Travel guide names Louisville the top U.S. destination for 2013

December 5, 2012 

MUSEUM HOTEL

Sculptures by Judy Fox are on permanent display behind the 21C Museum Hotel reception desk. According to the hotel's Web site, the average nightly rate is $195 to $665.

BRIAN BOHANNON — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Louisville has been named the top domestic destination of 2013 by a popular international publisher of travel guides.

Australia-based Lonely Planet, which has printed more than 100 million books and says it's the world's most successful travel publisher, released its list of top U.S. travel destinations Wednesday. The United States-based editors teamed up with the authors of the BBC Worldwide-owned company's guidebook to develop the list of "destinations that are prime for the next year," the publisher said.

In its citation for Louisville, Lonely Planet editors wrote, "Could it be that the new Portland is in ... Kentucky?" Portland, Ore., is known for its culture and its food. "Louisville has asserted itself as a lively, offbeat cultural mecca on the Ohio River," the editors wrote.

It went on to extol the city's up-and-coming East Market District, or NuLu, area; the hipster strip along Bardstown Road; the Kentucky Derby; and the 21c Museum Hotel.

"This is the traditional jump-off for the Bourbon Trail," editors wrote. "With bourbon's current wave of popularity, new upstart microdistilleries, 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."

Jim Wood, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement, "If you haven't been to Louisville in some time, now is the time for you to plan a visit. 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."

Other top U.S. destinations for 2013 are Fairbanks, Alaska; San Juan Islands, Wash.; Philadelphia; American Samoa; the Eastern Sierra of California; and northern Maine.

Read the report at Bit.ly/UdbSbl

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