Weekender

I See It, I Like It, I Want It, Des Moines Got It

For years our friends in Iowa have told us about how cool Des Moines is. How the restaurant scene is unparalleled, how their Farmer’s Market is unlike any other, how quickly the downtown scene is changing and growing… They would go on and on. And it wasn’t that we didn’t believe them, we just didn’t have a good excuse to come and see Des Moines for ourselves. Until this Spring, when we decided to roadtrip cross-country, and made Des Moines our final destination. Des Moines had big shoes to fill - our expectations were high, and we were really hoping to end our month-long adventure on the road with a bang. Well folks, we did just that and our friends were right.

Des Moines is everything we hoped it would be - and more.

Let’s start with the obvious. Being the capital city of Iowa, we knew Des Moines would be relatively cosmopolitan, with a busy downtown and a handful of sophisticated hotels. What we didn’t expect to see is such a hip, quirky, and playful city - with chic cocktail bars, modern cafes, trendy boutiques, sculpture gardens, and so much more! It’s midwest charm meets big city perks - and we’re officially obsessed.

THE FOOD.

Des Moines culinary scene is incredibly advanced, with sleek, stylish restaurants like St. Kilda Surf & Turf - that boasts a fresh and creative menu that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious, unusual and offbeat restaurants like El Bait Shop - that serves tater tots and pizza pockets alongside their 260+ beers on draft, and posh, elevated restaurants like Centro Trattoria & Bar - an urban and posh Italian eatery that specializes in fresh, homemade pizza and pasta.

While we were only in Des Moine for two nights, it’s safe to say that we ate our way through the city, and we have a loooong list of places we plan to hit up next time we’re in town. But onto the next category...

Obsessed with the goods at St. Kilda

Love the vibe at St. Kilda

Not enough beers at El Bait Shop… hehe jk

THE DRINKS

From specialty coffee shops to family-owned microbreweries and eclectic cocktail bars, you won’t go thirsty when you’re in Des Moines. Neighborhood coffee shops like Horizon Line Coffee and Mars Coffee Bar are exactly the kind of places we’d frequent if we were locals - they’re cool and friendly and are experts at crafting a good cup of joe.

Hello, Marjorie is a creative (and super Instagrammable) craft cocktail bar in the heart of downtown Des Moines that quickly became one of the highlights of our trip. Their signature cocktail, The Marjorie, made with Absolut Pear, sloe gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, is perfectly smooth and refreshing. If you’re more of a beer connoisseur, head to Confluence Brewing! Their dog friendly deck and beer garden sits right along the Gray’s Lake Bike Trail, making it the perfect place to spend the afternoon when the weather is warm!

THE DOWNTOWN

In 2018 Des Moines was named the “#4 Best Places to Live in the US” by U.S. News, and after spending a few days in downtown Des Moines, we totally get it. The city is clean and inviting, and it seems as though fun concerts and events are always happening. The Saturday night we in town, there was a baseball game and a Kenny Chesney concert happening blocks away from each other - and the city was buzzing!

Located right in the middle of downtown Des Moines is the Pappajohn Sculpture Park - a 4.4 acre park that features artwork by 22 celebrated and iconic artists. It’s one of the most unique and well maintained parks we’ve seen, and the sculptures are incredible! While we didn’t have time to visit the adjoining Des Moines Art Center, that’s high on our list for next time.

THE FARMERS MARKET

We’re big farmers market people. If we happen to be in a town that has one, we make sure to hit it up. You can learn a lot about a place by their farmers market - what’s grown locally, who the farmers are, the goods that area is known for… some of our best souvenirs have been bought from local vendors at farmers markets!

That being said, we had no idea what we were in for when we decided to check out the famous Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market! Over 300 vendors come from across the state of Iowa to take part in the Downtown Farmers Market, and over 25,000 visitors attend each Saturday - from May through October! You’ll find everything from Iowa raised meat, to fresh flowers and seasonal candles… and it’s quite the sight to see! (Make sure you try a Thelma’s Treats Ice Cream Sandwich - SO GOOD!)

Our time in Des Moines may have been short, but it sure was sweet. If there’s anything that we learned, it’s that this city is on the rise - and we can’t wait to come back!

48 Hours in Pittsburgh

“Pull up a chair. You are welcomed here.”

Never have we ever connected to a city’s slogan more than in Pittsburgh. When we think of a city that embodies acceptance, community, and friendliness, Pittsburgh is instantly the city that comes to mind.

From the friendly couple that we met at a brewery on our first night, to the chatty college student we sat next to at Primanti Brothers, to our artsy barista at Constellation Coffee, there’s something different about this city. And we’re convinced it’s the people. They instantly feel like family, making Pittsburgh instantly feel like home. It’s incredibly special.

But beyond the friendly locals, Pittsburgh is also an incredibly beautiful, progressive, and fascinating place. So much so, that we’re already looking for an excuse to go back. But in the meantime, we’ll reminisce and look at pictures and guide you to our favorite spots in “the Burgh”. Here’s where to go if you only have 48 hours!

Obsessed with the City of Bridges!

DAY 1

Coffee at Espresso A Mano: You know a coffee shop is good when there’s a line out the door. Don’t let the line deter you, it moves fast - and the coffee is worth it. Grab a vegan donut while you’re there, too.

Breakfast sandwiches at Pear and the Pickle: We take breakfast seriously, and breakfast sandwiches even more so. The ones at Pear and the Pickle aren’t fancy, but they’re melt-in-your-mouth good. And you can play board games while you wait for them, which is a win-win in our book!

Take a ride on the Duquesne Incline: Voted one of the “Top Ten Sites in the World for Viewing a Cityscape” by USA Today, the 140-year-old Duquesne Incline not only offers picture-perfect views, but it puts the ‘fun’ in funicular! And the ride is dog-friendly, too! ($5 round trip for adults, $2.50 for kids. Don’t forget to bring cash - it’s cash only!)

Visit Randyland: Most artists wouldn’t be willing to open their private courtyard to the public, but Randy Gilson isn’t like most artists. Everyday from 10am-7pm, visitors are welcome to explore his many eccentric art displays around the property, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to hear from Randy himself!

Walk the Strip District: Located on the banks of the Allegheny river, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh, is the popular shopping and dining neighborhood The Strip District. This revitalized industrial neighborhood is packed full of international grocery stores, independent merchants, local retailers, shops, restaurants, and more. Make a stop at the Second Floor Bar at The Pennsylvania Market for a cocktail or two, and maybe even a slice of pizza! (It’s gooood.)

Catch the sunset at Point State Park: Take an early evening stroll around the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle” at the stunning Point State Park! You’ll have a panoramic view of the city, and there’s no better place to be at sunset!

End the night at Grist House Brewery:  Rotating food trucks, solid craft brews, and a dog-friendly outdoor area, we’re big fans of this spot. Grab a seat at one of the many picnic benches outside, and be prepared to make some new friends!

Incredible breakfast sandwich at Pear and the Pickle

The Duquesne Incline!

Amazing view from the top of the Duquesne Incline

Lovely afternoon at Randyland!

Randy himself!

Yummy pizza at the Second Floor Bar

Hanging at Point State Park

Sally loved Grist House!

DAY 2

Coffee at Constellation Coffee: This small, cozy coffee shop is a little off the beaten path (in the Lawrenceville neighborhood), and that’s exactly why we like it. It’s a local’s spot with strong coffee and knowledgeable baristas.   

Grab a juice to-go at Pittsburgh Juice:  Still thirsty? Make a stop at Pittsburgh juice, where you’re sure to find a healthy, satisfying, and organic juice or smoothie. (One of our favorites is the Green Goodness.) Cheers to your health!

Tour The Andy Warhol Museum. Did you know that the pop art icon Andy Warhol was born and raised in Pittsburgh? We didn’t either! The Andy Warhol Museum tells Andy’s story and explores his legacy through his personal art collection, archives, and more. Guests can even star in their own short film, inspired by the Screen Tests Warhol created in the 1960’s!

Try the iconic sandwiches at Primanti Brothers: “You can’t go to Pittsburgh without getting a sandwich at Primanti Bro’s” - every Pittsburgh local. And they’re right. Stuffed with house-made coleslaw, fresh cut fries, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and your meat of choice, it’s a sandwich experience unlike anything we’ve ever had. Extra props if you can finish it!

Walk the Bridges: Known as “The City of Bridges”, Pittsburgh is full of them (446 to be exact). You’ll need to walk off your Primanti Bro’s sandwich, so we recommend crossing oer the Alleghany River at 6th, 7th, or 9th street. Each of those bridges (the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the Andy Warhol Bridge, and the Rachel Carson Bridge) are beautiful and open to pedestirans. They make for a great photo opp, too!

End the night at Tako: Elevated tacos with a global twist, Tako is unlike any taco shop we’ve ever been to. From the decor to the spices, it’s original and it’s exotic. With raving reviews from Zagat, Thrillist, Eater, and more, visitors will definitely need a reservation. Make sure you try their famous Korean Tacos!

One of our favorite pieces at The Andy Warhol Museum

There are 446 bridges in Pittsburgh. How many can you visit?

*This list should keep you very busy during your 48 hours in Pittsburgh. Note that we tend to move quickly when we’re in a new destination. So you might want to cut back or simplify this list as you see fit. And be sure to leave a comment with your favorite Pittsburgh spots, as we’re sure to be back soon!

Lubbock, Texas :: Don't Underestimate This Gem of a Town

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you probably know that we’re on a big cross-country roadtrip with our Bernedoodle, Sally. We’re two weeks in, and it’s been nothing short of a blast. Sure, we have our moments where we get really sick of driving, or where we ask ourselves “Why did we bring our dog again?” - but 98% of the time we’re loving it. ;)

Our first destination was Lubbock, Texas. Chances are you’ve heard about it before, but you probably don’t know much about it. If you’re like us, your first thought is that it’s “just another little town in Texas”, but we’re happy to report that Lubbock is indeed SO MUCH MORE. From an expanding culinary scene, to a lively and art-focused downtown, plenty of dog-friendly activities, a bustling nightlife… Lubbock is a town that needs to be on your radar. We’ll break it down for you:

THE FOOD SCENE IS TOP-NOTCH

If there’s one thing we learned from our time in Lubbock, is that you won’t leave hungry. (We honestly contemplated devoting this entire blog to what we ate!) This town is a foodie’s dream, and no matter what you’re craving, they’re making it and it’s good. We were blown away not only by the sheer amount of restaurants in Lubbock, but the quality of everything we enjoyed - and we never had to wait for a table, either! A few of our favorites were:

The Funky Door: Wine lovers, this is your place. With over 650 labels of wine, nightly live music and a diverse and decadent menu, The Funky Door is a must. Another must is the “Funky Door” Fondue and their homemade Squash Lasagna - Bobby’s still raving about it!

La Diosa Cellars: Eclectic, romantic, and cozy all in one, La Diosa Cellars is our pick for an intimate and unforgettable date night. Specializing in Spanish tapas and pitchers of mouth-watering sangria, their menu is every bit as eclectic as the decor. Be sure to try the “Sardinias”, broiled Spanish sardines “floating” in garlic butter. (This rec is coming from somebody (Alli) who hates sardines, and this dish won me over!)

Evie Mae’s Barbeque: Now, we’ve had our share of BBQ over the years, and we’re excited to report that Evie Mae’s is one of the best (if not THE best) we’ve ever had. Order the “#6”, which is a glorified sampler of every meat they serve and two sides. People come from all over to enjoy a delicious Evie Mae’s feast, so prepare to wait in line. But if you’re over 21, they have FREE beer for while you wait. No brainer…

La Sirena Cocina: Lubbock locals call it “Latin-Fusion”, we call it “Really-Delicious”. Head to La Sirena Cocina yourself, order the Fried Avocado Tostada, The Kale Salad, and the Stacked Enchilada, and let us know what YOU call it! We’d be there weekly if we lived in Lubbock!

Holly Hops Ice Cream Shop: Bring your poodle skirts, leather jackets, and your cameras! We’re pretty sure you can’t find a cuter 1950’s-style ice cream shop than Holly Hops, with its retro decor, drool-worthy menu, and picture-perfect presentation. It’s like stepping back in time!

Incredible views and SO much wine at The Funky Door

Incredible appetizers at La Diosa Cellars

La Diosa’s sardines are incredible!

You won’t go hungry at Evie Mae’s

Here’s a close up of our INCREDIBLE spread

The Kale Salad at La Sirena was perfect

Everything at La Sirena was delish!

Throwback to the 1950’s at Holly Hops

We may have eaten all of this. Don’t judge.

THERE’S A LOT TO DO

“Ok, so there’s a lot of good dining options in Lubbock, but what do you do besides eat?”

We’re so glad you asked. Just like there’s a plethora of restaurants in town, Lubbock has a plethora of activities - and it’s rich in history, too. Whether you’re there for a weekend or a week, you most definitely won’t run out of things to do. Here’s some spots that shouldn’t be missed:

The Bruno Steel House: Robert R. Bruno Jr. was a famous inventor, artist, and businessman, who in the early 1970’s began construction on a whimsical steel house in Ransom Canyon - just about 20 minutes outside of Lubbock. He lived and worked on his home until he passed away in 2008, and while it remains unfinished, it’s an architectural masterpiece nonetheless.

The Range: If you’re like us, you enjoy hitting up your local driving range from time to time. Well, imagine a driving range that’s dog friendly, has a full bar, woodfired pizzas, and outdoor games! They have specials every day of the week, our favorite being $3 margaritas on Wednesdays! (Another local range is “4ore”, which is more like Top Golf - we’d definitely check this spot out next time too!)

Texas Tech University: At 1,839 acres, Texas Tech University is the nation’s second largest campus, and it’s absolutely beautiful. We spent an entire morning walking around the grounds of the campus, admiring the buildings and their wide array of public art sculptures. There’s even an app (called Art Trek) that acts as your tour guide as you wander past the various pieces. It tracks your location and can share about the 100+ pieces of art throughout the four campuses of the Texas Tech system. Such a fun way to see the school!

The Buddy Holly Center: You can’t go to Lubbock without visiting The Buddy Holly Center. This iconic musician, singer and songwriter who helped pioneer the 1950’s rock and roll movement was born and raised in Lubbock, and they have built an inspiring center in his honor. You can tour the museum filled with memorabilia (including the glasses he wore), visit his sculpture, and see the house where his band (The Crickets) recorded!

The National Ranching Heritage Center: A museum of ranching history, the National Ranching Heritage Center features fifty authentic ranch buildings dating from the late 18th to the mid-20th century. It’s absolutely fascinating and beautifully done, and one of the most intriguing museums we have been able to visit. (Plan on spending at least a couple of hours, it’s extensive and not something you’ll want to rush through!)

Not a bad view to wake up to. Right?

It totally looks like a spaceship!

Nothing beats a day at the range with some good drinks

Sally was annoyed that she couldn’t chase the balls :)

Texas Tech has a beautiful campus

A Robert Bruno sculpture at Texas Tech

Alli trying to rock out with Buddy Holly

Family photo in front of the Buddy Holly Center

Los Corralitos building (circa 1780) at the National Ranching Heritage Center

An old school house

An steam locomotive at the National Ranching Heritage Center

COFFEE, BEER, AND CHILTON’S - A PLENTY

If you like to drink, you’ll LOVE Lubbock. From their array of coffee shops and breweries to their eclectic cocktail bars and welcoming wineries - there’s something for everyone in this charming town! Due to our short visit we weren’t able to experience them all, but a few of the ones we did get to experience are:

Yellow House Coffee: This cute and cozy little coffee shop is as hip as it is delicious. We loved their coffee, and we also loved their avocado toast!

Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters: The two brothers behind Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters know what they’re doing - their coffee is strong and silky-smooth, and their cappuccino is just as tasty as it is pretty!

The Brewery LBK: Located right in the heart of downtown Lubbock, The Brewery LBK has a fun and intriguing variety of craft beers. They also have a full bar - where we experienced our first “Chilton” (Lubbock’s specialty cocktail), consisting of vodka, lemon juice, and club soda!

Two Docs Brewing Co: We’d quickly become regulars at Two Docs if we were Lubbock locals. Not only do they make some quality ales, their outdoor patio is a blast! It’s the perfect place to go unwind after a long day, play a few games of cornhole, and enjoy a fine selection of craft beer.

The Garden: A lively craft beer garden with games, live music, and some of the best weekly specials in town. It’s a great place to meet up with friends, or make friends! On Wednesdays they have $1.50 Domestics and Wells… we’re pretty sure that’s cheaper than water!

McPherson Cellars: What used to be a Coca Cola bottling plant in the 1930’s is now the industrial-chic winery and tasting room of McPherson Cellars. Whether you schedule a guided tour of the winery, or simply pop by for a tasting, you’ll instantly feel right at home... And you’re bound to leave with at least a bottle or two!

Cheers to a fun night at The Garden!

The wine at McPherson Cellars was tasty!

IT’S AN ARTIST’S TOWN

You can’t drive through Lubbock for more than five minutes without passing a colorful mural or spotting some intriguing street art. It’s everywhere! There are plenty of galleries and museums to meander through, but if your time in Lubbock is short, here’s a few murals that you’ll most likely spot in town:

The “LBK” mural (painted by artist Joey Martinez, located at 1219 Ave. A)

The Lubbock, Texas/Sunrise Mural (located at 1106 5th St.)

LUBBOCK (painted by artist Joey Martinez, 1413 19th St.)

The Made in LBK (located at Sugar Brown’s Coffee - also a must-visit, 1947 19th St.)

IT’S AFFORDABLE

And you want to know what the BEST part of Lubbock is?! It’s affordability! Lubbock has almost everything that a bigger, more well-known city has, but at a much lower price point. From accomodations (we stayed at the Hyatt Place and loved it!), to restaurants and activities, you’ll spend a fraction of what you would in a metropolitan city.

A cozy place to rest our heads (Sally too!) while in Lubbock

Have we convinced you to visit Lubbock yet? We sure hope so. We can’t wait to return and see more of the sights, experience more of their growing culinary scene, and hug our friends that we made while we were there…. Road trip, anyone? ;)

THROWBACK THURSDAY :: Take Us Back To Carmel, CA!

There are certain places that we crave.

Yep, that’s right. Just like we crave a good In-N-Out burger after a long trip, we crave the return to some of our favorite tried-and-true spots. The places that we know like the back of our hand, the places where we can truly relax. One such spot, Carmel-By-The-Sea, is at the top of that list. Not only did we “mini-moon” in Carmel, but we’ve made it a point to return yearly - even with our pup in tow!

The beach at Carmel is one of Sally’s absolute favorites!

So in real #TBT fashion, we thought we’d share exactly why we love Carmel-By-The-Sea, and where we stay, where we eat, and what we do if we were there right now. Because if we can’t be there today, we might as well reminisce...

STAY:

LA PLAYA: This charming, historic hotel is where we stayed when we were on our “mini-moon”, and we keep coming back. Maybe it’s the central location (blocks from the beach and blocks from the town), maybe it’s the cozy lobby and spacious rooms, or maybe it’s the champagne breakfast every morning… Regardless, it’s a gem of a spot. And remarkably enough, it seems to get better with age.

HOTEL CARMEL: New on the Carmel “boutique hotel” scene, this snug and homey  hotel has quickly become a favorite of ours. The rooms have fireplaces, there’s a nightly wine reception, the fire pit is warm and inviting, and nothing beats breakfast in their cheerful little lobby. Plus, they’re dog friendly - which is always a big plus for us!

We Mini-mooned here… and try to come back every year

Love waking up to this view at La Playa

Sally approves

More La Playa room views

The breakfast at La Playa is everything

Could Hotel Carmel be any cozier?

Fireplaces inside and out…

Cozy porches for your morning coffee

EAT:

LA BALENA: We came here on our honeymoon, and ever since then we’ve been obsessed! Delicious homemade Italian food in a hidden courtyard, it’s delightfully tucked away from other touristy options in Carmel.

LA BICYCLETTE: In our opinion, you can’t go to Carmel without dining at La Bicyclette. It’s simply a must. From their made-to-order pizzas to their homemade pasta, everything is fresh and full of flavor. The ambiance is intimate and romantic, and there’s no doubt that you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to Paris.

You can’t go wrong at La Balena

DRINK:

GRASINGS BAR: This is another spot that we first went to on our honeymoon, and have made it a point to stop here ever since! Their cocktails are second to none, and their charcuterie board is out of this world!!! But try to get here early - this quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea bar does have a tendency to fill up quick!

THE INN AT SPANISH BAY: Located on the iconic 17 Mile Drive, the Inn At Spanish Bay is well-known for their stunning ocean front views, and their nightly visit from a bagpiper! Grab a drink at STICKS, their outdoor bar, and wait for the sun to set… Before you know it you’ll start to hear the majestic sounds of a bagpiper. It’s quite the experience - and something we look forward to everytime we visit Carmel!

Grasing’s is magical!

Always bustling inside Grasing’s

Yummy appetizers at Grasing’s before dinner

Cocktails and a sunset… best end to the day at the Inn at Spanish Bay

Epic sunsets and Scottish tunes at the Inn at Spanish Bay

DO:

THE 17 MILE DRIVE: One of our favorite drives in the world (along with Highway 1) is the 17 Mile Drive… It’s full of captivating landscapes, jaw-dropping ocean views, and award-winning golf courses - so what’s not to love?! We recommend starting the drive in the afternoon and catching the sunset at The Inn at Spanish Bay (see above)!

BEACH IT UP! Pop by The Cheese Shop (a legendary little shop chalk-full of mouth-watering cheeses, wines, crackers and more), grab what you want for a picnic, and head to the beach. If you have your pup with you (like we often do), let them play off-leash while you enjoy your snacks and the cool, ocean breeze. It’s heavenly. Now we’ll mentally be there the rest of the day… ;)

One of our favorite spots on the 17 Mile Drive (you may need a helicopter to see this)

We all love the beach here :)

48 Hours in Louisville

When you think of Louisville, Kentucky, chances are you think of the world famous Kentucky Derby. This legendary horse race run at Churchill Downs has put this town on the map, but it’s just one of their many attractions. Louisville is home to incredible culture, museums, restaurants, distilleries, and so much more. While you could easily spend a week in this booming town, 48 hours is enough time to be charmed and dazzled - and leave wanting more.

Here’s what we think you should do, if you only have the weekend in Louisville:

FRIDAY

EVENING

Kick off your weekend with dinner at Neighborhood Services, one of Louisville's newest culinary hot spots. They take a modern twist on old Kentucky favorites, like “Hot Brown Tots”, “BBQ’d Shrimp & Cheddar Grits”, and their signature “NHS Fried Chicken Sandwich”. Wash it all down with some Kentucky Bourbon or one of their house cocktails (we loved the Barrel Aged Old Fashioned), and you’re off to a great start!

If you’re in the mood for another drink, walk a couple blocks down to the Haymarket Whiskey Bar, where you’ll find one of the most extensive whiskey lists in town (nearly 400 whiskeys, and 250 bourbons)! Set in a building that dates back to 1885, this lively bar is a favorite among locals, and has been named a top whiskey bar by Thrillist and Travel + Leisure.

STAY

Located in the heart of the downtown, Omni Louisville is our pick for a central and stylish place to stay. From the grand and opulent lobby of this 612-room luxury hotel, to the spacious rooms and stunning rooftop pool, it’s an urban oasis. Not to mention they’re home to some incredible restaurants (including Neighborhood Services) and even a speakeasy bowling alley (but we’ll share more about that later)!

IMG_1322.JPG

SATURDAY

MORNING

Louisville knows good coffee, and one of the best spots in town for a strong cappuccino or oat milk latte is Please & Thank You. It’s the perfect pick me up after a night on the town, and the eclectic ambiance doesn’t hurt either! (We suggest grabbing one of their famous chocolate cookies for later, too.)

Across the street from Please & Thank You is Wild Eggs, a breakfast institution that’s famous for their egg dishes (obviously) and decadent breakfast options. Grab a table or a spot at their circular breakfast bar, and be sure to try their “Everything Muffin”, it’s like the bagel - but better!

No trip to Louisville is complete without a visit to Churchill Downs, even if it isn’t racing season! The Kentucky Derby Museum gives a comprehensive look at the history of the Kentucky Derby, through hands-on exhibits, a 360 degree video experience, and a walking tour around the property. You’ll leave inspired and in awe of this iconic sport, and if you’re like us, you’ll be adding the Kentucky Derby to your bucket list!

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AFTERNOON

One of the newest distilleries in downtown Louisville is Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery. Their Discovery Tour is $20 and lasts about an hour, and gives guests the ability to see the whiskey production process first-hand, and enjoy a whiskey tasting and cocktail demonstration. Their facility is state-of-the-art, their guides are knowledgeable, and the whiskey is strong… what more could you want? (You can make a reservation in advance here.)

Just down the street is the Mussel & Burger Bar, where you can grab a late lunch of some of the finest burgers in town! We recommend the “C.E.O”, a burger topped with Gruyere cheese, truffle aioli, caramelized onions, baby arugula, and oven roasted tomatoes. It’s served with some of the largest fries we’ve ever seen - and it’s finger-lickin’ good!

Walk off your lunch with a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory - where you’ll learn about the history and the making of the famous Louisville Slugger Baseball Bats! You can hold bats used by baseball superstars like Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter, see the world’s biggest bat, and take a swing for yourself in their batting cages!

EVENING

One of Louisville’s most iconic culinary specialties is the “Hot Brown”, and while many-a-restaurant serve it, the best and original Hot Brown sandwich can be found at The historic Brown Hotel. Their Lobby Bar is elegant and classy, and makes for the perfect setting to enjoy this classic comfort food. What’s a Hot Brown, you ask? It’s an open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich, baked in a heavenly Mornay sauce. It’s rich, and hearty, and the portions are large. We highly suggest sharing one!

Head back to the Omni Louisville for drinks and late night bowling at their in-house speakeasy, Pin & Proof. We won’t tell you where it is (that’s part of the fun), but we will say that they make a mean old fashioned. And it’s definitely one of the most unique and innovative bowling alleys we’ve seen in awhile!

SUNDAY

MORNING

Brunch and sunday morning is like peanut butter and jelly. It just makes sense. So start your Sunday morning at Porch Kitchen & Bar, where they dish up a delightful mix of decadent comfort food and fresh and healthy cuisine. Order a glass of the Lean Green to counteract their “Everything” Cake Donuts, and then try their Egg White Omelet or Quinoa & Green Veggie Scrambled Eggs… all of it is delicious!

Let your food settle for a bit, then make a b-line for the Louisville Mega Cavern, home to the world’s only fully underground zip line - the Mega Zip! You’ll fly through six underground zip lines, scale two challenge bridges, and learn the history of this man-made cavern. There’s over 17 miles of underground passageways deep beneath Louisville, and it’s truly a marvel to witness - especially by zip line!

AFTERNOON

Chances are you’ll have worked up an appetite after braving the Mega Zip, and we know the perfect spot! Indulge in some fried chicken and fixings at The Eagle, in the trendy and eclectic Highlands neighborhood. Make sure you try their Spoon Bread and Mac & Cheese, and if it’s a nice day, sit outside on their patio!

After you’re done with lunch, take a walk along the Highlands neighborhood, where you’ll find several murals, local bars and shops, and picturesque tree-lined streets with colorful (and historic) homes.

Make your way back to downtown Louisville, for an Old Forester Distillery Tour. Not only will you learn about their distilling and bottling process, you’ll also see first-hand how their oak barrels are made. And, of course, you’ll get to taste some of their award-winning craft bourbons for yourself! (You can make a reservation in advance here.)

EVENING

We can’t think of a better meal to end the weekend, then good ol’ Southern BBQ at Doc Crow’s! They have everything from BBQ ribs, brisket, collared greens, hushpuppies, grits, and more… and it’s a lively and casual environment no matter what night of the week it is! “The Perfect Old Fashioned” is not to be missed here, but make sure you save room for at least one more cocktail at...

Hell or High Water is a speakeasy located around the corner from Doc Crow’s, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Look for a small Curio Shop (there’s no signage), and knock on the door. You’ll be escorted into an underground labyrinth that will have you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a cocktail experience unlike anything else in town, and reservations are strongly recommended. (You can do so here.)

This 48-hour itinerary is barely scratching the surface of all that there is to do in and around Louisville, but it’s a great place to start. Leave a comment and let us know what we’ve missed, and what we should do when we return!