Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, with a quarter of a million people choosing to call this metro home. Population-wise, it is similar to Milwaukee, Baltimore, or Las Vegas. Louisville, Kentucky is a convenient location for businesses and frequent travelers, with two-thirds of the U.S. population located within a day’s drive and nonstop flights to 24 destinations leaving the airport daily.
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs put Louisville on the international map in 1875. Historic nicknames for the city have included “Derby City,” “City of Parks,” “The Gateway to the South,” “River City,” and “The City of Beautiful Churches.” Louisville is home to the famous baseball bat, The Louisville Slugger, and the first hand transplant. Old Louisville boasts the nation’s largest number of preserved Victorian-Era homes.
Today, Louisville is known by Southern Living as one of the “10 Tastiest Towns in the South,” by Thrillist as one of the “Most Hipster Cities in America,” by the Charter for Compassion International as one of the “Top 10 Compassionate Cities,” by American Style Magazine as one of “25 Big Cities For Art,” and by Men’s Fitness as one of the “50 Best Cities For Sports Fans.”
Taking a tour of Louisville with a real estate agent is one of the best ways to get to know the vast, diverse city of Louisville.
People who live in Louisville take great pride in their city, which is blessed with a vibrant arts and music scene. We’re an active bunch of people who take recreation – be it horseback riding, golfing, biking, boating, or athletic sports – seriously. We’d rather shop at a one-of-a-kind, independently-owned boutique than a big box retailer. You might travel away from Louisville for college, love, or opportunity, but you’ll gravitate back home when it’s time to start your business. It’s a place of great food, passion, growth, and celebrated diversity. With beautiful architecture, well-designed municipal parks, and ease of navigation, Louisville is an easy and enjoyable city to explore. Many of our communities -- Old Louisville, The Highlands, Norton Commons, and the downtown core, to name a few -- are walkable locales where you can get by without a car. The traditional Southern hospitality and friendly, relaxed atmosphere are rare additions to all these traits, so it’s easy to see why so many visitors fall in-love with the city of Louisville and never want to leave.
Louisville’s neighborhoods all have their own distinctive vibe that make them seem worlds apart. They include:
- Downtown Louisville – The four blocks of Museum Row give you 10 walkable attractions, making it a hotspot among tourists. Historic West Main Street has the second largest collection of Victorian cast-iron storefronts in the country, next to SoHo in New York City. Fourth Street is one of the primary destinations for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
- The Highlands – It doesn’t get much more “hip” than The Highlands. Victorian homes sit down quiet residential streets, just a stone’s throw from Bardstown Road coffee shops, vintage clothing boutiques, antique stores, breweries, and some of the city’s best restaurants like Jack Fry’s, Lilly’s, and Seviche.
- Clifton & Crescent Hill – Frankfort Avenue is another popular destination for shopping and dining. Homes sit down quiet, tree-lined streets around the corner from locally-owned stores and alfresco dining. Stop in Silver Dollar to sample Kentucky bourbons, grab a beer at Apocalypse Brew Works, watch the game at The Hub Louisville, or enjoy brunch at Blue Dog Bakery. From Irish at Irish Rover, to Mexican at El Mundo, to French at Bistro 1860, every type of cuisine imaginable can be devoured here. Ride the trolley to an art gallery, stroll the scenic Crescent Hill Reservoir, or duck into a consignment shop to find a treasure or two.
- East End – Many of the most desirable luxury home neighborhoods are located in the East End, including St. Matthews, Norton Commons, Hurstbourne, Mockingbird Valley, and Anchorage. High-end shopping can be found at Mall St. Matthews, Oxmoor Mall, or the The Paddock Shops. Indie boutiques line Lexington Road, historic Main Street in Middletown, Westport Village, and Chenoweth Square. Tom Sawyer State Park is one of the best places in Louisville for sports and recreation. Kids growing up in the East End have access to the best educational opportunities, as well as places like Henry’s Ark, Sky Zone, and Bluegrass Indoor Go-Karting, where they can cut loose.
- Old Louisville – With 48 city blocks of Victorian homes, Old Louisville is the third largest preservation district in the United States. This nook was developed as a suburb back in the late 1800s, and offers a wide selection of homes, including elegant old mansions. Dining is top-notch in this part of town, with hallmarks like 610 Magnolia, Buck’s, Dizzy Whizz, and the Old Louisville Brewery. Art museums, the Shakespeare Festival, a planetarium, historic societies, Haunted Louisville tours, and our version of Central Park are all located here.
- South Points – Here you will also find the iconic Churchill Downs, where horses compete for the Kentucky Derby title each May. South Points is considered one of the more culturally diverse parts of town, with the food to prove it. People from all over town come in to eat at Grind Burger Kitchen, Vietnam Kitchen, Annie’s Café, and Shack in the Back BBQ. The Iroquois Amphitheatre boasts events like concerts and the annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. Jefferson Memorial Forest is the perfect spot for hiking, canoeing, and picnicking, as one of America’s largest urban forests. The Louisville Loop is one of the most scenic places in the city for walking, jogging, or biking.
- NuLu – NuLu competes with The Highlands in “cool” factor. Dubbed “New Louisville” due to its major renaissance in recent years, the East Market District is a mix of art galleries, specialty shops, antiques, farm-to-table dining, live music, and flea markets. Unique culinary experiences are found at Mayan Café, Decca, Harvest, Feast BBQ, Royals Hot Chicken, and Rye. Here you can throw axes, go indoor rock-climbing, board a bus destined for a street party, and unwind over beer and ping-pong.
- Germantown – The first residents settled in this neighborhood in the mid-1800s. This part of the city offers the most shotgun and camelback homes, with affordable real estate and dive bars on every corner. Grab a bite at Hammerheads, Finn’s Southern Kitchen, or Check’s Café. Enjoy a local craft beer at Monnik Beer Co and gourmet cupcakes at JB Cakes. Or try world-famous a chicken and waffle sandwich at Four Pegs Beer Lounge. Record stores, vintage clothing shops, and knick-knack home good stores will keep you busy in your spare time.
- Butchertown – Butchertown is another old neighborhood amid a resurgence of new businesses. Here you’ll find locally-made brandy at Copper & Kings, any type of food imaginable at the thriving Butchertown Market, renowned bourbon balls at Cellar Door Chocolates, artisan jewelry at Work the Metal, and handcrafted soaps and lotions at Moss Hill. Dining options include Pho Ba Luu, Hi-Five Doughnuts, and Butchertown Grocery.
Louisville Economy & Cost of Living
Louisville, Kentucky is a thriving city with much employment opportunity. Tens of thousands of jobs are added onto the Greater Louisville economy each year. The top sectors include: Health Care, Manufacturing, and Business Services. Major employers in the region include: Humana, YUM! Brands, UPS, Norton Healthcare, GE Appliances, Papa John’s, and Ford.
Best of all, the cost of living is 5-8 percent lower than the national average, and only slightly higher than the state average. Goods, services, and transportation may cost a little bit more, but you pay less for groceries, healthcare, and utilities. The housing market is nine points higher than the state average, but 23 points below the national average. All things considered, Louisville made a top 30 list for “Places Where A Paycheck Stretches The Furthest.” According to one estimation, the average person saves roughly $3,000 a year by moving to Louisville.
Contact a Realtor from Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty for a tour of all Louisville has to offer.