Reviews & Comments
Louisville, KYArea is a great place to live.
I moved to Louisville area (I work there and live about 30 minutes away) about 4 years ago, so I'm completely neutral and have no skin in the game. I've lived in New England, St. Louis area, southern Nevada, Colorado Springs, and a few places in between. Basically all over the map, and I'm pleasantly surprised with my experience living in northern KY. For starters, I'm doing the same profession with essentially same job title as I was in Colorado (which is fast becoming a ridiculously expensive place to live), and after 3 years I'm earning 29% more, about 75% more if you include overtime. Needless to say, that alone improves the quality of one's life a whole bunch!
The weather is fantastic here, you get a true 4-season climate. Heat is oppressive for a couple months in the summer, but spring and fall are simply gorgeous (barring a drought, heat wave, cold snap, etc.) and you can do activities comfortably outside for 9-10 months out of the year. Winter is fairly mild-- it does get butt kicking cold at times, but generally it's just dreary cold weather, with a few decent days thrown in here and there. You definitely don't move here for the winters, but they're not intolerable by any means! Folks that complain about the weather haven't lived many places-- there are always trade-offs for a given climate, but KY is a great compromise that gives you 4 unique, decent seasons.
The people are generally friendly though I notice they're not the most social and tend to hang out in their own cliques. I can't call them unaccepting of new people, but I've certainly had a more difficult time making close friendships here than I have elsewhere. I've typically made friends at work where I spend the most time with people, or my Chatty-Cathy wife meets people at school events and such, but it's still difficult to get to know people more than skin deep-- they stick to their own social circles. You will rarely find a transplant here. But I find they're all generally good people! Hard working honest people, just trying to survive and earn a living. I would argue people here have more common sense that other places I've lived. They are down to earth people, you don't find a lot of pretentiousness here! Not bad, just different compared to other places I've lived.
I've never had any issues with crime, though I don't spend a great deal of time in Louisville other than when I'm at work. I work in an older, poorer neighborhood, I wouldn't leave my car unlocked overnight there, but we've never had any break-ins or any issues at all with theft. I live in a small town about 30 minutes away, and it's an area where we don't lock our car doors at night, leave to go shopping and don't have to worry if you locked the front door. Going to Louisville for events, shopping, etc. has always been a good experience. Yes, they do put cleaning crews on the streets from March to May for the KY derby, you hardly ever see them the rest of the year.
Education has been wonderful so far for our 4 kids. You get back what you put in. You will get a lousy education just like you will anywhere else if you expect the school to do all the work and don't actively participate in your kids' education. There are plenty of after school programs, ours always have extra-cirricular events they can attend year round. There are talented and gifted programs for kids at a higher level, for example our 6th grader is going on a 3-day trip to the KY state capital to learn the government, legislation, and they will ultimately write a bill / debate issues they want to see become law. Education has absolutely been above average for us.
For me, Louisville was a perfect size city, a compromise between things to do / see, and congestion. I grew up in small towns and prefer that lifestyle, but work opportunities are easier to come by in the mid-large cities.
KY in itself is a beautiful state. We are also close to a few major cities, so you can always go and experience something different if you so choose. I regularly go to concerts in Cincinnati, day trip to Nashville, weekend getaway to St. Louis, things like that. Or you can have an awesome time just driving around and exploring the beautiful KY countryside (best in spring or fall).
The commutes here are interesting. I encounter the fastest drivers that I've seen anywhere, mixed with some reckless drivers, white-knuckling 20-under-the-limit types, oblivious gawking-at-the-cellphone drivers, it's quite a mix. My own commute is a dream though, Dixie highway to Gene Synder, off the highway near I-65. Hardly ever gets backed up and if you go-with-the-flow you're typically doing 15-20 over the limit. Just avoid the right hand lane, that's where all the grandmas are going 20-under!
There are hardly *ever* cops on the road enforcing traffic laws, in my experience. That's a wonderful thing if you like to speed, as I do, but it can be a bad thing as you will come across bad actors that drive extremely aggressively with impunity. I just never get bothered by police, I mean I see them around, but they aren't hiding in the bushes, or on top of the overpass, ready to hand you a $200 ticket for going 5-over. I like that. That's how it's been for my commute personally, at least.
All-in-all, great place to raise a family and very glad I moved here! I would probably have a different opinion if I lived right smack in the middle of Louisville, but I say go outside the city a bit and you'll be impressed!