For outdoor activities, Louisville has an excellent parks system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for his hand in designing New York's Central Park. For those disinclined to park activities, there are plenty of other things to do outside that don't necessarily require exertion.
Nature-lover or not, Waterfront Park offers lovely river views, benches, picnic areas, and splash parks to cool you down if you've been dragged to the park on a hot day. In the summers, enjoy the park and live music on the last Wednesday of the month when local radio station WFPK presents its Waterfront Wednesday concert series.
On the Indiana side of the river, you can get a good view of Louisville and search for fossils at Falls of the Ohio State Park. The interpretive center offers area geological and historical information.
If you'd rather cruise the river than explore the parks along it, visit either the Spirit of Jefferson or Belle of Louisville boats. Both offer cruises with indoor and outdoor seating.
The Louisville Zoo has opportunities for animal watching in and outdoors (though most is outside). The warmer months bring even more outdoor entertainment, including zipline rides, a splash park, a climbing wall, and a three-story adventure course.
A visit to Cavehill Cemetery ensures an unusual outdoor experience. Both a cemetery and an arboretum, Cavehill has paved paths through its grounds. There are several ponds, trees with name markers, and many interesting tombs (interesting for both their age and the monuments). Cavehill's most famous resident is Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. Cherokee Park, one of those Olmsted parks, is near Cavehill. The park has bike and walking paths, golf, playing fields, and playgrounds.
If you like watching sports outdoors, catch a minor league baseball game at Slugger Field (great views of the sunset over the river), or visit Churchill Downs to see the races.
Monthly outdoor concert by the Ohio River... read more
201 West Riverside Drive
Explore fossil beds at this state park along the Ohio River... read more
401 East Main Street
Ballpark; home to Louisville Bats... read more