About Louisville And Real Estate
Truly, real estate remains one of the best facets of life in Louisville. In addition to the large supply of beautifully preserved historic homes, we’ve also seen a New Urbanism boom in affordable, walkable communities like Norton Commons, The Highlands and St Matthews that offer generous amenities like community schools, shops, supermarkets, swimming pools, fitness centers, events and more.
We’re known as a warm, accepting city of friendly neighbors. Whether you have a young family you’d like to settle, you’re looking for a comfortable retirement haven, or you’re a professional relocating for work, Louisville, Kentucky is the perfect place to call home.
Life In Louisville
Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, with three quarters of a million people living in the metropolitan region. Over the years, nicknames have included: “The City of Beautiful Churches,” “Derby City,” “Gateway to the South,” and “River City.” It’s hard to define exactly what makes an eclectic city like Louisville so special, as there are many cultural gems and different interests represented here, depending on who you ask. I hope to cover a comprehensive overview of Louisville that will acquaint you with the city, should you be considering a trip or a more permanent move here.
Fun Facts About Louisville
- 95% of the world’s bourbon comes from Kentucky, with a third of the world production made close to Louisville.
- 90% of the world’s disco balls are made, specifically, in Louisville at Omega National Products.
- The city is home to the world-famous Louisville Slugger bat — created in 1884 and used in the MLB.
- The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating Mississippi-style sternwheeler in the nation at over 100 years old!
- The 60 tons of fireworks exploding at Thunder Over Louisville during Derby Week is the nation’s largest display.
- Old Louisville has the nation’s largest number of Victorian homes & is the 3rd-largest preserved historic district.
- Louisville’s 6,218-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest is the largest municipal urban forest in the country.
- The Ohio River running through Louisville is the Mississippi’s largest tributary at 981 miles long.
- Next to NYC, Louisville’s Main Street has the second-largest collection of cast-iron storefronts in the U.S.
- The first hand transplant was done at the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center in 1999.
- The Kentucky State Fair is the largest air-conditioned fair in the country.
- Famous Louisville residents include: Jennifer Lawrence, John James Audubon, Lionel Hampton, Muhammad Ali, Tom Cruise, Diane Sawyer, Evan Williams, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Zachary Taylor and Hunter S Thompson.
Location, Location, Location!
- If you like to travel, you’ll find no more convenient hub than Louisville:
- You can reach two-thirds of the U.S. population within a day’s drive from Louisville.
- Non-stop flights to 24 destinations leave Louisville’s International Airport daily.
- There are 1,100 miles of commercial waterways, 10 interstate highways and 2,760 miles of railroad track.
You’ll find traditional Southern hospitality and a warm, friendly spirit here in “the gateway to the South.” Many visitors to Louisville instantly fall in-love with our relaxed attitude toward life and the one-of-a-kind architecture (found in Old Louisville and the Highlands, particularly.) With a vibrant arts and music scene, not to mention some of the most impressive and well-designed municipal parks in the nation, Louisville truly has something for everyone here.
Compared to other metropolitan cities, it’s fairly easy to get around Louisville. The Downtown core, Old Louisville, The Highlands and Frankfort Avenue neighborhoods are all walkable and connected by a city bus. The Bardstown Road Highlands Shopping District from Broadway to the Douglass Loop features Bohemian coffee shops, art galleries, bars, restaurants and boutiques you won’t want to miss.
Naturally, horse culture is a big part of Louisville life, with the annual Kentucky Derby hosted at Churchill Downs on the first weekend in May. The Kentucky Derby Festival (two weeks prior) brings in 1.5 million tourists with a full schedule of fireworks, races, outdoor concerts, hot air balloon rides, parades, boat tours, charity events and cocktail hours. You can also visit the Kentucky Derby Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the more than 140-year-old race. For a more slow-paced equestrian experience, you can drive just over an hour to Lexington, Kentucky, where serene rural horse pastures and rolling hills dominate the landscape.
You’ll find that Louisville frequently makes national lists in just about every category. For instance:
- “10 Tastiest Towns in the South” – Southern Living
- “25 Big Cities For Art” – American Style Magazine
- “Manliest Town In America” – GQ Magazine
- “50 Best Cities For Sports Fans” – Men’s Fitness
- “Best Arenas and Stadiums in America” – Rolling Stone
- “Most Hipster Cities in America” – Thrillist Nation
- “Best Halloween Neighborhoods” – AOL Travel
- “Top 10 Compassionate Cities” – Charter for Compassion International
Local Attractions: Cool Places In Louisville
Louisville Mega Cavern: Beneath the Louisville Zoo, you’ll find 4 million square feet of cavern space, as well as the only fully underground zip-line in the world. The former limestone mine also features guided tours by tram, a 45-trail mountain bike park, a challenging aerial ropes course, and an enormous annual holiday lights display.
- Cherokee Park: As a staple in Louisville’s “Emerald Necklace” (along with Iroquois Park and Shawnee Park), the 2.3 mile scenic loop of Cherokee Park is one of the most beautiful places in the city to ride a bike or take a stroll. Designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted, the park offers handsome views of rolling hills, open meadows and woodland settings. You’ll also find amenities like a nine-hole golf course, dog park, fishing ponds, picnic shelters, baseball diamonds, tennis, horseback riding, playgrounds, horseshoes, archery targets and basketball.
- Waterfront Park: Covering a mile-long stretch of the Ohio River, the strikingly modern Waterfront Park offers fountains, open lawns and playgrounds with spectacular views of the city skyline and riverfront. It’s a home to year-round concerts and festivals, as well as a thriving community of shops and dining establishments.
- Louisville Zoo: More than 1,700 animals live at the Louisville Zoo. Polar bears, kimodo dragons, lions, tigers, penguins, orangutans, timber wolves and rare white-throated ground doves are among the stars. Displays include an award-winning lowland gorilla habitat; bird encounters at Lorikeet Landing; 100 species of reptiles, amphibians and fish in the Herpaquarium; an interactive wallaroo walk-about exhibit; and a gold mining town themed splash pad for kids.
- Louisville Slugger Museum: See the world’s largest baseball bat, standing at six stories and weighing 68,000 pounds. Test your skills in the virtual pitching diamond, gaze upon autographed bats of legendary greats, see how baseball bats are made in the factory, and buy souvenirs. While you’re in the neighborhood, you can check out the rest of Museum Row on Main, including the Frazier History Museum, Glassworks, the Kentucky Science Center, the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft, the Muhammad Ali Center, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, and more.
- Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom: MSN Travel named our newly revitalized Kentucky Kingdom one of the “Top 10 Amusement Parks for 2015.” Here you’ll find more than 60 rides, including one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world and a 750,000-gallon wave pool.
In addition to the Kentucky Derby, Louisville is nationally known for these other high-profile events:
- St. James Court Art Show: This free event has been going on for more than 50 years and is the fifth-largest art show in the United States. During the first weekend in October, you can see masterful works from over 650 artists in the heart of historic Old Louisville, among the most beautiful historic mansions the city has to offer.
- Kentucky State Fair: The official state fair in mid-August attracts more than 600,000 visitors to Louisville each year. From circus shows, games, contests and midway rides, to fine art displays, home product demos, concerts and champion horse shows, there’s something for the whole family.
- Fandom Fest: What started in 2006 with 400 horror movie fans has grown to be the largest juried film festival in the region. Come see more than 100 films over the three-day weekend, dress up for the Comic Con, try out the latest video games, see more than 30 celebrities, and check out 200 vendor booths.
- Jeffersontown Gaslight Festival: Now the 5th largest festival in the region, this September street party has grown over the last four decades to become one of the top 20 events of its kind in the Southeast. The nine-day calendar includes a car show and motorcycle rally, parade, live entertainment and over 140 arts & crafts booths.
Every city has its own culinary delights and Louisville is no exception. Here you’ll find over 2,500 restaurants in more than 50 unique neighborhoods, so it’s no surprise we were the only US city to make Zagat’s 2012 list of “8 Awesome Foodie Getaways Around the World.” Some of the foods we’re renowned for include:
- The Hot Brown: This Brown Hotel signature dish originated in 1926. The open-face sandwich features turkey and bacon smothered in Mornay sauce – baked and browned to perfection – and sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. The Hot Brown has been a local favorite for years and has been featured on The Travel Channel, as well as The Food Network.
- Derby Pie: The Derby Pie got its start in the Melrose Inn of Prospect, Kentucky in the 1950s. The Kern family recipe consists of a mysterious blend of real chocolate chips and premium walnut pieces baked inside a delicate, doughy crust. Like most pies, it’s best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! For more information, check out www.DerbyPie.com.
- Kentucky Barbecue: The state itself is famous for the Southern barbecue tradition, although Louisville lacks its own distinctive style and remains a hodgepodge of local influences. What makes Kentucky BBQ special from, say, Texas or Carolinian BBQ – is the variety of meats smoked and flavored, according to Eatocracy. You’re likely to find everything from pulled or chopped pork from whole shoulders or Boston butts and cured city hams to pre-cooked turkey breasts and slow-roasted mutton. Sauces vary by county, with many Louisville restaurants featuring tomato-based sauces. You can find meaty mutton and unique flavors at the Ole Hickory Pit in Louisville dipped in savory Worcestershire, black pepper and allspice sauce. Hammerheads and Smoketown USA in the Smoketown area of Old Louisville are other top joints.
- Burgoo: Louisville can’t claim the invention of this social stew – it’s a regional dish originating in either Owensboro or Lawrenceburg, KY – but it’s surely a dish to try if you’re coming in from out-of-state. Ingredients include: meats (any combination of whatever is lying around – usually pork, chicken, mutton or beef – often hickory smoked), vegetables (typically lima beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes); a thickening agent (cornmeal, ground beans, whole wheat or potato starch); and condiments (cider vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and/or chili powder). Mark’s Feed Store is said to have the best local burgoo.
- Benedictine Spread: This condiment made of cream cheese, cucumber, onion juice and cayenne pepper dates back to the early 20th Century, where it was served in a popular Louisville tea room called Benedict’s. Locals say the best way to enjoy the spread is simply slapped between two slices of white bread, although it’s been enjoyed as a condiment alongside any kind of meat. Over the years, refreshing Bendictine Spread has been written about in the NY Times, Washington Post and Saveur Magazine. Lilly’s Bistro on Bardstown Road is a great place to try some.
- Bourbon: Of course, no culinary tour of Louisville would be complete without Kentucky bourbon! Visit www.bourboncountry.com to learn more about the Urban Bourbon Trail of downtown Louisville or check out establishments like: Silver Dollar, Down One Bourbon Bar, Old Seelbach Bar, The Brown Hotel Bar, Proof On Main, St. Charles Exchange, Haymarket Whiskey Bar, Charr’d and Doc Crow’s. Another neat place to take a tour is the Brown-Forman Cooperage, where the signature aromatic barrels are made for Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve and Old Forrester bourbons. If you’re not into drinking it straight, imbibe the local favorite: Mint Juleps!
Louisville Economy & Cost of Living
Here you’ll find three Fortune 1,000 companies. The last year has seen explosive job growth with more than 15,000 positions added to the Greater Louisville region. Top sectors include: 2,600 positions in health care (with major employers like Humana, Norton Healthcare and PharMerica); 4,000 positions in manufacturing (with major employers like Ford, Samtec and GE Appliances); and 6,400 positions in business services (with major employers like UPS, Cafepress, and YUM! Brands) Over the years, Louisville has become a hub for successful small businesses, with 50 new life sciences, manufacturing and software firms independently funded each year.
- The cost of living in Louisville is 5-8 percent lower than the national average overall, but slightly higher than the Kentucky average. According to Movoto:
- The cost of goods and services is 2 points higher than the national average.
- The cost of groceries is 4 points lower. Groceries, however, will run you 16% less than the national average.
- The cost of healthcare is 10 points lower than the national average and 5 points lower than the state average.
- Housing is 9 points higher than the state average, but 23 points lower than the national average. Compared to other metros, homes in Louisville are: 83% less than Manhattan, 54% less than Boston, 40% less than Chicago and 29% less than Denver!
- Transportation costs are 5-8 points higher, but utilities are 4-12 points lower than state and national averages.
- All in all, Louisville made the top 30 list of “Places Where A Paycheck Stretches The Furthest.”
According to this infographic, the average person will save $3,000 a year by moving to Louisville.
Louisville Area Education
- Elementary: Excellent educational opportunities await elementary school aged children in the Jefferson County Public School District. Top-ranked schools include: Greathouse Shryock Traditional, Stopher Elementary, Norton Elementary and (Oldham County’s) Goshen at Hillcrest.
- High School: You’ll find many Louisville establishments among the top-ranked Kentucky high schools, including: DuPont Manual High School, Brown School, Ballard High School, and Louisville Male High School.
- High Education: The Louisville metro houses over 120,000 college students. Four out of every 10 students are pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. According to Forbes, the graduation rates are 88.7% for high school, 27% for college and 10.6% for graduate school. Top area colleges include Bellarmine University and the University of Louisville.
Louisville isn’t the first “snowbird” city that comes to mind, but our weather is pretty mild compared to other U.S. locales. On average, there are 195 sunny days a year with the warmest months running from May through September, with July temperatures ranging from 69 to 88 degrees. The coolest months are from November through February, with January lows ranging from 25 to 41. We see about 12 inches of measurable snowfall a year (which is less than half the U.S. average) and 44.6 inches of rainfall per year spread across 111 days (which is a little higher than the U.S. average).