As the United States' 16th largest city, the nation's 30th most populous city, and Kentucky's largest city, Louisville is one of only two cities in the state designated as first-class. Founded in 1778 and named after France's King Louis XVI, that also makes Louisville one of the oldest cities located west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Just some of the outstanding designations that the city has received include the "Most Livable City in America", Lonely Planet's number one U.S. Destination Spot for 2013, one of the top 10 safest cities in America, one of Zagat magazine's top foodie destinations in the world, and others.
The Louisville City School District includes about 3,000 students, and has four buildings which have been newly constructed or remodeled since 2004. These schools have been rated by the Ohio Department of Education as "Excellent" for the past five years. Individual schools have earned many recognitions including the U.S. News & World Report's "Top High Schools in America" Silver Award and the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award.
Even though there is plenty to enjoy in Louisville all year round with many annual cultural events, the biggest happening in town is the Kentucky Derby horse race, "the biggest party in the south." which has turned into a major city-wide festival held annually during the first Saturday of May. It is preceded by the Kentucky Derby Festival which is two weeks long . There are approximately half a million people enjoying 70 festivities including the 27th year of the Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks display in North America. The secret has been to pack as much firepower and music into 28 minutes as at all possible.
Summer in Louisville also features cultural events like the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in July of every year with free Shakespeare plays in Central Park in Old Louisville. Also in July, the Forecastle Festival in Waterfront Park celebrates the best in art, music, and environmental activism.