Hampton Inn by Hilton Louisville Northeast
4100 Hampton Lake Way - Louisville, KY 40241 USA
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Louisville Festivals, Arts & Entertainment

Louisville, Kentucky's largest city is situated on the Ohio River along the Indiana border. Every May, its race course Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby, a renowned horse race whose long history is explored at the Kentucky Derby Museum. The Derby is preceded by a two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival starting with the annual Thunder Over Louisville boasting the largest annual fireworks display in North America. The Kentucky Derby Festival also features notable events such as the Pegasus Parade, The Great Steamboat Race, Great Balloon Race, a combined marathon/mini marathon with approximately seventy events in total. Esquire magazine has called the Kentucky Derby "the biggest party in the south."

Beginning in late February or early March the internationally acclaimed Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville begins and lasts approximately six weeks. On Memorial Day weekend, Louisville hosts Abbey Road on the River, the largest annual Beatles Festival in the world. The festival lasts five days and is located on the Belvedere in downtown Louisville. The summer season in Louisville also features a series of cultural events such as the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (commonly called "Shakespeare in Central Park"), held in July of every year and features free Shakespeare plays in Central Park in Old Louisville. Also in July, the Forecastle Festival draws 35,000 visitors annually to Louisville Waterfront Park in celebration of the best in music, art and environmental activism. The Kentucky State Fair is held every August at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville as well, featuring an array of culture from all areas of Kentucky. In places, the African American community celebrates Juneteenth commemorating June 19, 1865 when slaves in the western territories learned of their freedom. In September, in nearby Bardstown, is the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrating the history and art of distilling bourbon whiskey. The suburb of Jeffersontown is also the home of the annual Gaslight Festival, a series of events spread over a week. Attendance is approximately 200,000 for the week. The month of October features the St. James Court Art Show in Old Louisville. Thousands of artists gather on the streets and in the courtyard to exhibit and sell their wares, and the event is attended by many art collectors and enthusiasts. The show is the second most-attended event next to the Derby.

Another art-related event that occurs every month is the First Friday Hop. A free TARC bus takes art lovers to many downtown area (especially East Market District/NuLu) independent art galleries on the first Friday of every month.

Come and enjoy everything Louisville has to offer!

Year-Round Festivals, Arts & Entertaiment

Kentucky Derby [May]

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually here in Louisville on the first Saturday in May capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter mile (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms). The race is known in the United States as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and is also called "The Run for the Roses" for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. 

Kentucky Derby Festival [April/May]

The Kentucky Derby Festival is an annual festival held in Louisville, Kentucky during the two weeks preceding the first Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby. The festival, Kentucky's largest single annual event, first ran from 1935–1937, and restarted in 1956 and includes:

Humana Festival [February/March/April]

The Humana Festival is an internationally acclaimed event that has introduced nearly 450 plays into the American and international theatre’s general repertoire including three Pulitzer Prize winners. The Humana Festival is the premier event of its kind in the nation drawing theatre lovers, journalists, and film and stage producers from around the world. About 36,000 patrons attend the five weeks of plays and associated events including students from more than 50 colleges and universities. The Festival culminates in two industry weekends bringing together a collection of amazing new plays with one-of- a-kind panels, cocktail parties, discussions and networking events. It is the perfect opportunity to see new work, make new connections, and support the creation of new American theatre.

Beatles Festival [Memorial Day Weekend]

Abbey Road on the River (AROTR) is a five-day, multi-staged music festival initially created to honor the music and spirit of The Beatles. The festival takes place in Louisville, Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend. Tribute bands, as well as internationally recognized bands, perform over the course of the festival playing the music of the Beatles, as well as the music of other artists. Abbey Road on the River is a four-time winner of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association's Top 10 Spring Festivals.

Kentucky Shakespeare [Summer]

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit, professional theatre company in Louisville, Kentucky that produces and performs the works of William Shakespeare. The main productions offered are the annual summer series of plays presented free to the public at Central Park. This series, commonly called "Shakespeare in Central Park", sprung from an initial production in the park by The Carriage House Players in the summer of 1960. They also perform shows in other venues, as well as conduct educational programs related to acting and other theater-related skills.

Forecastle Festival [July]

The Forecastle Festival is a three-day music, art, and environmental activism festival held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2002. The festival originated as a small gathering of local musicians in Louisville's Tyler Park, and steadily grew into a national attraction that now includes major touring acts, national art collectives, outdoor industry partners, prominent speakers, and more. Forecastle was selected in 2012 as one of Rolling Stone's "Coolest Festivals" and has an annual attendance of over 75,000 fans at Louisville Waterfront Park. In 2014, the festival attracted attendees from 49 states, 2,192 cities, and 7 countries. 

Kentucky State Fair [August]

The Kentucky State Fair is the official state fair of Kentucky which takes place at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. More than 600,000 fairgoers fill the 520 acres (2.1 km2) of indoor and outdoor exhibits, eat a smorgasbord of food and ride hair-raising, adrenaline-pumping coasters during the 11-day event. The Kentucky State Fair includes competitions in crafts such as quilt-making, homebrew beers, and home-made pastries, as well as fine arts and agricultural competitions. Exhibitor spaces are available and are popular with area and regional businesses. The Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show is one of the fair's most prestigious events where attendees and horses travel from various continents. More than 2,000 elite saddlebreds compete in the World's Championship Horse Show for more than 1.2 million in premiums and awards.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival [September]

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is a weeklong activity consisting of more than thirty events in Bardstown, Kentucky, and is dedicated to celebrating the history and art of distilling bourbon whiskey. The organizers of the festival promote the strong association between bourbon and the city of Bardstown, and have trademarked the phrase "Bourbon Capital of the World" to apply specifically to Bardstown. Bardstown has been the site of bourbon distilleries since 1776. The event started in 1992 as a dinner and bourbon tasting for 250 people. The event now draws more than 50,000 visitors each year from more than a dozen countries, and includes events that may appeal to adults and children alike. Besides concerts by such famous names as the Kentucky Headhunters, several local distilleries have commemorative displays on the lawn, as well as food and craft vendors. The event is home to the world championship bourbon barrel relay, a barrel rolling race between many of the Kentucky distilleries. On the property of Spalding Hall, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey is often visited during the festival. The Bourbon Festival gives tourists the opportunity to taste many different types of Bourbon and whiskey.

Gaslight Festival Parade [September]

The Gaslight Festival Parade includes around 100 units each year featuring marching bands, antique cars, equestrian units, and proud Jeffersontown residents. Thousands of spectators line the streets of Watterson Trail and Taylorsville Road taking part in this tradition!

St. James Court Art Show (October)

St. James Court Art Show was founded on October 12, 1957 by St. James Court Association president, Malcolm Bird. Back in 1957, St James Court Association was faced with an empty treasury, mounting debt for recent fountain repairs, and an immediate need to generate funds. The Art Show seemed to be a perfect means to pay the bills and bring residents together. The Art Show started simply enough. “At first, it was to be an art exhibit only, although open to anyone wishing to enter an exhibit. The pictures were hung on a clothesline extending from tree to tree,” wrote Marguerite Gifford in her 1966 history, St. James Court in Retrospect. In 1995 Susan Coleman became director of the Art Show. From 1995 to 2004 Susan brought an enthusiasm to the Show that produced numerous improvements for artists and visitors including a professional artist selection jury. In 1995, Gwynne and Grover Potts were instrumental in beginning the annual poster competition that continues today. Louisville Magazine began producing the Art Show Program in 1998. From 2005 through today, the Art Show has been directed by Margue Esrock. Now managing a show with nearly 750 exhibitors and more than 300,000 attendees, Margue is undaunted by the complexity of managing an event with the size and reputation of the St. James Court Art Show®. Like Malcolm, Ann, Oscar and other earlier organizers, Margue appreciates the satisfaction, pride and simple fun experienced by the residents and friends of Old Louisville who put together the annual St. James Court Art Show.

4th Street Live

Fourth Street Live! is a 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2)[1] entertainment and retail complex located on 4th Street, between Liberty and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in Downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The large Hard Rock Cafe sign greets visitors to Fourth Street Live! Restaurants and entertainment venues in the complex include Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, Hard Rock Cafe, T.G.I. Friday's, Biracibo, The Sports & Social Club (bowling alley and restaurant), Tavern on 4th street, The Fudgery and the new bourbon raw bar. Fourth Street Live! also has a wide variety of bars and nightclubs including The Marquee Bar, Mosaic, Sully's Saloon, The Sports & Social Club, Howl at the Moon, PBR Louisville and Tengo Sed Cantina. A mall-style food court is also located in the complex with restaurants like Wendy's, Taco Bell, Subway and Philly Station. There are also several retail stores including CVS Pharmacy, Footlocker and T-Mobile. Traffic on 4th Street through the complex is often open, but closed for large public gatherings such as music concerts and other events.

Whether you're visiting Louisville, Kentucky for business or pleasure, choose the Hampton Inn by Hilton Louisville Northeast!