• Travel and Fanfare

Affordable, Dope, Hipster & Trending

By Rosanne Mastin

Credit Churchill Downs


Although the travel and tourism industry has weathered a tough year, Louisville still earned its fair share of recognition, setting the stage for a strong recovery when the industry’s resurgence is expected to take off next year. Louisville amassed solid praise in 2020, with numerous media outlets adding the city to their top lists including accolades as one of “50 Best Cities in America” and one of “8 Emerging American Destinations for 2020." The recognition came from several national media outlets, including a variety of prominent travel and tourism authorities, who shined the spotlight on the city. Perhaps some of the most notable nods land Louisville in the limelight as one of the “Top 25 Trending Destinations,” according to TripAdvisor and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution already proclaiming Louisville as one of the “6 Places to Visit in 2021.” In the convention space, industry heavyweight Northstar Travel Group awarded first-place Stella Awards in the Midwest category to Louisville Tourism for “Best Convention Visitors Bureau / Destination Marketing Organization” as well as the Kentucky International Convention Center for “Best Convention Center” and the Kentucky Exposition Center with “Best Conference Center.” “2020 has shown us how important tourism is, not only to us as an industry, but to our world as a whole,” said Karen Williams, President & CEO of Louisville Tourism. “People really miss traveling to other cities to experience and explore. Travel is a luxury many won’t take for granted again.” Here is a roundup of the acclaim Louisville garnered in the past year: OVERALL CITY ACCOLADES

  • “Top 25 Trending Destinations in the U.S.” – TripAdvisor

  • “6 Places to Visit in 2021” – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “America’s Best Places to Live in 2020” – Bankrate

  • “20 Affordable Trips to Take in 2020” – PopSugar

  • “Most Overlooked Travel Cities in America” – Cheapism

  • “Most Affordable Big Cities in the U.S.” – The Simple Dollar

  • “Best Haunted Destinations in the U.S.” (Waverly Hills) – USA Today Readers Choice

  • “50 Best Cities in America” – Rough Guides

  • “Cheapest Places To Travel In 2020” – Forbes

  • “Only Hipsters Will Want To Visit These 15 Tourist Destinations In America” – TheTravel.com

  • “Best Winter Travel Destination in Every State” – Travel Pulse

  • “8 Emerging American Destinations for 2020” – Meteo Web

  • “17 School Vacation Spots In The U.S. If You Hate The Beach” – Buzzfeed

  • “Writers’ Top Choices for Places to Visit this Year” – Passport Magazine

  • Dopest Cities in Each State” – Travel Noire

  • Perfect score on the Human Rights Municipal Equality Index (6th consecutive year)

  • “Best CVB/DMO” (Louisville Tourism), “Best Convention Center” (KICC) and “Best Conference Center” (KEC) - Northstar Travel Group Stella Awards

EAT & DRINK

  • “The Best Food City in Every State” – MSN.com

  • “Best Craft Brandy Distillery” (Copper & Kings) – USA Today 10BEST Readers Choice

  • “The Best Irish Pub in Kentucky” (Irish Rover) – Delish

  • “Best Burger in Kentucky” (Holy Grale) – PopSugar

  • “Best Sushi Restaurant in Kentucky” (Dragon King’s Daughter) – Cheapism

  • “Best Waffle In Every State” (SuperChefs) – Yelp

  • “The Best Mexican Restaurant in Every State” (Mayan Café) – 24/7 Wall St.

  • “Best Sandwiches in America” (Hot Brown at The Brown Hotel; Chicken Salad at The Cheddar Box) –Food Network

  • “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2020” (Yummy Pollo) – Yelp

  • “America’s 50 Best Italian Restaurants” (Vincenzo’s) – Yahoo

  • “Best Bars in the World” (Brown Hotel) – MSN.com

  • “Best Classic Restaurants” (Jack Fry’s and Shirly Mae’s Cafe) – Food & Wine

  • “Best Beer Bars in America” (Holy Grale) – CraftBeer.com

  • “Best Burger in Every State” (Mussel & Burger Bar) – Daily Meal

  • “Top 10 Cocktails of 2020” (Fort Nelson Crusta) – PUNCH

  • “The Best Hidden Bar in Every State” (Jimmy Can’t Dance) – Livability.com

  • “7 Best Foodie Road Trips in America” (From Louisville to Lexington) - Twisted Food PLAY

  • “The South’s Best Scenic Drives” (Kentucky Bourbon Trail) – Southern Living

  • “20 Bests Fairs to Visit in 2020” – Wide Open Country

  • “Best Half Marathon of the Decade” (Urban Bourbon Half) – BibRave

  • “Best Beer Festival” (Tailspin Ale Fest) – USA Today 10BEST Readers Choice STAY

  • “Best New Hotel” (Hotel Distil) – USA Today 10BEST Readers Choice

  • “Best U.S. Cities for Pet-Friendly Rentals” – Homes.com

  • “Best Hotel Bar” (Bitters End) – USA Today 10BEST Readers Choice

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