Louisville’s lively food, art and museum scenes offer more than enough excitement to fill a weekend. It is also where the Kentucky Truck Plant produces Ford F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 Super Duty® pickups, as well as the Ford Expedition. And thanks to the city’s central location at the crossroads of the Midwest and the Mid-South, only the open highway stands between you and an unforgettable road trip to one of these five must-visit spots.
Hoosier National Forest: 55 miles from Louisville
Scenic drives don’t come much more picturesque than a cruise through the byways of the 202,000-acre Hoosier National Forest, which includes views of the Ohio River and, in the springtime, explosions of wildflowers amid the area’s legendary hardwoods. Best itinerary: Take Route 1 southeast of Bloomington and dip through the hills surrounding Lake Monroe, proceed to Brown County State Park. End your journey at the old-timey general store-turned-inn in the former logging community of Story, Indiana.
Lexington: 78 miles from Louisville
This sports-obsessed college town offers its own unique take on Kentucky charm. Start with a stroll through historic downtown, which features plenty of galleries, restaurants and, yes, bourbon bars. Head to Jonathan’s at Gratz Park for creative takes on classic dishes as well as a dictionary-thick selection of brown spirits. Don’t miss the seasonal thoroughbred thrills at scenic Keeneland Race Course. During college hoops season, a stool at Lexington Beerworks is the ideal place to cheer on the perennial NCAA powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats.
Cincinnati: 99 miles from Louisville
The Queen City is emerging as a hidden gem, with downtown redevelopment showcasing the city’s Art Deco architecture and rich arts scene. The hip Over-the-Rhine neighborhood boasts places like Rhinegeist brewery, a small-batch beer producer and tasting room built in a former 19th century bottling plant, and Findlay Market, a food lover’s paradise with stalls selling everything from European waffles to Vietnamese pho. For music, head to MOTR, a cozy bar/club that serves up killer pub grub.
Indianapolis: 114 miles from Louisville
From its homespun food truck scene that delivers world cuisine, to the internationally known Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this is a town that celebrates fun on four wheels. Even the city’s landmarks are best viewed from the car window: Take a ride around Monument Circle for a tour that includes the 284-foot-tall limestone Soldiers and Sailors monument, the 1925-built Lacy Building, and the renovated Hilbert Circle Theatre – one of the Midwest’s first movie palaces that is now home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. End your spin with a thin-crust slice at Giorgio’s Pizza, a downtown institution.
Nashville: 174 miles from Louisville
Befitting its Music City moniker, a trip to Nashville offers no shortage of celebration of the art of song. Your first stop: Peruse the rhinestone costumes and well-worn vintage guitars at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Then meander down Music Row towards the legendary RCA Studio B, rub elbows with modern rock royalty at the Third Man Records vinyl boutique, and catch the next generation of famous songwriters at the world-famous Bluebird Café.