Omni Louisville Hotel - Now Open!
400 S 2nd Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202

48 Hours in Louisville

Once a secret gem, Louisville, Kentucky, is now a preferred destination for those in the know. Boasting everything from innovative Southern restaurants and educational yet historical museums to one of the most affordable costs of living in the country. This city is becoming more and more progressive by the year, expertly blending the past with the future. Most famous as the site of the Kentucky Derby, which takes place in May, there are many other things to experience in this thriving city.

By selecting Omni Louisville Hotel as the base for your vacation, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the bustling downtown area, making this two-day itinerary a must to discover everything the region has to offer.

Day One


Start your first morning with a light breakfast at Quill’s Coffee, a roast house that prides itself in its community-centric atmosphere. In addition to handcrafted espresso drinks, pour-over coffees and various types of tea, guests can enjoy yogurt with granola, breakfast burritos, warm kale salad and mochi waffles.

Another nearby coffee shop with major appeal is Please & Thank You, where you can grab a bagel with (regular or vegan) cream cheese, egg sliders, a cup of oatmeal or a breakfast Panini. You can also grab a “never-ending” cup of coffee and check out the small vinyl record collection for sale in the back room.

Get out and get a feel for Louisville with a stroll to the Louisville Waterfront Park. This 85-acre space sits adjacent to the Ohio River and features art installations, numerous water features, an Abraham Lincoln memorial, an operable river steamboat and the Kentucky Grove of native trees along with picturesque views.

Also located near the park, the Big Four Bridge gives visitors a chance to walk across the river to Indiana via a former railroad truss bridge. Spanning more than 2,000 feet, it’s a great way to get your blood flowing, to breathe some fresh air and to see the city from a different perspective.


With all of the walking you’ll do in the morning, you’re sure to work up an appetite. Satisfy your hunger with lunch at Royals Hot Chicken, an eatery offering things like chicken tenders, a fried chicken sandwich and cheese chicken poppers, with various heat levels and dipping sauces. Make sure to try a Royal Shake as well, to which you can add a shot of bourbon. For another laidback lunch option, visit Garage Bar. Housed in an old auto service garage, this unique spot cooks up wood-fired pizzas in a brick oven. Pair the milled tomato, bison sausage, Brussels sprouts or house-made pepperoni pizzas with bottled craft beers.

Get out of the downtown area for a little while and pay a visit to the Speed Art Museum, which offers a wealth of artwork from around the world. The permanent collection includes ancient, classical, Native American and contemporary works as well as a special selection of Kentucky artwork and furniture spanning 1800 to 1945.

A trip to Louisville simply wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Churchill Downs, famous as the racetrack that hosts the annual Kentucky Derby. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy everything from thoroughbred racing to tours of the facility. Churchill Downs is also home to the Kentucky Derby Museum, filled with interactive historical exhibits.


Make your first night in town one to remember. Dress in your finest and head to dinner at Marketplace Restaurant, where Southern cuisine is prepared with an Italian flare. Housed in the historic Kentucky Theater, the restaurant serves up main dishes like butter-poached short ribs, duck breast and sustainably farmed salmon. Another renovated spot, Decca, offers two dining rooms and an outdoor patio on which to enjoy its selection of wild shrimp, wood-grilled rib-eye and squid ink linguine. Downstairs, enjoy craft cocktails in the brick-and-limestone lounge, The Cellar, while live musicians entertain.

Both of these restaurants are only about a mile away from your next stop: the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. This is a one-stop spot for opera, orchestral performances, Broadway musicals, ballets, theater dramas, live music and comedy shows. The center also has its own art collection that is displayed throughout.

After seeing a show, head back to Omni Louisville Hotel to close out the night in unique style at Pin + Proof. The Prohibition-style speakeasy serves up specialty cocktails while guests mingle and unwind in the cozy and intimate setting. The bar also features four professional bowling lanes, which only adds to its distinctiveness.

Day Two


Grab a great cup of coffee at the hotel and experience a Louisville original. Heine Bros, which opened its first location in 1994, serves organic and fair trade coffees from around the world as well as a variety of specialty drinks.

If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, Wild Eggs is a short 10-minute walk away. This casual yet contemporary eatery offers unique dishes like Sweet Home Apple Bourbon crepes, Bananas Foster French toast, the Mr. Potato Head egg casserole, the Creole omelet and the everything muffin.

After breakfast, head to the famed Louisville Slugger Museum. Take a tour of the on-site factory, which details the production of Louisville Slugger baseball bats, then explore the interactive exhibits and memorabilia housed within. Sports lovers will also enjoy the nearby Muhammad Ali Center, dedicated to the beloved boxer.


Once back at the hotel, grab some leisure time at The Water Company rooftop pool and bar. Located on the third floor, The Water Company is the perfect place to enjoy small plates and cocktails poolside while overlooking downtown Louisville.

For lunch, head off-property to Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse, where you’ll enjoy seasoned baby back ribs, brisket, pulled pork and barbecue-inspired sides as well as things like seasonal oysters, smoked shrimp and Southern crab cakes. If you prefer a hidden gem, try Hammerheads. Located in Louisville’s “Germantown” neighborhood, this contemporary gastropub / smokehouse offers dishes from shrimp and grits to roasted duck sandwiches to venison and elk burgers.

Once you’re ready to venture out again, get a little adventurous at the Louisville Mega Cavern. A former underground limestone mine, this attraction offers a unique experience with two-hour tours whisking guests through the cavern by way of tram, bicycle, aerial ropes course or zip line.


For Southern food with an Asian twist, visit a trendy small plate restaurant called MilkWood, which serves everything from octopus bacon and slow-cooked glazed rabbit to Kentucky barbecued lamb and smoked soy veggie ramen. If you’re in the mood for Latin American cuisine, try Mayan Café. This local favorite has been serving up seasonal farm-to-table dishes like chilaquiles, scallop ceviche, empanadas, burritos and fried plantains for more than 20 years.

While visiting the Bourbon Capital of the World, it’s a must to experience some of the local bourbon distilleries. Stop by the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse at nearby 4th Street Live! Take a tour to view the distillery and bottling line then enjoy a tasting and bottle your own bourbon to take home. They also offer workshops to learn to make your own tasty bourbon cocktails. Other noteworthy downtown distilleries include Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and Angel’s Envy Distillery.

End the evening at 4th Street Live! This entertainment destination features more than a dozen restaurants, bars, and nightlife hotspots. One spot that’s sure to be lively is Howl at the Moon, where you can enjoy live music and vivacious dueling piano shows featuring long-time favorites and modern hit songs while sipping classic cocktails, beer and wine or specialty shots.

If you have more time...

Those looking to explore more of Kentucky should visit Lexington. Located only about an hour and a half from Louisville, the city is an ideal stop for those that love all things equestrian, with the Kentucky Horse Park and The Thoroughbred Center located there. Lexington is also home to the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the family residence of the future wife of the sixteenth President of the United States. Hourly tours are available Monday – Saturday.

The Omni Louisville Hotel concierge team contributed to this article.