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Old 10-26-2019, 04:54 PM
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Disclaimer: I only had time to spend 2 (very long) days in & around Louisville so I probably missed a lot of things. Also going mid-week likely changed how the city would be compared to the weekend and/or during events. Keep this in mind.

The City:

Going in I figured Louisville was going to be a lot like Richmond in size, but its built area was much more along the lines of say Nashville or Charlotte. What I'm trying to say is Louisville is a proper mid-sized city that feels bigger than the numbers would suggest.

It's sort of a mashup of Cincinnati, Columbus, and Richmond with a nice foot bridge (think Chattanooga).

Unfortunately, much like Richmond, it is a dirty city. From littered cigarettes and fast food bags, to heaps of homeless' trash/encampments, to a cop just sitting at a light who threw his coffee cup out the window like it was normal. Ironically there are trash bins just about every block and even a second unit just for recyclables every so often.

It isn't a city that jumps out at you from a looks point of view like say Charleston, Richmond, or Savanna, but it seems to have better street level activity.

Navigating & Parking:

Getting around was relatively easy since it is mostly a grid, but there are a lot of one-way streets. So I basically knew where I was at all times, but for some reason I might have been going the opposite direction of the way I was attempting to go.

Going west the streets running N to S are numbered so that's easy. To the east they are named streets that aren't always easy to remember.

The streets running W to E are named as well.

You can get to NULU on foot so that's nice, but you have to keep going beyond the sketchy area and the not yet built section of NULU before you get there. Butchertown is a few blocks to the north and it keeps going to the east.

As far as I know almost all of the streets are called streets unlike Atlanta where you get the same name, but are Blvd, or Drive, or Avenue, and so on.

Basically you'll be spending your time downtown between 9th street & Baxter Ave (which turns into the Bardstown area if you take it south) and the river walk down to Broadway (then you start getting into Oldtown).

Parking prices didn't really make sense. One lot might have been $5 while another just a block away was $7. Why? Garages rates ranged by time you could park there & by amount for how long you need it. But the meters were 50 cents a MINUTE. It would literally be cheaper to have your car towed than pay to park downtown all day. I think I must be missing something here, but that's what they said.

The Smell:

Here's one I haven't seen anybody talking about. The SMELL. I thought in today's day & age stinky cities had cleaned up and the ones that still smelled were universally unattractive so nobody went there anyway. Guess not.

It's really hard to enjoy the sites downtown when it smells like urine or the interesting architecture on Main Street when the smell of raw sewage is wafting into your nose. Speaking of sewage apparently you don't want to swim in the river as signs alert you to the fact they have sewage runoff directly into the river. Really? You have the time to set up a recycling program, but you can't deal with this?

Thankfully this wasn't everywhere, but it was enough to lessen the experience.

How in all the things I've read about the city has nobody mentioned this? Seriously I expect this out of NYC, but not from a mid-sized city. Hell, even Portland smells better.


Not really sure how this one ranks so highly for everyone. Maybe I missed a lot? The waterfront section is mostly big open lawn-like stretches with a river walk punctuated with small hilly areas with trees & paths. Then you get to a nice big walking bridge that takes you across the river to Jeffersonville, IN. What's there is nice, but world class? I'm not so sure. Richmond seemed a lot better in the (in city) nature department. At night the bridge has running lights that change color.

Not sure why you have to pay a toll if you want to drive to that little city, but walking there is free.

On the west side you can get to an even more picturesque little city called New Albany, but you probably don't want to walk that one since it goes through a “bad” area.


Louisville really feels like a city that tries to hide itself from you. You might be headed for NULU, but first have to pass under deserted overpasses (if your lucky as just one block over you might run into what looks like a garbage dump & a group of homeless people yelling at each other).

Or you might be looking for this great dive bar, shop, or restaurant you've heard about, but can't find it because it's 3 blocks away from any other shops. I'm starting to wonder if you guys have any zoning at all. Richmond had a bit of this so I wasn't totally taken off guard, but Louisville seems to have more of it.

Since time was limited I ended up doing a lot of touristy things plus a few extras.

River Walk: A nice trend I've seen with many cities in recent years. Would've been better if it wasn't for the smell. It's wild there's a stone market that lets you know the river flooded 32' at one point. The boats down here are neat. The park also connects here. From the main part of town there's a walkway around 5th or 6th that'll bring you to the river walk after descending some stairs from a open courtyard.

Keep in mind that the park stretches a fairly long way. The nicer sections are closer to the walking bridge (all the way over and north of NULU). Here there were a few joggers, teens, homeless people, geese, and some families with kids. I'd imagine it gets busy for events and on weekends. The homeless people won't bother you, but I can't say the same for geese. Those Mfers can be mean and they crap everywhere.

Whiskey Row: Nice architecture here. Didn't do the bourbon tours. Having a lot of museums here is convenient. You could probably spend a whole day just doing them. The giant bat and David statue was cool. The area basically ends at 9th street.

Market Street: Nice area to get a feel for the city and to look at the architecture. Many buildings have extra elements carved into them.

4th Street: Has 4th Street Live complex here of mostly overpriced and tacky everywhere shops and restaurants. I'd imagine most people who are in this area not just passing through are the folks staying at hotels. Oddly it does have an anchoring effect on the area, which has the benefit of increasing foot traffic.

Speaking of which the city surprisingly has a lot of people walking around with wide sidewalks in many areas. Minneapolis and many other bigger cities would die for this sort of thing. Doubly odd because many cities have a higher density, but less foot traffic than downtown Louisville.

Interestingly enough the demographics suggest there's about a 23% African American population in the city, but downtown it feels more like a 50-50 white-black reality with a sprinkling of darker skinned Asians and the occasional Latino thrown in.

Personally I think this liveliness is one of Louisville's strongest selling points. Architecture being another.

NULU: Basically this is the hipster part of town. Pretty lively at night even in the middle of the week. Garage Bar looked like a great socializing place & a hot chicken place nearby was packed. Since there's an empty buffer and then a few blocks of not built up old school area here the running joke was NULU is so new they haven't built it yet. Don't worry you eventually get there.

Bardstown Road/Highlands: Cool section of shops, cafes, bars, and so on in about a two mile strip. If you're familiar with Columbus it's a bit like the Short North and campus sections of High Street minus the campus and much more compact than Columbus' version. Interestingly enough this makes for the 3rd nightlife district in Louisville. By comparison Richmond hardly even has one.

Fun fact if you don't know where you're going don't just try to find Bardstown Road since it keeps going pretty much all the way out to the outer belt and for most of it there isn't much of interest.

Old Town: Similar the Fan section in Richmond with the big houses, but without all the monuments. Covers roughly 3 streets running N-S. The University is in this area too. Lots of nice buildings. Not really all that many students walking around when I was there.

Not sure if the main Library is considered part of downtown or Oldtown, but it was a big letdown. It looks amazing from outside and in the main entryway with all that marble, but inside it's all 70's office decoration with people being loud and the homeless hanging out. Western NC has several libraries that are both nicer and bigger.

A lot of space was wasted inside as well. It has 3 levels though.

People have said this isn't a great area of town, but it seemed fine to me.

Speed Museum: From the outside it looks big, but once inside you find out half of it was set up for touring exhibits, and another 30% was wasted space for event hosting and the theater. Richmond's art museum was much bigger, nice, and had a much better collection. Although this could be because it's technically the state art museum and Louisville's is for the city. Expect something more on par with Knoxville's art museum and you won't be disappointed.

Although in Louisville's defense there are at least three more art museums and a number of galleries (many in NULU) throughout the city.

South Louisville: Another supposedly bad area. Looked a bit rundown, but not really bad.

Burbs: Mostly ended up in the burbs driving around lost. Lots of strip malls and stuff you can find anywhere. Some nice houses in other areas, but not much of interest that I could see.

Black Barns: What's with all the horse farms having black barns. Having read Gideon Falls recently they were freaking me out. JK. But seriously why are all the barns painted black?
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:20 AM
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Nightlife: Mid-week and nightlife was going in at least 3 areas. Many large cities can't even claim that. I think I was right on the money that Louisville is a good party city. Until 4 am at times too.

Food/Bars: Was overwhelmed by the number of choices and suggested eats so I didn't end up going anywhere noteworthy. Didn't really have time for it. Although I noticed the prices were about mid-range for most things whether they should have cost that much or not.

Looked like it is a pretty good city for dive bars & lounges as well as your flashier junk stuff at 4th Street. Plus hipster stuff and really just a smattering of a lot of different things. You might not be able to find your thing in number, but you're likely to find your thing here.

Also there was a strip club downtown too. I thought most cities had done away with having more adult stuff downtown, but I guess they didn't get the memo.

Crime: You know I didn't feel unsafe anywhere in Louisville. Granted I didn't go to the west side at night so maybe that would've been a different story. Everywhere was decently lit, unlike Richmond, so I think that helped a lot. I'm not sure, but I'd imagine a lot of the crime is relegated to the bad areas like many cities. Unlike say downtown Minneapolis or New Orleans.

Homelessness Situation:

I've noticed other people have commented on homelessness being bad in the city, but really it wasn't any worse than another city of its size (or even slightly larger ones). I'd say I saw maybe 2 dozen homeless people in total. Maybe a few more taking those in the library into account. They aren't aggressive and some were even polite after I refused them wishing me well/a good day.

Although there were some people who were just panhandling and usually they didn't hit you up for money unless you said something to them first. Oddly these people all seemed to have a bad attitude.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:23 AM
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The people weren't very fashionable (not that I mind) and many had a blue collar vibe to them. People being overweight was the biggest issue. Not a lot of lookers in this city, or at least not downtown.

Now I've heard people say the people are rude and others claim they are friendly, but what I found was they were a bit of both.

Here's one of the areas where the Midwestern meets southern thing comes into play.

The people weren't very social openly and seemingly stuck in their own little bubbles. Unlike a lot of places today this wasn't because many of them had their noses in their cellphones. They didn't, but they didn't really communicate with others or those who did weren't going around and talking to strangers (just their little group). You also had a number of people walking around by themselves.

All of this is more Midwestern, but I think people think of the true outgoing southern thing since Louisville is technically in the south and expect it to be like that.

However, when you actually go up and talk to someone they are friendly. Even the cops were helpful with directions and letting you know what was going on downtown on a particular night.

When people suggest it is very clique-like I can certainly see how they came to that conclusion.

Also noticed that if they thought you were going to say something bad about their city they'd get defensive, yet at the same time they couldn't figure out why anybody would want to visit since their city wasn't anything special.

Race Relations: I'm not sure on this one. People live somewhat segregated, but mix freely on the street at least physically. I didn't see any black people talking to white people or vise versa outside of the few I talked to. But I did see a number of black-white mixed couples. While my sample size was small I'd say it was about 60-40 black male-white female couples and 40% black women with white guys. Latino and Asians seemed to keep with their own, but I didn't see many so I can't really say for sure.

It almost seemed like the black people were thought of as separate, but equal in the sense that they should know their place and not make trouble. Although I guess this could've been a bad read.

The people I met from the burbs at a pumpkin event seemed a lot more even keel than the folks downtown. This a case of transplants and a holdover of white flight who haven't gotten the memo cities are cool again?
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:25 AM
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Not many knockouts, but enough cute girls to go around. It's no Nashville, Richmond, or Knoxville.

A lot of ones who weren't very attractive or large seemed to have a too good for you attitude. Maybe a sour grapes or just outright delusional thing. Not sure.

This one was a 1st--I wasn't getting a lot of interest from those I was passing on the street, at first. But once I looked away at something else I'd catch them looking a short while later. Sort of like the old school flirting thing that usually happens seated from across the room. Not sure what it means when you're walking by each other and by the time you would find out it'd require you to turn and catch up to them. Not something I had time to do this trip.

So I guess they were either shy/insecure or were wondering why someone like me (perhaps an obvious outsider) was doing in their city.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:26 AM
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Bad Drivers: I actually didn't see too much bad driving. Rude drivers, yes. Impatient drivers who'd almost clip you in the crosswalk turning, you bet. But for the most part it wasn't any worse than in other places I've been.

Then again it could've been I just didn't see it as I did notice a lot of cars were dented up.

On a side note when will this stupid motorized scooter fad end? Soon I hope.

Art: Saw a number of photographers. The city has a lot of art if you know where to look and a few murals.

Event Timing: This one is one of the stranger ones. Want to go to the biggest fireworks show in the US? Think it's in July? Nope. April. How about a big ass Zombie Walk & festival? Thinking October? Nope, that'd make sense. It's in August. Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium also August (unless you catch the 3 days in Oct. or want to pay more than double for a VIP thing). Art Festival? That's in the summer, right? Nope-fall. WTF, Louisville?
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:27 AM
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Weather: Wasn't there long enough, but it was windy one day, rained pretty good in the morning, and then was mostly clear the days I was there. 60's in the day & 40's at night.

If Louisville was a Drink:

1 part hipster
1 part dive bar
1 part class/culture
2 parts rundown working class

If Louisville was a House: Like one of those big fixer-upper HGTV houses with interesting architectural elements and good bones with water damage and dry rot being slowly replaced bit by bit.

If Louisville was a Woman: Cute face with curves that she covers up with a food stained hoodie and sweats.

In a Nutshell: If you are okay with people of other races that may or may not interact with you in a city where you mostly go out to eat & for drinks with the occasional show/play and a good amount of street activity then Louisville is a good and affordable pick. It's a city on the rise. It's not flashy, but can hold its own against larger cities. I'd give it a 6.5 or 7 out of 10. Overall I liked it.

Asheville/Knoxville's a 6 for me, Charleston/Savannah a 7, and Pittsburgh's an 8 for reference.

Personally I could see giving it a year to figure out if I really liked it. My gut feeling is that it's a great city to live in during all the festivals, but you'd probably want to spend the rest of your time in nearby Nashville or Columbus that have better looking women and a seemingly more balanced day-to-day living.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:37 AM
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Here's my 2 cents and it's not worth more than that. Louisville like all cities offers different things for different people depending on personal likes and dislikes and your demographics. If someone is older, they're not going to see it the same way as someone in their 20s and single, just like someone in their 30s who works and is raising a family won't see it the same way as someone in their 20s and single. People have different needs, likes and dislikes depending on where they are in life. I don't think most people are going to make judgments about whether or not to move there based on how hot women are walking down the street.
Overall, I like Louisville and think it has much to offer though I haven't been there in a number of years.

Last edited by marino760; 10-27-2019 at 07:03 AM..
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Old 10-27-2019, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by marino760 View Post
I don't think most people are going to make judgments about whether or not to move there based on how hot women are walking down the street.
I put it on there because a lot of single people on this site want to know that & a lot of the people who take the time to post in depth are already married so answers to how are the women or how's the nightlife often go unanswered.
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Old 10-28-2019, 04:21 AM
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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Man! That was thorough! You are incredibly observant, and I thought that was very balanced. Not sure I agree with all of it, but close enough, and a lot of it is subjective.

Can't help wondering, though - why'd you do this? That's a lot of keystrokes.
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for the posts but there are soooooo many factual inconsistencies. And you really can't judge a city this size in two days, especially as its getting cold, midweek, after some of the biggest summer festivals in the country have been held for over a month (louder that life now being the largest rock festival in the USA and St James being the #1 ranked art show by Sunshine magazine).

Despite this...you missed WHOLE neighborhoods which are known to be cleaner, wealthier, nicer, and more urban than anywhere you went. And you missed a FOURTH nightlife district bigger and better than anywhere you went. This also happens to be the district where all the beautiful women go (heart of ST Matthews).

You also conveniently missed the two BY FAR wealthiest urban areas (clifton and Crescent hill and frankfort ave) and two of the best "tenth" string urban nabes with rapid gentrification and honestly as much commercial activity as the best parts of say, Richmond outside the Fan(New Albany, IN and Shelby Park). It is in this corridor along Frankfort Ave, into St Matthews, that you will fine the beautiful thin women you are searching for! You simply didn't know where to go (and also sounds like a very off nite for that).

You were correct to recognize what have been saying all along...Louisville offers the urban feel of larger more hyped metro areas like Charlotte etc....you said this despite missing arguable some of the best, cleanest, and most upscale historic areas! In general, what you must understand is this...Louisville gets cleaner, nicer, and more pricey the further E/northeast you head. In fact, two of the wealthiest inner ring burbs in the nation are right here: Mockingbird Valley and Glenview, KY.

I'd also say you should have taken a short jaunt out tO Norton Commons. In a suburban area yes, but simply nothing like it in a town like Richmond. It's quite possibly the BEST new urbanist neighborhood in America (that's right) even better than places like Celebration FL. And the women there? Out of this world!

Regarding Old Louisville...its MASSIVE. If you think it was only 3 streets N/S, you are massively wrong. It's the LARGEST victorian neighborhood in the USA for heaven's sake. It's beautifuly restored from 6th st on the west, oak on the north, floyd on the east, and UofL campus/Speed museum on the south.

Bardstown rd isn't much smaller than High st in Columbus...maybe not as vertically dense but it goes over 3 miles, not two. And you missed the best streets it seems, places like Cherokee Rd, Rosewood Ave, Willow Ave, etc.

Again, you really need to come back, on a weekend, preferable in the spring. Try this area first:

Map — Frankfort Avenue Business Association

It's bigger and better than the Fan in Richmond and very clean and restored. The heart of St Matthews, centered around bars like Tin Roof and Gerstle's...you will really like the women there. Again, your gross stereotype of the women wasn't fair at all IMO.

Regarding the smell, its gotten worse ONLY along main street downtown and Butchertown. There's two reasons...one the city had several sewers collapse that are 150 years old and they are working on them so sewer gases are what you mainly smell. The second thing that is horrid on east main is the Swift pork plant. That's right....Louisville's Butchertown still has a MASSIVE meat packing plant and yes, that neighborhood smells like doody especially on warm days due to it Oh, that reminds me you also likely missed Butchertown, the new soccer stadium, new botanical gardens, and some of the most beautifully restored 19th century architecture in the city...and the best gay dance bar which incidentally is loaddded with model looking straight women on saturday!)

Louisville used to be as clean as Charleston until the last 5 years...the graffiti and crappy Democratic mayor have let it go....but so much infill and restoration work has been done I don't think this will continue being allowed with trash (it isn't SF or NYC type trash for heaven's sake but its certainly a decent amount for a metro this size).

But then again you left out soooooo much! Like how did you not even go to Goss Ave, Germantown, or Shelby Park? You missed completely developing neighborhoods such as Paristown and the new music hall.


The list goes on and on.

And read about Frederick Law Olmstead, Louisville's parkways, and the Parklands and then tell me Louisville doesn't have world class parks...but again sir, great VERY cursory overview. You got a decent general lay of the land of the immediate downtown area but honestly missed most of what makes most of us love the city! I honestly think if you came back at the end of April and focus in the areas I sent you, you will give it an 8. It's almost like a baby Pittsburgh....it really is! The suburbs....also being massive....you just didn't know where to go. Also, with all due respect....how is a 48 hour cursory trip whereby some of the most elite neighborhoods were completely missed due to a severe lack of knowledge of the city the "truth about Louisville?" I'd think a more appropriate title should be..." my cursory midweek overview of Louisville."

Last edited by Peter1948; 10-28-2019 at 11:45 PM..
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