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Historic Louisville

The Best Tours to Discover Louisville’s History

Known for its vibrant downtown, historic mansions, and rich culture – there’s a lot to love about Louisville. However, if this is one of your first visits to the city, one of the best ways to learn about its unique heritage is by joining a local tour. Luckily, Louisville offers a variety of tours ideal for every age and interest. Whether you are a history buff, an amateur ghost hunter, a foodie, or just love the thrill of a scavenger hunt – we have the perfect tour for you.

Louisville Ghost Walks
Join Mr. Ghost Walker on a Haunted Pub Walk, ‘A Spirited Tour of the Paranormal’, featuring stops at some of Louisville’s oldest and most interesting buildings – Brown Hotel (interior), Brown Theater, Holiday Inn, Brennan House, Palace Theater and the Seelbach. The walking tours last 90 minutes and reservations are required. Tours depart from the Brown Hotel and are held on Friday nights during the months of July, August, September and October. The cost is $10.00 per adult and $5.00 ages twelve and younger. Private tours can also be scheduled with advance notice.

Louisville Bicycle Tours
Discover the delights of Louisville on two wheels. Louisville Bicycle Tours offer a scenic, one-of-a-kind way to learn more about the River City. Individual tours vary by distances, but each is designed to offer a relaxed experience with everything you need for a great outing, including a knowledgeable guide, cruiser bike, helmet, water, lights (if needed), cell phone case and a rack to bungee down a small bag for your two-wheeled experience. You can also pair your ride with a City Highlights Tour that includes lunch or dinner at one of Louisville’s top restaurants.

Louisville Food & Walking Tours
Louisville is well known for its exceptional cuisine, and this fun foodie tour is the perfect way to get a taste of what the River City has to offer. The two-hour Best Eats of Downtown Tour starts at 4th Street Live!, where you’ll learn about the history of Louisville and some of its famous former residents, including Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while tasting locally made dishes. Sample a new take on the “hot brown”, try food from a James Beard House guest Chef Zach Young, and satisfy your sweet tooth at the world’s only bourbon certified chocolatier. The Tour is $50 for adults ages 15 and over, and $25 for children ages 14 and younger.

The Louisville Quest!
If you’re looking for something far beyond the ordinary city tour, The Louisville Quest! Might be right up your alley. This fun, competitive way to explore downtown is part race, part scavenger hunt, and part historical sightseeing tour. Great for families and groups, the Quest involves teams of 2 – 5 participants who compete to answer challenge questions and solve puzzles to get from location to location in the least amount of time. Your Quest may include popular River City locations such as Fourth Street Live!, 21C, the Yum! Center, Waterfront Park, Museum Row, Nulu and the Belvedere. Each Quest ends with an Award Ceremony where teams earn bragging rights and token awards at a fun downtown location.

Cathedral of the Assumption Tours
Formally dedicated in 1852, the Cathedral of the Assumption is the oldest inland Cathedral in the country. Complimentary guided tours are available by appointment. Individuals can also take the free “audio tour” of the Cathedral by coming to parish office during weekdays from 9 AM – 4 PM.

Visit Old Louisville & Travel in Time

The Old Louisville neighborhood is the third largest Historical Preservation District in the U.S. and home to the largest collection of restored Victorian homes in the country. Built as a suburb in the 1870s, Old Louisville encompasses nearly 48 city blocks of Victorian-era homes surrounded by mature magnolia and oak trees.

This beautiful area also features many of the city’s best restaurants, including 610 Magnolia, Dizzy Whizz, and Buck’s (an official stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail). Stroll through Central Park, or step back in time with a visit to the Conrad-Caldwell House and the Filson Historical Society. Old Louisville also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year including the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, the St. James Court Art Show and the Garvin Gate Blues Festival, SpringFest, and more.

Historic Old Louisville Tour
This 75-minute guided walking tour takes participants through the Victorian Mansion district, where you’ll see and learn more about the area’s stunning collection of architectural styles, including Beaux Arts, Chateauesque, Italianate, Neoclassical, Queen Anne, Renaissance Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, Second Empire, Tudor Revival, and Venetian Gothic. The Historic Old Louisville Tour starts at the Visitors Center, and is offered Tuesday – Saturday at 1:30 pm.

Tours are $15 per person; $5 Students (with ID), Free for Children 12 and under. Combination Walking Tour/Conrad-Caldwell House Museum Ticket offered at $20. A self-guided walking tour booklet is also available.