January 22, 2021

Sabbatical Journal: What’s to do in Louisville?

Sabbatical begins in 9 days. I’ll be spending May 19-23 in Louisville (and some more time later in the summer.)

I know most of Louisville pretty well, but I’m always looking for something new and different to do.

Do you know of anything unusual in Louisville I should check out? Coffee shops (with or without wireless)? Good eateries (not too expensive)? Used book stores? Churches with worship during the weekdays? Interesting places? Shops? Libraries? Local baseball games? (The Bats aren’t in town.)

I’ll be staying at Southern Seminary, and I’m open for any breakfast/lunch suggestions. I plan to work in the mornings and early afternoon, then kick back a bit. I have plans most evenings.

Experts on Louisville, speak up!


  1. Go out Bardstown and visit Our Lady of Gethsemani monastery, where Thomas Merton lived. Make sure you’re there to hear the Monks do the Gregorian Chant at one of their prayer times. You can’t beat it.

  2. Been there many times, Dave, and will be going back my last week of sabbatical. Was just there with my son, in fact.

  3. Visit A Reader’s Corner. Used bookstore at the corner of Breckinridge Lane and Willis, a block off Shelbyville Road. There is parking behind the store off Willis. Not too far from the Seminary. Open 10 – 8 Monday thru Friday, 10 – 6 Saturdays.

  4. I still like the Zoo. It’s not too big so you can tour it in about 3 hours.

  5. Is there a decent salad bar around? Esp at lunch?

  6. Here are some Louisville suggestions:

    > Visit Cave Hill Cemetery

    > Breakfast at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe

    > Lunch @ Bristol Bar & Grill (Bardstown Rd)

    > Mexican food @ Sante Fe Grill (S 3rd St)

  7. The Christian Book Nook is a great new/used book store. You can get any new book he has for about 30% off the retail.

    2116 S. Preston Street
    Louisville, KY 40217
    Owner: John Smithson
    Hours: M-F: 11-5; Sat. 1-5

    That is where I buy most of my books for my classes.

  8. Oh yeah, and there is a nice coffee shop right down the street. I can’t remember how to spell the name of it but I can say that it is a great little shop.

  9. Go to Quills Coffee and Books at 1220 E. Kentucky St. Great atmosphere and awesome coffee.

  10. John Mark Inman says

    I don’t know of any baseball. UofL’s regular season ends just before you arrive. The Big East Tourney is in FL.

  11. May I suggest: Heine Brothers Coffee.
    Boomer’s Cafe- little eatery downtown- food is good but the people are what made it good for us.
    Eat dinner at Sweet Peas- nice southern style food.
    Muhammad Ali Center- Wow- I learned alot in my 2 hours there.
    Go across the bridge to Jeffersonville- nice coffee shop/diner called Perkfection.
    And to echo above comment- I liked the zoo as well.
    Ok, I’ll stop now.

  12. Kurt McInnis says

    For coffee can’t beat the Heine Bros. on Frankfort and Highland Coffee on Bardstown.

    For food, I like the Irish Rover on Frankfort and Cafe Mimosa (Vietnamese) on Bardstown. Oh, and it’s a chain, but I love Skyline Chili on Bardstown.

    Have a great time in Luhville.

  13. Ray Parella’s Italian Restaurant on Frankfort Avenue (Next to Irish Rover and Java) can’t be beat. Unless you want to shell out the big bucks for Lentini’s Italian on Bardstown Road.

  14. I second George Ezell’s suggestion to have breakfast (or brunch) at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe. Try to make reservations, though–they can get pretty busy. Lynn’s is by far my favorite restaurant in Louisville and has been featured in Southern Living magazine too.

  15. My husband and I just moved from Louisville. Have you enjoyed the baked good and breakfast at Blue Dog Bakery on Frankfurt?

  16. Jimmy Hedrick says

    It is the SUNERGOS Coffee Shop that is next to The Christian Book Nook. Also check out the local Fat Jimmy’s Pizza shops. GOOD crbs and you may find a leaf of lettuce side salad in the pop cooler. Oh yeah do the Frasizer Museum of History and the Louisville Slugger museum downtown. For an “ichabod” event check out the spiritual Taize maze meditation prayer walk on the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary campus over by SBTS. Have a great sabbatical. I’m going to Louisville June 1-9 for spiritual renewal with my new grandson.

  17. John Mark Inman says

    If you could only come a day early the Joel Osteen tour will be at Freedom Hall.

  18. I’m in Louisville Tuesday morning. Up for breakfast?

  19. Have you been to the Merton Center at Bellarmine College, Michael? You may have already, but thought I’d mention it. I’d love to go myself sometime. One of these days.

    Praying for you and yours by the way – just letting you know. Peace to you.

  20. Any Louisville residents know where some local ball is being played? AAU? Babe Ruth? Legion Ball? Any decent local ball parks used for anything other than t-ball and softball?

  21. District/Regional tourney should be going on the week you are in town. Be sure to see PRP play ball. They have five D1 guys playing this year. You can look online, or email me if you want me to try to get it for you.
    -Sunergos-Best coffee in town, micro-roastery, free wifi (Quills uses Sunergos coffee I think?)
    -Havana Rumba-Cuban food, incredible. I’m from Tampa , the Havana of Florida and this is the best I’ve ever had.
    -Shiraz-Mediterranean, fabulous, near seminary, off Frankfurt.
    -El Mundo-different, great fish tacos.(off Frankfort)
    -J. Gumbo’s-Not as good as when it was Gumbo-A-Go-Go, but still good Louisiana Creole. (also, Frankfurt)
    -Actually the best Salad Bar I have found is on Campus in the Cafeteria. If you haven’t eaten there, throw out all your Cafeteria preconceptions, and go. The chef (yes, I said chef) is outstanding.) The Cafe is really good as well.
    If your looking for something specific, just ask. I’m an English teacher as well, so I’ll be off, as well, if your up for a meal.

  22. tedwolfe says

    I’ve been travelling to Louisville for a weeklong convention every year for 10 years, and I’ve got a short list of favorites:


    All Booked Up – One of those great kind of cramped floor to ceiling used book stores. They have a great stock in history and a pretty good one in literature.

    Twice Told Used Books and Jazz Records – another great little hole in the wall store. Lots of great literature, poetry, and philosophy here. A good hardcover science fiction section as well.


    Mark’s Feed Store – I’ve eaten at many rib joints, and Mark’s is in my top 3. Be sure to try the fried corn on the cob and a slice of the buttermilk pie. I always take a whole pie back home.

    Mike Linnig’s – I grew up on fried catfish and fried mullet, and Linnig’s has the best catfish I’ve had outside of a family reunion. You’ll be there at a great time of year to sit at one of their outside tables. It’s a ways out of town, but worth the trip if you like seafood.

    Bourbon’s Bistro – discovered this one on my last trip and immediately fell in love, and not just for the 100+ different bourbons they carry. For dinner try the Grilled Filet of Beef with a Roasted Shallot Bourbon Demi-Glace with Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus, and check out one of their fabulous chocolate desserts.

    Hope that helps!

  23. Mike Linnig’s is amazing. Have enjoyed it many times.

    Being a BBQ purist (born and raised in Owensboro Ky) I find Mark’s to be blasphemously mundane for the price. There used to be some Texas BBQ in Louisville that was good.

    I need to find some Korean food.

    I have a breakfast appointment with an IM reader at Lynn’s!

  24. There’s actually a good mom-and-pop BBQ store on Shepherdsville Road just off Fern Valley Road, can’t remember the name of it. I’ll drive by tomorrow and find the name. I do agree Mark’s is comparatively tame (having had homemade BBQ most of my life) but it’s pretty good for the price. But then again if you have to pay for it, it usually isn’t as good as it could be

  25. might i recommend “the book nook” off of preston. great collections of used christian books.

  26. I’m surprised that, after so many comments, no one has mentioned Ramsi’s. One of my favorite places to eat in Louisville.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Quills does use coffee from Sunergos.

  27. It may be too late for this, but check out the Louisville Slugger factory tour, then go across the street and tour the museum (the correct anme of which escapes me) it focuses on the history of arms and amaments. Both right downtown by the river. You might also like Claudia Sanders restaurant (Claudia is Colonel Sanders’ wife).

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