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About Louisville

Louisville is a place of beauty that defies description. Not exactly southern and not exactly midwestern, Louisville is home to people of kindness, people of greatness, and people of character. Often, you'll even meet someone who's all three! (Louisville is also home to people of good humor.) A big city with a small-town feel, Louisville is Lonely Planet’s No. 1 Travel Destination for 2013 – a place where you'll find every manner of arts, entertainment, sports and commerce, but still get a smile and a "hello" from a complete stranger.

Greater Louisville, pronounced “LOU-a-vuhl," is a thriving city of about 1.2 million people. Our city offers all of the benefits of a contemporary city on the move, along with the gracious hospitality that has made this region legendary. Our area boasts:

  • an award-winning arts scene with top-level theater, music and visual arts; an awesome sports scene that features the world famous Kentucky Derby, professional baseball, arena football, and frequent major touring events in golf, racing, and extreme sports;
  • a parks system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted that is the envy of cities nationwide;
  • a vibrant downtown life, featuring Fourth Street Live, Waterfront Park, Louisville Slugger Field, Extreme Park, waterfront hiking and biking trails, and the Falls of the Ohio;
  • and the breathtaking natural beauty of Kentucky, home to spectacular lakes, stunning mountains, mysterious forests and the Red River Gorge.

The Highlands' Charm

Located right on the edge of downtown Louisville in the city’s first suburb, The Highlands, Bellarmine is within walking distance of some of the city's most popular public parks, shops, restaurants and clubs. Funky and bustling with energy, the Highlands is home to art galleries, consignment stores, book stores, record stores, coffee shops, and boutiques. Some of the great Bardstown Road landmarks familiar to BU students include Twig & Leaf, ear Xtacy, Heine Brothers Coffee, Fat Jimmy's Pizza, Wild & Woolly Video, Carmichael's Bookstore, Guitar Emporium, Molly Malone's, Za's, Amazing Grace, City Café, Café 360, Bombay International Market, Baxter Avenue Theaters, Lily's, Cumberland Brews, Jack Fry's, Sapporo, Ramsi's, Seviche, and Spanelli's. Between the parks and the shopping/dining corridors, there's not much you can't do in the Highlands.

World-Class Parks 

Just about two miles from campus is one of the most beautiful city parks in the nation. Cherokee and Seneca Parks offer a combined 742 acres of nature's splendor right in the middle of Louisville, just a stone's throw from Bellarmine's campus. Designed by world-famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York's Central Park and the US Capitol Grounds), Louisville's beautiful Cherokee Park comprises 409 acres and includes everything from scenic walking, bicycling, mountain-biking, and horseback-riding trails to golf, tennis, fishing, baseball, softball, and hoops facilities. The333-acre Seneca Park, which is adjacent, sports even more amenities, including soccer, field-hockey, and lacrosse fields, and the 18-hole Seneca golf course. No matter what your outdoor passion is, you're sure to find the perfect setting for it, just a couple of minutes from Bellarmine's campus.

Slightly further afield, the Frankfort Avenue corridor offers more unique restaurants, galleries, shopping and clubs, and nearby St. Matthews features two large malls, guaranteed to satisfy the needs of any mall-rat anywhere.

Downtown Louisville

In downtown Louisville, you'll find a museum-lover's paradise. The waterfront is home to the world-famous Muhammad Ali Center, a fascinating interactive museum dedicated to The Champ's vision of creating a more respectful world. Just west on Main Street, you'll also find the Louisville Science Center, the Frazier International History Museum, and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where you can watch craftsman create the Louisville Sluggers that Major League Baseball players use to knock 'em out of the park. Just around the corner, you'll find Glassworks, a complex of glass studios and galleries dedicated to the art of glass. 

A few blocks east of those attractions, you'll find outstanding performing arts at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, at Actor's Theatre, on the Belvedere overlooking the river, or at Waterfront Park, which is home to rock, alt-rock, folk and indie concerts during the summer. Main and Market Streets are also home to dozens of clubs where you can hear live music. The Fourth Street Wharf is also home to the world-famous sternwheeler Belle of Louisville, which hosts Bellarmine students each year in the "Ball on the Belle." 

South of Main a few blocks, you'll find Fourth Street Live, a dining and entertaining complex that's home to Hard Rock Cafe, Maker's Mark Bourbon House, and numerous other shops, restaurants and nightclubs. Travel east a few more blocks and you'll find Louisville Slugger Field, home to the Triple A Louisville Bats and the Extreme Park, a world-class concrete playground for extreme skaters, boarders, and bikers. 

Other Attractions

A couple of miles south of downtown, you'll find several other must-see attractions, including the J. B. Speed Art Museum, and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Museum. For two weeks each spring, the Louisville area hosts one of the world's great parties: the Kentucky Derby Festival. Further south, on the edge of town, the 6200-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States. Still haven't had enough nature? Check out the Falls of the Ohio State Park, just across the river in Indiana, where you can explore the 386-million-year-old fossil beds and contemplate time, nature, and your place in the universe.

Most of the exciting attractions described above are within a ten-to fifteen-minute drive of Bellarmine or within a 20-to 30-minute walk or bike ride. The city bus system - TARC - is also a great way to get around town, with stops at each of the above locations. 

Louisville's location in the center of the United States makes travel to other destinations easy. We're within a comfortable drive of many other major cities and Louisville International Airport is a 15-minute drive from campus.

Louisville's Vibrant Business Climate

Louisville also boasts a strong economy and a fabulous job market for Bellarmine's graduates. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article designated Louisville “one of the five best big city job markets for new college graduates.” In addition to Louisville Slugger-makers Hillerich & Bradsby and Churchill Downs, Louisville is home to many other major employers, including Brown-Forman CorporationHilliard LyonsHumanaKindred HealthcareNorton HealthcareYum BrandsUPS and Papa John's Pizza.

There's also a zeal for small business in the Metro Louisville area. More than 28,000 small businesses call Louisville home. In fact, Entrepeneur Magazine recently named Louisville the number one city for small business growth. With the major UPS WorldPort hub at Louisville International Airport and the bustling Riverport, the city is also a growing center for international trade.

Louisville’s heightened global economic activity has attracted international businesses as well as professionals to the community. The Metro Chamber of Commerce has embraced this internationalization and developed an initiative, Greater Louisville International Professionals. G.L.I.P provides international professionals and students with a source for qualified guidance on how to get involved and get ahead in this community through networking events and mentorships. 

A Bite to Eat, a Place to Stay 

If you're staying in town to visit a Bellarmine student or tour the campus, you'll find some great restaurant reviews at Louisville HotBytes. To find a unique restaurant, see Louisville Originals. If you're looking for a hotel, please visit's Accomodations page. Interested in great one-of-a-kind local merchants? Check out Keep Louisville Weird.

You can also become a Friend of Lou! "Friends of Lou" is a group of people who love Louisville and who share their pride in it far and wide. (And being a Friend of Lou has perks. Cool ones. Inside-information on what’s happening in the city, weekly e-mails, special VIP invitations to parties and concerts, and a Friend of Lou Welcome Kit.)

Come visit us!

See for yourself Louisville’s unique mixture of easy access to everything a big city has to offer, along with the comfort, safety, beauty and ease that usually resides only in small towns. And make a visit to Bellarmine University your first stop! Schedule a visit now.

Bellarmine University | 2001 Newburg Rd, Louisville KY, 40205 | 502.272.8131 | 800.274.4723

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