Top-Rated Things to Do in Frankfort, KY

Welcome to Frankfort, KY, the picturesque state capital that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking natural scenery, Frankfort is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a food lover, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.

One of the top-rated things to do in Frankfort is to visit the Kentucky State Capitol. This impressive building, with its beautiful dome and intricate details, is not only the seat of government but also a testament to the city’s architectural heritage. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of the Capitol and admire the stunning views of the Kentucky River from its grounds.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Old State Capitol is a must. This historic building served as Kentucky’s Capitol from 1830 to 1910 and is now a museum, offering a fascinating glimpse into the state’s political past. Explore the restored chambers, see the original legislative desks, and immerse yourself in the stories of Kentucky’s lawmakers.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, head to the nearby Kentucky River Palisades. This scenic area offers stunning limestone cliffs, hiking trails, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Spend a day exploring the natural beauty of the Palisades and enjoy a picnic by the river.

No visit to Frankfort is complete without indulging in the local culinary delights. The city’s dining scene offers a mix of traditional Southern cuisine and innovative farm-to-table creations. From mouthwatering barbecue and fried chicken to locally sourced ingredients and craft beer, there’s no shortage of delicious options to satisfy your taste buds.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or gastronomic adventures, Frankfort, KY has it all. Plan your visit today and discover why this vibrant city is a top-rated destination in the heart of Bluegrass State.

Visit the Kentucky State Capitol

Located in Frankfort, the Kentucky State Capitol is an impressive architectural landmark that is definitely worth a visit. The building, with its grand dome and stunning neoclassical design, stands as a symbol of the state’s history and government.

Visitors to the Kentucky State Capitol can take guided tours to learn about the history and significance of the building. Explore the beautiful interior, which features marble halls, ornate ceilings, and historical art pieces. Don’t miss the chance to admire the breathtaking views of the city from the observation deck.

During your visit, you can also explore the Capitol grounds, which are beautifully landscaped and home to several statues and monuments. Take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the state legislature in action. The Kentucky State Capitol is an active government building, and depending on the time of your visit, you might witness debates and committee hearings.

Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or government, a visit to the Kentucky State Capitol is a must-do when in Frankfort. It’s a great way to learn about the state’s heritage and get a glimpse into its political process.

Take a tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery

One of the top-rated things to do in Frankfort, KY is to take a tour of the famous Buffalo Trace Distillery. As the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States, Buffalo Trace offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and tradition of bourbon production.

During the tour, you will have the chance to learn about the distillation process, visit the aging warehouses where the bourbon matures, and even sample some of their award-winning spirits. The knowledgeable guides at Buffalo Trace will take you through each step of the bourbon-making process, from the selection of grains to the bottling of the final product.

Not only is the tour educational, but it is also a visually stunning experience. The distillery grounds are beautifully maintained and the architecture of the buildings is truly impressive. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you walk through the historic distillery, surrounded by the smell of aging bourbon.

After the tour, be sure to visit the gift shop, where you can purchase a bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon to take home as a souvenir. Whether you’re a bourbon connoisseur or simply interested in learning more about this iconic American spirit, a tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery is a must-do activity in Frankfort, KY.

Explore the beautiful Capitol View Park

Nestled in the heart of Frankfort, Capitol View Park offers visitors stunning views of the capital city and the surrounding landscape. With its picturesque walking trails, scenic overlooks, and lush greenery, this park is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an active hike, Capitol View Park has something for everyone. The park features a variety of trails that wind their way through the woods, offering beautiful views of the city and the Kentucky River. Along the way, you may encounter wildlife such as deer and birds, adding to the park’s natural charm.

One of the highlights of Capitol View Park is its numerous picnic areas. These provide the perfect spot for enjoying a meal with family and friends while taking in the park’s serene beauty. Many of the picnic areas offer tables and grills, making it easy to have a cookout or barbecue. Additionally, there are playgrounds and open spaces where children can run and play, making it a great destination for families.

If you’re interested in history, Capitol View Park is also home to the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This powerful monument pays tribute to the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and provides a solemn place for reflection and remembrance.

Location Frankfort, KY
Hours Sunrise to sunset
Admission Free

Plan a visit to Capitol View Park and immerse yourself in the beauty of Frankfort. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, this park is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Learn about Kentucky’s history at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Kentucky by visiting the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. This state-of-the-art museum offers a comprehensive look at the fascinating stories and events that have shaped the Bluegrass State.

Located in the capital city, the Thomas D. Clark Center features engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and informative presentations that cater to visitors of all ages. Step back in time as you explore the various galleries and learn about Kentucky’s early Native American civilizations, its role during the Civil War, and its significant contributions to the arts and sciences.

One of the highlights of the museum is the extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia that provide a tangible connection to Kentucky’s past. From the personal belongings of prominent historical figures to authentic period clothing and weaponry, these items offer a unique glimpse into the lives of those who came before us.

As you make your way through the exhibits, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the diverse cultures and traditions that have shaped Kentucky. Discover the legacy of African Americans, explore the rich heritage of the Appalachian region, and gain insights into the state’s agricultural and industrial development.

The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History is not just a museum, but also a hub for educational programs and events. Take part in a guided tour, attend a lecture, or participate in a hands-on workshop to further enhance your understanding of Kentucky’s past.

Before you leave, be sure to visit the museum’s gift shop, where you can find a wide range of books, souvenirs, and locally-made products that celebrate Kentucky’s history and culture.

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Admission: Adults: $10
Seniors (62+): $8
Children (6-18): $6
Children under 6: Free

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about Kentucky’s past, a visit to the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History is a must. Immerse yourself in the dynamic stories and vibrant culture of the Bluegrass State at this captivating museum.

Enjoy outdoor activities at Cove Spring Park

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the great outdoors in Frankfort, KY, Cove Spring Park should be at the top of your list. This beautiful park offers a variety of activities for nature enthusiasts of all ages.

One of the main attractions at Cove Spring Park is the hiking trails. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level. Explore the lush greenery and scenic views as you make your way through the park. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning natural beauty.

In addition to hiking, Cove Spring Park also offers opportunities for fishing. Grab your fishing gear and head to the lake, where you can spend a relaxing afternoon casting your line and trying to catch some fish. It’s a great way to unwind and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

If you’re visiting Cove Spring Park with children, they’ll love the playground area. Let them run, climb, and play on the swings, slides, and other equipment. It’s a perfect spot for them to burn off some energy while you relax and take in the fresh air.

For those who enjoy picnicking, Cove Spring Park has plenty of picnic tables and shelters where you can have a meal while enjoying the natural scenery. Bring a picnic blanket and a basket filled with delicious food, and spend a leisurely afternoon in the park.

Before you leave Cove Spring Park, be sure to take a walk around the pond and admire the diverse wildlife that calls the park home. You might spot ducks, geese, turtles, and even the occasional deer.

So, if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in Frankfort, make sure to visit Cove Spring Park. With its beautiful trails, fishing opportunities, playground, picnic areas, and wildlife, it’s a place where you can connect with nature and create lasting memories.

Visit the Old Governor’s Mansion

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Frankfort by visiting the Old Governor’s Mansion. This historic landmark is located in the heart of downtown and offers a glimpse into the state’s political past.

Built in 1798, the Old Governor’s Mansion served as the official residence for Kentucky’s governors for over a century. Step inside and explore the elegant rooms that are adorned with beautiful period furnishings and artwork.

As you wander through the mansion, you’ll learn about the influential figures who once called this place home. From governors and their families to visiting dignitaries, the walls are filled with stories waiting to be discovered.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see the impressive architecture and intricate details that make this mansion a true gem. From the grand staircase to the ornate chandeliers, every corner of the Old Governor’s Mansion is a sight to behold.

For a deeper understanding of the mansion’s history, consider joining a guided tour. Knowledgeable docents will lead you through the mansion, providing fascinating insights and answering any questions you may have.

Outside, the mansion is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the peaceful ambiance while admiring the manicured lawns and vibrant flowers.

If you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate stunning architecture, a visit to the Old Governor’s Mansion is a must. Step back in time and experience the grandeur of this historic landmark in Frankfort, KY.

Opening hours: The Old Governor’s Mansion is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Admission: Admission fees apply; discounts are available for seniors, students, and military personnel.

Please note: Due to its historic nature and preservation efforts, some areas of the mansion may have limited accessibility for individuals with mobility restrictions.

Take a scenic drive along the Frankfort Riverwalk

Explore the beauty of Frankfort by taking a leisurely drive along the Frankfort Riverwalk. This scenic route offers stunning views of the Kentucky River and is a great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

The Frankfort Riverwalk is a 4-mile stretch along the Kentucky River that offers picturesque scenery and a peaceful atmosphere. As you drive along the river, you’ll have the opportunity to see the city’s historic landmarks, charming neighborhoods, and beautiful parks.

Start your drive at River View Park, where you can park your car and enjoy a relaxing walk along the river. This park offers several picnic areas, playgrounds, and benches where you can sit back and take in the views. From here, you can continue your drive along the Riverwalk, passing by the Frankfort Cemetery and the Old State Capitol.

As you drive further, you’ll come across several spots where you can stop and take in the scenery. One of the highlights of the Riverwalk is Leslie Morris Park, which offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding landscape. You can also stop by Cove Spring Park, which features beautiful gardens and walking trails.

Along the Riverwalk, you’ll also find several historic landmarks, including the Liberty Hall Historic Site and the Old Governor’s Mansion. These sites offer a glimpse into the rich history of Frankfort and are worth a visit if you’re interested in learning more about the city’s past.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, taking a scenic drive along the Frankfort Riverwalk is a must-do. It’s a great way to relax, unwind, and enjoy the natural beauty of Frankfort. So grab your camera, roll down your windows, and hit the road for a memorable drive along the Riverwalk.

Discover Frankfort’s art scene at the Kentucky Artisan Center

If you’re a lover of the arts, a visit to the Kentucky Artisan Center in Frankfort is a must. This center is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the work of Kentucky’s finest artists and craftspeople, making it an essential stop for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the local art scene.

With its mission to support and celebrate the diverse artistic traditions of Kentucky, the Kentucky Artisan Center is a hub of creativity. The center features a wide range of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, and more. Visitors can spend hours exploring the various galleries and exhibitions, each offering a unique perspective on the region’s artistic heritage.

One of the standout features of the Kentucky Artisan Center is its commitment to supporting local artists. The center operates a retail shop where visitors can purchase handmade creations directly from the artists themselves. From intricate woodwork to stunning jewelry, there’s a treasure trove of unique and one-of-a-kind pieces to be found.

Address: 200 Artisan Way, Frankfort, KY 40601
Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday: 9:00am-6:00pm, Sunday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Contact: (502) 564-3757

In addition to its gallery and retail space, the Kentucky Artisan Center also hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year. These events provide opportunities to interact with the artists, learn about their creative processes, and even try your hand at creating your own artwork. From live demonstrations to hands-on classes, there’s always something happening at the center.

Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply looking to explore a new creative outlet, the Kentucky Artisan Center is a must-visit destination in Frankfort. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Kentucky’s artistic heritage and discover the talents of local artists at this vibrant and inspiring cultural institution.

Explore the unique exhibits at the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum

If you’re interested in delving into the rich and varied history of Frankfort, a visit to the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum is an absolute must. This unique museum offers a captivating window into the past, showcasing the fascinating stories and artifacts that have shaped this vibrant community.

Step through the doors of the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum, and you’ll be greeted by a treasure trove of exhibits that span centuries. From the Native American inhabitants who first settled the area to the founding fathers who helped establish Frankfort as the capital of Kentucky, each display offers a glimpse into a different chapter of the city’s history.

One of the highlights of the museum is the exhibit dedicated to the Civil War era. Here, you can explore the impact of this pivotal period on Frankfort and its residents, learning about the battles fought, the soldiers who served, and the lasting legacy of this turbulent time.

Another must-see exhibit is the one that focuses on Kentucky’s bourbon heritage. Discover how Frankfort played a crucial role in the development of this iconic spirit, and learn about the distilleries that have called the city home over the years. From interactive displays to informative panels, this exhibit offers a comprehensive look at the history and production of bourbon.

In addition to these captivating displays, the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum also features rotating exhibits that delve into various aspects of local culture and pastimes. Whether it’s an exhibit on the vibrant art scene, a retrospective on influential figures from Frankfort’s history, or an exploration of the city’s unique architectural heritage, there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

So, if you have an interest in history or simply want to learn more about the fascinating past of Frankfort, be sure to make a stop at the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum. With its engaging exhibits and knowledgeable staff, it’s an experience that’s sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation for this remarkable city.

Attend a performance at the Grand Theatre

One of the top-rated things to do in Frankfort, KY is to attend a performance at the Grand Theatre. This historic venue is located in downtown Frankfort and has been entertaining locals and visitors for over a century.

The Grand Theatre originally opened in 1911 and was a popular destination for vaudeville acts and silent films. Throughout the years, it has undergone renovations and updates to its facilities, but has managed to maintain its old-world charm and elegance.

Today, the Grand Theatre is known for hosting a variety of performances, including live music concerts, theater productions, and dance recitals. The venue attracts talented artists from all over the country, offering an eclectic mix of entertainment options for audiences of all ages.

Attending a performance at the Grand Theatre is a unique experience in itself. The theater’s beautifully restored interior features ornate decorations and intricate details, creating a captivating atmosphere for patrons. The comfortable seating and excellent acoustics ensure that every seat in the house provides an enjoyable viewing experience.

In addition to its regular performances, the Grand Theatre also offers educational programs and workshops for aspiring performers. Whether you’re a seasoned theater enthusiast or someone looking to explore the arts, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and learn more about the performing arts at the Grand Theatre.

So, if you’re looking for a memorable evening of entertainment in Frankfort, KY, make sure to check out the upcoming performances at the Grand Theatre. With its rich history and vibrant cultural scene, it’s no wonder that the Grand Theatre is a top-rated attraction in the area.

Experience the natural beauty of the Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill

Located in Frankfort, KY, the Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. With its stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna, this park provides a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

One of the park’s main attractions is its extensive trail system, which offers visitors the opportunity to explore the area on foot or by bike. The trails wind through the park’s hilly terrain, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, there’s a trail for everyone at Leslie Morris Park.

In addition to its trails, the park also features picnic areas, playgrounds, and a lake where visitors can enjoy fishing and boating. Bring a picnic basket and spend a leisurely afternoon with family and friends, or simply relax by the water’s edge and take in the tranquility of the surroundings.

For those interested in history, the park is home to the remains of Fort Hill, a Civil War-era fortification. Explore the fort’s remnants and learn about its significance during the war.

Whether you’re looking for an active day outdoors or a peaceful escape into nature, the Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill is the perfect destination. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and history of this hidden gem in Frankfort, KY.

Take a boat tour of the Elkhorn Creek

If you’re looking to explore the beautiful natural landscapes of Frankfort, a boat tour of the Elkhorn Creek is a must-do activity. This picturesque creek winds its way through the heart of the city, offering visitors a unique perspective on the area’s wildlife and natural beauty.

During the boat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a variety of native wildlife, including blue herons, beavers, and turtles. The knowledgeable tour guides will provide fascinating commentary about the creek’s history and ecosystem, ensuring that you gain a deeper understanding of the area’s natural wonders.

The boat tours are available throughout the year and are suitable for all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, a boat tour of the Elkhorn Creek is sure to be an enjoyable experience.

Tour Details Contact Information
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Price: $30 per person
  • Available tours: morning, afternoon, and sunset
  • Group size: maximum 10 people

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Elkhorn Creek from the comfort of a boat. Book your boat tour today and set sail on an unforgettable adventure in Frankfort, KY.

Visit the Salato Wildlife Education Center

If you’re interested in learning about Kentucky’s native wildlife, a visit to the Salato Wildlife Education Center is a must. Located in Frankfort, the center offers a unique opportunity to observe and interact with a wide variety of animals and habitats.

The Salato Wildlife Education Center is home to a diverse collection of wildlife, including birds of prey, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. The center’s exhibits allow visitors to get up close and personal with these animals, as well as learn about their natural habitats and conservation efforts.

One of the highlights of the Salato Wildlife Education Center is the Raptor Aviary, where you can watch majestic birds of prey fly, hunt, and interact with each other. The center also has a Catch & Release Fishing Pond, where you can try your hand at fishing for catfish and bluegill.

In addition to its animal exhibits, the Salato Wildlife Education Center offers educational programs and workshops for all ages. You can participate in guided tours, attend live animal presentations, and even try your hand at archery. The center also has hiking trails and picnic areas, making it a great place to spend a day with family and friends.

Address 1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601
Hours Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm, Sunday: 1pm-5pm
Admission Adults: $5, Children (5-18): $3, Children Under 5: Free

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, a visit to the Salato Wildlife Education Center is sure to be a memorable one. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with nature and learn about Kentucky’s rich wildlife heritage.

Enjoy a picnic at East Frankfort Park

One of the top-rated things to do in Frankfort, KY is to enjoy a picnic at East Frankfort Park. This beautiful park offers the perfect setting for a relaxing and enjoyable picnic with family and friends.

Located on the banks of the Kentucky River, East Frankfort Park features lush green grass, shaded picnic areas, and stunning views of the surrounding nature. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to unwind or a fun area to socialize, this park has it all.

Bring along a blanket or set up at one of the picnic tables scattered throughout the park. Pack a delicious homemade lunch or grab some takeout from one of the local eateries in Frankfort. Don’t forget to bring your favorite outdoor games and activities to make the most of your picnic experience.

As you enjoy your meal, take in the sights and sounds of nature around you. Listen to the chirping birds, feel the cool breeze, and watch the gentle flow of the Kentucky River. It’s the perfect backdrop for a memorable picnic.

If you’re visiting with children, they’ll love the playground area at East Frankfort Park. Let them burn off some energy while you relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

For a truly unique picnic experience, consider timing your visit to East Frankfort Park with one of the park’s special events or concerts. The park hosts various events throughout the year, including live music performances and community festivals.

So, pack your picnic basket, gather your loved ones, and head to East Frankfort Park for a delightful picnic experience. It’s an activity that’s sure to create lasting memories of your time in Frankfort, KY.

FAQs

What are some top-rated things to do in Frankfort, KY?

Some top-rated things to do in Frankfort, KY include visiting the Kentucky State Capitol, exploring the Buffalo Trace Distillery, taking a tour of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum, and enjoying the scenic views at Cove Spring Park.

What is the Kentucky State Capitol like?

The Kentucky State Capitol is a beautiful historic building located in Frankfort, KY. It is the home of the state’s government and is open to the public for tours. Visitors can explore the impressive architecture, learn about the state’s history, and see the famous “Whispering Gallery” in the rotunda.

Can you tour the Buffalo Trace Distillery?

Yes, visitors can take a tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY. The distillery is famous for producing bourbon and offers tours that allow visitors to see the production process, learn about the history of bourbon, and even sample some of their products.

What can you do at the Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum?

At the Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum in Frankfort, KY, visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the famous bourbon ball candy. They can see the candy-making process and even try their hand at making their own bourbon ball candies. The museum also showcases the history of candy making in Kentucky.

Is Cove Spring Park a good place for outdoor activities?

Yes, Cove Spring Park in Frankfort, KY is a great place for outdoor activities. It offers beautiful scenic views, walking trails, picnic areas, and even a playground for children. Visitors can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, or simply relaxing in the peaceful surroundings.

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Daniela Howard

Daniela Howard, a dedicated Harpers Ferry resident, serves as the foremost expert on West Virginia. Over a decade in travel writing, her work for Family Destinations Guide offers in-depth knowledge of the state's hidden treasures, such as fine dining, accommodations, and captivating sights. Her engaging articles vividly depict family-friendly activities, making your West Virginia journey truly memorable.

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