://www.belleoflouisville.org/

Falls of the Ohio State Park:  Located on the banks of the Ohio River at Clarksville, Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky, the only place in the world where you can see fossilized Devonian life forms exposed by the Ohio River.  https://www.fallsoftheohio.org/

Nachand Canoe & Kayak:  Rent a canoe or kayak and row (or float) down beautiful streams that feed into the Ohio river. www.nachandkayaks.com

Historic Old Louisville

Millionaire’s Row and St. James Court:    Even if you don’t have the time to spare for a tour, a quick drive down Fourth Street is worth the Uber fare to take in a glance of grand homes on the historic registry.  https://www.viator.com/tours/Louisville/Historic-Old-Louisville-Walking-Tour/d25791-159180P3

Night Life

Derby City Gaming:  Slot machines, race and sports betting, and other live entertainment within walking distance of our convention. https://downtown.derbycitygaming.com/

Caesars Southern Indiana:   While all gambling isn’t legal in Kentucky, a short drive across the river in Southern Indiana will provide that almost-Vegas experience, complete with a poker room.  https://www.caesars.com/caesars-southern-indiana


Play Louisville:  Dance all night and enjoy a drag show: https://louisville.playdancebar.com/
Big Bar:  https://louisville.gaycities.com/bars/303914-big-bar
Sis Got Tea:  Louisville’s Black-, queer-, woman-owned teashop and café.  Join the mailing list for 10% off your first order:  https://www.sisgotteaky.com/

Magnolia Bar:  Located in Old Louisville with live music events.  https://magbar

Ghost Tours

Waverly Hills Sanatorium: Tour one of Louisville’s favorite haunts.   Overnight tours available.  (Friday and Saturday nights only)  https://www.kentuckytourism.com/explore/waverly-hills-sanatorium-1089

Ghost City Tours:  On my bucket list, but I haven’t gone yet.  https://www.facebook.com/ghostcitytours

Safe travels, my friends.  I look forward to welcoming you to the city I call home. 

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