24 Top Things to Do in Kentucky

Kentucky is a state known for its horse racing, bourbon, and bluegrass music. But that’s not all there is to it! The state also has a rich history and culture that’s worth exploring. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a fun getaway with family or friends, Kentucky has something for everyone.

In this blog post, we’ve put together a list of the top 24 things to do in Kentucky. From visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe Museum to touring a modern castle, there’s no shortage of exciting activities to indulge in. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure-packed trip to the Bluegrass State!

1. The Galt House Hotel

The Galt House Hotel

The historic Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville offers luxurious amenities, stunning views of the Ohio River, and top-notch service. Boasting 1,300 guest rooms, multiple on-site restaurants, and various event spaces, the hotel ensures a comfortable and memorable stay.

Guests can also enjoy the rooftop fitness center and indoor/outdoor pools. Conveniently located near popular attractions like Churchill Downs and the Muhammad Ali Center, the Galt House Hotel provides an ideal starting point for exploring the vibrant city.

2. Tour a modern castle

Tour a modern castle

Explore the stunning Kentucky Castle, a modern stone fortress with luxurious amenities. Witness the art of horse training at world-famous horse farms. Immerse yourself in the vastness of Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s longest cave system.

Experience the exhilarating atmosphere at Churchill Downs, renowned for the Kentucky Derby. Indulge in a bourbon distillery tour to savor Kentucky’s finest spirits. Visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville to delve into the life and legacy of the iconic boxer.

3. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum

Explore the Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum, and uncover Kentucky’s role in the Underground Railroad. Engage with exhibits and artifacts depicting the story of slavery and freedom in the state.

Gain insights into the life and impact of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, renowned for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Opt for a guided tour to deepen your understanding of the museum and its significance in Kentucky’s history. The museum, situated in Maysville, Kentucky, welcomes visitors keen to delve into this pivotal aspect of Kentucky’s past.

4. Take five at the Big Four Bridge

Take five at the Big Four Bridge

Take a breather at the Big Four Bridge and soak in the stunning views of the Ohio River. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the bluegrass state, of Kentucky. Amidst your exploration, be sure to experience the natural wonders of Cumberland Falls, Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

The heart of the Bluegrass Region beckons with the Maker’s Mark and Buffalo Trace distilleries, offering the best things in Kentucky. Engage with the horses and jockeys at Keeneland, or marvel at the marine life at the Newport Aquarium.

5. Harland Sanders Café and Museum

Harland Sanders Café and Museum

At the Harland Sanders Café and Museum in Corbin, explore the origin of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park for equestrian history and Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s longest cave system. Experience the Bourbon Trail’s distilleries, the Muhammad Ali Center, and the Kentucky Derby.

6. Historic RailPark and Train Museum

Historic RailPark and Train Museum

Step back in time at the Historic RailPark and Train Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Delve into the rich history of rail transportation in the region while marveling at the meticulously restored railcars.

Engage in a guided tour and immerse yourself in the captivating exhibits that showcase the significance of railroads during the Civil War and their profound impact on American society. Don’t miss the chance to ride a vintage railcar or partake in the museum’s special events.

7. Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

Explore Kentucky’s rich history at the Kentucky Historical Society. Witness the art of crafting baseball bats at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and marvel at the stunning views along the trails of the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

Take a scenic drive through Mammoth Cave National Park and tour the Maker’s Mark Distillery to learn about the bourbon-making process. Lastly, admire the architectural beauty of the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the childhood home of the former first lady.

8. Creation Museum

Creation Museum

Step into the captivating world of the Creation Museum. Uncover the ancient story of the Garden of Eden and the legendary tale of Adam and Eve. Explore compelling scientific evidence supporting creationism and stroll through the enchanting replica of the Garden of Eden. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Allosaurus exhibit! Experience the museum’s vibrant events held throughout the year, immersing yourself in the heart of the Bluegrass region.

9. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

At one of Kentucky’s top attractions, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory offers visitors a tour of its historic facility, providing insights into the making of the renowned Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

Interactive exhibits and displays delve into the history of baseball and the significance of the Louisville Slugger bat, showcasing unique bats used by famous players. Additionally, the museum offers personalized bats and other souvenirs, making it a must-visit for baseball enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

10. Channel history on an Old Louisville Ghost Tour

Channel history on an Old Louisville Ghost Tour

Embark on an Old Louisville Ghost Tour to explore the historic architecture and spooky tales of the area. The tour leads you through neighborhoods and landmarks, sharing chilling stories of ghostly apparitions and haunted houses.

Knowledgeable and entertaining guides make the experience unique, offering insights into the city’s history and culture. Suitable for all ages, it may not be recommended for young children or the easily frightened.

11. Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is renowned for hosting the prestigious Kentucky Derby, one of the most esteemed horse races globally. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the grounds, discover the track and derby’s history, and enjoy tours.

Besides the Derby, Churchill Downs stages other horse races throughout the year. The venue also boasts a museum, gift shop, dining options, and special events, offering an immersive experience for horse racing enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

12. National Corvette Museum

National Corvette Museum

Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the National Corvette Museum showcases the captivating history of the iconic American sports car, the Corvette. With over 70 Corvettes on display, including some of the rarest models, visitors can explore the legacy of this beloved vehicle.

The museum offers interactive exhibits, such as a Corvette driving simulator, guided tours, and special events, including Corvette car shows. Additionally, visitors can purchase Corvette merchandise at the gift shop, making it a must-visit destination for car enthusiasts.

13. Vent Haven Museum

Vent Haven Museum

Step right up to the Vent Haven Museum, boasting one of the largest arrays of ventriloquist dummies globally. Explore the historical significance of ventriloquism as you wander through the museum and take part in specialized workshops and seminars tailored for budding ventriloquists.

Behold an extensive collection of dummies once owned by renowned ventriloquists like Edgar Bergen and Jeff Dunham. Located in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, this captivating museum welcomes visitors from May to September, offering a truly unique experience in the world of performing arts.

14. National Quilt Museum Admission Pass

National Quilt Museum Admission Pass

With over 600 quilts on display, the National Quilt Museum stands as the world’s largest museum of its kind. Visitors can immerse themselves in the stunning collection of contemporary and traditional quilt art, showcasing the finest quilt and fiber art.

For art and textile enthusiasts, this museum is a treasure trove. Educational programs, workshops, and lectures are offered for those keen on learning about the art of quilting. Additionally, the museum gift shop features unique quilt-related items, perfect for souvenir shopping.

15. Louisville Food and History Walking Tour of NuLu

Louisville Food and History Walking Tour of NuLu

Visit the renowned Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, take a fascinating bourbon tour of the state’s distilleries, and explore the natural wonders of Mammoth Cave National Park. Gain insights into the rich history of coal mining at the Portal 31 Exhibition Mine and visit the iconic Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Lastly, embark on a scenic drive along the famous Bourbon Trail, exploring the heart of the Bluegrass region while experiencing the best things Kentucky has to offer.

16. Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby Museum

Celebrate the tradition, history, and pride of the world-renowned horse racing event at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Explore interactive exhibits, historic walking tours, and a 360-degree media experience showcasing the excitement of the Kentucky Derby.

Immerse yourself in the museum’s exclusive collection of Derby memorabilia and artifacts, and enjoy hands-on activities for all ages. It’s an engaging and immersive experience not to be missed while in Kentucky.

17. Floodwall Murals

Floodwall Murals

Capture the essence of Paducah, Kentucky through the Floodwall Murals, depicting its rich history, culture, and natural beauty. Take a self-guided walking tour along the flood wall to witness vibrant and detailed artistic expressions that offer a glimpse into the local community’s heritage and stories.

This unique outdoor art experience is perfect for photography enthusiasts and art lovers, providing a fascinating exploration of the region’s identity.

18. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the largest historic community in the U.S., offers diverse activities like historic house tours, riverboat rides, and farm experiences. Visitors can savor Shaker-inspired dining at the Trustees’ Table Restaurant and opt for overnight accommodations. It’s a perfect getaway for history enthusiasts seeking tranquility amidst scenic trails.

19. National Quilt Museum (Paducah)

National Quilt Museum (Paducah)

Explore the world-class National Quilt Museum in Paducah. Immerse yourself in the artistry and craftsmanship of quilts from various eras. While in Paducah, don’t miss the breathtaking Cumberland Falls, known for its stunning natural beauty and famous “moonbow” phenomenon. Additionally, venture into the Daniel Boone National Forest for picturesque hiking trails and the mesmerizing natural bridge.

Experience the heart of the bluegrass region and visit Maker’s Mark distillery for a taste of Kentucky’s finest bourbon. Paducah offers a blend of arts, culture, and natural wonders for an enriching experience.

20. Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse Park

Experience the wonders of the Bluegrass state at the Kentucky Horse Park, a captivating blend of a working horse farm and an educational theme park. Discover diverse horse breeds, enjoy live horse shows, and explore engaging museums, exhibits, and memorials dedicated to horses and racing.

Immerse yourself in the world of equestrianism through guided tours, horseback riding, and interactive activities. Don’t miss the exciting events held throughout the year, including horse shows, competitions, and vibrant festivals. Embrace the spirit of Kentucky and its rich equine heritage at this remarkable destination.

21. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Nestled between Kentucky and Tennessee, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area boasts an array of outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, biking, and horseback riding while enjoying the diverse plant and animal species that call this area home. The recreation area also offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages, making it a popular destination for camping and water sports enthusiasts.

22. Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter

Explore the incredible Ark Encounter, a true-to-scale replica of Noah’s Ark. Engage with three captivating decks showcasing world-class exhibits and interactive displays, bringing to life the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark. Immerse yourself in this educational journey and visit the Ararat Ridge Zoo, zip lines, and live entertainment. Don’t miss the unique items at the gift shop, offering educational resources related to the Ark and biblical history.

23. Dinosaur World

Dinosaur World

Explore a prehistoric world at Dinosaur World, which boasts 150+ life-sized dinosaur sculptures in an outdoor museum setting. The park offers interactive exhibits and fossil dig activities for kids, along with a dinosaur-themed playground and picnic areas.

Visitors can delve into the educational experience and also browse through a variety of dinosaur-related merchandise at the gift shop. Get ready to embark on a journey to the past amidst fascinating dinosaur sculptures and engaging activities.

24. Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Explore the exquisitely preserved historic residence of Mary Todd Lincoln at the Mary Todd Lincoln House. Guided tours are available, offering an insightful glimpse into the life and legacy of the former first lady. Visitors can view original artifacts and family heirlooms, as this museum is a National Historic Landmark, providing a unique opportunity to delve into American history.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see attractions in Kentucky?

Explore the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a must-visit for whiskey enthusiasts. Don’t miss Churchill Downs, home of the legendary Kentucky Derby. Discover the wonders of Mammoth Cave National Park with guided cave tours and scenic hiking trails. Immerse yourself in baseball history at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

Are there any outdoor activities to do in Kentucky?

Things to Do in Kentucky, Kentucky offers a range of outdoor activities to enjoy. From hiking and camping in Mammoth Cave National Park to rock climbing and backpacking in the Red River Gorge Geological Area, there are options for every adventurer. Additionally, the Kentucky Horse Park provides opportunities for horseback riding tours and shows.

Where are some of the best places to eat in Kentucky?

Things to Do in Kentucky, Kentucky offers a delectable array of Southern cuisine. Indulge in hot browns, burgoo, and bourbon balls. Try The Brown Hotel, Ramsey’s Diner, or The Village Idiot for a memorable dining experience. For classic Kentucky barbecue, head to Mark’s Feed Store or Old Hickory Bar-B-Q. Don’t miss the fried chicken at Joella’s Hot Chicken or Claudia Sanders Dinner House.

Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known attractions worth visiting in Kentucky?

Things to Do in Kentucky, Kentucky is full of hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that are worth visiting. Some examples include the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, the National Corvette Museum, and Mammoth Cave National Park. You can also explore the Red River Gorge Geological Area and the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park for a unique and memorable experience in Kentucky.

Conclusion

To conclude, Things to Do in Kentucky, Kentucky offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in history, museums, outdoor adventures, or delicious food, there is something for everyone in the Bluegrass State. From iconic landmarks like Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory to hidden gems like the Floodwall Murals and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Kentucky has it all.

So plan your trip, explore the beauty of Kentucky, and make unforgettable memories. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience this incredible state firsthand. Start planning your visit today and discover why Kentucky is a must-visit destination for travelers of all types.

 

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