1. The Derby Is Much Longer Than Two Minutes
Source: Flickr User Bill Brine
While it’s billed as the “most exciting 2 minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby celebrations last for weeks around the race making it one of the biggest parties in the country.
2. But Locals Would Still Rather Go To The Oaks
Source: Flickr User gavinrobinson
Held on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby each year, locals would rather go to the Oaks horse race than put up with the crowd of the Kentucky Derby. This won’t stop them from celebrating both race days though.
3. It’s Pronounced Lou-Uh-Vull
Source: Flickr User Roller Coaster Philosophy
Nothing annoys a Louisvillian more than when an out-of-towner pronounces their city’s name wrong. It’s not Louis-ville or Looey-ville, it’s Lou-uh-vull, said in one swift, fluid word.
4. In A Blue State, Louisvillians Are Seeing Red
Source: Flickr User Kentuckyguard
While most of Kentucky goes insane for the boys in blue, Louisvillians aren’t as crazy for the Kentucky Wildcats. Instead, they’d rather cheer for the hometown heroes, the Louisville Cardinals. When the two teams play each other, it gets crazier than the Super Bowl and the National Championship combined.
5. Local Bourbon Is Better Than Your Whiskey
Source: Flickr User Joe Shlabotnik
All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. In order for it to be bourbon, the mixture must be at least 51 percent corn and aged in charred oak barrels. It’s something Kentucky is known for and Louisvillians take full advantage of in-state distilleries.
6. To Louisvillians It’s Perfectly Normal To Put Leaves In Your Cocktail
Source: Flickr User Bridgman Pottery
Made famous at the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep is a Louisvillian classic. A mixture of bourbon, muddled with fresh mint leaves, sugar, and water, nothing hits the spot better on a hot summer day.
7. Only Half Of The Derby Goers Keep It Classy
Source: Flickr User gavinrobinson
It’s important that any out-of-towner coming in for race day is well aware that there are two different worlds at the Kentucky Derby. The first world is filled with fancy people in Derby hats in the stands of the complex, often show the most on television around the country. The other less publicized world is that of the infield, which consists of insane partying and close-to-no rules.
Picking the section that fits someone’s optimal experience is key to having a good time.
8. But The Best Race Is Ran On Top Of Porta-Potties
Source: Flickr User Phillip Pessar
Somehow during race day, intoxicated fans in the infield always manage to climb on top of the porta-potty rows with the intention of running across the roofs as fast as they can manage. It often spells disaster as injuries are almost guaranteed to anyone brave enough to attempt this stunt. It is, however, very entertaining.
9. There’s This Thing Called The Hot Brown And You’re Going To Want To Eat It Immediately
Source: The Brown Hotel via Facebook
Invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, this open-faced sandwich is topped with a near perfect combination of turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce. Anyone else suddenly starving?
10. Yep, The Mega Cavern Is Man Made
Source: Louisville Mega Cavern via Facebook
Once a limestone mine turned defense shelter for up to 50,000 people during the Cold War, the Mega Cavern in Louisville covers over 100 acres of underground space. Today, what’s classified as the largest building in Kentucky is home to a ton of entertainment attractions that change throughout the year.
11. Underground Ziplining Is Totally A Thing Here
Source: Louisville Mega Cavern via Facebook
One of the most common attractions at the Mega Cavern is the underground ziplining tour, the world’s only ziplining tour that’s completely underground. Lasting over two hours, this tour sends participants soaring up to 70 feet above the cavern floor.
12. Sometimes Zombies Roam This City’s Streets
Source: Louisville Zombie Walk via Facebook
Once a year, thousands of Louisvillians participate in Louisville’s Zombie Attack (aka the Zombie Walk) on Bardstown Road. It’s been going on for over a decade and gained popularity before zombies became all the rage the last few years.
If someone looking undead, covered in blood comes up to you in the streets of Louisville, make sure they’re not just in costume before you run for your life.
13. Despite Its Small Town Feel Louisville Is Actually Pretty Huge
Source: Flickr User Glorius
Louisville feels like a small town, but it’s actually the largest city in Kentucky, with tons of diverse areas and people to match. With over a million people in the metropolitan area, there’s somewhere for everyone to have a great time.
14. When Folks In Louisville Want To Cut Loose They Head To 4th Street
Source: Fourth Street Live! Entertainment District via Facebook
4th Street Live! is the most colorful bar street in Louisville. Attracting tons of partygoers, bachelor parties, and bachelorettes, it’s a great place to have a good time. It has tons of club options, with the glitz and glamor to match. Sometimes locals tend to shy away from this area as it can get pretty crowded, but it’s always a fun place to have a night on the town.
15. PBR Is Where Louisville Brushes Up On Its Bull Riding Skills
Source: Flickr User Gamma Man
If someone’s been to Fourth Street, there’s a good chance they’ve been to PBR Louisville Country Bar, home to “the world’s meanest mechanical bull.” You can pick up some bull riding skills, but your head won’t be the only thing hurting in the morning.
16. High School Allegiance Is A Big Deal To Folks In Louisville
Source: Ballard High School via Facebook
Louisvillians are all about knowing what schools their friends went to, not colleges, but high schools. High school rivalries in Louisville are a big deal and each high school has a well-known reputation, whether it’s the city kids, the farmers, or the rich kids. Every local bleeds the colors of their high school alma mater.
17. Louisville Is Home To The Home Run
Source: Flickr User jbcurio
One of the huge tourist attractions in Louisville is the Louisville Slugger Museum, and rightfully so, it’s pretty cool. It’s also home to the world’s largest baseball bat, a 6-story, 68,000 pound giant.
18. In Louisville Only The Strong Survive The Bambi Walk
Source: Bardstown Road via Facebook
Starting at Bambi Bar and ending at Phoenix Hill Tavern, this bar crawl is not for the faint of heart. It’s encouraged that participants walk the entire length of the crawl, stopping into their favorite spots on the way for a drink. Some brave souls try to do the entire thing, hitting 24 spots, having a drink at each, but that’s not advised.
19. Local Louisville Poets Roam Bardstown Road
Source: Flickr User merfam
For locals, Bardstown almost always trumps Fourth Street Live!, featuring more low-key destinations and a super cool atmosphere. There are usually tons of street performers to entertain bar-goers throughout the night as well.
20. Panama City Beach And Destin Are As Close To Paradise As A Louisvillian Gets
Source: Flickr User faungg’s photo
Taking a week of vacation in Louisville usually means someone is heading down to Florida. Louisvillians have a tendency to stop as soon as they see the shoreline often putting them in PCB or Destin. As long as it’s not spring break season, these can be some pretty relaxing places to go.
21. The Best Christmas Show In Louisville Happens Underneath The City
Source: Louisville Mega Cavern via Facebook
Christmas lovers tend to flock for miles to check out another attraction in the Mega Caverns, the seasonal “Lights Under Louisville” event. With over 2,000,000 lights on 850 displays, visitors are able to drive their own cars through the world’s only fully underground Christmas light show.
22. Forget The Weekend, In Louisville Wednesday Is The Best Day For Concerts
Source: Flickr User Zepfanman.com
On several Wednesdays throughout the summer, local radio station WFPK hosts their “Waterfront Wednesdays” concert series. Free to all, these concert bring great bands and a great atmosphere to the city’s waterfront park the last Wednesday of each summer month.
23. The Best Kentucky Fried Chicken Isn’t At KFC
Source: Flickr User stevendepolo
Sure, KFC is headquartered in Louisville, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to go for Kentucky fried chicken. Tons of other places tend to be local favorites, like Eiderdown, Indi’s, Chicken King, and Cast Iron Steakhouse. Every local has their go-to place in Louisville when it comes to chicken.
24. A Bourbon Ball Isn’t A Dance
Source: Flickr User anneh632
With so much bourbon in Kentucky, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a candy made with it. These balls are a mixture of crushed cookies, corn syrup, pecans and bourbon that’s been formed together and rolled in sugar. Muth’s Candy Shop is the best place to buy them if you’re not making them yourself, where they’re also dipped in chocolate.
25. Rick Pitino Makes The City Go Round
Source: Flickr User www.adamglanzmanphotography.com
Stemming from Louisville’s love for everything Louisville Cardinals, Rick Pitino is the most famous man around. He seems to make his way into most news story and every small talk conversation, but rightfully so after leading the Cardinals basketball team to a national championship in 2013.
26. No One Lives In Louisville’s Palace
Source: Flickr User M Floyd
This historic downtown theatre is the classiest place around to see a show. Featuring movie nights and high profile concerts, a trip to the Palace will never lead you wrong.
27. Everyone Puts Spaghetti In Chili, Right?
Source: Flickr User satanoid
Anywhere else in the country, it may seem a bit strange, but to a Louisvillian, no chili is complete without adding a few noodles. Whether the spaghetti is underneath a heaping portion of spicy meat or mixed throughout, once you try this creation, you’ll never go back.
28. The KFC Yum! Center Isn’t A Food Lover’s Paradise
Source: Flickr User TimHaag
Though it sounds like it should be some sort of all-you-can eat buffet, the Yum! Center is a huge sports arena, home to Louisville’s hometown sports teams.
29. The Big Four Bridge No Longer Goes Nowhere
Source: Flickr User LuAnn Snawder Photography
While it was shut down temporarily after trains stopped using it, earning it the nickname of “the bridge that goes nowhere,” that’s no longer the case. In 2013, it reopened for bike and foot traffic, connecting Louisville to Jeffersonville, Ind. That doesn’t mean that most Louisvillians will find an excuse not to cross the river into Indiana though.
30. To Louisvillians “The Big Lebowski” Is A Big Deal
Source: Lebowski Fest via Facebook
Many Louisvillians take pride in being home to the world’s first Lebowski Fest, an entire festival full of costumes, bowling, and a movie screening of the cult classic “The Big Lebowski.” Since its creation in the Derby City, the trend has since spread to most major cities around the country.
31. Even Deceased Louisvillians Can’t Seem To Quit This City
Source: The Waverly Hills Sanatorium via Facebook
Many experts consider Waverly Hills Sanatorium on Paralee Lane to be the most haunted place in the world. It used to be a tuberculosis hospital and has since been featured on tons of shows that investigate paranormal activity, all of which agree that the dead still haunt that halls.
32. Sun One Day, Means Snow The Next In Louisville
Source: Flickr User w.marsh
Winter months are notorious in Louisville for flopping back and forth between pleasantly chilly days and snowstorms. Regardless of how many snow days hit, they still seem to cripple the town on an annual basis.
33. Fact! Louisville Is The Best Kentucky City
Source: Louisville Cardinals via Facebook
A city filled with diverse, passionate residents, Louisville is the only designated “first-class city” in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It has a beautiful skyline, tons of culture, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s no surprise that when an out-of-towner visits Louisville, they can’t wait to come back.
What have you had to explain to out-of-towners about Louisville? Tell us in the comments below!