One Of America's Most Underrated Cities For A Summer Vacation, Per Samantha Brown

While Samantha Brown has devoted years to showing off the world's most incredible destinations on her PBS show "Samantha Brown's Places to Love," as well as through her personal blogs and social media accounts, she does not overlook great places to visit right in her home country of the United States. She has had memorable experiences coast to coast and everywhere in between. In addition to the classics, Brown also looks for underrated cities and hidden gems.

Brown believes that one such hidden gem is Louisville, Kentucky. "The most popular time to come, of course, is in May when the famous Kentucky Derby is held. However, don't count this city out for a summer weekend just yet," she explained on her website. "Outside of horse racing, there are a ton of unique things to do in Louisville." This culturally rich city makes for an adventurous couples vacation or even a guys-only getaway, with its beautiful historic buildings, one-of-a-kind activities, and bourbon distilleries. This city will delight sports fans, history geeks, or anyone just looking for something unique.

Delve into the city's architectural and sports history

Louisville was founded in 1778, and it only took around 50 years for industrial advances like the steamboat to help the so-called Falls City become the largest city in Kentucky. Samantha Brown suggests signing up for the Historic Walking Tour through Old Louisville, the major highlight of which is the gorgeous Victorian mansions. In fact, Louisville has the biggest contiguous grouping of Victorian mansions in the entire United States. The ostentatious hats traditionally worn at the Kentucky Derby would be right at home in these mansions.

Churchill Downs in Louisville hosts the Kentucky Derby every May, but there are over 70 race days each year at the famous racecourse. The facility is also open for tours, and you can place bets at the Race & Sports Book year-round. Sports fans will also love the Muhammad Ali Center on the banks of the Ohio River. The iconic boxer was a native of Louisville, and this museum showcases his life, legendary career, and humanitarian efforts through footage of his greatest matches and the many impactful moments throughout his life — not to mention countless artifacts from "the Greatest."

Try some authentic Kentucky Bourbon in Louisville

Louisville's history also incorporates literary and pop culture. F. Scott Fitzgerald loved spending time at the Seelbach Hotel's bar, especially during his army service during World War I. This bar and those whom Fitzgerald met there are thought to have inspired bits and pieces of his wildly famous novel "The Great Gatsby." Gangster Al Capone and a handful of U.S. presidents have also passed through the French Renaissance-style building. Now called the Seelbach Hilton, its opulence is as visible today as ever. Aside from hotel rooms, the Seelbach has a bar restored to look as it did in the early 1900s, chock-full of bourbon. You can also stop by for breakfast at Gatsby's on Fourth, which is located in the hotel.

Speaking of bourbon, Louisville has it in abundance. "If you enjoy a nice, stiff drink than [sic] you can't visit Louisville without indulging in Kentucky's most famous export," Samantha Brown states in her guide to a weekend in the city, imploring travelers to "head out on The Bourbon Trail, which covers 42 distilleries around the state." This organization works with three different transportation companies to help visitors find the perfect bourbon tour. Cheers!