Immerse yourself in a unique culture, visit one-of-a-kind attractions, and enjoy the energy that can be found in the metropolitan cities to the countryside in Kentucky: a spirit that runs wild in the Bluegrass State. Whether you hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail™, take in the atmosphere at the race track, or soak up the sweet sounds of Bluegrass music at the state’s museums, Kentucky has a way of keeping you coming back. 

Be sure to check out the below five ‘must-visits' in Kentucky on your next trip:

Churchill Downs, Louisville 

Churchill Downs is the world’s most renowned racetrack and a quintessential Kentucky experience. Founded in 1974, it is famous for hosting the nation’s top competitive Thoroughbreds. On the first Saturday of May, Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby, one of the biggest events on the sports calendar. Ahead of the race, a two-week festival is also celebrated in the Kentucky Derby Museum year-round. You can take a historical walking tour around the track and mingle with the resident Thoroughbred, a miniature horse in this museum.  

Experience Bluegrass-Born Bourbon   

In Kentucky, bourbon is a way of life. Take a distillery tour or a Bourbon 101 class. Enjoy bourbon-infused dishes at a range of restaurants. There’s even an entire month (each September) dedicated to the spirit. Named National Bourbon Heritage Month, it gives Kentucky locals and visitors an excuse to celebrate the famous tipple by participating in concerts, festivals, and events. All while you are filling up on bourbon, of course.  

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail™, which takes you to some of the most iconic bourbon distilleries in the world, is a bluegrass bucket list item to include on any itinerary. Starting in Louisville and travelling through the heart of Bourbon Country, this trail features 18 distilleries – from legends like Jim Beam and Four Roses to newer favourites such as Bardstown Bourbon Company and Angel's Envy. You can take part in behind-the-scenes tours, meet master distillers and taste test bourbons you won’t find in stores. Along the way, you can rack up stamps in your passport to earn swag.

Follow in the Footsteps of Muhammad Ali    

Dedicated to the story of the professional boxer Muhammad Ali, The Muhammad Ali Center in Downtown Louisville is a multicultural facility that captures the inspiration derived from the boxer’s magical life and six core principles that have fuelled his journey. Three levels of exhibits explore the racial history and civil rights through hands-on displays, artefacts, and artwork, plus you can check out historical video footage of Muhammad Ali during his career and beyond. 

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Owensboro

The state-of-the-art Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a range of exhibits dedicated to telling the story of Bluegrass music. This 2,044-metre museum is located just a few miles from the home place of ‘Father of Bluegrass’ - Bill Monroe. The building features a variety of interactive exhibits and concerts, open jam sessions, and lessons, and events. 

Be an Explorer at the Mammoth Cave National Park  

The Mammoth Cave National Park has the longest recorded cave system in the world and is home to more than 600 kilometres of caverns that attract thousands of visitors in a usual year. The name ‘Mammoth’ was given to the park after its vast chambers and complex labyrinths. You can take a tour with a ranger through the chambers. Some of the treks are well-lit, and others require visitors to carry their own lamps. 

A haven for nature-lovers, Mammoth Cave National Park, offers wildlife, forests, wildflowers, hills, and natural springs for visitor enjoyment. You’ll see crickets, bats, and salamanders thriving in this habitat. Highlights of the park include the Cedar Sink sinkhole, the old railroad Engine No. 4, the historic Good Spring Baptist Church & Cemetery located near the Maple Springs trailhead, and the Turnhole Bend Trail, which is a fun 3.2km descent along a ridgeline surrounded by old-growth Kentucky forest.