We all know that Louisville is a pretty place to be year-round. But surely summer is the best time of year to fill up your time here. When the sun is out, it seems the city truly lights up, and activities are aplenty.
Music alone is a huge part of outdoor life. Yes, Abbey Road on the River may have just concluded, but look ahead and you can see that the Forecastle Festival â€“ an event that attracts more than 50,000 each day â€“ is right around the corner. Aside from Forecastle, Jeffersonvilleâ€™s RiverStage concert series with the Louisville skyline in the background is also quite a gem in the calendar. And donâ€™t forget the Mayorâ€™s Arts and Culture Series. There are plenty elsewhere, of course.
Maybe if movies are your thing, stopping by Fourth Street Live! or Iroquois Amphitheater is an option. And if the great outdoors is your real love, then why not stop by the stunning and ever-growing Parklands of Floyds Fork, or go to see the botanical wonders of Yew Dell Gardens or the Bernheim Arboretum.
Whatever your thing is, get out there and enjoy our amazing city. Take a look at our Ultimate City Scene Guide to help you make your decision.
Wednesday Concert Series
One the cityâ€™s favorite summer traditions is rocking the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park. Why? Because, thanks to the good folks at WFPK, monthly Wednesdays are the time when a huge handful of bands play in front of thousands of eager music lovers. While the names are kept under wraps until closer to the select date, you might as well go ahead and pencil in June 24, July 29, Aug. 26 and Sept. 30, with performances scheduled to start at 5 p.m. each night. May 27 already saw the likes of Civil Twilight, Jukebox the Ghost and local favorites Small Time Napoleon, strut their stuff. The music is likely to only get better, the crowds bigger. And everyone is assured a phenomenal time mid-week. How could you say no?
June 24: Pokey LaFarge, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn and T. Hardy Morris
For information about WFPK Waterfront Wednesday Concert Series, visit www.wfpk.org.
and Art Series
While a lot of live music this summer will be outdoors, there is one set of shows that will unquestionably benefit from being indoors. The location, Mayorâ€™s Gallery and Listening Room, in the heart of Metro Hall, is about as unique as they come. The Mayorâ€™s Music and Art Series is all about highlighting different styles of music in the city and offering them free of charge for all, on a first-come, first-served basis on the first Thursday of every month. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the show starts at 12:10 p.m. and runs for 45 minutes. This can only mean one thing: youâ€™ll have one heck of a lunch break. Shows confirmed so far are:
June 4: 30 Spokes
July 2: TBA
Aug. 6: Flamenco Louisville
Sept. 3: Bonnie â€œPrinceâ€ Billy
Metro Hall is located at 527 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY, 40202. For more information on the concert series, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/government/mayors-music-arts-series.
Shakespeare in the Park
Kentucky Shakespeare is the oldest running free Shakespeare festival in the United States, which can only mean that theyâ€™re pretty good at putting on the works of The Bard. For the past 55 years, organizers have chosen Old Louisvilleâ€™s Central Park as the setting for classic and new interpretations of the worldâ€™s most famous playwright. So if live music is not your thing this summer, then maybe a little thespian action is your flavor?
This yearâ€™s festival, which runs from June 3-Aug. 9, will feature performances of â€œThe Tempest,â€ â€œThe Taming of the Shrewâ€ and â€œMacbeth.â€ During a special Bard-a-Thon event on July 25, all three plays will be performed in a single day. Aside from the classics, there will also be productions from local theatre companies, featuring works inspired by the great man himself â€“ including local playwright Doug Schutteâ€™s comedic offering, â€œChasing Ophelia,â€ which runs Aug. 4-9.
Central Park is located in the heart of Louisville at the corner of Park Avenue and South Fourth Street. For information about the festival, visit www.kyshakespeare.com.
Aside from the fact that Iroquois Park is one the prettiest parks in the city, its amphitheater takes things up a notch by consistently delivering world-class acts in a beautiful covered outdoor arena. This summer, renowned bands like The Decemberists and Alabama Shakes will stop by to play shows. But if youâ€™re looking for something a little more relaxed, look no further than the series of movie nights and concerts the stunning venue is hosting. Ranging from the gore of classic flicks like â€œJawsâ€ to the retro family fun of â€œBack to the Future II,â€ Iroquois is the place to be for free evenings of musical and cinematic delights. Free events at the Iroquois Amphitheater are as follows:
May 31: The Louisville Winds
June 8: â€œJawsâ€
June 13: â€œThe Lego Movieâ€
June 15: â€œJurassic Parkâ€
June 22: â€œThe Birdsâ€
June 26: Louisville Philharmonia Concert
June 29: â€œBack to the Future IIâ€
July 4: July 4th Community Musical Celebration
July 6: â€œMuppets Most Wantedâ€
July 11: â€œThe Amazing Spider-Man 2â€
July 13: â€œMonster Houseâ€
July 20: â€œAresenic and Old Laceâ€
July 27: â€œClose Encounters of the Third Kindâ€
Aug. 3: â€œBraveâ€
Aug. 8: â€œPlanes – Fire and Rescueâ€
Iroquois Amphitheater is situated at 1080 Amphitheater Road, Louisville, KY, 40214. For more information, call 502.368.5865 or visit www.iroquoisamphitheater.com.
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
The museum has unveiled its summer exhibit,Â â€œFood, Shelter, Clothing, Oh My,â€ which runs until Sept. 6.Â The exhibit features numerous artistsâ€™ pieces, all representing â€œthemes embedded in the ideas of food, shelter, and clothing.â€ Itâ€™s all designed to â€œextend the conversation to consider different social, political and cultural dimensions.â€
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft is situated at 715 W. Main St., Louisville, KY, 40202. For more information, call 502.589.0102.
Want to combine the wonders of live music under the stars with the stunning backdrop of the Louisville skyline? Well, take a quick drive across the river into Indiana and enjoy Jeffersonvilleâ€™s RiverStage â€“ a floating performance venue anchored along the majestic banks of the Ohio River. Take a seat in the beautifully cultivated amphitheater on the terrace lawn and enjoy a summer-long concert series. Bring along your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers, enjoy a drink at the beer garden and grab a bite to eat as well. Best of all, the music is totally free. Bands scheduled to play so far are:
May 29: Louisville Brass & Electric w/ guest Honkywood
June 5: Caribou w/ guest Lefty & the Lunatics
June 12-13: Smokin on the River
June 19: Culture Night: The Ark Band w/ guest Cosa Seria & Roots Vibration
June 26: Velcro Pygmies w/guest The Big Phatty Band
July 3-5: RiverPops featuring The Wizard of Oz
July 10: Unlimited Show Band w/guest Night Breeze
July 17: The Newbees w/guest Nervous Melvin & the Mistakes
July 24: The Monarchs w/guest Personnel Only
July 31: The Wulfe Bros. w/special guest The Doo-Wop All Stars and Munch
Aug. 1: Jeffersonville Goes CountryÂ Maddie & Tae w/special guest Love & Theft
Aug. 7: Endless Summer Band w/guest TimeSquare
Aug. 14: Juice Box Heroes w/guest The Hiding
Aug. 21: Tony & the Tanlines w/guest Blues and Greys
Aug. 28: 100% Poly w/guest Muji Fuji
Sept. 4: The Louisville Crashers w/guest Derby City Rockers
Sept. 6: Steamboat Days Dance-A-thon/ Kidz ROCK the Stage!
Sept. 12: Zumba Glow Party!
Sept. 13: Rock on Water Jason Gray w/guest Carrollton & Hush Harbor
For more information on Jeffersonville RiverStage, visit www.theriverstage.com.
Founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight, the Forecastle Festival has grown each year to become one of the Midwestâ€™s premier music events â€“ and one of the hottest tickets in town. Taking place this year July 17-19, itâ€™s expected to draw tens of thousands of fans, once more, from across the world to Louisvilleâ€™s scenic 85-acre Waterfront Park. This yearâ€™s lineup is as star-studded as ever, with Sam Smith headlining Friday nightâ€™s outing, Louisvilleâ€™s own My Morning Jacket on Saturday and Widespread Panic on Sunday.
For more information about the festival, lineup and ticket information, visit www.forecastlefest.com.
Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop
Want a fun way to experience all that Frankfort Avenue has to offer this summer? Well look no further, because on the last Friday of every month, the Frankfort Avenue Trolley runs up and down this unique street, allowing passengers to both board and hop off at numerous shopping and dining locations along the avenue. There is also plenty of free parking nearby, if walking is more your style. Enjoy drink specials, discounts and a whole lot of entertainment along the historic route as business owners get into the swing of things, now that summer is nearly here. Upcoming dates are May 29, June 26, July 31, Aug. 28 and Sept. 25.
For more information visit www.fatfridayhop.org.
First Friday Trolley Hop
If youâ€™re hoping to indulge your more artistic side, then stopping by the First Friday Trolley Hop should do the trick. On the first Friday of each month, Louisvillians can hop aboard the new eco-friendly ZeroBuses running along Main and Market streets and check out all the eclectic shops, art galleries, live music and restaurants the streets have to offer. Upcoming Trolley Hops are June 5, July 3 and Aug. 7. The June 5 Trolley Hop is titled â€œThrowback to the Gallery Hopâ€ and will celebrate the Trolley Hopâ€™s devotion to local art galleries. The evening will feature openings and refreshments at numerous galleries along Main and Market. And like all First Friday Trolley Hops this summer, it will include free bus rides and take place 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
For more information, visit www.firstfridayhop.com.
Louisville Bats Baseball
Whatâ€™s better than chowing down on a hot dog, pretzel or a bag of nuts and hearing the sound of ball crack on wood? Well, the Louisville Batsâ€™ season is well underway, so make your way down to Slugger Field and get into the mood for the nationâ€™s favorite pastime. Who knows, you may even catch a ball off a home run. Keep an eye out on the calendar,Â as the Bats regularly host $1 hot dog nights, while also staging plenty of giveaways to add to the fun. And during the summer, be sure to check out the Bats Baseball Friday Night Fireworks, a dazzling display of pyrotechnics immediately after each Friday night game. So be sure to get your tickets.
Slugger Field isÂ situated atÂ 401 E. Main St., Louisville, KY, 40202. To check out the seasonâ€™s schedule, visit www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t416; to purchase tickets, call the box office at 855.228.8497.
The Frazier History Museum
Fancy traveling back to 1930 and leaving the summer of 2015 behind? Well, why not stop by the Frazierâ€™s â€œLove, Shirley Templeâ€ exhibit. Set to run July 3-8, the exhibit features â€œmovie costumes, dolls, and childhood memorabilia from the personal archives of the iconic actress Shirley Temple.â€ The Frazier is the only museum in the Midwest selected to host this exhibit, so itâ€™s a must for local fans of the iconic actress.
The Frazier History Museum is located at 829 W. Main St., Louisville, KY, 40202. For information about the summer exhibit or for hours, call 502.753.5663 or visit www.fraziermuseum.org.
Louisville City Football Club
Now that our city has its very own professional soccer team, you too can experience the excitement of the worldâ€™s most popular sport live in the flesh, and all without having to leave The Ville. Throughout the summer, Louisville City Football Club has numerous home games for you to enjoy. So get into the spirit of Louisvilleâ€™s latest sporting phenomenon by bringing along your scarf, painting your face and cheering loudly at their home in Slugger Field.
Slugger Field is situated at 401 East Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202. To check out the seasonâ€™s schedule or purchase tickets for upcoming games visit www.louisvillecityfc.com
The Kentucky Science Center
The Kentucky Science Center has created a packed schedule for the summer, including its annual film nights, which this year will include the Harry Potter series, â€œThe Lorax,â€ as well as more educational fare such as â€œFlight of the Butterfliesâ€ and â€œPandas: The Journey Home.â€ A perfect family night out. But for those who want overnight adventure, the museum is hosting a sleepover on June 6. From 6:00 p.m to 9:00 a.m., families are invited to a fun night where adventures will include â€œprogram activities, exclusive after-hours exhibit exploration, flashlight scavenger hunt, an exclusive movie, snacks, breakfast, and admission to all exhibits.â€ This event is not to be missed and is only $30 per person.
The Kentucky Science Center is situated at 727 West Main Science Center, Louisville, KY, 40202. For information call 502.561.6100 or visit www.kysciencecenter.org
Muhammad Ali Center
Come learn more about Louisvilleâ€™s favorite son – The Greatest – Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center this summer. With a constant stream of guest speakers coming to talk at the center, as well as the main exhibit itself, which is packed full of Ali memorabilia from his storied life and career, itâ€™s not to miss.
The Muhammad Ali Center is situated a 144 North Sixth Street, Louisville, KY, 40202. For more information call 502.584.9254 or visit www.alicenter.org
Derby Dinner Playhouse
Whatâ€™s better than a spot of dinner and live theatre all under one roof? A perfect date night as well as fun for the whole family, Derby Dinner Playhouse has packed a summer season full of exciting musical and theatrical shows. Upcoming performances at the historic playhouse are as follows:
May 12 – June 21: Social Security
May 16- June 13: Sleeping Beauty
June 8: The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
June 24- Aug. 9: Peter Pan
Aug. 12 – Sept. 27: Church Basement Ladies in The Last Potluck Supper
Derby Dinner Playhouse is situated at 525 Marriott Drive Clarksville, IN, 47129. For more information or to purchase tickets call 812.288.8281.
Louisville Slugger Museum & 21c Museum Hotel
If youâ€™ve been to a Louisville Bats game then why not stop by the Louisville Slugger Museum? See how one of the most-used pieces of sporting equipment is made. If youâ€™re in the mood for art though then thereâ€™s good news here as well. Louisville Slugger and the 21c Museum Hotel have teamed-up for the first time to present a joint exhibition featuring baseball-themed contemporary art by Cuban-born artists. â€œStealing Base: Cuba at Batâ€ is open now and runs through mid-June at both venues. The exhibition is largely drawn from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.
Louisville Slugger Museum is situated at 800 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202. For more information on the exhibit or to plan a trip call 877.775.8443 or visit www.sluggermuseum.com
Want to ride some rollercoasters in the city? Good thing Kentucky Kingdom is back, right? Re-opened to great fanfare last year, the famous theme park is better than ever and is a great place to take the kids or to just be a kid again yourself. Thrills, spills and screams are just a quick drive away. Seniors and children get in for $34.95 while adult price is $49.95 (or $39.95 online). But perhaps the smart move is getting a season pass for $109.95 which gets you 20% off all food and merchandise, while ensuring unlimited entry to Kentucky Kingdom as well as Hurricane Bay.
Kentucky Kingdom is situated at 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY, 40209. For more information on tickets, passes and opening hours, call 502.813.8200 or visit www.kentuckykingdom.com
The Parklands is a systemic, world-class addition to Louisvilleâ€™s parks system that includes four major parks linked by a park drive, a first-rate urban trail system, and a remarkable water trail, all tracing Floyds Fork, a classic Kentucky stream. This public/private project is unique in the region and unlike anything currently in development across the countryâ€”truly a city-shaping model which ensures no two visits are ever going to be the same, especially as just a few of the activities include; walking, hiking, playgrounds and spraygrounds (water parks), fishing, canoeing, paddling, mountain biking, cycling, community gardens, science camps, interpretive hikes, scout programs and even dog parks.
For information on The Parklands project call 502.584.0350 or visit www.theparklands.org.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Want to be outside rather than in a museum? Well look no further than the stunning natural woodland habitat of Bernheim a vast area featuring Kentucky native trees and wildlife. Explore groomed trails, gardens and fields. A great day out with the family or just if you want some alone time surrounded by the sights, sounds and smell of nature. For those on a budget, there is no fee for visitors Monday-Friday. While on Independence Day and Labor Day the fee ranges from $5-10.There is no charge for members.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is situated at 2499 Clermont Rd, Clermont, Ky. 40110. For more information call 502.955.8512 or visit www.bernheim.org.
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Searching for an idyllic locale to escape the city for a bit this summer? Well look, no further than The Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. This expanse of gorgeous gardens feature countless plants and beautiful grounds, allowing visitors to both stroll past colorful flower beds and experience numerous educational programs and community events. Additionally, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, along with Slow Food Bluegrass, will host Brown Formanâ€™s â€œFarm to Table Dinnerâ€ on June 14 at 6pm. This event will feature an outdoor meal complemented by melodious Bluegrass music.
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens is located at 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, KY 40014. For more information call 502.241.4788 or visit www.yewdellgardens.org.