“Keep Louisville Weird” is a popular moniker that's adopted to promote local businesses and individuality among Louisville residents. The slogan soon expanded to artistic expressions and unique activities for locals and visitors. When you start touring this eccentric Kentucky city, it becomes apparent that there are lots of bizarre attractions you might not find anywhere else in the world.

    Some of Louisville's oddities include a gigantic baseball bat, ancient skeletons, and a contorted tree. Many befuddling sights have an intriguing story, making your visit even more entertaining. Read on to take a walk on Louisville's hidden side and discover places that make it one of America’s quirkiest destinations.

    1

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium

    One of America’s most haunted buildings

    • Unusual
    • History
    • Photo

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium is one of America’s most frightening tourist attractions, roughly a 30-minute drive from Louisville. The building opened in 1910 to house tuberculosis patients and attracts thousands of visitors due to its incredible history, gothic architecture… and ghostly encounters.

    Guided tours embark on a harrowing journey into the sanatorium’s spookiest locations, and you can even conduct your own paranormal investigations. The morgue, Room 502, and the body chute are among the creepiest places inside the building. Tour guides explain the typical life of patients and staff in the Waverly Hills community. The sanatorium has made several appearances on paranormal shows, with ghost hunters search for the lingering spirits of its former residents.

    Location: 4400 Paralee Dr, Louisville, KY 40272, USA

    Phone: +1 502-933-2142

    Map

    photo by Royasfoto73 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Jefferson Memorial Forest

    America’s largest municipal urban forest

    • Unusual
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    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Jefferson Memorial Forest is a peaceful escape about 15 miles south of downtown Louisville. The municipal urban forest is the largest of its kind in America, with 6,500 acres of pristine woodlands that are a haven for native wildlife and which also contains dozens of nature trails for hikers. The scenic paths host a multitude of other recreational activities such as trail running, mountain biking, and horseriding.

    Some trails can be rather creepy, such as splitting into double lanes at the end with one leading you past local homes with confederate flags and odd personalities. Before you wander into the forest, stop by the Welcome Center for proper trail maps, hiking gear, and other important items.

    Location: 11311 Mitchell Hill Rd, Fairdale, KY 40118, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 502-368-5404

    Map

    photo by Bradley Weber (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Cassius Clay's stolen bike at Columbia Gym

    Relic of a young Muhammad Ali

    • Unusual
    • History
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    • Budget

    Columbia Gym, located on the campus of Spalding University, was the place that put a 12-year-old Cassius Clay on a path to becoming “The Greatest of All Time.” In tears over having his beloved red Schwinn bicycle stolen, Clay fumed to Louisville police officer Joe Martin that he would "whup" the person responsible. Martin offered to teach the enraged teen how to box and was astonished by Clay’s natural ability.

    The building where a young Ali trained now houses athletic teams for Spalding University, but school officials placed a replica of the stolen bike at the entrance. Columbia Gym and the bike above its front steps is a constant reminder of Ali’s legacy in and out of the ring.

    Location: 824 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40203, USA

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    4

    Kart Kountry

    The world’s largest go-kart track

    • Families
    • Unusual
    • Adventure

    Kart Kountry is an action-packed family entertainment center with all sorts of exhilarating activities. About 20 miles south of Louisville, the 1.5-mile go-kart track named Thunder Road is the star attraction, but there’s also a kiddie track for youngsters. Thunderbolts are the fastest go-karts in the park, and drivers must have a valid license to get behind the wheel. Other karts cruising along the immense track accommodate kids aged 7, 10, and 14.

    Kart Kountry is a fantastic setting for a group party, thanks to its wide range of fun activities away from the track. Shoot water cannons from bumper boats, play wacky mini-golf, blast home runs in batting cages, or play over 150 arcade games.

    Location: 315 Joe B. Hall Ave, Shepherdsville, KY 40165, USA

    Open: Friday–Saturday from noon to 10 pm, Sunday–Thursday from noon to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 502-543-9588

    Map
    5

    World’s largest baseball bat

    The giant replica of Babe Ruth’s Slugger

    • Unusual
    • History
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    The world’s largest baseball bat is a Louisville icon, leaning against the side of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Nicknamed the “Big Bat,” the monstrous slugger stands 120 ft tall and weighs around 68,000 lb. The towering steel bat distinguishes the building among its neighbours on Louisville’s Museum Row on West Main Street.

    Baseball fanatics get the chance to take photographs with a replica of Babe Ruth’s personal Louisville Slugger. “The Great Bambino” was one of baseball’s lethal power hitters and is widely considered the greatest baseball player of all time. The gargantuan replica of his 34-in Louisville Slugger has become a local sensation and inspired quirky advertisements from nearby businesses to attract customers.

    Location: 800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Monday from 8 am to 4 pm, Thursday–Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 877-775-8443

    Map

    photo by Mobilus In Mobili (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Cave Hill Cemetery

    Unusual graves and odd tombstones

    • Unusual
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Cave Hill Cemetery is Louisville’s largest burial ground and houses some of Kentucky’s most historic figures. Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders, and Senator Georgia Powers are among the notable figures buried at the 296-acre facility. Strolling through a cemetery sounds morbid, but Cave Hill’s elaborate tombstones and memorials create a peaceful ambience, unlike most gravesites. 

    Many gravestones are from prominent Louisville families, and their burial sites resemble brilliant works of art – some are bizarre, like a tiny tombstone for a pet parrot. The grounds are well-maintained, and you could spend hours walking around the space. The clocktower standing at the Baxter Avenue entrance dates to the late 19th century and remains one of the beloved pieces of architecture guarding the grounds.

    Location: 701 Baxter Ave, Louisville, KY 40204, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.45 pm

    Phone: +1 502-451-5630

    Map

    photo by Garden State Hiker (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Louisville Visitor Center

    Take a selfie with the Kentucky colonel

    • Unusual
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Louisville Visitor Center houses one of the city’s quirkiest attractions. You can find it right beside the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville. Standing inside the building is a wax figure of the iconic Colonel Sanders holding a bucket of his famous Kentucky fried chicken. The culinary genius developed his secret recipe of nearly a dozen herbs and spices and operated a roadside restaurant in North Corbin, Kentucky.

    Eventually, Colonel Sanders created the KFC franchise, which became a world-renowned fast-food restaurant. The state of Kentucky is forever attached to Colonel Sanders, and visitors to its largest city can snap a photo with one of its legendary businessmen. The exhibit also includes lots of KFC memorabilia to ponder before venturing around Louisville.

    Location: 301 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 502-379-6109

    Map

    photo by vxla (CC BY 2.0) modified

    8

    Shrine of Saints Magnus and Bonosa

    The bones of Christian martyrs from Ancient Rome

    • Unusual
    • History
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    The Shrine of Saints Magnus and Bonosa is housed inside the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, one of Louisville’s historic churches. Although the parish church wasn’t founded until the mid-19th century, the remains are likely from the 3rd century AD. Bonosa, a virgin, and Magnus, a converted Roman centurion, were believed to have been executed by the Roman emperor Diocletian during the persecution of Christians.

    The relics were shipped from Italy to St. Martin’s in 1901 after the pastor lobbied for artifacts and became encased in glass beneath the church’s side altars. Parishioners of St. Martin’s celebrate St. Bonosa’s feast on 15th July and St. Magnus’ feast on 19th August in tribute to the salvation of the Roman martyrs.

    Location: 639 S Shelby St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Phone: +1 502-582-2827

    Map

    photo by Pmw22 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    ‘Happy Birthday to You’ plaque

    A reminder that the most popular song was copyrighted

    • Unusual
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Right before turning onto I-64 from Louisville’s Main Street, you’ll notice the ‘Happy Birthday to You’ plaque that commemorates the famous tune. A small parking lot gives you time for a fascinating history lesson behind the song’s creation. The plaque highlights sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill, the Louisville residents credited with penning the lyrics to suit the melody of Good Morning to All.

    There were copyright disputes about the song for decades, but were finally put to rest when a federal judge ruled the copyright claim invalid in 2015. Since its inception, the song became the most popular jingle in the English language, with the Louisville monument reminding visitors of its former copyright status.

    Location: 920W W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

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    10

    The Witches’ Tree

    The twisted landmark of a cursed Old Louisville

    • Unusual
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Witches’ Tree is a stark reminder of a dark curse placed upon Louisville residents. It’s just outside Central Park in the cozy Old Louisville neighbourhood. In the late 19th century, the maple tree that stood at this corner was a gathering spot for local witches. The city chopped down the tree for the May Day celebration despite receiving warnings from the witches.

    Angered by the city’s actions, the witches vowed vengeance and a deadly tornado ripped through Louisville nearly 1 year later. Many locals believed the cyclone was due to the witches’ curse coming to fruition. Lightning struck the stump, and the deformed tree to grow in its place is now embellished with trinkets, charms, and occult symbols.

    Location: Park Ave &, S 6th St, Louisville, KY 40208, USA

    Phone: +1 502-718-2764

    Map
    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

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