Five Things to Do in Louisville (GIE+EXPO Preview)
When You’re Not Touring GIE+EXPO, Hit These Local Hotspots
Like its utility construction cousin ICUEE (the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition, which happens every two years, the next one in 2015), GIE+EXPO is an enormous machine trade show that calls Louisville, Ky, its home in the fall (Oct. 22-24). Its castle is the Kentucky Exposition Center, which has a big enough outdoor area for global manufacturers to show off their next-generations of commercial equipment. But instead of utility construction machines, GIE+EXPO is focused on the landscape industry, hosting educational seminars, hobnobbing with green industry associations and exhibiting landscape equipment — maintenance machines like mowers, trimmers and outdoor power equipment, and design/build construction equipment like skid steers, mini excavators and compact tool carriers.
So, we end up visiting Louisville at least once a year, and over the last decade the city has become a Compact Equipment favorite. It’s easily one of the most accessible cities in the country, beautifully situated on the Ohio River, within a day’s drive of nearly half the nation’s population. You can carpool from Cleveland, Ohio, or Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a mere six hours. While it’s known as Derby City (Churchhill Downs is only minutes from the Kentucky Exposition Center), Louisville has a lot more to offer than horse racing — arts, eats and entertainment mixed with a rich heritage and southern charm. Oh, and whiskey. Lots of whiskey. We were lucky enough to tour the city’s many attractions back in June on the GIE+EXPO Writer’s Tour, and here are five things you must do while in Louisville.
- Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory: Admire the world’s largest baseball bat, leaning enormously against the building, before touring the world-famous bat factory, hitting a 90-mph fastball and buying a slugger with your name on it.
- Evan Williams Bourbon Experience: Located on Louisville’s historic “Whiskey Row,” the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience explains the history and business of artisanal distilling with tours, tastings and bourbon to buy. This is just one stop on the state’s epic Bourbon Tour.
- The Highlands: Centered along a three-mile stretch of Bardstown Rd. and Baxter Ave., this hipster’s paradise has some of Louisville’s best bars (Flanagan’s Ale House), eclectic businesses (Carmichael’s Bookstore) and upscale dining (Asiatique).
- Historic Belle of Louisville: Enjoy a scrumptious dinner cruise or a lazy day trip down the Ohio River on this National Historic Landmark. This year celebrating its centennial, the Belle is the oldest operating steamboat in the nation.
- Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby Museum: While horses won’t be racing during GIE+EXPO, you can still experience Derby Day at its awesome museum. It has a 360-degree theater of the “The Greatest Race” that will blow your mind.