The city of Louisville is often called the biggest small town you’ll ever see. The people are friendly and genuine, and the atmosphere is artsy and quaint. The University is in a historic district, so most of the surroundings are well-preserved Victorian houses, and there are towering trees everywhere. Of the many parks in town, a couple are within walking distance of campus, so when the weather is nice, students head out on foot or on bike to enjoy nature. If you’re looking for a big-city atmosphere, you might be disappointed because Louisville is light on the hustle-and-bustle that is characteristic of cities like New York and Chicago. But, don’t let that fool you. Louisville has all the basics—a zoo, movie theaters, parks, trendy shopping centers, and a great music/arts scene—but you might have to drive a little from the University to get there. Louisville can feel a little slow to students who don't have a car, but there are friendly local coffee shops, a grocery store, some restaurants, and a few bars within walking distance of campus. TARC, Louisville’s public transportation system, is free for U of L students, so many get around that way, but the buses are often late or occasionally never come at all, so having a friend with a car is useful.
To find the most fun, head down Eastern Parkway and you’ll land in the affluent Highlands, home to trendy local shops and bars along Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue. Or, cruise downtown, and visit Waterfront Park for music and culture festivals, 21C for the latest art exhibit, or Fourth Street Live for more shopping and bars. There is plenty of fun to be had here, and Louisville is full of festivals and facilities to explore and appreciate.