The Best Things To Do In Danville, Kentucky

This central Kentucky small town is a wonderful stop along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Here are our favorite ways to explore Danville.

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Constitution Square Historic Site Danville, KY
Constitution Square Historic Site, located in downtown Danville, is the site of the signing of Kentucky’s state constitution. Photo:

Courtesy Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Danville’s log house jail is utterly charming. There it sits, near the meetinghouse where Kentucky's Constitution was signed in 1792, making it the fifteenth state in the Union. It's hard to believe this storybook structure held America’s first known serial killers, the savage Harpe Brothers, back in 1799. It least until the prisoners made their escape. 

While the jail is a replica of the one that held the Harpes, the post office structure is original. Built pre-statehood, it was the first post office west of the Allegheny Mountains and received its first piece of mail on November 3, 1792. 

These log structures and others are just a taste of Danville's historic downtown. They sit in the three-acre Constitution Square Historic Site, an open-air museum and scenic park that makes an ideal picnic spot in town. Around here, 19th-century storefronts on Main Street house locally-owned restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Here's how to explore welcoming Danville, the birthplace of Kentucky statehood.

Post office, Danville, KY
The first post office west of the Alleghenies and a replica of Danville’s frontier jail are located at Constitution Square Historic Site.

Courtesy Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

What To Do

Downtown Danville is all about boutique shopping. Pop into Cerci on Main to browse apparel, jewelry, leather goods, baby blankets, sweets and treats, coffee, and more. Maple Tree Gallery is an eclectic mix of handmade gifts, local art, seasonal goodies, and custom framing. At nationally known Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, owners/tea experts Bruce and Shelley Richardson have authored more than a dozen tea books, find your blend of tea or piece of teaware: mug, cup, pot, or gaiwan. 

Travel through time at The Great American Dollhouse Museum. Through 200 finely-crafted dollhouses and room boxes, you'll see how ordinary people worked, played, learned, parented, cooked, and built communities over centuries.

Experience movie magic at Kentucky's oldest outdoor theater, Pioneer Playhouse. John Travolta once honed his acting chops at this time capsule of 1950s summer stock theater. The box office was originally the train station on the movie set of the 1957 Civil War drama, “Raintree County,” which filmed in Danville. Spend the evening here and enjoy a farm-fresh dinner on the outdoor patio with professional theater performances and a chance to explore movie memorabilia.

Catch a world-class show at the Norton Center for the Arts, an internationally recognized performing arts center featuring a busy lineup of Broadway productions, headlining musicians, high-energy circus performances, holiday spectaculars, and more. 

See what the 20,000 Union troops and 16,000 Confederate soldiers saw on October 8, 1862, when they clashed on Perryville Battlefield. The site of Kentucky's largest and bloodiest Civil War battle, the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site has been designated by the American Battlefield Trust as the most intact battlefield of the Civil War. Park Manager Bryan Bush, who leads Ghost Hunting and Ghost Stories on the Battlefield events each October, says Perryville is as haunted as Gettysburg. The Battle of Perryville Reenactment is also held here every October.

Copper & Oak, Danville, KY
At Copper & Oak indulge in a menu filled with gourmet meals and custom cocktails.

Courtesy Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where To Eat (And Drink)

Danville's historic downtown is home to more than a dozen locally-owned restaurants. Copper & Oak serves craft burgers, beer, and bourbon in an upscale, speakeasy atmosphere. The restaurant is known for an outstanding bourbon selection, with Danville's Wilderness Trail at the top of its list. The distillery, famous for its unique sweet mash process, puts Danville on the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Chaplin Hill Bed & Breakfast, Danville, KY
A lovely retreat located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Chaplin Hill Bed and Breakfast sits amidst spectacular scenery.

Courtesy Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where To Stay

Originally built in 1790, the stately Chaplin Hill Bed & Breakfast offers three king-size suites. Popular among Kentucky Bourbon Trail explorers, guests can enjoy the property's nightly fire and s’mores. Five miles from downtown Danville, the Countryside House also has panoramic views from its perch in the Kentucky's Knobs, a narrow arc-shaped swath of lush little hills wrapping around the state's Bluegrass region.

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