Louisville, Kentucky is often referred to as the northernmost southern city and the southernmost northern city. It is a city well known for its rich traditions. Louisville is the home of the world famous Kentucky Derby, which has been run annually since 1875. Architecturally, the city also houses the nation’s largest collection of cast iron facades outside the SoHo district in New York City as well as the largest number of Victorian homes.
The Derby City has also been the stage for many medical advances, including, the first human hand transplant, the first self-contained artificial heart transplant, as well as, the development of the first cervical cancer vaccine. More recently, two additional traditions have become deeply rooted in the lives and minds of native Louisvillians, the city’s adopted sons and daughters and visitors alike. These are the traditions of the arts and public parks.
Louisville Metro boasts 122 city parks covering more than 14,000 acres as well as the largest municipal forest in the country. This park tradition can be much attributed to Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed six parks in Louisville and 15 miles of parkways. Olmsted also designed New York City's Central Park. Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy LLC now maintains much of these areas. Also notable, The Louisville Loop, a 100 mile paved bicycle trail connecting many of the cities parks, has received national praise and is just one of the exciting aspects of the City of Parks initiative.
Louisville is one of 11 US cities to house the five major cultural institutions: The Louisville Ballet, Actors Theatre, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Orchestra and the Speed Art Museum can all be found within the city limits. ‘Whiskey Row’ was once the central feature of Main St., where the states native spirit, bourbon, was stored in the early 20th century. Now Main St. is where you can find ‘museum row’, a collection of museums displaying everything from blown glass sculpture to baseball bats. The city also features a plethora of art galleries, festivals and art fairs, as well as other artistic institutions and collectives. Music has long been a pervasive part of the Louisville experience with numerous venues, outdoor concerts, and is a place where music artists and bands abound. The cultural and creative community in Louisville truly rivals the arts communities in every other major metropolitan city.