The Top Ten Things You Have to Do When You’re in Kentucky
October 19th, 2024 is National Kentucky Day and we're celebrating the Top 10 Things to Do in the Commonwealth. I last put together this list back in 2019 shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was curious to see if the rankings had changed at all since then. And, while some of Kentucky's iconic destinations remain undisputed, there were some shifts inside the Top 10 and some new additions.
So, here they are- The Top 10 Things To Do in Kentucky according to TripAdvisor with an honorable mention thrown in for fun!
HONORABLE MENTION- THE NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM (Bowling Green)
#10- CHURCHILL DOWNS
What can you say about it? It's place in the history of sports is legendary. Churchill Downs, the home of the annual Kentucky Derby- the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports- ranks as the tenth most popular tourist destination in the state.
#9- BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY
A new addition to the Top 10, Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort lays claim as "the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States." Among its brands, the highly sought after Pappy Van Winkle.
#8- ARK ENCOUNTER (Williamstown)
Yep! Kentucky is home to a life-sized ark and it's become a popular tourist attraction.
#7- MAMMOTH CAVE
THE longest cave in the world rests near Brownsville, Kentucky and still boasts amazing discoveries. In recent weeks, scientists discovered an ancient variety of shark here. It's truly a world of wonder.
#6- KENTUCKY DERBY MUSEUM
Sure, Churchill Downs made the list but the real taste of the Kentucky Derby is found here- where you can relive some of the most exciting horse races ever contested and some of the most legendary winners of the Run for the Roses.
#5- LOST RIVER CAVE
Bowling Green's home to TripAdvisor's honorable mention in the #11 spot and it's also home to Kentucky's 5th most popular tourist destination. If you've ever wanted to go boating underground, here's your chance!
While Churchill Downs hosts the world's most famous horse race, Keeneland is arguably the most popular race track. Situated in the heart of Lexington's thoroughbred country, the track offers up exciting horse racing action and happens to be where the movies Seabiscuit and Secretariat were filmed. It's beautiful.
#3- THE LOUISVILLE SLUGGER MUSEUM
I grew up playing baseball in western Kentucky and, like most athletes my age, I was obsessed with the brand Louisville Slugger. That obsession has carried over into adulthood and I have visited the museum and have the cheesy pic to prove it!
The Louisville Slugger Museum in downtown Louisville is a must stop attraction for any baseball fan.
#2- MAKER'S MARK
Kentucky, home to the world-famous Bourbon Trail, is full of distilleries. It's hard to imagine that any is more famous and popular than Maker's Mark in Loretto. It may be Kentucky's most well-known, admired and respected brand of bourbon. I've taken the tour. It's informative, fun and tasty!
#1 LOUISVILLE'S MEGA CAVERN
When I wrote this story back in 2019, Louisville's Mega Cavern had a firm grip on the #1 spot in TripAdvisor's list of The Top Ten Things to Do in Kentucky. The attraction hasn't budged. The former limestone mine, which runs under parts of the Waterson Expressway and Louisville Zoo, is home to ziplines, a ropes course and more!
Plus, at Christmas time, Mega Cavern is home to one of the coolest holiday lights displays you'll ever experience.