36 hours in louisville

Two weeks ago, Matt and I drove two and a half hours south to Louisville, Kentucky. Our five-year wedding anniversary was at the beginning of July, and wanted to get away, if only for a night, to celebrate. On our honeymoon we decided we'd go to Rome for our 5th anniversary (LOL - a major house renovation derailed that plan) so then we talked about Charleston, Nashville, South Haven? Then we decided to nix a trip altogether, with the renovation and all that we have going on. My mom encouraged us to go somewhere - anywhere - just for some time away to recharge, and I'm so grateful for her encouragement (and babysitting!) Matt is a big bourbon lover, so we settled on Louisville - it was close, super affordable and we could do some of the bourbon trail while we there.

I was totally surprised by how cool Louisville is, even if you aren't a huge bourbon or horse racing fan! There was so much to see and do, the food was amazing and everyone we met was so nice. We will definitely be back!

Tons of instagram followers gave me great suggestions on where to eat and what to do, so I figured I'd pay it forward and share our trip with you, if you ever find yourself in Louisville or decide to plan a trip!

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott at 2nd and Main, which was a great location. Right on Whiskey Row, walkable to the riverfront and Bats stadium, and a short one-mile walk to East Market/NuLu, which is such a cute area. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably stay at the AC Hotel in NuLu, but the Courtyard was great for one night and a quick stay!

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After checking in, we headed to Feast BBQ which was a great way to kick off our trip. Matt got the sliced brisket and I got the pulled pork and both were amazing. I really liked the vibe of the place, too. They had some cool-sounding cocktails - we tried the bourbon slushie and it was amazing.

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We wandered around the East Market/NuLu area after lunch, which is just the coolest neighborhood. I really loved the artwork on the buildings and all the potted plants - like this collection of flowers growing in buckets and old sinks!

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We checked out some really cool shops, like Scout (above) and Mahonia (below). Both were so well curated and total eye candy. They had me dreaming about the day I own my own shop full of gorgeous home goods, plants, antiques, who knows what else! I got so much inspiration from both places.

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We popped into Please & Thank You for chocolate chip cookies, which were unanimously recommended as the BEST cookies in Louisville. They definitely did not disappoint, and we even brought one home for Xavier! My parents always brought my brothers and I little treats when they went away on trips, and I love the idea of starting that same tradition.

The Bats were playing at home, so we decided to take in a ball game while we were there (Matt is a huge baseball fan!) and it was fun to check that off the summer bucket list. Afterwards, we stopped by Garage Bar to get a drink, but it was crazy crowded and not necessarily my vibe (loud music and lots of college-aged kids) so we headed down the street a bit further and ended up at Nouvelle, a wine bar that also came highly recommended. There was live jazz in the courtyard and it was the perfect way to end our evening! AKA, we are old.

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We started day two with breakfast at Toast on Market. Matt had the blueberry cheesecake french toast (amazing!) and I had the blt scramble with a lemon souffle pancake on the side - just as delicious as it sounds. We both enjoyed kentucky mimosas (bourbon, orange, bitters, sparkling wine) and now I am obsessed with this version of my fave bubbly brunch drink!

After breakfast, we drove to the St. Joseph neighborhood to grab coffee at Sunergos (iced chai was amazing) and looked at all the cute old shotgun houses. It looked like a cool area of the city as well, right near the campus of University of Louisville!

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We headed back to East Market to wander through Joe Ley Antiques, which was THE coolest antique store I've ever been to. Three floors of cool, quirky old stuff. I'd love to explore it way more in depth on our next trip!

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We headed to the Butchertown neighborhood next to tour Copper & King's Distillery. It was so neat to learn about brandy, gin and absinthe distillation, and their rooftop bar has an amazing view of downtown Louisville!

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Butchertown seemed like a cool area as well, with lots of street art and some cute shops. We wandered around Work the Metal, which is kind of like a giant Silver in the City for you Indy folks. There were two ladies from the nearby St. Joseph's Church who were accepting donations for their campaign to save their church steeples - the tallest steeples in Louisville. The church has an amazing history and is so beautiful - we happily donated to the cause! Their parish pastor is currently doing a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago to raise funds - you can read all about his journey (and donate to the campaign!) at www.wherespadre.org :)

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From there, we headed to the historic Stitzel-Weller distillery outside Louisville to do the Bulleit experience. It was so neat to tour the property, learn about the history of the grounds and do a bourbon tasting. The distillery is super historic and so cool-looking, and I highly recommend it as a stop on the bourbon trail! Our tour guide was Greg, and he was fantastic.

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After Bulleit, we grabbed lunch at Gravely Brewing, which was another instagram recommendation, and it did not disappoint. It has a great view of the city from it's top patio area, the Mayan Street Food tacos were amazing, and it has a super cute photobooth which made for a fun trip souvenir.

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We made one last stop in NuLu for ice cream at Louisville Cream, and stumbled upon the CUTEST little shotgun house (that pink door!) Then it was time to hit the road and head back home to our babies.

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It was such a great quick trip, the perfect way to celebrate five sweet years together (how perfect was this wall downtown?!) and we'll definitely be back soon!

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LOUISVILLE HIGHLIGHTS 

(the sparknotes version)

  • Feast BBQ on East Market
  • Mahonia on East Market
  • Scout on East Market
  • Toast on Market
  • Please & Thank You in NuLu
  • Joe Ley Antiques in NuLu
  • Nouvelle in NuLu
  • Sunergos Coffee Roasters in St. Joseph
  • Copper & King's in Butchertown
  • Work the Metal in Butchertown
  • Gravely Brewing Co. in 
  • Bulleit at Stitzel-Weller Distillery
  • Louisville Cream on East Market

Other recommendations from Instagram friends that we didn't have time to explore:

  • Troll Bar
  • The Seelbach (hotel, cool to wander around)
  • The Brown (hotel, cool to wander around)
  • Silver Dollar (restaurant, get the Kentucky Mule or the Ol Rough & Ready)
  • Big Four Walking Bridge (best views of skyline, go during the daytime, super cute pizza place on Jeffersonville side!)
  • Mussel & Burger Bar (downtown location only, great vibe and some of the best burgers in town)
  • El Taco Luchador
  • Just Creations
  • Lola
  • Ramsi's on Bardstown Road (Bardstown Rd. is also cool to explore!)
  • The Highlands neighborhood
  • Wallace Station in Versailles (good restaurant if you tour Woodford Reserve)

Louisville friends, any other must-sees or must-dos? Would love any and all recommendations!