(Image credit: Tara Donne)
On the short list of things that you absolutely must do in Louisville, drink bourbon is for sure one; eat a hot brown is another. These will surprise no one. But I’d also argue for another less-expected essential for any visitor, but especially food-lovers: a trip to the 21c Museum Hotel. It might seem weird to put a hotel on the list and it might seem hyperbolic to say that the 21c Museum Hotel is so much more than a hotel! But I will say both things — and I will stand behind them.
The property is not only home to a hundred-odd artful rooms (with rubber duckies in the bathrooms and mint julep cups in the bar), an American South-restaurant showcasing local farmers and artisanal produces in the Ohio River Valley, and my favorite bar in Louisville, but it also houses 9,000 square feet of gallery space, spanning two floors and maybe a dozen rooms. And while it doesn’t have the bright lights of 4th Street Live, it does have a giant gold replica of David’s Michelangelo out front — plus loads of life-size red plastic penguins that appear at random throughout the property. (One morning I woke to find one standing outside my door.)