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You belong in Bourbon City: The LGBTQ+ travel guide to Louisville

You belong in Bourbon City: The LGBTQ+ travel guide to Louisville
Courtesy Louisville Tourism

Sip, savor, and strut your stuff in Bourbon City: The ultimate LGBTQ+ travel guide to Louisville, where every taste, view, and event is a colorful celebration.

This story is brought to you by our partners at Louisville Tourism and Team Kentucky.

Butchertown Mural, LouisvilleButchertown Mural in LouisvilleCourtesy Louisville Tourism

Welcome to Bourbon City! Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky, Louisville beckons with its unique blend of Southern charm and progressive spirit. Here, bourbon flows freely, but it's not just the amber liquid that defines this vibrant metropolis. Louisville boasts a rich tapestry of culture, history, and inclusivity, making it an ideal destination for LGBTQ+ travelers seeking an authentic experience. From renowned restaurants to hidden gems, iconic attractions to lively events, Louisville offers an unforgettable experience for everyone. Join us as we explore the LGBTQ+ jewels that bring pride to Bourbon City.

21c Museum Hotel Statue of David21c Museum Hotel Statue of DavidCourtesy Louisville Tourism

In Louisville, dining is not just about savoring exquisite cuisine; it's about embracing diversity and celebrating individuality. At Le Moo, an LGBTQ-owned establishment, indulge in succulent steaks, or, be dazzled by weekly drag shows that have garnered national acclaim. Meanwhile, Proof on Main, housed within the 21c Louisville Museum Hotel, offers a culinary journey complemented by a free in-house art museum, making it a feast for the senses. And let's not forget Hotel Genevieve in the eclectic NuLu neighborhood, where a Parisian-inspired cafe and rooftop bar beckon discerning palates.

Old Fashioneds at Porch, LouisvilleOld Fashioneds at Porch in LouisvilleCourtesy Louisville Tourism

Start off your evening at The Brown Hotel with the iconic Hot Brown sandwich, a Louisville tradition. After a delectable meal, experience Louisville's nightlife at Big Bar and Chill Bar in the Highlands, offering craft cocktails and live music. Then, dive into the electrifying atmosphere of Play Dance Bar in Butchertown for a drag extravaganza. For a late-night indulgence, sip bourbon-infused delights at The Corridor Bar or at one of the many cocktail bars Louisville has to offer. With a diverse array of dining and nightlife options, it’s easy to get a taste of this Southern city.

Big Four Bridge, LouisvilleBig Four Bridge in LouisvilleCourtesy Louisville Tourism

For those who dare to wander off the beaten path, Louisville offers hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered. Traverse the Big Four Bridge and marvel at breathtaking views of the Ohio River, or wander through the historic streets of Old Louisville, home to the largest collection of Victorian-era mansions in the country. For thrill seekers, delve beneath the surface of the Louisville Mega Cavern, where underground ziplines await. Beneath Whiskey Row offers a more relaxed underground adventure, where speakeasies like Hell or High Water are waiting to be discovered. Whether exploring by day or by night, Louisville's hidden gems promise unforgettable experiences and endless possibilities.

Mega Cavern Ziplines, LouisvilleMega Cavern Ziplines in LouisvilleCourtesy Louisville Tourism

Louisville's attractions embody the city's vibrant spirit, from the historic charm of Whiskey Row to the thundering hooves of Churchill Downs. Embark on a journey through bourbon history as you explore distilleries like Old Forester and Angel's Envy, located just steps apart. Or, experience the thrill of the iconic Kentucky Derby by taking a tour at the Kentucky Derby Museum. You’ll get a behind the scenes look at the famous racetrack, it’s 150 year history, and can even order the Derby’s signature cocktail, the Mint Julep. And for those seeking adventure, Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay promises adrenaline-pumping rides and refreshing escapes.

Louisville PrideLouisville PrideCourtesy Louisville Tourism

In Louisville, pride knows no bounds, with celebrations that span the calendar year. From the vibrant spectacle of the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival in June to the Chicago Market Days-inspired lively block parties of Louisville Pride in September, the city comes alive with color and energy. And for bourbon enthusiasts and LGBTQ+ allies alike, Bourbon & Belonging offers a one-of-a-kind celebration of diversity and inclusion in October. In Louisville, every event is a testament to the city's unwavering commitment to equality and acceptance.

Louisville PrideLouisville PrideCourtesy Louisville Tourism

As we conclude our journey through Bourbon City, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Louisville is more than just a destination; it's a state of mind. Here, diversity isn't just embraced; it's celebrated. From the vibrant LGBTQ+ community to the rich tapestry of culture and history, Louisville invites travelers to experience the true essence of Southern hospitality. So whether you're sipping bourbon along Whiskey Row or dancing the night away at Pride, know that in Louisville, you're always welcome. Come discover the Louisville magic and see why you belong in Bourbon City.

This feature originally appeared in Out Magazine's June 2024 Print Edition.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Nic Austin

Branded Content Editor

Nic Austin is passionate about providing a platform in media for the LGBTQ+ community. He strives to tell stories about his community through the leading LGBTQ+ publications in the country. His mission is to amplify marginalized LGBTQ+ voices through partnerships with prominent brands and leaders in our community.


A graduate from NYU Tisch, Nic Austin has always connected with the written word and its ability to change minds. He has applied this love for writing to analyzing LGBTQ+ media and how the LGBTQ+ community has been represented on screen. Before working as an Editor at equalpride, Nic Austin was the Editor-in-chief of The Queer Queue and the co-host of both The Queer Queue Podcast and The Queerly News. In his spare time, Nic Austin writes film criticism while enjoying the mountain views of Denver, Colorado.

Nic Austin is passionate about providing a platform in media for the LGBTQ+ community. He strives to tell stories about his community through the leading LGBTQ+ publications in the country. His mission is to amplify marginalized LGBTQ+ voices through partnerships with prominent brands and leaders in our community.


A graduate from NYU Tisch, Nic Austin has always connected with the written word and its ability to change minds. He has applied this love for writing to analyzing LGBTQ+ media and how the LGBTQ+ community has been represented on screen. Before working as an Editor at equalpride, Nic Austin was the Editor-in-chief of The Queer Queue and the co-host of both The Queer Queue Podcast and The Queerly News. In his spare time, Nic Austin writes film criticism while enjoying the mountain views of Denver, Colorado.