24 Best Bucket List Items in Kentucky

History, scenery, culture, and cuisine—add these items to your Kentucky bucket list and you’ll have no regrets.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on May 23, 2022
Incredible natural wonders, tasty southern cooking, soulful music, and heart-pounding races all have a home in
—here’s the best of the best to add to your bucket list.
What’s on your bucket list? Is it something challenging, like climbing a gorge? Is it something unforgettable, like fireworks over the river? Or is it something inexplicable that tugs at your heartstrings, like enjoying a passionate, home-cooked meal
Believe it or not, you can experience all these things right here in Kentucky, and
the insurance
super app
can show you how. Read on for our top picks in every category, which add up to a bucket list you’ll be proud of!
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds
rating primary
4.7/5 App Store Rating. Trusted by 2+ Million Customers.

The top natural wonders in Kentucky

1. Explore Mammoth Cave

When: Tour times vary;
check the schedule
Why: At 400 miles, the world's longest recorded cave system takes you past swooping abysses, glittering mineral formations, and echoing chambers. Return to the surface and you can hike, bike, picnic, camp, and more.
How much? Admission to the park is free; fees vary by
cave tour

2. Ride the skylift to Natural Bridge

When: From the first weekend of April to the last weekend in October
Why: You won’t want to miss the gorgeous views and awe-inspiring rock formations. Ride the skylift all the way to the park’s namesake natural stone bridge and soak it all in.
How much? One way tickets start at $11, with discounts for children, seniors, and military members

3. See a moonbow at Cumberland Falls

When: Throughout the year on nights of the full moon
Why: On clear nights with a full moon, "the Niagara of the South" produces a stunning phenomenon—a colorful, shining moonbow hanging in the mist of the majestic falls. If that isn't magical, we don't know what is.
How much? Free

4. Climb the Red River Gorge

When: March to April and October to November
Why: One of the
top rock-climbing destinations in the world
, Red River Gorge thrills those who seek a physical challenge, superb views, and the satisfaction of conquering a National Natural Landmark.
How much? Free, but make sure to budget for guides and equipment

The most interesting tours in Kentucky

5. Take a sip on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Where: Central Kentucky
When: Year-round; set aside four days to complete the tour
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail
pays homage to America’s only native spirit. Visit the historic distilleries that help to create 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon, some of which have been in the business for over two centuries. 
How much? Free but individual distillery fees vary; pick up an official
Bourbon Trail Passport & Field Guide
for $14.95

6. Get spooked on the Old Louisville Ghost Tour

Where: Historic Louisville, KY
When: Seven days a week, from March to November
Why: Some of the Victorian mansions in “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood” date back to the 1800s; all of them have housed key figures in the state's biggest industries: tobacco, racing, and bourbon. The 40-square block historic district is covered by
Louisville Historic Tours
How much? $25

7. Pat a horse at a Thoroughbred Horse Farm

Where: Lexington, KY
When: Year-round (rates and dates change with the seasons); set aside three hours for completion
Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours
allow you to get up close and personal with the champions of the racetrack. Unlike other athletes, they'll also allow you to pat their noses and feed them carrots.
How much? $40 for adults, $39 for seniors, and $29 for children

8. Indulge your sweet tooth with Rebecca Ruth Chocolates

Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum
, Frankfurt, KY
When: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM; set aside 30 minutes for the tour
Why: The inventors of Bourbon Balls made sweet, sweet history when they decided to create one of the first women-led business ventures in 1919.
How much? $6 for adults, $4 for children

The best food in Kentucky

9. Take a bite of Hot Brown

The English Grill
J. Graham’s Cafe
at the
Brown Hotel
, Louisville, KY
When: The English Grill is currently closed; the Cafe is open Tuesday to Friday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM, with brunch on Saturday and Sunday
Why: A landmark hotel in its own right, its namesake dish is an open-faced turkey sandwich served with bacon and cheesy Mornay sauce. Not quite dinner and not quite breakfast, it was invented for patrons who danced the night away.
How much? $26 for the Original Hot Brown

10. Cut a slice of Derby-Pie

Kern’s Kitchen
, Louisville, KY
When: 24/7 online shopping
Why: You might find this chocolate-walnut pie on menus throughout the state, but there's only one place to get a slice made with the original, trademarked, secret recipe.
How much? $30 for the Original Chocolate Nut Derby-Pie®

11. Lick your fingers at the Claudia Sanders Dinner House

Claudia Sanders Dinner House
, Shelbyville, KY
When: Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM; Friday to Saturday from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Why: Colonel Sanders might have founded a Kentucky-fried empire, but he was a chef first. Located in
the original KFC headquarters
, here's your chance to sample classic country cooking and southern hospitality.
How much? $10.99 for two pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, bread, and your choice of side, all made from scratch

12. Savor the BBQ at the Moonlite Inn

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn
, Owensboro, KY
When: Check the website for dine-in, carry-out, buffet, and holiday hours
Why: Established in 1963, this "Kentucky tradition" has remained under family management and recently was voted the best in the state by Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living.
How much? $19.59 for a beef, mutton, and pork platter

The best shopping in Kentucky

13. Scratch your itch for bargains at the Awesome Flea Market

Awesome Flea Market
, Shepherdsville, KY
When: Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, year-round
Why: Sure, it might be self-proclaimed, but “The Most Awesome Flea Market in the World” boasts over 500 vendors whose wares are browsed by 5,000 visitors every week.
How much? Free 

14. Find something handmade in Berea

, KY
When: Year-round
Why: Named the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky, Berea is home to many unique and insanely-talented artisans. Shop
Artisan Village
College Square
, and the
KY Artisan Center
for wares you just won’t find anywhere else.
How much? Free 

15. Save at The Outlet Shoppes

The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass
, Simpsonville, KY
When: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Why: The only outlet shopping center in Kentucky might not have much competition, but if it did, it’d still be a top pick. Save 25 to 60% on over 90 designer names like Coach, Banana Republic, Nike, North Face, Kate Spade, Under Armour, and more.
How much? Free

16. Bring home a little Taste of Kentucky

Where: A Taste of Kentucky, Louisville, KY
When: Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Saturday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Why: Dedicated to showcasing specialties of the state, their goods include bourbon, Derby-themed items, arts, crafts, foods, preserves, gifts, and—of course—the Original Derby-Pie.
How much? Free

Cultural highlights of Kentucky

17. Get behind the wheel of a Corvette

The National Corvette Museum
, Bowling Green, KY
When: Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Why: You didn’t think we’d forget the hometown of the
, did you? The museum is home to all things past, present, and future to do with America’s sports car. You can tour the factory, see the hall of fame, take a stroll down nostalgia lane, and even pilot a C6 in a virtual race!
How much? $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $13 for youths

18. Put your name on a Louisville Slugger

When: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Why: Marvel at the 120-foot Big Bat sculpture, take a swing with Babe Ruth’s bat, and see how the factory makes its signature products before
personalizing your very own slugger
How much? Full-length bats start at $59.99 

19. Sing along at a Bluegrass music festival

Where: Across Kentucky
When: Year-round
Why: It’s acoustic, it’s blues, it’s jazz, it’s European, it’s African-American, it’s Methodist/Holiness/Baptist and truly Appalachian—one thing is for sure, bluegrass “has a high and lonesome sound.” Appreciation for the bluegrass genre runs wide, which is why you can take your pick from the
many music festivals
around the state.
How much? Most festivals are free

20. Get quilting at Paducah

, KY
When: Year-round
Why: One of only nine UNESCO Creative Cities in the US, Paducah is known for hosting galleries, shops, and festivals centered around the vibrant fabric arts. It’s also the home of
The National Quilt Museum
How much? $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $5 for students at The National Quilt Museum

Four steps to an iconic Kentucky Derby experience

21. Feel the Thunder Over Louisville

Kentucky Derby Festival
, Louisville, KY
When: April 2023, 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Why: The month-long Kentucky Derby festival kicks off with a bang: the largest annual fireworks display in the nation! The very first show to air in 1988 featured 20,000 multi-colored balloons, a live stage, fireworks, and about 10,000 attendees—it’s only grown bigger from there.
How much? Free

22. Buy a fancy hat for the Derby

When: Some fashionistas plan their outfits as early as December
Why: If you want to turn heads (and hats) at the Kentucky Derby, you’ll need to go big, bigger, and then even bigger than that. Check out the
KDF Fashion Show
past Derby fashion icons
for inspiration.
How much? A custom hat can cost up to $1,000

23. Visit the Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby Museum
, Louisville, KY
When: Hours vary per season; see
for details
Why: Dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the longest continuously-running sporting event in the nation. The Museum preserves the heritage of the “most exciting two minutes in sports” through walking tours, films, exhibits, and a resident thoroughbred!
How much? Fees vary per tour; see
for details

24. Play the odds at the Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs
, Louisville, KY
When: May 6th, 2023
Why: If you’re wearing a fancy hat, sipping a
mint julep
, and watching thoroughbreds race down the track at the Derby, you can say you’ve had the definitive
Kentucky Derby
How much? Varies per event and seating; see
for details

The best car insurance in Kentucky 

The best car insurance for you is tailored to your vehicle and your needs
gets it! Whether you’re visiting Kentucky or a permanent resident, we can help match you with an affordable policy.
Check out how easy it is to get free, competitive car insurance quotes on your smartphone! Just enter your information, and in 45 seconds, you’ll see rates from some of the top insurance companies across the country.
Plus, our team of expert customer service agents can help you decide based on your driving history and coverage priorities. We'll let you know when you have coverage options that fit within your price range, helping you save money while maintaining quality protection.
was helpful every step of the way. They saved me over $100 a month for insurance in Kentucky.” —Jim F.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free