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Louisville
  • $350   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $648   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1032   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

37% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
pollen, runaway racers
cheapest rent, hiking, summer recreation, bourbon, horse racing 6
this job will eat your life, retail apocalypse case study, hipster on a budget, the west end wasteland, community leaders and organizers, gentrification battleground, rich people, University of Louisville, the rich gays, metal birds, world of grocery, and obnoxious festivals are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Louisville roommate rundown:

Louisville's laidback. And Louisville loves being laidback.

Louisville loves celebrating their historically distinctive cultural offerings while looking to the future . . . but in a very laidback way.

They're even laidback about the accepted pronunciation of Louisville? Even the number of syllables and vowel sounds are a bit arbitrary. Anything OTHER than "Lewis Ville" will probably work.

Along with locally-crafted-bourbon-infused relaxation, Louisvillians also love hosting Kentucky Derby horse racing. That's about two weeks in May, but their love of horse racing is year round.

And they look to the future by making everything else they love a lot nicer too, as fast as development allows. Lately in addition to bourbon and racing they're really loving urban forests, bicycling, and public art.

Louisville already has the largest urban forest in the country, also a National Audubon Society wildlife refuge . . . over 35 miles of trails that also permit camping and fishing.

Also bicycling! They love it and they're encouraging it.

Along with their three major parks that already have dedicated biking lanes, they're working on their City of Parks, an ambitious project to build 110 miles of continuous Louisville Loop for walking and biking in and around their many lovely parklands. Highlights will continue to include the evolving "Emerald Necklace," several flagship parks connected by scenic loops with cycling lanes, offering spectacular views of the city plus fountains and playgrounds and the occasional fossil bed. Big Four Bridge is a refurbished and pedestrianized bridge connecting the newer Waterfront Park with Jeffersonville, Indiana.

And that's the super scenic stuff. More practically, they're also steadily adding bike lanes and bike racks downtown.

Collective love of urban forests, bicycling, and public art? If you're wondering if Louisville likes to put their public art in their urban forests so they can ride their bikes all around it . . . they most certainly do! Sculpture and fountains are already present, additional installations are planned, and there's often eating and drinking opportunities along the way.

That some their enjoy public art with a side of local bourbon is already known. You can drink the country's finest bourbon all over the best spots downtown or select a major whiskey distillery, a smaller craft whiskey distillery, or even a go on a multiple distillery tour. Bourbon is born in the nearby countryside with rolling green hills. If you prefer to take your bourbon with a side of scenic beauty, "Bourbon Country" is lousy with beautiful tour possibilities.

Or would you rather take your bourbon with a Hot Brown? That's a sandwich invented at local Brown Hotel in the 1920s. It's an open face turkey on Texas Toast broiled with bacon, tomato, and mornay sauce.

If you're not into deli meats, you could check out the slow-smoked meat, fried catfish, fried chicken livers, or chicken-fried steak. Probably with a biscuit, maybe cornbread.

For dessert, how about Derby Pie? That's mostly pecan pie with chocolate added. Delicious with bourbon too!

So with a low overall cost of living, low taxes, low roommate rent, and all this local flavor, what's the bad news?

You could say it's extra good news they're encouraging bicycling for many. Because other than their lovely bicycle lanes, plus a few city buses running around downtown, you and your roommates will need a car to go anywhere else. Not driving doesn't seem realistic for most Louisvillians.

While Louisville remains reasonably safe, all of Kentucky has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. This has led to the expected attendant increase in property crime and homelessness. However, the worst ravages in Louisville have been concentrated in neighborhoods that seemed to be struggling, both before and after.

This plus Louisville being a major transportation hub and UPS Worldwide, there's also a bit of a problem with pickpockets around various transportation stations. Many travelers are briefly moving through, and could easily be all the way out of town before they even notice they've been robbed.

So mind your valuables, and keep your purses and wallets secure whenever you go for a public ride.

Also, if you and your roommates have any airborne allergies, you will probably have to stock up on medication. But if you can manage with medication, that'll likely work.

With Louisville's low cost of living, you'll likely have no difficulty affording it.

The rest of the Louisville roommate lowdown:

  • Louisville is Kentucky's largest city, with about 770,000 in the city, and 1.5 million in the greater metropolitan area
  • in Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River, across from Southern Indiana, on the Indiana border
  • Louisville is at the crossroads of three interstate highways with several railroads, a major port, and a large airport. This makes it within a day's travel of most of the US, and as a result, Louisville is the United Parcel Service's (UPS) worldwide hub.
  • summers are warm and humid, winters are moderate - severe humidity and violent thunderstorms are possible in summer, with occasional freezes in winter . . . but other than that and the very occasional tornado usually the weather is easily manageable
  • major center of American whiskey, about a third of all bourbon whiskey is born here
  • home to several museums, including Frazier History Museum, Louisville Science Center, The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and the Speed Art Museum
  • hosts several colleges and universities, including the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, Indiana University Southeast, Spalding University, Sullivan University, and Simmons College of Kentucky
  • Louisville has one of the highest pollen counts in the US. You and your roommates with airborne allergies will need to stock up on your medication.
  • College sports are popular, particularly baseball (home of the Louisville Slugger!), basketball, golf, and soccer, including Racing Louisville FC, an expansion team in the National Women's Soccer League
  • Louisville is home to the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) chain, and you can visit the grave of Colonel Harland Sanders, one of the most recognizable product spokesmen in the world. His grave is marked with a bust designed by his daughter, and he's sporting his iconic white suit, string tie, and goatee. However, locals say for good and cheap chicken you can now get better at quite a few joints that are still actually local. But the Colonel remains one of Louisville's favorite sons.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Louisville's:

  • Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft: Since 1981, a non-profit celebrating American and Appalachian Folk Art
  • Thunder Over Louisville: the largest fireworks event in North America, part of the Kentucky Derby Festival
  • First Friday Hop: A free bus will drive you and your roommates around several independent art galleries on the first Friday of every month!
  • Bourbon Baroque: Performing the culture and music of the Baroque throughout the year, with a particular emphasis on historically-informed performances of music from the 17th and 18th centuries, often with period instruments
  • Louisville Orchestra: Since 1937! Hundreds of performances a year with many of the same musicians, a local cultural giant. Also their official performance hall is the Louisville Palace, with an ornate Spanish Baroque style.
  • Bardstown Road: Friendly to pedestrians, hosting many locally owned and local favorite bars, galleries, coffeehouses and casual restaurants. You and your roommates may want to wander around, especially in nice weather.
  • Old Louisville: Largest historic preservation Victorian architecture district in the US
  • Louisville Slugger Museum: Home of the Louisville Slugger Bat
  • Kentucky Derby Museum: American Thoroughbred racing, obviously including the Derby. New roommates feeling sad they missed out on previous races can view their "time machine" with a replay of every Derby since the early 1900s.
  • Louisville Mega Cavern: Used to be a limestone quarry under the zoo, now converted into an underground adventure park with an underground bike park, underground ziplining, and an underground rope course.
  • Evan Williams Bourbon Experience: There are quite a few bourbon distilleries doing quite well in Louisville, but this is probably the most famous, as an operating distillery with its own museum. Yes, tastings are included with your tour (you'll need to be legal drinking age with ID), and there are group discounts for you and your roommates. There's also a cocktail loft and a memorabilia store offering bourbon merch.
  • Mint Julep: Locally famous cocktail made from bourbon, sugar, crushed ice and fresh mint. However, most native Louisvillians save this drink for Derby days. They're not nearly as popular during other occasions.
  • Muhammad Ali Center: "Presents and mobilizes Muhammad Ali's legacy of creating change, pursuing justice, and inspiring greatness." Exhibits highlights from his legendary boxing career, world travels, and spiritual journeys. Also showcases his six core principles.


Here's the city of Louisville's official .gov for Moving to Louisville, including info your driver's license, your recycling, your library card, and your pets.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.