Lifestyle

Everything You Absolutely Must Do in Louisville This Summer

Updated On 07/05/2018 at 06:10PM EST Updated On 07/05/2018 at 06:10PM EST
Saturday
Jul 7
Gaslight Pavilion
Just east of the city lies the quaint town of Jeffersontown, which throws one hell of a beer party. For the fourth year, the J-Town Craft Beer Fest will bring the best beers, local and otherwise, to the heart of Downtown. With more than 50 breweries, food trucks, live music and plenty more, it’s the best option for a Saturday afternoon.
Cost: $45
Friday
Jul 13
Locust Grove
The largest Jane Austen festival in North America takes place in Louisville, on the grounds of an 18th century farmhouse. You’ll get presentations by featured speakers, Regency-era demonstrations, workshops to help you sharpen your knowledge of the Regency era and get in on a four-course afternoon tea. There also will be vendors for shopping, just like in the old country.
Cost: $15
forecastle festival
Forecastle Festival
Friday - Sunday
Jul 13-15
Waterfront Park
“Did you get your Forecastle tickets yet?” That’s the rallying cry as soon as late winter in Louisville. Forecastle has, in a way, put Louisville on the national music map, drawing top-line acts from all over the world each year, not to mention hundreds of thousands of people from all over. It’s 100% the can’t-miss summer event.
Cost: One-day passes start at $69.50
Friday - Saturday
Jul 20-21
Once again, Louisville becomes the epicenter of all things Lebowski. The festival features live local music, a live tribute to the soundtrack, a screening of the film, a bowling party, special guests, and a whole lot of guys walking around dressed up like The Dude. And probably Donny.
Cost: $25 and up
Friday - Saturday
Jul 20-21
Louisville Water Tower
What do you get when you cross New Orleans- and Memphis-style blues with craft beer and top-notch BBQ? A whole lot of happy people. This annual festival features seven different bands, lots of craft beer (local and otherwise), and enough barbecue to feed a small army. And if it all gets too hot, just step into the brews tasting tent to cool off.
Cost: $10
Friday - Saturday
Jul 20-21
Iroquois Amphitheater
One of Louisville’s most beloved event venues turns 80, and everyone is invited to the shindig. But instead of a concert (that’s been done to death), Iroquois will present a display of acrobatics, music, and dancing by CirqueLouis that will thrill the entire family. Concessions will be available for sale, and it’s a two-night party -- what you do those two nights is up to you.
Cost: $12 adults, $8 children
Wednesday
Jul 25
Waterfront Park
Louisville’s favorite monthly concert series presents Over The Rhine, Bully and Curio Key Club, free on the Great Lawn. The music starts at 6pm and there will be plenty of food and beverage vendors. Bring your chairs or blankets and chill out with your friends. Also, check out the new kids’ activity area where the youngsters can play, explore, and learn the world of classical music.
Cost: Free
Saturday
Aug 4
Frankfort Avenue
Now in its seventh year, this festival, which takes over Frankfort Avenue between Bauer Avenue and Lexington Road, is like an all-day block party on steroids. Live music all day will keep you entertained, and the bevy of booths highlights local businesses. Of course, there’s food, beer, cocktails and lots of fun for the kids. Best of all? It’s free. And when you get too hot, there are countless local bars and restaurants nearby where you can cool off with a tasty beverage.
Cost: Free
Saturday
Aug 4
Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center
Doesn’t the name “Chocolate Fest” say it all? Yeah, it’s chocolate as far as the eye can see, with local restaurants and caterers coming together with their own chocolate-based dishes, from main-course items and desserts to cocktails. A ticket gets you all the samples you can stand, plus drink tickets, live entertainment and more. And the proceeds benefit Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance.
Cost: $45
Wednesday
Aug 29
Waterfront Park
Wild Child, The Suffers, and Katie Toupin take the stage in this monthly summer series. Break out the blankets and chairs, grab a drink from the bar, and prepare to be entertained. Also, check out the new kids’ activity area where the youngsters can play, explore, and learn the world of classical music.
Cost: Free
Friday - Monday
Aug 31-Sep 3
The Belvedere
It’s your chance to be a world traveler without those minute details like passports, airfare and customs inspections. We're talking about WorldFest, now in its 16th year. It’s a celebration of world culture with food, music, dance, art and education from pretty much anywhere you can imagine. Vendors and special presentations abound, and be sure to come hungry and with an open mind.
Cost: Free
Friday - Saturday
Aug 31-Sep 1
The Stewart Promotions flea market is a time-honored tradition for Louisvillians, and the Labor Day version is double the size of the regular version. It’s like the Big Gulp of flea markets, with more than 1,000 vendors and a 300-both antiques wing. Concessions are available, and you’ll get a chance to see (and buy!) stuff you won’t find anywhere else.
Cost: Free
Saturday - Sunday
Sep 1-2
Louisville Water Tower
Two days and six bands playing all the songs you love, new and old, plus bourbon, BBQ, and carnival food: What could be better? Check out local favorites like the Louisville Crashers, Tony and the Tan Lines, and Wax Factory. And then go wild on some smoked meats and party like … well, like it’s Labor Day.
Cost: $10
Saturday
Sep 8
Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center
Get ready for an in-your-face art show that will feature painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, and plenty more. Browse vendor booths, interactive art stations, and enjoy food and drinks as you take in all the sights. From sand art to live coloring and painting stations, this event will appeal to the whole family. There will even be circus performers. Yeah, CIRCUS PERFORMERS.
Cost: Free
Saturday
Sep 8
Louisville Zoo
WAKY is one of Louisville’s enduring AM radio staples, specializing in the music of yesteryear. Hang out with six different bands playing hits from the 1960s and ’70s. Bring your blankets and chairs, grab some food and a drink, and pretend it’s 1972 and your just hangin' out in Tevin's basement with Foreman and the gang.
Cost: Free zoo admission or membership
Big Four Bridge Arts Festival
Big Four Bridge Arts Festival
Saturday - Sunday
Sep 8-9
Waterfront Park
Prepare to get your art on. This annual, juried festival will feature nearly 200 artists showing their works in the shadow of the Big Four Bridge. Many of the art vendors will be brand new to Louisville. While you browse, you can enjoy a tasty adult beverage and international cuisine from the food vendors on hand. To cap off the day, the Awards and Auction Party takes place right after the festival closes.
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
Sep 14-16
Waterfront Park
For the 17th year, Sailing for a Cure will hold its regatta to raise money for Gilda’s Club, a local cancer charity. Bring the whole family and watch 20-plus sailboats race for the coveted Regatta trophy. You can even sponsor a team to increase your rooting interest -- hey, it’s always more fun if you’ve got something to root for. In the process, local families dealing with cancer will get some help.
Cost: Free, but donations are appreciated.