Home / Travel Guides - Louisville / Louisville Sports And Recreation

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Louisville Sports and RecreationLouisville has something to offer almost every sports enthusiast, whether adventure travel enthusiast, athlete or spectator. The parks of Louisville and Jefferson County, ranging in size from one-tenth of an acre to the 6,400-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest (see Recreation Areas Chart), offer opportunities for many adventurous things to do. For information about park facilities and events contact the Metro Parks Public Information Office, 1297 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213; phone (502) 456-8100.

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With a 900-foot series of pools, waterfalls, water cannons and a wharf, Waterfront Park, downtown on the riverfront, connects Louisville to the Ohio River and is a fun thing to do with kids. The park features a playground and is a popular spot for concerts, picnicking, walking and jogging.

Sports in Louisville

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Bicycle trails wind through many of the parks, and several bicycle routes are designated along city streets. A booklet highlighting bicycle routes throughout Louisville and Jefferson County is available at most public library branches and at the visitor center at Fourth and Jefferson streets; for additional information phone (502) 574-6473. For a more unusual bicycling opportunity, however, there's Louisville Mega Cavern, which operates the world's biggest indoor bicycle park with 320,000 square feet and 45 trails; phone (877) 614-6342.

Hiking is available in most of the parks, but marked hiking trails are found in Jefferson Memorial Forest, which offers hikers more than 35 miles of trails ranging from an easy .25-mile (one-way) paved walk to a strenuous 6.2-mile (one-way) trek. The forest, part of Louisville's Metro Parks system, is 16 miles south of the city in Fairdale; phone (502) 368-5404 for additional information.

Fishing is available; people between 16 and 65 must have a state fishing license. Charlie Vettiner, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Fishermans, Iroquois, Long Run, Tom Wallace, Watterson and Waverly parks have stocked lakes, and Chickasaw, Cox, Eva Badman, Hays Kennedy, Riverview, Shawnee, Thurman Hutchins and Thurston parks provide access to the Ohio River, where carp and game fish may be caught.

Golf enthusiasts can choose from any of the nine Metro Parks golf courses: Bobby Nichols, 4301 E. Pages Ln., (502) 937-9051; Charlie Vettiner, 10207 Mary Dell Ln., (502) 267-9958; Cherokee, 2501 Alexander Rd., (502) 458-9450; Crescent Hill, 3110 Brownsboro Rd., (502) 896-9193; Iroquois, 1501 Rundill Rd., (502) 363-9520; Long Run, 1605 Flat Rock Rd., (502) 245-9015; Seneca, 2300 Pee Wee Reese Rd., (502) 458-9298; Shawnee, 460 Northwestern Pkwy., (502) 776-9389; and Sun Valley, 6505 Bethany Ln., (502) 937-9228.

Six of these courses—Charlie Vettiner, Iroquois, Long Run, Seneca, Shawnee and Sun Valley—offer 18 holes. Shawnee is particularly scenic, with five holes played parallel to the Ohio River. Each course has a clubhouse and pro shop; both pull and riding carts can be rented. All courses are open daily, 30 minutes after dawn to dusk. Daily greens fees range from $9.25 to $16; discounts are available for senior citizens.

Influenced by their surroundings, visitors often want to go horseback riding while in Louisville. Marked horse trails ranging from 3 to 10 miles long are available at Cherokee, Forest View, Iroquois, Seneca and Tom Wallace parks. Trails also are available at five state parks: Barren River Lake Resort, Cumberland Falls Resort, Dale Hollow Lake Resort, Lake Barkley Resort and Lake Cumberland Resort as well as Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

For tennis buffs the more than 150 public outdoor courts in the area are free and are available on a first-come-first-served basis, with a 1-hour time limit.

Water sports are enjoyed in the 12 outdoor pools, open mid-June to mid-August, and three indoor public pools, open year-round, as well as in area lakes and the Ohio River.

Watch a Game in Louisville

Spectator sports are a fun thing to do in Louisville. The University of Louisville Cardinals football team plays at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, phone (502) 852-2779, while the college's basketball team schedules their games at the KFC Yum! Center downtown, phone (502) 690-9000.

The city has a AAA minor league baseball team, the Louisville Bats—the Cincinnati Reds' principal farm team—which plays April through September at Louisville Slugger Field on E. Main Street; phone (502) 212-2287.

Also at Slugger Field is Louisville City FC, or LouCity, a competing soccer franchise of The United Soccer League. The team's plan is to move into a new permanent 10,000-seat facility by 2020. The stadium, which would be able to expand up to 20,000 seats, will be near Adams and Campbell streets in the Butchertown neighborhood.

Besides the renowned “Run for the Roses,” Churchill Downs offers Thoroughbred horse racing from late April through early July and September through November; phone (502) 636-4400.

Note: Policies concerning admittance of children to pari-mutuel betting facilities vary. Phone for information.

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Louisville, KY

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