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Where to go in Kentucky to get the Great Vacation

“Picture your favorite getaway destination, now subtract the crowds,” says Kingsman. Louisville has plenty of charm and relaxation along with attractions to please a variety of travelers. “Sports fans will enjoy the Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center, history buffs can see the meeting spot of Lewis and Clark (and York) and there are tons of unique boutique shops down on Market Street for those who like to shop and support locals,” says Kingsman.

Other essential new stops include The Black Heritage Tour Collection, which celebrates its second year with programming and exhibits showcasing African American contributions to the city’s history and culture, and the new Roots 101 African American Museum, which calls itself a “healing place” where visitors can come and experience art, music, artifacts and education.

Louisville’s real showstopper is the food, especially the mom-and-pop establishments. “Definitely check out Yummy Pollo, The Black Italian, SuperChefs and Mack Bros BBQ—you gotta try the BBQ,” says Kingsman. Other new entries include Ashlee Northington’s Happy Belly Bistro, which started as a food truck, and is now serving her rotating menu of fusion foods as a permanent kiosk inside Ten20 Craft Brewery. The Urban Bourbon Trail added Brough Brothers, the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky, along with The Craftery, its first DIY bar.

When it comes to places to stay, downtown’s new Grady Hotel has a décor that pays homage to one of the 1883 building’s original tenants, the Swann-Abram Hat Co., designer of world-famous Kentucky Derby hats. After an $80 million renovation, the city’s only waterfront hotel, the Galt House, is open once again and features Swizzle Dinner & Drinks, a revolving restaurant with spectacular Ohio River views. Kingsman is also a fan of the 21c Museum Hotel: “It’s walking distance to the nearest bourbon tasting room.”

The fun doesn’t have to stop at the city limit. An hour outside of Louisville is Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest known cave system in the world. Over the past year, the National Park Service has implemented an updated tour reservation system for a more organized visit. “The National Park sometimes sells out weeks in advance, so you can also check out a few of the nearby caves like the American Cave Museum that have same-day tours and have also expanded their cave routes to provide visitors with new experiences,” says Kingsman.

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