Panoramic view of Louisville at sunset, Kentucky

Things to do in  Kentucky

Baseball, bluegrass, and bourbon

In Kentucky, only two cities have more than 100,000 people: Louisville and Lexington. As for the rest, it’s all horse, farm, and bourbon country. Part of the American South by reputation more than geography, the state is famously home to the Kentucky Derby, an annual thoroughbred horse race held in May in Louisville. When horse racing isn’t on the schedule, travelers keep busy road-tripping to distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, or visiting dozens of protected outdoor spaces, none more unusual than Mammoth Cave National Park, home to one of the longest-known cave systems in the world.

Top 5 attractions in Kentucky

Frazier History Museum

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The Frazier History Museum offers a wide variety of exhibits about Kentucky’s history. See historic artifacts, get an in-depth look at the invention and distillation of Kentucky bourbon, and enjoy gallery talks. The three floors of exhibition space hold a variety of events ranging from whiskey tastings to performances by costumed actors.More

National Corvette Museum

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Make a pit stop at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to take in more than six decades of Corvette history. You’ll find over 80 of the classic American cars—rare and concept cars, classic models, and prototypes organized by time period—as well as historic photographs and memorabilia.More
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Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

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Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate is the former residence of the famed US politician, who served as a speaker of the House and a secretary of state. A National Historic Landmark, the 17-acre (7-hectare) estate has been meticulously restored, and comprises an 18-room Federate-style mansion, six outbuildings, and expansive gardens and grounds.More

National Quilt Museum

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Quilting has a long history, especially in America, and the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, is dedicated solely to the art and history of this craft. With more than 650 contemporary quilts on display in permanent and temporary exhibits, the museum is considered to have one of the world’s finest quilt collections, and attracts art enthusiasts and quilters from around the globe.More

Historic RailPark and Train Museum

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Kentucky’s long-standing transportation hub, the L&N Depot, once had more than 20 trains departing the site daily. The depot and Historic RailPark and Train Museum are now home to an extensive collection of vintage railcars, transportation exhibits, and interactive displays. Take the whole family for a day of educational entertainment.More

Top activities in Kentucky

Old Louisville Walking Tour Recommended by The New York Times! @ 4th and Ormsby
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Old Louisville Walking Tour Recommended by The New York Times! @ 4th and Ormsby
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
The Old Taylor Tour

The Old Taylor Tour

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$82.00
National Corvette Museum

National Corvette Museum

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$25.00
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All about Kentucky

When to visit

The Kentucky Derby, preceded by the weeks-long Kentucky Derby Festival, is held annually during the first Saturday in May—which coincides with the beginning of spring, a lovely time to visit. Although summers are warm, Kentucky has temperate weather nearly year-round. Generally, the best times to visit are spring, when the renowned bluegrass fields come to life, and fall, when the forests turn yellow, orange, and red in roughly mid-October.

Getting around

Counties and large cities have public buses that can get you around—TARC in Louisville and Lextran in Lexington, but a car is usually more convenient. The same applies to the whole state, which has routes great for spring and summer road trips. If you can’t rent a car, Amtrak runs long-distance trains through Louisville, and Greyhound buses service much of the state. Flying between larger cities is another option.

Traveler tips

Everyone heads for the Bourbon Trail, but outdoor lovers and teetotallers have many state and national parks to visit. It would be remiss to travel through Kentucky and miss Mammoth Cave National Park and others, including Cumberland Falls State Park alongside the Cumberland River, the Daniel Boone National Forest with its mountain bike trails, and Natural Bridges State Resort Park, which has a sky lift to the namesake bridge.

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US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CDT (UTC -6)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
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Tours
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People Also Ask

What is the number one attraction in Kentucky?

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where visitors can stroll through the factory making renowned Louisville Slugger baseball bats, is among the top attractions in Kentucky. The Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto, south of Louisville; Churchill Downs; the Kentucky Derby Museum; and Mammoth Cave National Park round out the list.

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What is the most scenic part of Kentucky?

Much of Kentucky is scenic rolling hills and countryside dotted with horse farms and bourbon distilleries. The Bluegrass Region comprising the central and northern part of the state circling Lexington is especially scenic. The Appalachian Mountains region, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Daniel Boone National Forest are also known for their scenic beauty.

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What is Louisville known for?

Louisville is known for hosting the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and being the home of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where visitors can stroll through the factory making the legendary baseball bats. The city is also home to some of the world’s most famous bourbon distilleries.

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Is downtown Louisville walkable?

Yes, downtown Louisville is walkable. Exploring the rest of the city requires a car, but downtown, especially historic Old Town, with its Victorian houses, restaurants, and museums, is ideal for exploring on foot. The Louisville Slugger Museum, Old Louisville, and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens are within walking distance of each other.

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Is Lexington or Louisville better to visit?

Lexington is half the size of Louisville but closer to natural beauty, such as the Daniel Boone National Forest. Louisville is an urban center with top attractions like the Louisville Slugger Museum and world-class bourbon distilleries. The two are roughly 80 miles (130 kilometers) apart and easy to visit in tandem.

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What is the prettiest town in Kentucky?

Bardstown, in the heart of the Bluegrass region, is said to have the largest concentration of distilleries in the state and was once voted the most beautiful small town in America. Just south of Lexington, Berea, with its arts and crafts festivals and historic buildings, is a close second.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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