Welcome to Kentucky
Welcome to the official UK tourism site for the State of Kentucky. Here you will find all the information you need to plan a holiday in the Bluegrass State from attractions and festivals to fly-drive ideas and much more.
It could be argued that Daniel Boone was the first to appreciate the tourism potential of the Bluegrass State. When he crossed Cumberland Gap from Virginia into Kentucky in 1767, he was impressed by what he saw – towering peaks of the Appalachians, vast stands of virgin forest, shimmering lakes and waterways plus a wealth of resources. Boone knew that where he went, others would follow.
Come Experience what we are famous for
In Kentucky you will find the Horse Capital of the World (Lexington), makers of 95% of the world’s Bourbon, longest cave system in the world (Mammoth Cave), the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and Bill Monroe (Father of Bluegrass Music). Kentucky also host large music festivals like ROMP and Forecastle, and food festivals including the International BBQ Festival (Owensboro), Kentucky Bourbon Festival (Bardstown) and World Chicken Festival (London). World renowned chefs and artists practice and play their trade here and Kentucky’s outdoor adventures are spectacular from large lakes for boating and fishing to 12,000 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians. Here are some suggestions on places to experience what Kentucky is famous for…
The Horse Capital of the World
Get up close and personal with over forty breeds of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Visit retired champions at Georgetown’s Old Friends Farm for Retired Thoroughbreds.
Take in the Track Kitchen and watch the morning workouts at the Keeneland Race Track in Lexington.
Explore the history and pageantry of the greatest two minutes in sports at the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs, Louisville.
If you like to mount up and take a ride, stables can be found in communities throughout the state.
Many horse farms allow tours but call ahead to make arrangements. Thoroughbred farms are clustered in the Bluegrass Region in and around Lexington, while farms breeding and training American Saddlebreds, the stars of the show ring, are mostly located in Shelby County.
Top events include race meets at all of Kentucky’s five thoroughbred tracks, the Lexington Junior League Horse Show, Shelbyville Horse Show and the World Championship Horse Show held annually at the Kentucky State Fair.
The Bourbon Experience
Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® or visit stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Craft Tour.
Explore another bourbon story with a visit to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously producing distillery located on the banks of the Kentucky River in Frankfort.
Book a tour of Kentucky Cooperage, Lebanon, where new charred oak barrels are crafted for bourbon production.
Take in the nightlife along the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville.
Visit in September to be part of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown.
Discover Arts and Music
Both Berea and Paducah are known for their arts districts and you can visit with artisans in their studios.
The Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea, and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, showcase works by some of Kentucky’s top artisans.
The National Quilt Museum, Paducah, and Owensboro’s Museum of Fine Art are two of our top art museums, but smaller museums can also be found throughout the state.
Renfro Valley Entertainment Center presents live music shows, including country music superstars, from April-December. Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour tapes before a live audience in Lexington and many towns feature musical jam sessions on a regular basis.
Kentucky also plays host to major music festivals including:
ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival, Owensboro
Master Musicians Festival, Somerset
Abbey on the River and Forecastle Festival, Louisville
Explore the great Outdoors
With our accessible location, diverse landscapes, rolling streams, large lakes and many national and state parks, Kentucky offers abundant opportunities for the outdoor adventure of your choice.
Kentucky Trail Towns, located along or near major trail systems, are a great place to begin your adventure.
Sample Food and Drink
Great food from small diners (Wagner’s Pharmacy, Louisville) to western Kentucky style BBQ (Brothers BBQ, Madisonville) to fine dining (Blue Raven, Pikeville) can be found in small towns and urban centres throughout Kentucky. Wineries also dot the landscape. Did you know that the first U.S. commercial vineyard and winery was in Kentucky? First Vineyard and Winery, Nicholasville, has been restored and is open for tours. Check out Kentucky’s vibrant culinary scene at KentuckyCuisine.com
The attractions and events listed here are only the beginning. Visit KentuckyTourism.com to plan an unforgettable getaway to experience Kentucky.