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Central Park, Louisville

3.6
#8 of 8 in Parks in Louisville
Central Park is a 17acre municipal park maintained by the city of Louisville, Kentucky. Located in the Old Louisville neighborhood, it was first developed for public use in the 1870s and referred to as "DuPont Square" since it was at that time part of the Du Pont family estate.During the Southern Exposition in 1883, 13 of the park's 17acre were temporarily "roofed in" and used to showcase Thomas Edison's light bulb, one of the first large-scale public displays of the light bulb in the world. In 1885 the park was unroofed, and was instead used as an outdoor exposition, with an Edison designed electric trolley line transporting visitors around the park to see such sites as a roller coaster, bicycle trails, and an art museum surrounded by a lake.By 1904 the entire Du Pont family had moved to Wilmington, Delaware, so they sold the park to the city of Louisville for $297,500. The city enlisted famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed New York City's Central Park and had already designed an entire park and parkway system for the city of Louisville, to plot the new park. Olmsted had a large open air shelter with a colonnade built on top of the hill where the art museum had once stood, along with a wading pool and athletic fields on the side. The original walking trails were kept in place.In the 1970s the open air shelter was enclosed and used to house a police station and a neighborhood information center. In 1976 an amphitheater and wooden playhouse were built. The new playhouse was used to host the free annual summer performances of William Shakespeare's works, which had been held in the park since 1960. Since 1988 the annual event has been called the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, and is still free to the public.
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Central Park Reviews
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32 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • September 8, 2017
    Louisville's Central Park is easy to get to, south of the downtown area along South Fourth Street. It's a good place for a relaxing stroll in the middle of a busy city. The south edge of the park lead...  more »
  • August 25, 2017
    It's one of the smaller Olmsted designed Louisville parks but is much better when Shakespeare in the Park is going on in the summer. It's also nice during the Saint James Art Show in October or when t...  more »
  • August 22, 2017
    nice park lots of mature tree well maintained lots of squirrels to watch safe park good for the family  more »
Google
  • June 19, 2017
    Love coming to this park to attend Shakespeare in the Park during the summer. The staging/amphitheatre area is spacious and very well done. Bring a blanket or pillow to put on the benches to sit on though. Restrooms have recently been redone. Park also includes tennis courts, a play area, and a splash fountain. It is located right next to a police station. Lovely old louisville park indeed!
  • June 9, 2017
    A wonderful space for family. Will reach perfection once restroom renovations are completed. Home of Shakespeare in Central Park - the longest running free Shakespeare company in the United States.
  • April 20, 2017
    Beautiful park. Plenty of shade with all the trees. It has a fully equipped playground and a giant sparkler for the kids. Tennis courts, jogging path and an amphitheater for adults. In the summer it host Shakespeare in the park and many other events. In the fall it's home to the st. James art fest.
  • April 10, 2017
    Beautiful Old Louisville/Downtown park, but feels like a suburban/state park. Large for where it is. Kept extremely clean and well manicured. Playground equipment is clean and kept up. A larger police substation is right on the grounds, and it's usually busy. So there are always cops around which (I believe) keeps the riffraff away. Could explain why the park is in such good shape, too. Someone who worked with the park was extremely helpful in getting me where I needed to go from there, as well as taking my daughter to the closest bathroom when it was an emergency. My 5 y.o. nephew had run across the park and she had to go right away so he led her there. VERY nice older man. Everytime we go there, we love it more and more. It's a must see in Downtown Louisville!
  • June 26, 2017
    Shakespeare in the park is excellent. The troupe is fantastic and it is free! Food trucks are here if you get hungry.

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Where to stay in Louisville

Old Town has a number of atmospheric hotels close to the city’s main attractions, while hotels in the Highlands neighborhood offer proximity to the city’s most unusual bars, restaurants, and stores. Louisville’s collection of bed and breakfasts, generally farther from town, are a great way to experience some warm Kentucky hospitality. To save some money and enjoy the city’s scenic surroundings on a vacation in Louisville, consider one of Louisville’s campgrounds. The Jefferson Memorial Forest is just 24 km (15 mi) south of downtown.
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