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Waterfront Park

Where is the Waterfront Park office located?

The Waterfront Park office is located in the David K. Karem Office Building (by Joe’s Crab Shack). Our mailing/contact info is:

129 River Road
Louisville, KY 40202

Is Waterfront Park part of the Metro Parks system?

No, Waterfront Park is a donor supported, independently operated, and maintained public park.

I’d like to donate to Waterfront Park – is there an easy way to do this?

This is our dream question!  … and we’re glad you asked. You can donate from here via PayPal, using your credit or debit card. Don’t worry, it’s secure, and you don’t have to register to do so! If you would rather, you can write a check and send it to:

Attn: Donations
Waterfront Development Corporation
129 River Road
Louisville, KY 40202

Donations go toward design, construction of special projects, maintenance and operation of Waterfront Park. ALL gifts are greatly appreciated and help keep Waterfront Park beautiful and welcoming to the public!

Can I donate a tree or a bench to the park?

Sure! You can donate a bench or a bench swing in honor or memory of a friend or loved one, and we will make and install a simple plaque on the backrest. The donation amount would be:

  • Bench – $5,000
  • Bench Swing – $7,000

The donation amount to plant a tree in Waterfront Park is $500, which covers a minimum 3″ caliper tree, materials, and labor. Tree choices may include Elm, Oak and Sycamore, and possibly other varieties, depending on the need at the time of your donation. Tree planting is generally done in the fall. We do not install plaques on or near trees due to maintenance and vandalism, but we would be happy to coordinate a small ceremony where the donor and his guests can help plant/mulch the tree.

To talk to us about donating a bench, swing, or tree, please email us or give us a call at 502.574.3768.

What’s this I hear about a Phase IV?

A master plan has been developed for Phase IV of Waterfront Park, which will be west of current parkland between 10th & 14th Streets, north of Rowan on the river. It’s a beautiful site that will add 22 acres to Waterfront Park’s current 85-acre public space. Fundraising is underway. You can read more about it here.

The Park

Where can I find a map of the park?

You can use our Map page to click on a park feature (Great Lawn, Festival Plaza, etc.) to get an option for more information or driving directions through Google Maps. There is also a park map pdf that you can print here. (You may need the Adobe Reader app to open this map.)

What are the park hours?

Waterfront Park is open daily, 6:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m.

Where are you located?

Waterfront Park is located on the Ohio River in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. See the map for the location of different venues in the park.

To find specific addresses: On the Map page, if you click on either the location name in the box on the left (Belle of Louisville, Big Four® Bridge, etc.) or the location markers on the map itself, it will bring up a little box where you can click for directions. That takes you directly to Google Maps which will show you driving directions to that feature.

Does the park have wi-fi?

No, unfortunately the park does not offer wi-fi at this time.

Does it cost anything to get in?

Waterfront Park is a public park and there is no park admission. However, certain events will charge admission. You can find out what that admission will be by reviewing the event’s calendar listing here.

Is there a charge to use the waterpark?

No, the Waterplay Area at the Adventure Playground is free and open to the public.

What are the hours for the Waterplay Area?

In season (generally late April or early May through mid-October, weather permitting), the Waterplay operates from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily.

Are there restrooms in the park? Are they open all the time?

There are park restrooms located in most parking lots throughout the park. The only lots that do not have restrooms are the Wharf and Green parking lots. In season, restrooms are open 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily.

Because the restrooms are not heated, they are closed for the winter, generally between early November and mid-April, depending upon the weather. Generally, even if there is nice weather during those months, the restrooms will remain closed because they have been winterized (water turned off and pipes drained) to prevent damage from freezing. We will post on our blog and social media when the restrooms open for the season and close for the season.

Special events will provide port-o-lets based on the number of expected attendees.

Is the Park accessible for wheelchairs?

Yes, the park is accessible. All walkways, including the ramp to the Big Four® Bridge, are built to ADA standards (or better). There are a few places in the park where there are steps, but there will always be a walkway without steps to access the same area.

Can I fish at Waterfront Park?

People do often fish from the wharf and other areas in the park.

I want to have a picnic – can I bring my grill?

There are park grills located in the picnic areas adjacent to the two playgrounds. Please use those – personal grills are not allowed.

Can I bring my dog?

We love dogs! Pets on leashes are welcome in 90% of the park. The only places where pets are not allowed are in the two playgrounds, in the waterplay or fountains, and on the Big Four® Bridge. This means that dogs on leashes have access to about 80 acres of great park, so bring them along!

What about service animals?

Service animals are allowed everywhere in the park.

Can I bring my bike?

Yes! There are tons of pathways throughout the park, and bikes are also welcome on the Big Four® Bridge.

Can I rent a bike?

Yes! There is an independently operated bike rental operation called Wheel Fun Rentals near the Big Four® Bridge. They rent regular bikes and surreys for 4-6 people. Bikes can be used anywhere in the park, but surreys are not allowed on the bridge because they are too hard to control on the ramp and they take up a lot of space in an area that is usually pretty crowded. Contact Wheel Fun Rentals at (502) 589-2453 or visit their website for more information.

Can I bring my skateboard?

No, skateboards and inline skates are not allowed in Waterfront Park. But there is a skate park just down the road that is operated by Louisville Metro Parks.

Do you rent boats or kayaks?

No, we sure don’t.

Are there any vendors in the park?

Yes, there are vendors in the park, including a hot dog vendor and an ice cream vendor. They are usually located near the Big Four® Bridge and the playgrounds.

Where else can I eat in the park?

Joe’s Crab Shack on the wharf offers seafood and a fun atmosphere.

Can I camp at Waterfront Park?

No, the park is closed between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Also, tents or staked structures are not allowed unless they are part of an event and permitted by WDC.

We want to ride the Belle of Louisville! Where can we get a ticket?

You can contact the Belle of Louisville directly at 502.574.2992 or visit their website at www.belleoflouisville.org.

Big Four Bridge

Does the Big Four® Bridge close when the park closes?

No, because the Big Four® is used as a transportation connector between Louisville and Southern Indiana, it is open 24/7.

Does the Big Four® Bridge ever close?

The Bridge may be closed during icy weather. The ramp and bridge are never treated with chemicals or scraped because that could damage the surface, so when conditions are icy or slick, the bridge will be posted as closed.

There are also a limited number of times during the year when the bridge might be closed due to regulation, such as during the Thunder Over Louisville Air Show, when the Federal Aviation Administration requires closure. We will always post on our blog and social media when the bridge is scheduled to be closed.

What are all those neat colored lights on the Big Four® Bridge?

The Big Four® Bridge has a special LED lighting system that wraps designated areas of the bridge framework in vibrant colors that can be programmed into a rainbow of effects. The lights highlight the beauty and strength of the historic bridge structure, which dates back to its days as an active urban railroad bridge.

What is the schedule for the Big Four® light show?

The light show operates nightly from dusk to 1:00 a.m.

Does the Big Four® Bridge have different rules from the rest of Waterfront Park?

Yes, a few of the rules are different. For example, dogs on leashes are welcome in the park, but are not allowed on the bridge. For all of the Big Four® Bridge rules, visit the Big Four® Bridge page.

Can I host an event on the Big Four® Bridge?

No. The Big Four® is fairly narrow and must remain open to pedestrians and bicycles at all times, so there is really no room for events on the bridge itself.

Can I get married on the Big Four® Bridge?

Because the bridge is so narrow, events are not allowed on the Big Four® Bridge itself. However, there are lots of places in the park that are perfect for weddings. You can find information about planning an event such as a wedding in the park here.

Can I request that the Bridge lights be a certain color on a specific date?

Yes, for a price (proceeds go toward bridge and park maintenance). Please see our Bridge Lighting Policy here.

So where does Louisville stop and Indiana start on the Big Four®?

Kentucky’s state line is right at the Indiana shoreline, so you are still in Louisville until you step onto the Indiana ramp.

Event Questions

How can I find out if there are any concerts or festivals coming up?

All public events will be posted on our calendar.

Who can I call to find out information about a particular event?

Please check out the event listing in the calendar for information about a specific event. If you have additional questions, please use the contact information listed there.

What can I bring or not bring to events in the park?

Each event will have its own rules about what you can and cannot bring into the park, so please use the contact info listed with the event to contact event personnel. However, in general, Waterfront Park does not allow glass (bottles, etc.) to be brought into the park, and we don’t allow tents or anything that would need to be staked into the ground, as this could damage the irrigation system or the turf.

Hosting an Event

I would like to host an event at Waterfront Park, but I have never done that before. What do I need to do first?

We are delighted that you would like to host an event at Waterfront Park! If this is your first time hosting an event with us, please fill out a proposal here. Our events staff will review your proposal and get back with you for confirmation.

If I want to host an event at the Belvedere, do I go through the Waterfront Development Corporation application process?

Yes, WDC is responsible for managing and brokering events that take place on the Belvedere.

How do I know if my desired date is available?

To know if a particular date is available on our events calendar, please call our office 502.574.3768 and someone from our events staff would be happy to provide you with available dates.

What venues are located within Waterfront Park that are suitable to host an event?

Waterfront Park is an 85-acre park that offers a variety of venues for all types of events. To learn more about a particular venue or to find the right venue for your event, please see our Venues and Fees page.

What are the fees associated with hosting an event at Waterfront Park?

Fees are based upon which venue you choose. If you aren’t sure which venue is right for your event, we can help you figure that out.

What utilities are included with my venue rental?

There is an additional fee for use of utilities such as electricity, water, restrooms, etc. This information can be found on the Venues and Fees page.

How can I be a vendor at a Waterfront Park event?

Every event has an event producer, the person or organization that plans the event and leases the venue from WDC. You will find contact information in every event listing on the Waterfront Park calendar. Please contact the event producer directly to find out about vending opportunities.

I represent an artist/talent and would like for them to be considered for entertainment at an event at Waterfront Park. What do I need to do?

Same answer as above – please contact the event producer directly. Contact information is included with every event on our calendar.

I filled out the WDC application — do I still have to fill out a permit application with Louisville Metro Government?

Yes, you must fill out both applications in order to host an event at Waterfront Park. Metro’s event application can be found here. If you have questions during Metro’s application process, it may be helpful to review Metro’s Special Events Handbook.

Do I have to provide a certificate of insurance for my event?

Yes, any and all events that take place at Waterfront Park have to provide us with a certificate of insurance that lists both the Waterfront Development Corporation and Louisville Metro Government as additionally insured. For full details, click here.

Can I get married at Waterfront Park?

Yes, you are welcome to have your wedding ceremony and/or reception at Waterfront Park (not on the Big Four® Bridge). Waterfront Park offers a variety of venues, and we would be glad to help you choose. If it is a small ceremony (less than 50 people) and you don’t plan to bring anything to set up (tables, chairs, a tent or sound system) or need to reserve a space, you don’t need a permit. If you have more than 50 people or need to reserve a specific space, you will need a permit. Just contact us to see if your date is available.

What are the rules about photography and/or filming at Waterfront Park?

Waterfront Park provides a wonderful background for engagement sessions, wedding photos, and senior pictures. (Feel free to share your pics with us!) If you are commercial photographer and/or videographer that wishes to use Waterfront Park in advertisements, then you must go through the application process.

Information for Boaters

Does Waterfront Park have a boat ramp?

Waterfront Park does not have a boat ramp.

Are there docks in Waterfront Park?

Yes, there are docks in the Great Lawn Harbor and also adjacent to Towhead Island.

Is there a charge for docking?

Boat slips are available first come, first served. We do gladly accept donations to help keep the docks maintained and in open to the public – please visit our Donate page for more information!

Can I dock my boat overnight?

Generally, the boat docks are open the same hours as the park – 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. However, we may make an exception for a short-term stay if you contact us ahead of time and provide certain information. Go here to see how to make arrangements. We do suggest a donation of $25 per day for docking.

Boats docking overnight without permission that are left untended may be towed. Water and electric hookups may be available but cannot be guaranteed.

Are the docks ever closed to the public?

The docks may be closed or there may be a required fee to dock during major park events at Waterfront Park, including the July 4th holiday, Forecastle Festival, and/or concerts. Please call ahead for availability and for more information about docking during special events.

Are there utility hookups at the docks?

There are utility hookups; however, we cannot guarantee that utilities will be available when you dock.