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Why We Chose Louisville (and How You Pronounce It)

Sitting on the Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky is known as the home of the Kentucky Derby — but it’s certainly not its only noteworthy attraction. Discover our top 10 reasons for picking Louisville as the next HGTV Urban Oasis locale, and learn how to fit in the locals with the correct pronunciation of their hometown.

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Photo: Louisville Tourism

Louisville, Kentucky

Whether you’re planning a solo or couple’s getaway, a family trip or a vacation with friends, it’s time to bump Louisville, Ky., to the top of your list. This southern town was voted one of The New York Times’s 52 Places to Go in 2023, and there’s a myriad of reasons why — from its bourbon trail and sporting events to its incredible food and craft beer scene and family-friendly activities.

Now, for the big question. How exactly to you pronounce the city’s moniker? Let’s start by saying that even residents of Louisville don’t always agree on how to pronounce their city, so our biggest suggestion is just don’t say, “Loo-iss-ville.” Our insiders say “Luh-vul” is the correct pronunciation, but we also know a few go the way of “Loo-a-vul” and “Loo-a-ville.” Truly, no matter how you say it, we suggest giving this southern town a visit — you won’t be disappointed.

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Photo: Louisville Tourism

Bourbon Country

Cozy up to the bar for the best drink in town. Louisville is the starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and the Urban Bourbon Trail®, as well as a vast array of other bourbon experiences. Its history as a bourbon town dates as far back as 1783 and Main Street even earned the moniker of “Whiskey Row” in the late 19th century. Today, those cast-iron storefronts that once housed bourbon-related office and warehouses are now filled with popular bourbon attractions and must-stop bars and restaurants for locals and tourists alike.

With 10 distillery experiences (the only city in the world to boast that many!) and countless bourbon-centric attractions, from cocktail classes, one-of-a-kind accommodations, chic shopping and educational tours, Louisville is the perfect spot to start your bourbon journey or to use as your homebase for exploring all of Bourbon Country across Kentucky.

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Photo: Louisville Tourism

Kentucky Derby

The first Saturday in May is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” when the world turns its eyes to Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby. This bucket-list event draws a crowd of 155,000 every year and is the longest continually held sporting event in America. But even if you can’t make it to the actual Derby, Louisville offers the Derby experience all year round. Head to the track for horse races throughout the year, tour the Kentucky Derby Museum, taste the iconic Derby-Pie® and sip on a mint julep, the Official Cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.

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Photo: Steve Grider, Louisville Tourism

Thunder Over Louisville

Watch awe-inspiring colors and pyrotechnics light up the sky during one of the largest annual fireworks shows in North America. Thunder Over Louisville, the official kickoff to the Kentucky Derby Festival, is a not-to-be-missed event that draws over half a million people to the shores of the Ohio River and the rooftops of the Louisville skyline.

The all-day spectacle begins with an air show, is filled with food vendors, a craft beer garden and a family fun zone, and concludes with a non-stop 28-minute firework spectacular — that you’ll be talking about long after you head home.

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