Kentucky is a beautiful and exciting state with plenty of unique attractions for entertainment. Some things are popular due to their renowned, others are lower key. It doesn’t matter if you live in the north, south, east or west, there is something interesting nearby. It might be a lush forest, a national landmark or a restaurant with incredible food, but the Bluegrass State comes with a bounty of benefits.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
20. Watch Thunder Over Louisville.
This is the world’s biggest firework display and it happens to kick off the Kentucky Derby Festival.
19. Attend the Kentucky Derby.
The Run for the Roses is a must experience at least once if you come to Kentucky. It is the most exciting two minutes in sports.
18. Sip a mint julep.
It is the drink of the Kentucky Derby. I personally don’t care for them, but I did at least take a sip once. (Mimosa’s are more my preference.)
17. Watch a basketball game.
If you can get tickets to visit one of the local arenas during a Kentucky, Louisville, WKU or EKU ball game, you will be amazed by the spirit of the fans. Sports fans here are truly passionate about their teams.
16. Visit the Corvette Museum.
. If you happen to be passing near Bowling Green, stop by 350 Corvette Drive and check out the museum. Every corvette being driven is made in Bowling Green, and most corvettes ever made are housed in the museum. If you are a car fan, this is a must stop and see. If not, its still kind of cool.
15. Visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.
Located at 800 W. Main in Louisville, this museum can take you out to the ballgame via memorabilia and photographs. Visitors also get to tour the factory and see how ball bats are made.
14. Watch for a moonbow at Cumberland Falls.
Cumberland Falls is one of the few places in the world that has proper atmospheric conditions for the amazing moonbow. They are truly a beautiful sight to behold and can create a perfect memory of natural beauty.
13. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park or farms.
The many amazing thoroughbred or saddlebred farms in or around the Lexington and Shelbyville area are a true adventure to visit. You cannot come to horse country and not see the horses in one setting or another. At the horse park and some of the local farms you can ride a horse yourself, watch them run free or during training. The entire area is beautiful and filled with the spirit of Kentucky.
12. Visit the Cumberland Gap Historic Park.
Bask in the beauty of nature and a lot of Kentucky history at this gorgeous preserved area on US 25E South in Middlesboro. You can see the old Hensley Settlement near the Cumberland Caves. It is a nice place to visit and ponder the previous occupants in a nature rich setting.
11. Try Kentucky Bourbon.
You should really try Kentucky Bourbon when in the Bluegrass State. Bourbon snobs say it is different than any other bourbon you might experience.
10. Tour Mammoth Cave.
This is Kentucky’s addition to the Seven Wonders of the World and well worth the visit to 1 Mammoth Cave Parkway in Mammoth Cave. This underground wonder is the worlds longest cave system offering a unique collection of seemingly new worlds beneath the ground. Cool, clear waters, unique creatures and sparkling cave formations, preserved from the taint of civilization.
9. Eat some Derby Pie.
This is the official pie of the Kentucky Derby. It is basically a Pecan Pie but add dark chocolate to create an entirely unique flavor. Served warm with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla bean or butter pecan ice cream and this is just to die for.
8. Take the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Take a stroll through Kentucky’s bourbon history in historic Bardstown or one of the other tours. You will visit distilleries, sample bourbon and see some of our longest standing aging operations. It may not sound exciting, but it is interesting, especially if you like bourbon.
7. Try out Thoroughbred Pie.
This is an alternate to the Derby Pie where Walnuts are used instead of Pecans and a little bourbon is tossed into the mix. It provides a real melt in the mouth experience.
6. Take a riverboat ride.
The port towns were once the trade centers of Kentucky, as river trade was profitable. River life was busy and booming. There are several places you can catch a riverboat ride on the Ohio River, including BB Riverboats in Newport and Belle of Louisville in Louisville.
5. Take a hike up Black Mountain.
This beautiful mountain has the highest point in Kentucky at 4,145’, and offers a breathtaking view. There is not much else that needs to be said, as the surroundings say it all.
4. Spend the night in a castle.
Visit Castlepost, a medieval castle B&B at 230 Pisgah Pike in Versailles. The outside looks to be a castle fit for a fairytale prince of princess. Inside, visitors experience the best of everything, from food to amenities and accommodations.
3. Indulge in some Kentucky Hot Brown.
This is a delicious open face sandwich initially started at the Brown Hotel in the early 1900s. It has toast covered in turkey with bacon, tomatoes and a creamy cheese sauce and literally melts in the mouth when prepared correctly. The one shown is available at Ramsey’s on Bardstown Road in the Highlands.
2. Check out the flood wall murals of Paducah.
Take a walk or a drive down Washington Street, Jefferson Street and Water Street in Paducah and you will see some amazing artwork. Local artists painted the floodwalls in Paducah with vividly colored, life like settings and scenarios. From riverboats to men at work, Kentucky Derby and trains, the flow of the artists knew no bounds. They turned chunks of concrete into astounding works of art free for public viewing.
1. Visit the Red River Gorge.
The Gorge is one of the most beautiful areas in Kentucky. It is a lush part of the Daniel Boone Forest with unique natural rock bridges, and rivers perfect for rafting or canoeing. It is a favorite spot among the native residents.
There is an abundance of entertaining things to do all across the state, depending on your view of exciting. You don’t have to like horse racing and bourbon if you come for a visit, as we are not limited to that stereotype. Our land is our legacy, as its beauty is near unmatched. These things all give a glimpse into one aspect of our state, or another. What do you think should be added to this Kentucky bucket list?