This suburban city sits on Louisville’s east side, with malls, shopping centers, sprawling parks and historic properties all around.
Lyndon’s southwest corner grazes Shelbyville Road, which is a vital commercial artery for the metro area, lined with malls, power centers, car dealers, independent stores and entertainment amenities.
Both the Oxmoor Center and Mall St. Matthews are in Lyndon’s backyard, as is Westport Village, an outdoor mall dedicated to upmarket small businesses.
Recreation opportunities abound, at places like E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, while you’ll never be more than a few minutes from historically significant properties like Locust Grove and Farmington Historic Plantation.
1. E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park
Previously farmland, this 550-acre state park next door to Lyndon is an inviting green haven in a gentle rolling landscape.
The park opened in 1974 and is named for Republican Jefferson County Judge/Executive Erbon Powers “Tom” Sawyer, who was killed in a car accident in 1969 while in office, and was the father of prominent journalist Diane Sawyer.
We could write a whole article on everything you can get up to here, but among the standouts are Louisville’s largest public pool and splash park, the tree-shaded Goose Creek Nature Trail, one of just a handful of supercross BMX tracks in the United States and the only outdoor public archery range in Louisville.
There’s also the Louisville Astronomy Society’s center, hosting regular stargazing events, an orienteering course, a dog park, a fitness trail, pickleball courts, two playgrounds and a raft of conventional sports facilities, from softball to soccer.
2. Oxmoor Center
Built on the historic Oxmoor Farm estate, this upscale mall is on the south side of Shelbyville Road, opposite Lyndon.
Oxmoor Center has been an important part of the Louisville shopping scene since 1971, and has a mix of typical mall brands with some high end stores.
For a small cross section of the chains here, you’ve got Apple, Peloton, Sephora, H&M, Macy’s, Old Navy, Von Maur, Ann Taylor, Soma, Anthropologie, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Clarks and Lush Cosmetics.
Oxmoor Center doesn’t have a food court, but does have some dining options, such as BJ’s and California Kitchen. For many families, a trip to this mall is a Christmas tradition to admire the decorations and get pictures with Santa.
3. Westport Village
Another prime shopping destination on Lyndon’s doorstep is this outdoor, pedestrian-friendly mall for premium local shops and services.
There are more than 40 local businesses at Westport Village, with a slew of boutiques for women’s clothing, home design, jewelry and much more.
These are complemented by a flower shop, sporting goods store, toy shop, day spa, a lineup of salons and a cosmopolitan array of restaurants, whether you’re up for pizza, Japanese, pan-Asian, Mexican, a steak or breakfast favorites.
4. Calypso Cove Family Waterpark
On the north side of Lyndon’s A.B. Sawyer Park is the Northeast Family YMCA, which has a top-notch waterpark at this location.
Calypso Cove has a choice of attractions for the whole family, with a zero-depth entry pool, a vortex pool and all kinds of play features for kids including a large play structure, an updated splash pad, a lily pad crossing course and water cannons.
There are also two great waterslides at the complex: Hurricane Run, which is a tube slide and Typhoon Twister, a body slide.
No part of the pool is deeper than 3.5 feet, and for a moment of relaxation there’s a jacuzzi-like seating area with hydro jets.
5. Mall St. Matthews
West of I-264 on Shelbyville Rd is an even larger mall than Oxmoor Center, and the main enclosed shopping destination for the Louisville Area.
Like its neighbor, Mall St. Matthews is in good health at a time when many malls are in decline.
There are 130+ stores and services, counting an up-to-date food court with a Red Robin, Chick-Fil-A and international choices from kebabs to gyros to pizza and pan-Asian bites.
One of the anchors is a branch of the premium theater chain, Cinemark with comfy recliners and a bar for alcohol, which you don’t often find at cinemas.
For a quick run down of the many well-known chains at the mall you’ve got Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Forever 21, JCPenney, Kay Jewelers, Vans and Victoria’s Secret.
6. Robsion Park
Lyndon’s premier public park is named for United States Representative John M. Robsion, Jr. (1904-1990), who donated these 17 acres to the city in 1985.
Robsion Park can be a summer day out for families with younger children thanks to the fantastic age-appropriate playgrounds and the recently installed splash pad, open 9 am to 8 pm, May through September.
If you’re here just to unwind there’s a walking path, numerous picnic tables and a pavilion. In mid-June the park is the setting for the Lyndon Summer Festival, bringing two days of exhibitors, food, live entertainment and activities for all the family.
7. Locust Grove
One of several historic properties in easy reach is Locust Grove, dating back to 1790 and sitting on 55 acres.
The Georgian mansion here, a National Historic Landmark, now belongs to the Louisville Metro government and is suffused with captivating history.
Locust Grove was founded by William Croghan and his wife Lucy Clark Croghan, who was sister to the famed patriot and surveyor, George Rogers Clark (1752-1818).
In 1806, George’s younger brother William Clark and Meriwether Lewis stopped at Locust Grove on the return leg of their epoch-making expedition, while George himself lived here from 1809 to his death in 1818.
You can find out all about the property’s connection to some of the nation’s most important figures, and there’s also plenty of thought-provoking information about the enslaved people who lived and worked here.
At the visitor center you can browse museum exhibits shedding light on Louisville’s pioneer days and the Revolutionary Wars.
8. Farmington Historic Plantation
There’s a glimpse of antebellum Louisville at this property dating back to 1815. Now on 18 acres, the Federal-style brick house (1816) at Farmington was once the center of a much larger hemp plantation.
This 14-room residence was built by enslaved African Americans to a design by Thomas Jefferson. Among a distinguished roll call of visitors is Abraham Lincoln, who was a guest at Farmington for a week in 1841.
The house has been restored to its original color scheme and has period appropriate furnishings, while the notable architectural elements include an unusually steep “hidden” stairway, reeded doorways, carved mantels and fanlights between the front and rear halls.
As well as a garden with a 19th-century layout, there’s a series of outbuildings, such as a stone springhouse, carriage house and blacksmith shop.
Some 60 enslaved African Americans lived and worked on the property, and the tour does not shy away from this sad facet to Famington’s history.
9. Romara Place
In the southeast of Lyndon you can find a property that was once the home of the city’s founder, Alvin Wood (1831-1891).
The house at Romara Place has changed a lot since Wood’s day, and has a garage that is thought to be a converted carriage house.
The property, with adorable gardens, was purchased by Lyndon in 2002 and the house has been furnished with pieces donated by Wood’s descendants.
Romara Place is rented out for private events, but you can come to stroll around the wooded grounds on a ¼-mile trail that takes you past Beargrass Creek.
10. Champ’s Rollerdrome
The story of this roller skating rink in Lyndon can be traced back to a portable rink just out of Springfield, KY, founded in 1955 by Armand “Champ” Champa.
The company expanded to Greater Louisville in 1974, and several generations have now grown up with this rink.
Head to the website for details of public skate sessions, all soundtracked by upbeat music, with parties available Monday through Friday.
On Wednesdays there’s a “Cheap Skate” session, with discounts on admission and skate rentals, while there’s a special adult skate session from 10 pm to midnight on the first Saturday of the month.
11. Renaissance Fun Park
A few minutes east along Shelbyville Rd and you’ll be at this family entertainment center with a choice of attractions in one spot.
Most popular at Renaissance Fun Park is the go-kart track, safe for kids (56 inches and taller), but also fun for adults who will appreciate the twisting and technical track. Double-seater go-karts are available if your child is smaller than 56 inches.
Also here is one of the top laser tag arenas in the Louisville metro area, using the advanced LT-11 game system, while the other attractions include two 18-hole mini-golf courses, a virtual reality game and an arcade with more than 30 machines.
12. A.B. Sawyer Park
On the north side of the University of Louisville Shelby campus is a 50-acre park, mostly geared towards youth sports.
A.B. Sawyer Park has been home to the Lyndon Recreation Association for well over 50 years, and this organization runs popular summer and fall programs for a range of sports, including T-ball, baseball and football.
Some of the other facilities here are tennis courts, two playgrounds, footpaths, a picnic shelter and a concession stand. In the last decade the park has come through a $1.3m renovation program, with improved sports facilities, new landscaping and updated playground equipment.
13. Iceland Sports Complex
This indoor ice rink, open all year, is home ice for the University of Louisville Cards Ice Hockey program.
Opened in 2000, Iceland Sports Complex is Kentucky’s only dual ice arena, and is a hockey mecca, offering hockey programs for adults and youth players, as well as leagues and clinics.
There’s something for players of all abilities whether you’re starting out and want to play in an instructional league, or have some experience and want to find people of a similar skill level.
For families, Iceland Sports Complex also has regular public skate sessions and lessons, along with figure skating programs.
14. Whitehall House & Gardens
Source: Thomas Kelley / shutterstock
Another grand residence with a lot of history is Whitehall, about five miles to the west. This started out as a relatively modest Italianate house, constructed around 1855, and took on its opulent Greek Revival design after being acquired by the prominent horseman and entrepreneur John Middleton, and his wife Betty Summers Middleton.
The last resident was Hume Logan, Jr, son of an important industrialist, and he donated the house and its unique furnishings to the Historic Homes Foundation when he passed away in 1994 at the age of 92.
Whitehall House & Gardens is rented out as an events venue, but you come for a guided tour, at 11 am and 1 pm, Monday through Friday.
The grounds are free to the public, apart from during private events, and feature an arboretum, wood fern garden, sun garden and formal florentine garden.
15. A Taste of Kentucky
If you’re on the hunt for Kentucky-specific specialties, look no further than this store a few minutes east along Shelbyville Rd, at Middletown’s Village Square.
As you can imagine, bourbon-oriented items are prominent at A Taste of Kentucky, and these might be authentic barrel heads, barrel-aged maple syrup, bourbon-infused sauces, tasting glasses, bourbon candles, bourbon vanilla extract, bourbon smoked nuts, cocktail mixers, the list goes on.
The Kentucky Derby is also well represented, with everything from vintage posters to official mint julep glasses.
One treat with deep roots in Louisville is the modjeska, a marshmallow dipped in caramel, created in the 1880s by a local confectioner in honor of the feted Polish actress Helena Modjeska (1840-1909).