What To Do & See in Kentucky
Welcome to the official UK tourism site for the State of Kentucky. We have all the info you need to plan a holiday in the Bluegrass State: from attractions and festivals to fly-drive ideas, and much much more. For a quick overview, check out our Kentucky Top 10.
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.
What is Kentucky famous for?
You will find the Horse Capital of the World, and so much more, in Lexington.
Makers of 95% of the world’s Bourbon.
Longest cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park.
The birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and Bill Monroe - the Father of Bluegrass Music.
Kentucky also hosts large music festivals like ROMP and Forecastle, and food festivals including the International BBQ Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown and the World Chicken Festival in London.
Kentucky’s outdoor adventures are spectacular from large lakes for boating and fishing to 12,000 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
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.
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.
Both Berea and Paducah are known for their arts districts and you can visit with artisans in their studios.
The Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville showcase works by some of Kentucky’s top artisans.
The National Quilt Museum in Paducah and Owensboro’s Museum of Fine Art are two of Kentucky's 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 in Owensboro, Master Musicians Festival in Somerset and Abbey on the River and Forecastle Festival in Louisville.
With an 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.
Travel on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, based in Bardstown and Lexington, to enjoy a gourmet meal in a fine dining atmosphere - with a great view too!
Western Kentucky BBQ, most often made with chicken, pork or mutton, is barbequed 'pit' style as it's slow roasted over wood coals that give the meat a perfect smoky flavour and tenderises it.
Kentucky is seeing a rise in craft beers, with microbreweries around the state and new ones popping up all the time.
Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail lists places from historic hotel properties that once served Kentucky whiskey to the likes of Al Capone, to cosmopolitan scenes where urban trend setters are still making the retro drinks.
Farm to table dining is popular in Kentucky, simply meaning the food you're eating came from a local farm.
Please do get in touch with us if you need any advice or have any questions - our Kentucky State experts will be happy to help!