7 Things You're Missing in Bowling Green, Kentucky
On December 11, 2021, several violent and deadly tornadoes swept through several states in the South and Midwest, including Kentucky. Bowling Green endured a large amount of damage. At least 17 lives were lost, and many neighborhoods were devastated. Now, months later, the work to rebuild continues and this community still needs our help. We Are BG Strong has a list of resources if you would like to donate.
Another way to help the local economy is if we are still visiting the local attractions and businesses that are up and running. Bowling Green has plenty to offer for just about every kind of traveler. From the car enthusiast to the ice cream aficionado.
Corvettes have been made here—and only here—since 1981. Cake-mix king Duncan Hines was a native son. And Bowling Green is headquarters for Fruit of the Loom, the undies giant. Located in South Central Kentucky, just about an hour north of Nashville, this lively burg is in the heart of some of the most popular outdoor recreation in the Blue Grass State. It's also home to Western Kentucky University and a Minor League baseball team called—naturally—the Hot Rods. With just over 70,000 people, Bowling Green is the third-largest city in Kentucky, but its historic downtown is loaded with small-town character. If you've been bypassing it, here's what you're missing:
1. VROOM Time!
At the National Corvette Museum, see more than 80 of these American beauties—including classics in cherry condition, prototypes, and racing champs—housed in period settings. The museum has a KidZone, Corvette Store, and Stingray Grill. You can even register to win one of these GM hotties while you're there.
Need more speed? Head to the Beech Bend Raceway Park for stock car racing, drag racing, and other national auto events. At nearby Beech Bend Amusement Park, take a spin (and scream your head off) on the super-twisted wooden coaster, the Kentucky Rumbler.
2. Historic Town Square
The land for downtown's Fountain Square Park was donated back in 1797. Today, it's surrounded by restored 19th-century buildings, an Art Deco theater, and plenty to see and do.
3. Amazing Caves
Bowling Green's Lost River Cave is just that—a river running through a seven-mile cave system, offering Kentucky's only underground boat tour. Nearby is the phenomenal Mammoth Cave National Park, home of the longest known cave system in the entire world.
4. Bourbon, Ice Cream, Chocolate
Kentucky has long been known for its spirits, and while Bowling Green does not currently have a distillery in town, a quick 30-minute drive to Franklin, Kentucky, will land you at Dueling Grounds Distillery, where they craft premium, small batch Bourbon. No designated driver or rental car to get you there? At Mary Jane's Chocolates on Main Street, where the motto is "Cave to the Crave," you'll find the offerings just as heady. Or opt for Chaney's Dairy Barn, hosting "Ice Cream & A Moovie" on their lawn during the summertime—and scooping yummy ice cream all the time. They actually have a full service cafe serving up great soup, sandwiches, burgers, and more for lunch or dinner. You can even take self-guided tours of the farm.
5. Tunes of the Region
Catch national acts, movies, and performances from Orchestra Kentucky at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center—SKyPAC—or tune into the locally lauded Lost River Sessions on WKU PBS for American roots music.
6. Local Brew Hangouts
Follow the crowd to Tidball's Bar, a popular venue for live music, and to Gasper Brewing Company, which opened in 2020 and offers handcrafted beer. At Gasper Brewing their philosophy is that if their brew crew doesn't love a new brew, then their customers will never taste it. You can be sure that you'll always be served the best of the best.
7. Wine Country
Visit one of the four wineries and vineyards in the area for a taste of Kentucky's wine. Before prohibition Bowling Green was one of the top wine-producing states in the country. Sip on a flight of six samples, and even stay the night at the Bed and Breakfast at Bluegrass Vineyards. Or head into town for a sipper at Preservation Tasting Room & Bottle Shop before eating at one of the many historic downtown area restaurants.