Louisville, KY

Bourbon City Receives Many Notable Accolades in 2021

JC Phelps

A major accolade from Travel + Leisure closes out an award-winning year for the City of Louisville.

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Miles Manwaring, Unsplash

Despite a lingering COVID-19 pandemic, travelers were eager to visit Bourbon City in 2021. Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport saw several summer days surpass 2019 levels while local attractions were steady with bourbon distillery tours regularly selling out and the seasonal Jack O’Lantern Spectacular event welcoming a record 95,471 visitors this fall. Recognition came from several prominent national travel and tourism authorities including Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, Southern Living, Condé Nast, Fodors, and the New York Times.


Louisville closed out the year on a high note, landing on Travel + Leisure’s prestigious list of the “50 Best Places to Travel in 2022.” Over the past 12 months, Louisville has also been recognized as a seasonal stop by Condé Nast Traveler as a “Best Place to Travel in May,” Lonely Planet’s “Best Places to See Fall Colors in the U.S.,” and an additional nod from Travel + Leisure as “America’s Best Cities for Winter Travel.”

Louisville’s List of the Year's Top Accolades:


OVERALL CITY ACCOLADES

  • “50 Best Places to Travel in 2022” – Travel + Leisure
  • “Best Places to See Fall Colors in the U.S.” – Lonely Planet
  • “America’s Best Cities for Winter Travel” – Travel + Leisure 
  • “Best Places to Visit in the USA” – Country Living
  • “17 Amazing Vacation Ideas for Families with Teens” – TravelPulse
  • “5 of the Earth-Friendliest Cities Across the U.S.” – Parade.com
  • “10 Most Affordable U.S. Destinations” – CNBC
  • “10 Surprisingly Affordable Destinations for Fall Travel” – Real Simple
  • “Top-Rated ‘Up-and-Coming’ Cities” – Vacation Renter
  • “19 Family Vacation Ideas your Teenager will Love” – Today.com
  • “America’s Next Sports City” – Axios
  • “Best Places to Travel in May” – Condé Nast Traveler
  • “15 Best Destinations in the U.S. to Explore by Bike” – Tripsavvy.com
  • “2021’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations” – WalletHub  

EAT & DRINK

  • “2021’s Best Foodie Cities in America” – WalletHub
  • “The South’s Best Soul Food” (Lucretia’s Kitchen) – Southern Living
  • “Best BBQ Cities in America” – Eat This, Not That!
  • “Best Food Cities in the U.S.” – Escapism Toronto
  • “5 Best Food and Drink Trails In The Southern U.S.” – Travel Awaits 
  • “Top 25 Bourbon Bars in the U.S. & Canada” (Steak & Bourbon and Trouble Bar) – Yelp
  • “Best Cocktail Bars of the South” (Silver Dollar and Meta) – Garden & Gun
  • “Top 100 LGBTQ+ Bars Across the U.S.” (Chill Bar and Big Bar) – Yelp
  • “Must-Try Black-Owned Restaurants in the U.S.” (Shirley Mae’s & SuperChefs) – Woman’s Day
  • “Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021” (Mayan Café) – Yelp 

PLAY

  • “The 25 Best Distilleries in the U.S.” (Angel’s Envy) – Travel + Leisure
  • “10 Best RiverWalks in the U.S.” – USA Today 10BEST
  • “Best Art Exhibitions of 2021” (Promise, Witness, Remembrance/Speed Art Museum) – New York Times
  • “5 Black-Owned Distilleries Worth Visiting for Bourbon, Gin & More” (Brough Brothers) – Condé Nast
  • “30 Best Halloween Events Near You” (Boo at the Zoo, Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular) – Country Living
  • “The USA’s Most Spectacular Winter Lights Displays” (Lights Under Louisville) – Frommer’s
  • “10 Best Haunted Destinations in the U.S.” (Waverly Hills) – USA Today 10Best
  • “5 Fall Music Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss” (Louder Than Life) – Yahoo!
  • “Must-Visit Sports Venues in the South” (Churchill Downs) – Deep South Magazine
  • “10 Best Aerial Adventure Parks in the U.S.” (Louisville Mega Cavern) – USA Today 10Best
  • “Top Festivals & Culinary Events for Fall 2021” (Big Four Bridge Arts Festival) – Style Blueprint
  • “10 Best Craft Brandy Distilleries in the U.S.” (Copper & Kings) – USA Today 10Best

STAY

  • “Top 25 Hotels in the South” (Brown Hotel, 21c Louisville and the Galt House Hotel) – Condé Nast
  • “10 Midwestern Hotels with Stunning Architecture” (Brown Hotel) – Fodors
  • “10 Most Romantic Hotels in the U.S.” (Chateau Bourbon) – USA Today 10Best
  • “10 Best Pet Friendly Hotels” (21c Louisville) – USA Today 10Best
  • “2021’s Most Notable Hotel Openings” (Grady Hotel) – Flung Magazine

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JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food + southern lifestyle writer.

Louisville, KY
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