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Top 10 New Attractions in Louisville from 2000-2010

Experience the Top 10 New Attractions in Louisville of the 2000-2010 Decade


Every time I speak with someone who used to live in Louisville but hasn't been around in a decade or two, they always stress how much the city has grown and changed. In the last decade, Louisville has become a place that old residents of the city barely recognize. While every new addition to the city over the 2000-2010 decade added to the city's character, the following ten additions are definitely the best new attractions in Louisville.

Churchill Downs After Dark

© Jeff Gentner / Getty Images
When the bill to put slot machines in at Churchill Downs failed again in 2009, there was talk that the bill's failure was going to cause the failure of the racetrack as well. That was before some of the company's more ingenious personnel put their minds together and came up with Churchill Downs after Dark. Downs after Dark features horse racing on weekend evenings and was just the boost the track needed. At the end of 2009, it was announced that Downs after Dark will return for the 2010 season.

Fourth Street Live!

(c) 2008 Michael Maupin
Fourth Street Live was constructed as a replacement to the Galleria, an unsuccessful shopping complex that was built in the early 80s to replace the River City Mall, an unsuccessful shopping complex that was built in the early 70s. Fourth Street Live is a shopping/dining/nightlife complex that was designed to revitalize Downtown Louisville. While I can't say for sure if Downtown Louisville recent popularity is a direct result of Fourth Street Live, I will say that the focus it brought to Downtown Louisville's possibilities certainly helped the start of the Downtown Louisville revival.

Muhammad Ali Center

(c) 2008 Jessica Elliott
Not only is the museum dedicated to Louisville native Muhammad Ali's life and values another great addition to Louisville's amazing collection of museums, it is also a gorgeous addition to Louisville's breathtaking skyline. The collection of pictures forming the riverside walls of the Muhammad Ali Center change as you drive along I-64 past Downtown Louisville, bringing yet another unique aspect to Louisville's already phenomenal architecture.

Slugger Field

(c) 2008 Jessica Elliott
Slugger Field is the home of local Minor League Baseball team the Louisville Bats. Throughout the summer, Slugger Field is a great place to engage in the old American tradition of watching a baseball game while sharing hot dogs with your kids or sharing a beer with your friends. However, baseball is not the only great thing to be watched in Slugger Field—it has also been a popular venue for a number of major concerts and is a local favorite destination for watching the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show.

21C Museum Hotel

(c) 2008 Michael Maupin
There are almost too many amazing things about the 21C Museum Hotel to mention in one short paragraph. The 21C Museum Hotel is home to one of the most interesting art galleries in Louisville. It is home to Proof on Main, one of the best restaurants in Louisville for both food and cocktails. It is a popular venue for a number of events that feature local musicians, artists, and authors. And it is home to some of the most interesting restrooms in the country. There are a lot of reasons why the 21C Museum Hotel is great, and it has been one of my personal favorite additions to Louisville of the 2000-2010 decade.

Gallopalooza Horses

(c) 2008 Michael Maupin
In 2004, the city put out a call for artists to design the first litter of Gallopalooza horses in celebration of the Kentucky Derby and our fabulous local art scene. We enjoyed the first litter so much that we gave birth to a second batch of Gallopalooza horses again in 2008. This batch debuted at Churchill Downs during the 2009 Kentucky Derby Festival (see photos). You can find these unique pieces of local art in all kind of unusual places all over the city.

The Green Building

© Ted Wathen
The Green Building erupted in 2008 after surging oil and natural gas prices forced people across the nation to start reconsidering their carbon footprint. The Green Building was the first commercial building in Louisville to pursue LEED platinum certification. It is home to a café, an art gallery, and several business offices, and its event spaces have hosted a number of major local events. Since its opening, The Green Building has played a pivotal role in the revitalization of NuLu, an artsy district of Downtown Louisville formerly referred to as the East Market District.

The Summit

(c) 2008 Jessica Elliott
The Summit opened in 2001 as Louisville's only upscale strip mall. As home to a number of major retailers that can't be found anywhere else in Louisville, The Summit definitely brought something new to the local shopping scene.

Louisville Mega Cavern

© 2009 Michael Maupin
Though it's been around for several decades, the Louisville Mega Cavern was first opened to the public in 2009. The Louisville Mega Cavern is an underground space of more than 4 million square feet beneath the Louisville Zoo that has a number of purposes. It is a storage space—salt for the city is kept there as well as a vault of original Disney movies. It was also designed to be a bomb shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, visitors to the Louisville Mega Cavern can take an hour-long guided tram ride through the dark abyss.

Louisville Extreme Park

Photo Courtesy of Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Louisville Extreme Park sprung up in the early part of the new millennium when extreme skating, biking, and skateboarding were surging in popularity because of the national media attention they were receiving through movies like Jackass and events like the X Games. In response, the city built the Louisville Extreme Park, a 40,000 square foot skatepark, to keep those interested in the sport off of the sidewalks and handrails of local businesses and give people of all skill levels a safe place to skate.

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