Louisville prepares to host NCAA Regional

Sports fans head to Louisville for Sweet 16

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - 16 Division I college basketball teams are still standing in the NCAA Tournament, and four are headed to Louisville this week; Virginia, Oregon, Purdue and Tennessee. That brings not only four talented teams with serious fan bases to downtown Louisville, but also a lot of excitement this week.

The Sweet 16 will be in full swing, and fans of the Boilermakers and the Volunteers will have a pretty easy drive into town. Tennessee and Purdue fans are certain to be among those buying up tickets.

Louisville’s portion of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets underway as teams arrive Tuesday. It’s the seventh-largest revenue driver for the city this year, with an economic impact at nearly $17 million.

It’s starting to get official with the floor, 255 NCAA basketball panels were installed today inside the KFC Yum! Center.

“This is a brand new floor made especially for the tournament,” Kate Simms of Connor Sports said.

Before and after the game, Ducks, Volunteers, Cavaliers, Boilermakers and other fans taking in the city will discover, this may be the perfect destination for the sports fan.

“Our trifecta of sports related attractions that are iconic to our city,” Stacey Yates with gotolouisville.com said. “No one else has a Kentucky Derby Museum, or a Muhammad Ali Center or a Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum Tour.”

Following the world’s largest baseball bat, fans may want to check out a slew of great restaurants around downtown, many just showcased on Bravo’s Top Chef Kentucky.

There are plenty of kid friendly attractions like Mega Cavern - top rated right now on TripAdvisor - the Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Zoo and Frazier History Museum. But there is one adult-friendly big offering only found here, and it happens to be a source of Kentucky Pride.

“Of course, the Bourbon scene,” Yates said. “We’ve been 10 years now with our Urban Bourbon Trail, with that cocktail experience.”

It has over 40 stops and in the past few years actual distilleries have made downtown Louisville home, like Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, and Michter’s.

Want to get really unique? Slip into a new favorite speakeasy inside the original whiskey row warehouses steps from the arena, Hell or High Water.

“You have to answer a few questions to get in,” Yates smiled.

LouLift offers free electric bus rides around downtown. CityPost digital kiosks can offer suggestions all around town. If you have friends coming in for the games, of course there are the great local neighborhoods like the Highlands and Crescent Hill. Send them to Gotolouisville.com and DerbyCityWeekend.com for more things to do.

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