I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, a city famous for two things: bourbon and horses. True to form, my childhood in Louisville involved plenty of of horseback riding, and I developed a taste for bourbon at a young age (nooo, that sounded bad. I mean like… bourbon in chocolate form, not actual bourbon. Look, I turned out just fine, OK?). I may have moved away years ago, but I will always think of Louisville as home.
Visiting Louisville as an adult, I’ve realized that there is SO much to do in this amazing city, and so much to share with my husband Jeremy. Jeremy is a true Californian, a blonde-haired green-eyed native who grew up on the beach. I’m not sure Kentucky was ever on his list of “places I want to visit every year for the rest of my life.” But Jeremy has fallen in love with Louisville too. So much so that we’re actually considering moving back at some point in the near future – much to the horror of his Californian friends and family, who don’t understand that Louisville is to Kentucky what Austin is to Texas, if you catch my meaning. What I’m trying to say here is that it’s welcoming to outsiders, very LGBT friendly, super artsy, totally hipster, incredibly cool, and definitely the most romantic getaway in Kentucky. But if you’ve ready any of our other posts about Louisville, you probably already caught onto that already.
Nowadays when we visit home, we split our time between seeing family and friends and exploring the city (er, and stuffing ourselves with our favorite Louisville foods). Hand in hand, we’ve uncovered things to do in Louisville that I never fully appreciated on my own. And we’ve realized that Louisville makes the PERFECT romantic getaway! Whether you’re looking for a weekend escape or you live close enough to Louisville to visit frequently (so jealous), there are tons of romantic things to do in Louisville. Below, we’ve got a selection of our top date ideas, organized by category (so that you can tailor your date to your Tinder selection for that day. Kidding, ish). Grab your adventure partner and snuggle up on your romantic getaway to Louisville, Kentucky!
Planning a Romantic Getaway to Louisville?
Planning a trip to Louisville? We’ve got a bunch of other posts about Louisville that you’ll want to check out before your trip! Don’t forget to sign up below for our FREE downloadable guide to Louisville, and we’ll also send you some insider tips before you go.
- 50+ Places to Visit in Louisville, Kentucky: The Ultimate Local’s Guide
- 29 Amazing Places to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky: A Local’s Guide
- The 27 Best Breweries, Distilleries, & Bars in Louisville, KY
We also have a Podcast episode all about Louisville! Horse races, bourbon, baseball bats, and a…death tunnel? Today we tell the story of Lia’s hometown: Louisville, KY! We trace the history of the city from its frontier origins to the modern-day. Louisville’s history runs deep, and it’s not always pretty. So pour yourself a bourbon and tune in. Unless you’re driving – that’s not cool.
Listen above or just click here to launch your Podcast app! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new episodes.
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Ok, let’s get to these date ideas, already!
If Your Ideal Date Involves…Eating & Drinking
Raise your hand if romance and delicious food & drinks go hand in hand. Shocker: Jeremy and I both raised our hands. It’s no secret that we’re foodies at heart, and we both agree that the Louisville foodie scene is one of the best in the country. We’ve got a massive guide to the best places to eat in Louisville, as well as a guide to the best Louisville bars, distilleries, and breweries.
Suffice to say, we spend a LOT of time eating and drinking our way through Louisville whenever we visit! Through copious research (aka so much eating), we’ve evaluated the best places to take your date for foodie-friendly romance!
Share a Romantic Meal
- For a romantic breakfast or brunch to fuel up before a day of activity and adventure, take your date to Butchertown Grocery. Located in Butchertown – which was once a warehouse district with a distinct hovering smell of soybeans and meat, but has since evolved into an extremely cool district filled with art spaces, theatres, and distilleries – Butchertown Grocery is an uber-hip eatery. You’ll find an incredible selection of drinks, such as a Bloody Mary with a shank of bone marrow in it. But the real star is the FOOD! From a pecan salad topped with jalapeno blue cheese ice cream to a heaping plate of candied chicken & waffles, you’ll find something ridiculous and amazing for everyone. Butchertown Grocery serves lunch and dinner, too.
- Head Wiltshire on Market for an unbelievable dinner in a romantic setting, conveniently located right downtown and close to most of our favorite romantic things to do in Louisville. The menu changes weekly to source seasonal, fresh local ingredients, but one thing’s for sure: whatever’s on order is always delicious. But there’s one thing you should know, and this is very important: DO NOT SKIP DESSERT HERE. You will regret it forever, your date will grow to resent you, and you’ll end up having to return to Louisville just to make things right again. So make it easy on yourself… and ask for the dessert menu up front so you can physically prepare yourself. Note: The restaurant is only open Thursday through Sunday evenings.
- Proof on Main,the unique restaurant inside of Louisville’s famous 21C Museum Hotel right on Museum Row, is every bit as quirky as its hotel home. Redecorated regularly with its own series of installations, the restaurant is a museum in its own right. Oh, and the food is magnificent. Proof is an excellent place for a romantic brunch, lunch, or dinner in Louisville. Dinner options at Proof include the blackberry pop tart with chicken liver pate & cracklin, braised rabbit ragout, and roasted bones, whatever that means. Order drinks after your meal and take them with you as you wander through the galleries in 21C, making impressive-sounding comments about art and giggling over the art installation in the bathrooms.
- Buck’s Restaurant and Bar may not have the most romantic sounding name but trust us, this restaurant is romance gold. Tucked away in the quiet, stunning neighborhood of Old Louisville – our favorite neighborhood in Louisville to stroll or bike through, or in which to browse for homes on Zillow from the comfort of our overpriced apartment in San Francisco – Buck’s offers incredible food in a gorgeous romantic setting. Whether you’re seated outside or in the flower-laden restaurant, you can’t help but be swept away in the romance of it all. Buck’s is on the Urban Bourbon Trail, so feel free to take the opportunity to learn some stuff about Louisville’s favorite drink. Oh, and be sure to order a Hot Brown. Look, leaving Louisville without trying a Hot Brown is practically a crime; don’t do it.
Get a Drink at a Hidden Speakeasy
Kentucky and bourbon go together like… well, like bourbon and chocolate (see, this is why I’m not a poet). Louisville is home to plenty of amazing bourbon bars, but one of the most romantic places to imbibe Louisville’s most iconic spirit is in a Speakeasy!
Prohibition was a huge deal for historic Louisville. Many bourbon makers went under. But others just went underground. Today, you can relive 1920’s era Louisville in one of its many speakeasy bars! … If you can find them, that is.
- Lola: Located on top of one of our favorite Louisville restaurants, Butchertown Grocery, Lola’s drinks are every bit as amazing as the food from the kitchen below it. The ambiance of the bar reminded us a bit of the Red Room from Twin Peaks, which is something I only know because Jeremy has a film degree which apparently requires you to make your wife sit through insane David Lynch shows (spoilers: I am not a rabid Twin Peaks fan. Fight me). Anyway, film nerd or not, the drinks are excellent. Try the Hum For Your Buzz, a tasty foamy pisco drink topped with egg white, or just YOLO it and get a shot through a chunk of Bone Marrow.
- Pin & Proof: What’s better than a speakeasy? A speakeasy that’s also a bowling alley! With 4 lanes and a menu of drinks and bites that are sure to impress, this is anything but your typical bowling alley. Grab some friends and make it a double or triple date.
- Hell or High Water: Located at an unmarked address underneath a nondescript room and behind a blank door, you’ll wonder whether you’re at the right place as you wind through the dark underground hallway of Hell or High Water… until you arrive. Decorated in dark red velvet and brick, with a lounge, a library, and several secret rooms, Hell or High Water feels a bit like you’ve stepped back in time. The atmosphere is intimate and the drinks are divine. We strongly encourage you to make a reservation before your date, and request to be seated in the Wardrobe Room 😉 That’s all we can say about that…
If Your Ideal Date is… Outdoorsy
So you and your date are fitness buffs, eh? Or perhaps you fall more in that grey area between “not couch potatoes” and “not exactly athletes?” Well, us too. As long as we’re still young(ish) and healthy (mostly), Jeremy and I love active dates! There are tons of outdoor adventures in Louisville – or just outside of it. Here are our favorites!
See Louisville by Bike
Louisville is a fantastic city to explore by bike, particularly near downtown, where you can easily find a bike to rent through Louisville’s bike sharing program LouVelo. Louisville has focused recently on building more bike lanes and bike paths – including a 100-mile loop that will encircle the entire city, which is still in progress – and taking advantage of them makes for a fantastic active date!
- Explore the Parklands of Floyds Fork. Miles away from downtown, you’ll find a more rural part of the city with one of the best parks in Louisville! This area also happens to be 5 minutes away from where I grew up, and I’m still getting used to the idea that a giant park replaced the tiny one whose empty parking lot was where I drove a car for the very first time in my life. But nostalgia and ghost stories aside, the Parklands are rad. From Mountain Biking to 19 miles of wide, paved bike-friendly paths along this section of the Louisville Loop, there’s something for every kind of cycler! You’ll find information about access points, bike rentals, pathways and more on the right here.
- Our favorite neighborhood to bike through aimlessly is Old Louisville, with its stunning Victorian houses – the largest collection of Victorian homes IN THE WORLD! – and tree-lined streets. Sight-see all 48 blocks of beauty by bike, and finish up with a picnic in Central Park.
- One of the best bike paths in Louisville connects the Louisville Loop to the Ohio River Greenway. The route spans 2 states, which sounds a lot more impressive if you don’t realize how close Indiana is to Kentucky (locals frequently refer to southern Indiana as “Kentuckiana,” if it gives you an idea). You’ll start your bike ride on the Louisville Loop running along the waterfront, cross the Big Four Bridge into Indiana, and continue on the Ohio River Greenway, admiring skyline views of downtown Louisville along the way. To find a good spot to start your ride, check out this map – “A” means “Access Point.”
- Take a self-guided bike tour of downtown Louisville with Wheel Fun Rentals.
Become Two with Nature
Kentucky is full of natural beauty, and although Louisville is more big city than rural Appalachia, there’s plenty of stunning places to soak up the great outdoors. We’ve found of the best ways to get to know your partner is on long, romantic walks … or hikes. There’s nothing like walking together to cut through the surface-level chit-chat and drive straight into the Deep Conversations that Jeremy and I always seem to have on a long hike.
- Cherokee Park is an enormous and beautiful park close to downtown Louisville. The park cuts through the Highlands, one of Louisville’s most beautiful neighborhoods. The park is covered in forest and hills, and through it wind myriad walking paths, biking routes, and even a 2.4 mile scenic loop that you can do by car if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get lost easily and is able to follow signs (this disqualifies me). Take your date for a drive, a stroll, or even a hike or trail run, you Olympic athletes, you!
- In addition to bike paths, the Parklands at Floyds Fork on the outskirts of Louisville are home to some of the best walking paths and hiking trails in Louisville! Pick a hike and throw on your cutest athletic gear.
- Far from downtown Louisville, peaceful Jefferson Memorial Forest is a refuge for those seeking to immerse themselves in lush nature and beauty. Pick one of the many hikes in Jefferson Memorial Forest, ranging from easy paved pathways to rugged and challenging trails.
- Still further out, you’ll find Bernheim Forest, with plenty of hikes to choose from. Shake things up and try one of Bernheim’s nighttime events, like the monthly guided Full Moon Walks. You’ll gaze at the night sky and contemplate the universe while simultaneously impressing your date with your ability to not trip over stuff in the dark. So romantic!
Canoe, Kayak or Paddleboard
Louisville is a river city, which means that there are TONS of opportunities for canoeing and kayaking on the many tributaries of the Ohio River, not to mention countless lakes and ponds. I grew up canoeing around the pond in my backyard and in Floyd’s Fork, which as I mentioned earlier is 5 minutes from my childhood home, used to be a MUCH smaller park, and is next to a haunted train trellis. What? Just making sure you were paying attention!
- Harrod’s Creek is a beautiful, scenic creek that connects to the Ohio River. Parts of the creek are home to a Great Blue Heron Rookery, so keep your eyes out for giant herons and their awkward, fluffy babies. Rent a kayak or canoe from Nachand Canoe & Kayak. Psst: they host a couples evening out on the creek every Wednesday and Friday night – how romantic is THAT?!
- Floyds Fork is a beautiful tributary of the Salt River in a more rural part of Louisville. You’ll be paddling through lush green forest and literally retracing the same canoe trip I used to do with my mom growing up. Pick up a kayak or canoe at Blue Moon Canoe & Kayaks and pick an entry point in the Parklands – here’s a guide!
- Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) with Endless Summer Paddle. Stand-Up Paddleboarding is kind of like if surfing and kayaking had a baby. It’s definitely challenging, but I’m actually better at it than Jeremy, and he grew up surfing. What I’m trying to say is if I can balance my clumsy butt on a board while paddling circles around Jeremy, you can too! Endless Summer offers tours on the Ohio River, in the limestone-filtered Falling Rock Park Quarry, on beautiful (and enormous) Taylorsville Lake, and on Lake Jericho.
If Your Ideal Date Involves …Art & Culture
There’s nothing sexier than listening to your date wax poetic about their favorite artist, or explain the ramifications of some important historical occurrence, or geek out over an ancient artifact. Guess what, people? Being culturally intelligent is H-O-T. And no, I’m pretty sure it’s not just because I’m a giant nerd. My ideal museum would probably be about the history of spreadsheets. Or Lord of the Rings. Anyway, Louisville has LOTS of art and culture. Here are our favorite romantic things to do in Louisville for art & culture aficionados!
Impress Your Date at a Museum or Art Gallery
What’s more romantic than strolling hand in hand through a museum, making impressive-sound comments about art and history and remarking on the human condition, or whatever? Whether you’re well-versed in art, a total history buff, or you just want your date to think you’re cultured as heck, Louisville has tons of awesome museums and places to open your mind and stuff yourself full of culture.
- Located adjacent to the University of Louisville’s campus in Old Louisville, the recently renovated Speed Art Museum is the oldest, largest, and foremost museum of art in Kentucky. Called one of “The World’s Most Beautiful New Museums” by Travel & Leisure Magazine (the building is rad, seriously… you should visit just for the selfie) the museum features rotating exhibitions on a diverse array of ancient, classical, and modern art. Take your date to After Hours at the Speed every third Friday to enjoy themed music, performances, food and entertainment in the coolest setting ever. Or if you’re on a budget, head to the Speed on a Sunday to take advantage of FREE admission!
- The stretch of historic downtown on West Main Street is home to Museum Row, a conveniently located collection of many of the best museums in Louisville. Our favorites are, in no specific order… 21C Museum, the coolest contemporary art museum slash hotel ever (let the record show that although 21C Museum Hotels have expanded into other cities, Louisville is home to the original). The Frazier History Museum, where you can peruse ancient weapons while learning about history through eerily realistic giant wax figurines and expertly acted re-enactments and choreographed fights (Louisville is a theatre city, remember?). The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is the best place to take baseball fans – it’s where all the Louisville Slugger bats are made. Yes, all of them! The Muhammad Ali Center is all about one of Louisville’s most famous residents, from Ali’s illustrious boxing career to the man himself – including all of his flaws – as well as the racist and conflicted society from which he emerged.
- If your visit coincides with the first Friday of the month, you’re in luck! First Friday Hop in Louisville is one of the best ways to get to know the city’s rad, extensive art scene. Hop on one of the free zero-emission buses (the bus system is called TARC, in case you want to sound like a local) and ride around downtown Louisville to explore its galleries, shops, and restaurants for the perfect date-night fun. From game design to art and craft to costume design to artisan chocolates to sound visuals (?) to karaoke (YES), First Friday Hop will blow your freakin’ mind. Chances of you and your date browsing for houses for sale in Louisville by the end of your trip: 10/10.
Appreciate Louisville’s Incredible Theatre Scene
I’ve mentioned it before – several times – but Louisville has an incredible theater scene. Not only has the city produced Hollywood actors such as Jennifer Lawrence – who I actually studied theater with in middle school! … she doesn’t remember me – Ashley Judd, Jennifer Carpenter, and Tom Cruise, but the independent Louisville acting scene is thriving.
Most theater aficionados have heard of the world famous Humana Festival of New Plays in April or Kentucky Shakespeare, which performs free Shakespeare in Central Park during the summer and, incidentally, is the longest-running free Shakespeare festival in the country and also THE BEST ONE. But Louisville actually produces excellent theater year-round! To flesh out a romantic evening, start with dinner before the show and end with post-show drinks at one of Louisville’s best bars or a nearby speakeasy.
To see what’s playing, pick up an LEO Weekly or check out some of my favorite local theater companies and venues:
- Actor’s Theatre | Theatre  | The Alley Theatre | Commonwealth Theatre | Looking for Lilith | Pandora Productions | Bunbury Theatre | The Bard’s Town Theatre
Take a Self-Guide Civil Rights Tour of Louisville
Louisville is an old city, with a rich and fascinating history. One of the most fascinating stories about Louisville’s past and present is the history of Civil Rights in Louisville. During the Civil War, Kentucky was a divided state. Families were ripped in half by political tensions, as some chose to fight for freedom while their brothers and cousins chose to fight for wealth. Louisville has always felt politically isolated from the rest of Kentucky, and it’s not hard to imagine how tense and personal politics felt in the 1860’s with today’s political climate.
On the self-guided Civil Rights tour of Louisville, you’ll trace the history of Civil Rights in Louisville all the way from the Civil War, to the cultural context from which Muhammed Ali emerged, to the Louisville of today, which is both welcoming to refugees and immigrants and yet still struggling to dismantle a geographical segregation that has physically divided Louisville for many years.
You can pick up a print copy of the tour at the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage or the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
If Your Ideal Date Involves …Adrenaline
It’s a scientific fact: adrenaline rushes are romantic AF. No, really. This study proved, and I quote, “a significant positive correlation between adrenaline and attraction, which means as level of adrenaline increased, so did level of attraction.” HOT DAYUM, you better wear your best underwear for these dates 😉
Cozy Up on a Rollercoaster
There was not a single year of my childhood that I didn’t have a season pass to Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville’s very own awesome amusement park. Spending a day re-connecting with my inner child at Kentucky Kingdom (and its awesome waterpark, Hurricane Bay) is one of my all-time favorite things to do in Louisville. And as y’all already know, Jeremy and I LOVE a good theme park.
Cozy up to your date as you fly through the air, make them do cheesy stuff like win you a giant stuffed animal or whatever, and eat funnel cake and other delicious, nostalgic theme park treats to your heart’s content. This is one date that will have you and your partner giggling like you’re two teenagers in love, even if you’re actually more in the “over 30” demographic.
ZipLine in a Forest … or a Cave
Louisville is home to not just one, but TWO awesome ziplines. You can zipline in a forest or you can zipline underneath Louisville in one a giant cave. Yep, for real! Get your heart pumping and experience Louisville from a whole new angle.
- Imagine you and your date swinging through a forest canopy. Guess what, Tarzan? You don’t have to go to Costa Rica for that: you can do it right here in Louisville. Tackle 5 treetop obstacle courses with 39 exciting crossings like the Log Swing, Wobbly Ladder (oh my god, I got wobbly just thinking about that) 2 Tarzan swings and 5 exhilarating zip lines at Zipline Kingdom in Jefferson Memorial Forest.
- 2 words: Underground. Zipline. That’s right. You and your date will zip through a freaking enormous limestone cavern underneath the city of Louisville on a date that combines 2 things that Lia’s terrified of but Jeremy loves: spelunking and ziplining! You can only find this at the Louisville Mega Cavern; there is actually nothing else like this in the entire world. How rad is that?!
If Your Ideal Date Involves … Watching the Sunset
Nothing is more romantic than watching a good sunset. And one thing about Louisville that I’ve never quite understood is that it has THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS in the WHOLE FREAKIN’ WORLD. It really does, though.
I mean, we’ve seen some amazing sunsets in our lives. But for whatever reason, the Louisville sunsets are just above and beyond on like, a consistent basis. Is it something to do with the Ohio River Valley? Is it related to the fact that our drinking water is also the best in the country?
I have no idea, but in my opinion, some of the best dates in Louisville are just the simple and powerful act of watching the sunset.
Watch the Sunset on the Ohio River
My favorite place to watch the sunset in Louisville is on the Ohio River. Something about the way the water sparkles and reflects the setting sun while boats drift past is just so, incredibly soul-quenching. Here’s where to appreciate those stunning Louisville sunsets right on the river.
- And one of the best spots for river sunset-watching is at Captain’s Quarters. Order a Hot Brown – one of Louisville’s most famous foods – and head outside. The giant outdoor patio of this waterfront restaurant is perfect for sunset watching. Note: On weekend evenings during the summer, Captain’s Quarters does tend to get pretty packed, so arrive early!
- Sunset in Louisville is a nightly event, and folks turn out for it at the Big Four Bridge in Louisville’s downtown Waterfront Park, right on the Ohio River. You and your date won’t be alone, but it’s certainly not packed – it’s just the right kind of atmosphere that makes you think, “wow, look how many of us are here just admiring this beautiful sunset tonight! I guess we’re all in this together.” Head to the Big Four Bridge about an hour before the sun actually sets so you have enough time for a nice long walk across the river, into Indiana, maybe down the Greenway a little bit, and then back in time to catch the last rays of pink and orange disappear beyond the horizon.
Take a Sunset Cruise on the Belle of Louisville
- When we first visited Louisville, Jeremy did a double take as we strolled down the waterfront. “Is that a STEAMBOAT? Like, an actual steamboat?!” Um, YES! As if emerging from the annals of river-city history, the Belle of Louisville was floating down the Ohio River towards us in all of her glory.
- Built in 1914 and originally named Idlewild, which is probably what all of our children will be named, the Belle of Louisville is still operating to this day alongside her much younger sister, the Mary M. Miller (named after a Louisville native and the first ever female steamboat captain!).
- Book a dinner cruise and you’ll enjoy a buffet and dancing on board as you ride off into the sunset. Literally – you’ll be ON the Ohio River at sunset. Feel free to wave at the crowds of jealous onlookers on shore excitedly pointing out the Belle as she passes by – she’s kind of a big deal!
Watch the Sunset from Above
Louisville has tons of great places to view its weirdly beautiful sunsets, whether you’re on a bridge or the water’s edge. But what about taking in the sunset from up above? Say, on a roof? Or the top of a hotel?? Yep, Louisville’s got a few of those, too! Take your date high above the city to appreciate Louisville from a new perspective.
- 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen is Louisville’s best rooftop bar, complete with fire pits, cozy seating, and stunning views of downtown Louisville. Dine inside and then take your drinks outdoors to watch the sunset.
- Located on the 25th floor of one of Louisville’s most iconic hotels, the Galt House, Swizzle is the perfect restaurant for taking in 360-degree sunset views over downtown Louisville and the Ohio River. I mean 360-degrees literally, by the way: the restaurant rotates as you eat, so you’ll catch the best views in Louisville no matter where you’re seated!
- Swizzle isn’t the only place to catch stunning views of the Ohio River from the top of the Galt House. Head up to Al J’s for drinks overlooking the river. You’ll be sharing the bar with a giant aquarium, so don’t be surprised if some fish friends photo-bomb your romantic selfie. Also, if you’re curious, this bar is in no way related to one of our favorite bands, Alt-J. We checked.
Bonus Louisville Date Ideas
Look, not everything fits neatly into a tidy category, OK? There are a LOT of romantic things to do in Louisville – and just outside of it. So if you’re still planning your romantic getaway to Louisville, here are some bonus ideas!
Looking for another romantic day trip or weekend getaway from Louisville? Indianapolis is only 2 hours north up I-65! Read our Indianapolis weekend getaway itinerary.
Take a Scenic Road Trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
One of the most romantic day trips from Louisville is to go bourbon tasting on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! As you drive out of Louisville and into the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, you’ll see what I mean – it’s a stunning road trip and a fun day of bourbon tasting all in one.
Hands down, our favorite distilleries to visit are Woodford Reserve Distilleryand Maker’s Mark Distillery: if you have to limit yourself to just one single day trip from Louisville, those are the bourbon distilleries we recommend.
- Travel Tip: You can book a tour with Louisville based Mint Julep Tours who will take care of the planning (and most importantly, the driving) for you.
Seasonal Date Nights
The best things to do in Louisville for couples change seasonally: from the first blush of spring and the excitement of Derby Season, to warm summer nights when sun doesn’t set until 9:30pm, to brisk fall evenings when Halloween feels like it’s around every corner. Seasonality is honestly the thing I miss the most living in California instead of Louisville, and I’ve made it a point to take Jeremy back to visit during each of my 3 favorite seasons in Louisville! Here are our favorite dates for each season.
- Spring: Springtime means only one thing: the Kentucky Derby is just around the corner! This is the most exciting time to visit Louisville, and the whole city celebrates throughout April and May. The Derby Festival in April kicks off the festivities, and everything suddenly bursts into bright colors, blooming flowers, oversized hats, life-sized painted horse statues, and horse-racing-themed cocktail parties. This is my favorite time to visit Louisville, and there’s so much to do during this time of year that I wrote an entire article about it for Fodor’s! Take your date to watch the North America’s largest fireworks display or cheer for your favorite horses at Churchill Downs.
- Summer: Warm summer nights bring Louisville to life with evening activities! There’s WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays, monthly free concerts right on the Ohio River waterfront. There’s the Shakespeare Festival, the longest running (and BEST!) free annual Shakespeare festival in the country, right in Old Louisville at Central Park. Or take your date to Churchill Downs for Downs after Dark to experience nighttime racing, live music, yummy food and of course, bourbon.
- Fall: Ah, fall. Crunchy leaves, candied apples and hot apple cider, cuddling up in terror during scary movies – it’s like, the most romantic season, right? Halloween is a big deal in Louisville – so much so that I’ve got an entire post about why you have to visit Louisville in the fall! Halloween on Hillcrest is the best place to see amazing Halloween light displays, complete with graveyards, interactive displays, and – last time I was there – a zombified Selfie Booth.If you and your date like a good Scavenger Hunt, the Danger Run Haunted House Scavenger Hunt combines the thrill of solving cryptic clues in the car with getting lost in creepy corners of Louisville and visiting multiple Haunted Houses (if you can find them!) – all in one fun packed night – it’s probably the coolest date you’ll ever go on! Looking for something a little less … scary? Don’t miss taking a glittering candle-lit walk through thousands of impeccably carved pumpkins, all built together to form larger than life works of art at the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular in Iroquois Park.
Where to Stay in Louisville (for Romance)
When it comes to picking a place to stay during your romantic weekend getaway in Louisville, there are a few places that we think are perfectly suited for romance. Each of our recommendations is located centrally near most of the places we recommended above in some of our favorite parts of the city, and they’re all unique examples of Louisville accommodations!
- The Romance on the River package at the Galt House Hotel, one of Louisville’s most iconic hotels. Not only is the Galt House perfectly located right on the waterfront and in central Downtown, walking distance to everything, but it’s the home of 2 of our favorite romantic picks for food & drinks, AND an absolutely gorgeous pool. Plus, it’s crazy affordable! Check availability
- The Love Birds package at 21C Museum Hotel. Arrive to a welcome plate of chocolate covered strawberries. Dine at one of the best and most romantic restaurants in Louisville, Proof on Main and retire to your room with sparkling wine and a bed sprinkled with rose petals. The next morning, you’ll wake up already at a museum. How great is that? Luxurious 21C is a bit of a splurge, but it’s fully worth it. Check availability
- Inn at St. James Court is an adorable, romantic Bed & Breakfasts tucked into the gorgeous Victorians in our favorite neighborhood, Old Louisville. It’s located on a beautiful and famous fountain court in Louisville which also happens to be our favorite spot to go for an evening walk!
Are you ready to take a romantic getaway to Louisville, Kentucky? Which of our date ideas in Louisville sounds best to you? Drop us a comment below!
Oh, and hey, before you go: we’ve compiled all of our suggestions for where to go, what to do, where to visit, what & where to eat, and what & where to drink (and taste bourbon) in Louisville into a downloadable Local’s Guide to Louisville. Subscribe below to get the FREE PDF. You can print it or save it to your smartphone or tablet to take with you on your trip to Louisville! We’ll also send you our favorite tips for visiting my old Kentucky home.
Get a FREE Louisville Travel Guide!
We've compiled everything you need to know for a trip to Louisville into a downloadable Local's Guide to Louisville. Print it out & take it with you! We'll also send you insider tips to help you plan your visit.
By the way, did you know that we have a BUNCH of posts about Louisville? It is my hometown, after all! Take a look below at our other Louisville travel guides.
- The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Places to Visit in Louisville, Kentucky
- 29 Amazing Places to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky: A Local’s Guide
- The 27 Best Breweries, Distilleries, & Bars in Louisville, KY: A Local’s Guide
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Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Go To Louisville. All opinions, recommendations, and poorly executed jokes are entirely our own and totally not their fault.