Kentucky is known for being horse country, but there is plenty more for families to do beyond equine-centered activities! There is so much more to Louisville than just the Kentucky Derby, and the best part? There is a lot of fun that can be had for free! Take a look at our Research TravelingMom’s list of suggestions for free fun in Louisville, Kentucky, from taking a tour of Louisville’s distilleries (with a free taste) to spending the day with the kids doing kid-friendlier but still free things.
Free Things to Do in Louisville Kentucky
Louisville offers a wide variety of activities to enjoy with the whole family free of charge. From educational adventures to art galleries and the opportunity to get to explore the great outdoors as a family, there is something for everyone to do!
The American Printing House for the Blind is the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired. This is a great spot to bring children and learn together about the ways those who are visually impaired are served through the services offered by the American Printing House.
Tours are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday – Thursday, except holidays.
Ceiling at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville Kentucky
One of the oldest cathedrals in continuous use in America, the Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville. Even if you aren’t a practicing member of the Catholic faith, there is something to be said for the beauty and the history of this house of worship.
Stretch your legs on the big four bridge in Louisville KY for Free!
3. Stretch your legs
The Big Four Bridge is a fantastic place to let little ones get their wiggles out and for grown-ups to get exercise. This former train bridge was converted into a pedestrian bridge and has been a popular attraction since its opening. The bridge connects Kentucky and Indiana, and on either side, you can find delicious food and family fun
Photo Courtesy: The Parklands
4. Monkey Around
Louisville is becoming very well known for its parks and playgrounds. There are some fantastic places to take kids and let them do what they do best, be a kid! Try the Parklands playgrounds or the fantastic spraygrounds that are a welcome respite from the hot and humid temperatures of the Ohio Valley. As a mom, I am able to relax more at the spraygrounds over a traditional type water park.
5. Snap a few selfies with some roadside attractions.
First up is David, and by David I mean, the giant statue of David out in front of the 21C Museum and Hotel. Clocking in at over 30 feet tall, it is a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David.
Then head down to the outside of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Admission to the museum does incur a fee, but pictures with the famed bat are free of charge! The bat is 120 feet tall and rests against the factory where the normal sized bats are produced.
6. Take in the Art at 21c
The 21c Museum and Art gallery is free and open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
Check out this description of the space from their website:
“Five 19th-century warehouses live on as more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space where curated exhibitions and site-specific installations reflect the global nature of contemporary culture. Our galleries are open every day and exhibitions rotate. So make plans to visit often, and be sure to take advantage of regular cultural programming, too.”
7. Take a hike
Remember the fantastic parks that I mentioned earlier that your kids will love because of the playgrounds? Well, these same parks also offer great places for hiking. There are miles and miles of trails for the novice hiker down to the advanced hiker who is really wanting a challenge.
Plan a visit to Louisville Nature Center, it’s free! Photo Courtesy: Louisville Nature Center
8. Visit the Louisville Nature Center
The Louisville Nature Center is a great place to get in touch with nature and let your kids explore in a hands-on way. With a butterfly garden loaded with plants that attract butterflies, there is a good chance that stepping into that area may very well feel like walking into an enchanted garden. Additionally, you can go hiking here with your family and explore a one of a kind bird blind, all in the same location. Best of all? Admission is free to the nature center.
9. Take part in the first Friday trolly hop.
If you are visiting Louisville on a Friday, during the summer, act like a Louisvillian and hop on the trolly! The first Friday Trolly hop happens starting at 5:30 pm and runs until 10 pm. You are able to hop off and on at stops all around Downtown Louisville and take advantage of sales that boutique shops offer during these special events.
10. People Watch and Window Shop on Bardstown Road
There are some unique sights and stores that dot this historic section of Louisville. There are tons of eclectic stores along Bardstown Road offering a wide variety of items like no chain store would ever have. Of course, the products in these unique stores cost money. Still, it certainly doesn’t cost anything to get ideas for your next must-have purchase.
Have you visited Louisville before? If so, did you try any of the free fun we listed while you were in town?