Calling the city “a lively, offbeat cultural mecca on the Ohio River,” the world’s leading travel publisher has named Louisville its "Top U.S. Travel Destination for 2013." Lonely Planet  touted hip, emerging sections of the city including the Nulu area near downtown in putting Louisville at the top of its yearly Top Ten travel destinations.
“This is a super recognition of the energy and progress in our city and of the growing economic impact of Louisville as the gateway to the Bourbon industry and tourism,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Lonely Planet has a loyal following and a strong reputation for being an independent voice in the travel industry, so being its top pick carries a lot of weight.”
Fischer said the ranking is further evidence that the city’s strategy to grow the food and beverage sector – and, in particular, bourbon – is paying dividends both economically and in tourism.
"Each year we shine a light on 10 places in the U.S. that travelers should add to their wish lists for the coming year," said Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid. "Our U.S.-based team of editors and authors compile a list of U.S. destinations that are prime for the next year and Louisville topped the list for 2013."
In praising Louisville, Lonely Planet wrote: “Bourbon reigns in Louisville. This is the traditional jump-off for the Bourbon Trail; with bourbon's current wave of popularity, new upstart micro-distilleries, including some in and around Louisville like the small-batch Angel's Envy, are giving the old names in bourbon a run for their money.”
"If you haven't been to Louisville in sometime, now is the time for you to plan a visit," said Jim Wood, president & CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The city's tourism product has seen incredible growth over the last several years and 2013 will be no exception with the return of bourbon distilleries to downtown's Whiskey Row."
Lonely Planet further described Louisville as the "new Portland" citing the city's high-energy scene along Bardstown Rd. and the fast rise of the Nulu area along E. Market. Mixing perennial favorites in with the new, the publication suggests travelers time their visits to “catch the Kentucky Derby, the greatest two minutes in sports.”
Founded in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel publisher. LonelyPlanet.com receives over 12 million unique visitors to its website each month with the "Top US Destinations" list among its most read articles each year. With nearly 2 million fans and followers across social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter, Lonely Planet has a broad reach. To read the full article go to http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/travel-tips-and-articles/77583 .
Of course, this well-deserved accolade for our little city by the river comes as no surprise to dyed-in-the-wool Louisville chauvinists. Two years ago, we were picked as one of best places to live (like we didn’t know). Men's Journal Magazine  named Louisville as one of its Best Places to Live 2010 in its April issue. The magazine called Derby City the Best Place to Sip Whiskey and Watch the World Go By . The editors based their evaluations on such criteria as access to leisure activities and culture, and listed the cities that their readers might want to move to when they get bored with their current abodes.
The magazine described Louisville’s Bardstown Road neighborhood as a "slice of weirdness in the midst of an upscale neighborhood." It also pointed out bourbon has become a "sophisticated beverage rather than redneck swill" and says that "parallels the city's cultural renaissance."
That ranking followed hot on the heels of the piece in Men’s Health Magazine , listing Louisville as the 62nd drunkest city in America. Evidently, men’s magazines put a premium on sipping whiskey as the sine qua non of metropolitan ambience.
And, back in October of this year, we told you about Louisville getting named as America’s ‘Number One City for Affordable Vacations ,’ by the website Livability.com . The staff of Livability spent more than 20 years finding the good stuff in small to mid-sized communities all across America, and found Louisville’s rich history, modern culture, free attractions and deep discounts, rendered our town a prime vacation destination for families.
Also in October, U.S. News & World Report  selected Louisville as the 7th best place to retire  for under $40,000 a year. At the time, Mayor Fischer said, “It’s gratifying when outsiders recognize the qualities that those of us living here sometimes take for granted. Louisville offers so many of the advantages of a much larger city but with greater affordability and ease of getting around – it’s a great and affordable place for people of all ages.”
And finally, readers may recall that in 2008, Louisville was ranked at the top of the list of the country’s ten cities most likely to search for obscene material on the internet. Eric Krangel, writing for businessinsider.com , used George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” as obscenity proxies, and looked up each of them on Google Trends.
Please don’t get the idea that we here at Louisville.com spend a lot of time paging through men’s magazines (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But we do scan the internet for mention of our little city on the falls of the Ohio River. We are unabashedly chauvinistic about out hometown. Sure, we love to complain about the weather, the politicians, the sluggish economy; but the truth is, there’s not a better spot to live in the known universe.
A nice place to visit, a wonderful place to retire to. Inexpensive, weird, exciting, and obscene. What’s not to love about Louisville?