"Louisville, Louisville / I'm wanna trade in Friday nights / For a piece of your heart / Me and you and burbon beating / Down in Echo Park." (-Damnwells, "Louisville") Read Guide >
Old Louisville – In college and lovin’ it!!
The beautiful and sometimes overlooked downtown area, Old Louisville is made up of mainly historic houses that have been converted to hold 2-4 apartments each. While there are a few apartment complexes, none of them are very large and they primarily house University of Louisville or Spalding University college students as Old Louisville is near both campuses. These houses are definitely unique, but renter beware that parking is mainly street side and the one-way street grid system might take you a while to get used to. Safety isn’t a huge issue in Old Louisville due to the abundance of college students bumming the streets, but of course it’s never wise to let your guard down. It would be safe to expect apartments in this area to rent for between $400-600, depending on your space needs.
The Highlands – I prefer my thriftiness to include home brewed beer, please.
The Highlands is a neighborhood in Louisville where they’re “Keeping Louisville Weird.” The majority of the area runs along Bardstown Road and is home to numerous homegrown bars and taverns, thrift and consignment stores and art and music in general. Preferred by the more “free spirited” crowds – this area is a nightmare to drive through at any time of the day, which is why most residents are on bike or foot. On every corner you can find tattoo shops (Tattoo Charley’s – tattoos while you wait!) and hometown coffee/tea houses (Heine Brothers has quite the cult following) along with a delicious palate of unique restaurants that cater towards a more adventurous style of eating. If you dig a good bar – or a bar challenge, then you’ll love the Bardstown Road Trolley Hop and other community bar hopping events held each year. Like Old Louisville, housing in The Highlands is composed more of converted homes than large apartment complexes, though there are some in this area. Because of the in demand offerings (homebrewed beer anyone?), rent is slightly higher – running you about $500 for a one bedroom up to $900 for a roomy two bedroom.
South and Southwest – I want my drive time to work to be quick, ya hear?
These areas of town are known more for affordable housing complexes and manufacturing districts than their touristy attractions or hip nightlife. This is an economic area to reduce drive time should your field revolve around warehouse/distribution center type work. Roughly a ten-minute drive from the Preston Highway neighborhood, the main UPS hub is a major employer in Louisville with more than 20,000 employees. There are also numerous car “junk yards” in the Oakolona area, which can be handy for both work and play (that Volkswagen steering wheel is MINE!). That being said, there has been much development in the Preston Highway/Outerloop area, with an abundance of chain restaurants and a mall for the consumer inclined. Apartments are easy to find & you can expect monthly rent for this area to run between $400-700.
Southeast – Cheap luxury, that’s where it’s AT!
The Southeast end of Louisville Metro has parks, shopping, eating, and abundant housing in the form of apartments and condos. The Fern Creek area is home to one of two Ford manufacturing plants in Louisville, and Jeffersontown (you’ll hear the locals calling it “J-town”) has a great gaslight district that is home to parades and events in the autumn. It’s this area of town where the apartments can range from simple and plain (read: cheap) to plush and luxurious. The Southeast boasts significantly more recently built complexes than the South/Southwest & even more that are so well maintained it makes you want to give that lawn crew a high five. In this end of town you can safely budget $700 for a one-bedroom basic unit & up to $900 for a place of the same in a newer building.
East and Northeast – Yea, I rock a minivan, what of it?
The East and Northeast parts of Louisville are home to large, luxury complexes that match the fine quality of the shopping and eateries around Shelbyville and Brownsboro Road. Designed with the modern consumer in mind, there are two malls in Lyndon alone – which you will want to learn back roads around come holiday shopping season. “Location, location, location” is the motto of most of these apartment complexes – and they’re not lying. With easy access to I 71, I 265 and I 64, the East and Northeast areas make the apartment decision, especially for families, an easy one. Multiple shopping centers in this area make it easy to run errands for the busy mom, and there are plenty of options for playtime with the kids. Be prepared to pay for the upscale amenities (I’ll take the one with the sauna and tanning bed please!) and the desired location…one bedroom apartments can start at close to $800.
Let’s talk spaghetti
Louisville is able to be a metro because of the intertwining, overlapping, easily accessed highways that run through and around the city. In true downtown right alongside the Ohio River is Spaghetti Junction, aptly named where Interstate 71, 64, and 65 all collaborate to end in a swirly mess that truly does look like spaghetti (check it on Google maps if you don’t believe us). Escaping slightly from the junction, there are two other highways that run East-West around the city, providing two loops for easier access to different parts of the metro area. Interstate 265 is referred to as just that, or simply 265, the Gene Snyder (its “official name”), or it even just the Snyder. Interstate 264 is sometimes called 264 (you’d think they could’ve thrown us a bone and made it more than one digit off), the Henry Watterson expressway (again, “official name”) or just the Watterson. Locals call these roads different names in order to throw off visitors while giving directions (partly kidding).
However you want to pronounce it, Louisville is a quintessential Southern city with a sprawled out population of more than 700,000. Despite this somewhat large population, Louisville has a reputation for being relatively safe - in 2006 it was voted the eighth safest city. Louisville is not terribly diverse, as about 75 percent of the population is white and 23 percent is black, with very small populations of American Indians and Asians.
The city is probably best known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, an annual event that draws much fanfare. Louisville has three prominent areas: the West End, the South End and the East End (which is considered the swankiest part). The residents of Louisville, on the whole, are a religious group - most residents belong to the Catholic and Southern Baptist churches. You'll need a car in Louisville, as the city's public transportation is not particularly strong, and only consists of buses serving downtown and some of the immediate suburbs.
A highlight for nature lovers is that the Greater Louisville Region has more than 120 parks. Though Louisville has a large population, most areas do not have an urban vibe - on the contrary the city has more of a small town feel to it. Since the city has been around for a long time, many of its neighborhoods are distinct. Hipster-ish people would like the Germantown (home to the popular Lynn's Paradise Café) and St. Josephs neighborhood for their kitschy architecture, while families with children may prefer the East End.
Remember that Louisville is the South, so you'll be right at home if you love BBQ. One of the most popular places around the city is Mark's Feed Store Bar-B-Q. Other decadent Southern treats can be found at Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen, which is a dream for people with a sweet tooth. If you're looking for local flavor, look no further than the Louisville Slugger Museum, considered a must-see attraction for locals, tourists and baseball fans alike.
Pros •Safe city with lots of options for shopping, eating. •Louisville has a healthy economy and good schools. •If you want a quiet city to raise a family, you'll like it here.
Cons •Not as urban as you would expect from a city its size. •You probably need a car to live here. •Some areas are quite rural.
The People - Who Lives Here?
Louisville is quite the melting pot. Predominently white at 62% with black next at 33% and Hispanic next at only 1%. The other is made of mixed races and other.
Social Scene - Bars, clubs, restaurants
Louisville has it all. Small ecclectic bars along Bardstown Rd. and the Highlands, to huge big name places like the Hard Rock down on 4th Street Live!! 4th street is a social scene all to itself. With everything from open air concerts to UFC events. Also, right down the street is the new Yum Center, home to the Louisville Cardinals and many huge concerts. It was opened this year and it is already drawing big name talent from all over the world.
Transportation & Traffic
Between the Watterson (I-264) and the Gene Snyder (265), everything is about 10 minutes from everything else. Traffic isn't too bad but can be a little sluggish during rush hour. TARC has good bus service - my husband used it to get t work downtown for years with no problems. Parking downtown is NOT a big issue, but people used to parking 10 feet away from the Kroger are going to moan and complain about paying $1 to park 2 blocks away from a building. Parking at UofL is tough, but so is any other university.
Recommended Neighborhoods & Areas
There are a lot of cute little neighboorhoods in the Highlands and St. Matthews areas. I lived in Kingsley for 7 years, and there was a good mix of owned and rental homes, and several nice apartment buildings and condos. Highlands tends to be more for the eclectic folks, and St. Matthews for the 2.5 kids-and-golden-retriever set. Pretty safe areas. People in the city tend to be a little cliquey - you either grew up there and "have enough friends" or move there as an adult and have to try to find the other newbies. But overall nice.
The Essentials - Groceries, gyms, banks
Go to The Kroger for your groceries. When it s forecast to snow, get right in your car and go to The Kroger to buy bread and milk. Don't ask why, just do it. John Belski on WAVE-3 rates storms on the "bread index" - more slices means a worse storm.
The Jewsh Community Center is a great gym for decent prices, although the joining fee can be steep. Fantastic outdoor pools, open I think from April-October.
There are many schools that provide a well rounded education and opportunities to excel. There are also good local schools for higher learning including Bellarmine University, University of Louisville, and Spalding University. Louisville is also home to Sullivan University and a branch of Campbellsville University. Do not assume that your child cannot learn and grow in the right school environment. Be part of their education process. Stay involved with their learning and get to know your child's teachers. If you have concerns contact the school's principal or the Jefferson County Board of Education. You and your child will reap much benefit from greater involvement. There is a long list of successful and intelligent Americans that have been educated in Louisville schools including Diane Sawyer, Jeff Brohm, Tom Cruise, Louie Dampier, Frank Beard, and Mary T. Meagher.
Louisville has a humid subtropical climate ) and experiences four seasons. Spring-like conditions typically begin in mid to late March, summer from mid- to late-May to late September, with fall in the October–November period. Seasonal extremes in both temperature and precipitation are not uncommon during early spring and late fall; severe weather is not uncommon, with occasional tornado outbreaks in the region. Winter typically brings a mix of rain, sleet, and snow, with occasional heavy snowfall and icing. Louisville averages 87 days with low temperatures below freezing. Summer is typically hazy, hot, and humid with long periods of 90-100 degree temperatures and drought conditions at times. Louisville averages 31 days a year with high temperatures above 90 degrees. The mean annual temperature is 56.9 °F (13.8 °C), with an average annual snowfall of 14.7 inches (37 cm) and an average annual rainfall of 44.5 inches (1,130 mm).
Louisville's major districts are best described as a series of spokes emanating from a central hub. Downtown sits on the southern bank of the Ohio river, and a number of happening thoroughfares jut more or less southward from -Amy Spencer