Best known as home of the Kentucky Derby, which has been drawing aristocrats to Churchill Downs since 1875, Louisville is also a nice place to stop for a day or two, with some good museums, a pretty riverfront, and interesting blue-collar neighborhoods full of corner pool halls and drive-through chili restaurants. Located just south of downtown is Old Louisville (www.oldlouisville.com), with the largest collection of Victorian homes in the country. A series of pretty parks (laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1890s) encircle the city, along with an inner (I-264) and outer (I-265) ring road.
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Louisville destination guides
Bourbon and beyond in Louisville
Whether firing up artisanal distilleries, cooking Appalachian comfort foods or eco-rehabbing old neighborhoods, Louisville (LOO-uh-vul) is getting its groove on. There's lots to do and drink that's distinct to this picturesque city on the Ohio River. No wonder it's Lonely Planet's top US destination for 2013.
New Orleans to Chicago
Dial up a bit of Dixie and get ready to launch from the fertile Mississippi Delta to the Great Lakes of Chicago. Cut through the heart of this vast land and get accustomed to Southern life, following the winding river to the musical meccas of Memphis and Nashville.
Soak up the sights and sounds of the USA on a tour of some of its most diverse and vibrant cities. This trip takes you from shimmering New York down along the east coast into Dixie, then to the Midwest.
Top 10 US travel destinations for 2013
Every year our US-based editors team up with Lonely Planet’s expert authors to compile a list of US destinations that are prime for the next year.