Photos courtesy of GIE+EXPO

From cool attractions to award-winning restaurants, even GIE+EXPO attendees who returns year after year will find something new. In fact, Forbes recently called Louisville one of the 10 coolest cities to visit.

Bourbon and more.

If bourbon – or maybe craft beer – is your thing, you’ll want to say through the weekend and explore. Whether you’re looking for a tour or just a taste, you’ll find establishments popping up all over town.

New and in the downtown area, there’s Old Forester and Rabbit Hole for bourbon; Prohibition Craft Spirits Distillery for everything but bourbon – gin, vodka, rum and tequila; and Goodwood Brewing or Falls City Brewing’s first stand-alone tap room for beer lovers.

And, of course, there’s always Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. With almost 40 establishments on the trail, you’re sure to find a new one to try. There are two ways to travel the trail. You can pick up a free passport at the Visitors Center (4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville) or at an Urban Bourbon Trail stop. Or download an electronic passport using an iPhone or Android app. Ask your bartender or server to validate your passport (or app) at each stop, and once you’ve visited six stops along the trail you’ll earn an Urban Bourbon Trailblazer T-shirt.

You won’t go hungry here.

Louisville has been dubbed the northernmost southern city, so you can bet the restaurant scene is packed with variety that ranges from down-home southern to eclectic. If you’re headed downtown for the concerts, here are a few new and noteworthy spots you might want to check out.

Whiskey Dry is the first locally owned business on Fourth Street Live! You may recognize Chef Edward Lee from his past appearances on “Iron Chef America” or “Top Chef” to name a few. Back home in Louisville he has created a whiskey-forward menu featuring diner-style burgers with affordable prices.

Branching out from the popular Fourth Street entertainment venue, you’ll find all kinds of deliciousness. Just steps away, Porch Kitchen & Bar is cooking up plenty of southern comfort food. For a sweet treat after dinner Ehrler’s Ice Cream is a quick walk to Main Street.

The new Omni Hotel offers a wide variety of dining options. Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Neighborhood Services are both great for a sit-down meal. If you like some activity with your meal, Pin + Proof is a speakeasy that features a bowling alley. The Library Bar is a good option for local cocktails. Or stroll through Falls City Market where you can grab anything from sushi to BBQ at one of the culinary stations. There’s even a taco truck inside the market!

Take in Fourth Street Live!

Fourth Street Live! has a wide variety of dining and entertainment offerings, including the free nightly concerts sponsored by BOB-CAT Mowers on the Mercedes-Benz stage. You’ll find all kinds of cuisine from pub food to New York style pizza to a raw bar.

If you want a taste of the bourbon scene before the concerts, Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse is right there at Fourth Street Live! The tour includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, a tasting experience and a unique bottle-your-own-bourbon experience.

Or if you’re looking for more music, try Howl at the Moon, the city’s dueling piano bar where you’ll hear musicians playing everything from classic rock to pop. You can request your favorite song or just enjoy the party.

Very important badges.

Wherever you go, be sure to take along your show badge. Many local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues offer discounts through the Show Us Your Badge program. Check out the list of participating businesses here: