Louisville is a vibrant city located in the north central part of the US state of Kentucky on the south bank of the scenic Ohio River. One thing that Louisville is known for is being the hometown of boxing great Muhammad Ali. He was a professional boxer from October of 1960 until December of 1981. He is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all time.
If you are a fan of professional boxing, you will most likely have heard of the legendary boxer. Given that Louisville is where Muhammad was born and raised, there are a few places in town that have something to do with him. So, if you are a professional boxing fan looking for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky, you will want to make sure to visit these places.
Muhammad Ali Center
The first attraction you will want to go to is the Muhammad Ali Center. It is located on North Sixth Street in Louisville’s historic downtown. It is right next to Interstate 64 and should be easy to spot if you drive by on the highway. The center houses an award-winning museum that is dedicated to the legendary life of Muhammad Ali, both inside and outside of the boxing ring.
The museum takes up around two and a half floors within the building. The museum has a few parts to it. The first part is about Muhammad’s boxing career. There is a mock boxing ring inside the museum. Memorabilia from Muhammad’s boxing career are housed inside the museum for you to check out. There is a large projector showing the Muhammad Ali biopic film called The Greatest.
The film is projected onto a life-sized boxing ring. There are also clips showing off Muhammad’s greatest fights on terminals. They all also come with pre- and post-fight interviews. The second part of the museum’s focus is Muhammad’s life outside of the boxing ring. Muhammad wasn’t just the greatest boxer of all time, he also strived to become the best person that he can be.
You can learn about how Muhammad used his platform to help people and communities around the country and the world during and after his boxing career. Muhammad was guided through life by six core values. They are confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. All of his core values shine throughout the museum.
The third focus at the museum is on artwork depicting Muhammad. They are housed in two galleries within the museum. The artwork were done by two artists LeRoy Neiman and Howard L. Bingham.
The admission prices to the museum are $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $10 for military members and students, and $9 for children aged 6 to 12. Free admission is granted to those aged under 6. You can go here to buy your tickets to the museum.
Muhammad Ali Childhood Home Museum
The Muhammad Ali Childhood Home Museum is located on Grand Avenue in the Parkland neighborhood about a few miles southwest of downtown Louisville near Interstate 264. Look for the pink house on Grand Avenue with a brown sign in front of it. This is the house where Muhammad Ali grew up. He lived there from 1947 until 1961.
When Muhammad was growing up, he was known as Cassius Clay Jr. before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali during his adulthood. His father, Cassius Clay Sr., was a sign painter and a local artisan. During Muhammad’s childhood, he and his younger brother, Rudolph, would help their father out with painting and drawing.
Muhammad’s mother, Odessa Clay, was a devout Baptist who took him and his brother to church every Sunday while they were growing up. At first, Muhammad’s childhood home wasn’t colored pink, but that changed during his childhood when his father decided to paint the house to be pink. That was because pink was Muhammad’s mother’s favorite color.
The childhood home had two bedrooms, one full bathroom, a kitchen, and an ante-room. During Muhammad’s childhood, his father added a recreation room to the back of the house. The Clay family bought the house in March of 1947 when Muhammad was five years old. At that point, the house was only five years old, having been built in 1942.
Today, the childhood house looks just like it did when Muhammad lived there. It is now a museum housing unique items that once belonged to the Clay family. There are also many documentaries and recorded interviews inside. The admission to the museum is free for everyone. There is also a gift shop located inside one of the neighboring houses.
Columbia Gym and Cave Hill Cemetery
The Columbia Gym is located on South Fourth Street at the southern end of downtown Louisville inside a historic building that now belongs to Spalding University. This is where Muhammad Ali first began his boxing training that ultimately set him on the path to becoming the greatest boxer of all time. It all started in 1954 when Muhammad was twelve years old.
One day in 1954, Muhammad rode his red bicycle to a event that took place inside that historic building. He left his red bicycle just outside the entrance to the building. But when he came back out from the event that he participated in, he discovered that his bicycle had been stolen. Deeply upset, he went to search for help in retrieving his bicycle.
In the process, he chanced upon Joe Martin who was training boxers in the gym in the lower level of the building. He complained to Joe, who also worked as a police officer, that his bicycle had been stolen. He then told Joe that he was going to whup whomever stole his bicycle. Joe warned Muhammad that in order to do that, he would need to learn how to fight.
Joe then took him in and trained him in boxing inside the gym. From there, Muhammad was set on track to becoming the greatest boxer of all time. It changed his future forever. Joe also became Muhammad’s first ever boxing coach. He was the boxing coach for the first six years of Muhammad’s boxing career.
Today, you can see a replica of Muhammad’s red bicycle hanging above the entrance to the building. Also, that gym where Muhammad first trained, is still in use today by athletes of Spalding University. As for Cave Hill Cemetery, it is a scenic 296-acre Victorian-era national cemetery and arboretum. It is located on Baxter Avenue in the eastern part of Louisville.
This cemetery is notable because this is where Muhammad Ali was buried when he died in 2016 at the age of 74. His grave is located somewhere in the southern corner of the cemetery. There is a painted green line that will guide you from the cemetery entrance to his grave.
These are the things to do in Louisville, Kentucky for learning about and/or honoring the legendary boxer. Muhammad Ali also has two things named after him in Louisville. A downtown street is called Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Louisville’s international airport is also named after Muhammad.
If you are looking for a hotel to stay at during your time in Louisville, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.
Best Western Green Tree Inn
This hotel is located on Broadway Street in the Louisville suburb of Clarksville, Indiana which is just a few miles north across the Ohio River from downtown Louisville. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Texas Roadhouse, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Chuy’s. There is an outdoors heated swimming pool at the hotel.
The hotel also houses a fitness center for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $75 to $132. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
Candlewood Suites Louisville North
This hotel is located on Bales Lane, also in Clarksville, Indiana. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Bubba’s 33, Boombozz, and LongHorn Steakhouse. This hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool. There is also a fitness center available for you to use at the hotel.
All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi and kitchenettes. The average rate for a standard room range from $89 to $149. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.
What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these Muhammad Ali-related attractions in Louisville? Feel free to leave a comment below.