You are off to the races—but which kind? In Indianapolis, you are heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the very best of Indy car drivers compete in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indy 500. Find yourself in Louisville, and it’s a given that you’re visiting Churchill Downs for a look at where horses and their jockeys make history year after year. But each city has so much more to offer than just that rush of adrenaline you get watching your favorite Indy car driver or jockey bring home the trophy—from dining to outdoor excursions, get to know each city a bit more below.
Food & Drink
Fast becoming foodie cities, Indianapolis and Louisville offer an array of cuisines to suit any palate. Eat your way through the city at these local favorites.
(Spoke and Steele, photo credit to Indianapolis Monthly) (Jack Fy's, photo credit to Biz Journals)
Just a Taste
Both sites offer an exciting bar scene, but for those seeking a more engaging experience; consider touring the city’s local spirits producers.
IN: Visit four award-winning wineries all within minutes of downtown. The Indy Wine Trail is an organization of four local wineries, each with something different to offer.
LV: Discover Louisville’s most prized libation through the bourbon trail. Whether you take a guided tour, or are a self-guided connoisseur, Louisville has plenty of bourbon to go around.
After a full day of exploration or relaxation, delight your taste buds with these local hot spots.
IN: Recently named one of the best restaurants in Indianapolis, Spoke and Steele is a must when in Indy. Serving up bright and refined plates, Spoke and Steele is dedicated to partnering with local purveyors and breweries. Find no fewer than 10 local craft beers on tap at all times.
LV: Jack Fry’s, a Louisville landmark, was established in the 1930s and has continued to be a local favorite over the years. What began as a sportsman’s hangout has now become an award winning staple in the Louisville dining scene.
A new age restaurant situated in an early 1900’s grocery store, Butchertown Grocery serves up a mix of classic and inventive dishes. Their focus on clean, simple, and tasteful dishes shines through their menu.
Arts & Entertainment
Take a step back in time and explore the history of these fast paced cities. Discover the races that defined the history and created the need for speed.
(Indy 500, photo credit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway) (Kentucky Derby, photo credit to NY Times)
IN: Rev your engines and engage your need for speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Explore the history of the famous Indy 500 race, and for the brave, take a narrated lap around the Speedway.
LV: Everything seems to move a bit slower in this gateway to the south. The Kentucky Derby Museum honors the time old tradition of horse racing. If you have some extra time on your hands, take the behind the scenes walking tour to access non-public areas of Churchill Downs.
The Great Outdoors
There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear the mind. Recharge your batteries in both cities.
(White River State Park, photo credit to Trips by Lance) (Belle of Louisville, photo credit to Belle of Louisville)
IN: Located inside the expansive White River State Park, home to the state’s largest aquarium and set on 64 acres of land, you will want to block out an afternoon to get a good look at this zoo. There is even a roller coaster and a petting area of the zoo for those looking to get extra interactive. If you are looking for a less-crowded way to enjoy the outdoors, we recommend strolling the park grounds. Explore the White River Gardens, museums, and walk along the river.
LV: More than 1,700 animals call the 134-acre Louisville Zoo home. Considered “Kentucky’s State Zoo,” there is always something to see, from the many exhibits to special programming such as movie nights, butterfly garden release parties, and more. If you are looking for a less active outdoor adventure, consider the Belle of Louisville Riverboat cruise—float along the Mississippi River and learn about the city’s history all from your seat on the deck.