The Highlands neighborhood is Louisville’s original Restaurant Row. There are fantastic restaurants within walking (or bike or electric scooter) distance from campus and going on for miles down Bardstown Road. Here are a few of our favorites, all within a mile and a half of campus:
Migo – tacos and small plates
Havana Rumba – Cuban
La Suerte – Latin
The Bards Town – pub grub
Kaelin’s 80/20 - burgers
Sapporo – sushi
Pho Café - Vietnamese
Wild Ginger – pan-Asian
Uptown Café – American
Za’s Pizza Pub – pizza
Shiraz – Mediterranean
Sarang - Korean
Boombozz – pizza
Impellizzeri’s – pizza
La Chasse – rustic European
Bristol Bar & Grille – American
The Eagle – fried chicken
Ramsi’s Café on the World – bistro
Joy Luck – Asian fusion
Heart and Soy – Asian vegetarian
Dragon King’s Daughter – sushi
Of course, this is just the beginning. There are plenty of other great restaurant rows across Louisville, including ones in NuLu, Germantown, Clifton and Downtown Louisville. You’ll also find plenty of other food options within walking distance of campus, including fast food, dives, diners, coffee shops and farmer’s markets. We take our food scene seriously which is why Travel & Leisure magazine named us one of America’s best cities for food!
Louisville is one of America’s great music festival cities. One weekend in July, every year, music fans converge on the Waterfront of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville to experience Forecastle Festival, which Rolling Stone magazine calls “one of the coolest festivals in America.” It’s the convergence of the biggest names in music like Sam Smith, The Avett Brothers, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, T-Pain and up-and-coming local artists.
Fun fact: Dr. Dundiff, a 2015 Bellarmine music grad, was asked to play on stage with My Morning Jacket. Forecastle isn’t just about the music, it also focuses on environmental activism, and outdoor recreation.
And there are plenty of other festivals each year:
Bourbon and Beyond is a three-day festival featuring bands like Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, The Flaming Lips and Zac Brown Band.
Louder Than Life is a three-day festival for people who like their music LOUD. It features bands like Slipknot, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Ice Cube, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.
The Kentucky Reggae Festival is a two-day event that brings the “island vibe” to Louisville Water Tower Park each May.
The Kentucky Derby Fest-a-Ville is a 10-day outdoor music festival on the Waterfront leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
Abbey Road on the River is “the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival.”
And there are plenty of other festivals around town all year long, celebrating everything from native son Hunter S. Thompson to The Big Lebowski to neighborhoods, ethnic heritages and food. If there’s one thing we do well in Louisville, it’s celebrate!
There’s also plenty of non-festival fun to be had in Louisville. Waterfront Wednesday is a free summer concert series on the Big Four Lawn. There’s an annual chili cook off on Frankfort Avenue. People dress up like zombies for the annual Zombie Walk down Bardstown Road every August.
We also get classy with Broadway shows, free Shakespeare in the Park, art and cultural museums. And, of course, we host the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” the first Saturday in May at the world famous Kentucky Derby, always warmed up by a three-week festival in preparation.
If hiking and biking is more your speed we’ve got hiking in Jefferson Memorial Forest or the incredible Olmsted Parks system, biking in a 100 mile loop around the Louisville Loop, and a world-class skate park.
No matter what your interests, you’ll have no trouble finding food, festivals or fun in Bellarmine’s back yard!