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The Best Things To Do In Bowling Green, Kentucky

Bowling Green Kentucky Aerial view

What’s not to like about Bowling Green? Nature lovers have lots to explore at pleasant local parks and the jaw-dropping Mammoth Cave nearby. Car buffs can get up and close with America’s sports car at the National Corvette Museum. There’s also lots to please art and culture buffs and those who love a good meal in this great city right off Interstate 65. If a road trip isn’t in your plans, Bowling Green is easy to get to from both Louisville and Nashville airports, perfect for a weekend getaway for country music fans.

Things to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky

National Corvette Museum

National Corvette Museum

Check out cool exhibits featuring special Corvettes from throughout history and get behind the wheel of a C6 Corvette on a virtual racetrack. Or be very bold and strap yourself into the driver’s seat of an actual C8 Corvette and rip through the course with Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee and Pro Racer, Andy Pilgrim, at the NCM Motorsports Park. Located directly across from the Museum, the Park also has a kartplex where the whole family can compete in thrilling high-speed go-karts.

350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY | 270-781-7973

 

Beech Bend Amusement Park and Raceway

Beech Bend Amusement Park

More thrills are to be had at Beech Bend, featuring a raceway and amusement park with rides and attractions for all ages. You can’t leave before taking a whirl on the Kentucky Rumbler, one of the top 33 wooden roller coasters in the world. In the summer months cool off and have buckets of fun on the award-winning slides at Splash Lagoon Water Park. Then check out the action on the buzzing drag strip lined by beech trees, giving the name to this family entertainment hub. The best part? No need to pack up and drive off after a long day as you can stay at the large campground that’s just a short stroll away.

798 Beech Bend Park Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-781-7634

Find more Water Parks in Kentucky here

 

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

Bowling Green is close to Mammoth Cave National Park, one of only two national parks in Kentucky, making for a great day trip to view this natural wonder. The UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve is home to the world’s longest known cave system – the “Monarch of Caves” – and diverse plant and animal life. Stick around until the twilight hours to see the magnificent stars at the International Dark Sky Park.

6140 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave, KY | 270-758-2180

 

Lost River Cave

Lost River Cave

Another local natural wonder, Lost River Cave is a seven-mile cave system that will make your jaw drop. The 72-acre park has a wooded valley with trails, a river and other karst features like sinking streams and beautiful rock outcrops. But the highlight is the cave itself, an underground marvel that can be observed via a breathtaking boat tour for all ages. For something more active, grab onto the Flying Squirrel Zipline and soar through the treetops over the valley’s largest blue hole.

2818 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-393-0077

Baker Arboretum and Downing Museum

Baker Arboretum

Situated on a ridge of rolling hills in the outskirts of Bowling Green, this stunning arboretum is a true “tapestry of trees and art”. Visitors are welcome year-round to view 600 total species with more than 1500 tree varieties, from dogwoods to Japanese maples, along with a variety of species of Kentucky native plants. The Downing Museum also offers a lovely outing, with a collection of works by Kentucky-born artist Joseph Dudley Downing and artwork from local, state and nationally-recognized artists.

4801 Morgantown Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-842-7415

 

Fountain Square Park

Fountain Square Park

Smack in the downtown district sits Fountain Square Park, with a rich history dating back to the Civil War. It’s a great spot for a calm stroll among manicured landscapes, a chat with a friend on an inviting park bench, or to enjoy the many flowers on your own. The holiday season is particularly inviting when the park is all lit up with festive lights and the summer months have “Concerts in the Park” for music lovers.

225 East Third Avenue, Bowling Green, KY | 270-393-3249

 

Historic RailPark & Train Museum

Railpark in Bowling Green

You won’t be riding any trains here, but it’s still an entertaining stop on your tour of Bowling Green as you get to climb aboard five restored railcars. The RailPark and Museum, a historic national landmark, also has important railroad artifacts from the region to discover through a self-guided museum tour.

401 Kentucky Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-745-7317

 

Kentucky Museum

Kentucky Museum

Another important stop in Bowling Green is the Kentucky Museum, located on the Western KY University campus. Brimming with local history, arts and culture, the museum has several interesting exhibits, including one on Bowling Green’s own Duncan Hines.

1906 College Heights Boulevard, Bowling Green, KY | 270-745-2592

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC)

SKYPAC Bowling Green

Home to the iconic Capitol Arts Center and Orchestra Kentucky, SKyPAC is one of the largest performing arts halls in the south central Kentucky region with lots on offer: Broadway shows, country western stars, classical music, bluegrass, movies and more. Enjoy an artsy evening out at the Capitol Arts Center, a former vaudeville house that boasts a 750-seat auditorium, art gallery and used bookstore.

601 College Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-904-1880

 

Aviation Heritage Park

Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green

Even if you’re not an aviation enthusiast, the artifacts and old aircraft on display at Aviation Heritage Park offer a fascinating look at the lives of regional air heroes. Learn about Vietnam War aviators and see the T-38 trainer flown by Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts. And unlike some museums, here you’re encouraged to get up close and touch the aircraft – including seven restored military aircraft.

1825 Three Springs Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-421-4885

 

Chaney’s Dairy Barn

Chaneys Dairy Barn

We could place this on the list below of where to eat, as they serve homemade soups, sandwiches, burgers and more. But Chaney’s Dairy Barn, located on the Chaney family farm that dates back to 1888, has fun and educational farm tours too. Take a wagon ride to the barn, view a robotic milking demonstration, and the best part, enjoy a scoop of delicious ice cream. Made with milk and cream from the barn’s Jersey cows, it’s been recognized as the best ice cream in Bowling Green.

9191 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-843-5567

 

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Bowling Green, Kentucky

The Bistro

Chorizo Breakfast Burrito from the Bistro restaurant in Bowling Green

Casual dining in a two-story restored house featuring a Mediterranean-inspired menu, The Bistro is ideal for a night out in Bowling Green’s historic district. Invite a group of friends for a unique private dining experience in the 1,800-square foot upstairs space or grab a specialty cocktail from the full bar and chill. Sunday brunches are well-known here, so book ahead to get your hands on their famous Chorizo Breakfast Burrito.

1129 College Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-781-9646

 

440 Main / Micki’s on Main

Mickis on Main

This popular landmark offers a two-in-one outing: settle in for a meal at the upscale dining room at 440 Main and head next door after for some drinks at Micki’s on Main. Along with noted specialties, like the Blackened Redfish with Jalapeno Cheese Grits and Crawfish Butter at 440 Main, the venue itself is worth the visit, with original pressed tin ceilings, a gorgeous mahogany staircase dating back to 1871, and cool local artwork hanging on the walls.

440 Main Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-793-0450

 

Montana Grille

Montana Grill Bowling Green Restaurants

Delicious comfort food in an inviting setting, Montana Grille is a good choice if you’re into rotisserie, which you can watch getting prepared in the open rotisserie and cooking area. The dining area features stone wood-burning fireplaces with cast iron and copper highlights for a homey feel, and the service is just as warm.

1740 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-746-9746

Anna’s Greek Restaurant

Anna's Greek Restaurant

When you want to satisfy your calamari cravings, this family-owned restaurant is where you need to head to. All the dishes are freshly made to order by chef Anna, who lived in Santorini, Greece for 15 years. And if you fancy a broader taste of the Mediterranean, Anna’s also has gourmet Italian, French and Turkish entrees to savor.

1202 State Street, Bowling Green, KY |207-846-2662

 

Mellow Mushroom

Mellow Mushroom Pizzas

When you want to kick back with a loaded pie and a cold one this is the place, as they have a selection of 32 draft beers for beer buffs. They’re known for their homemade crust and stone-baked pizzas, which can be made gluten-free or vegan too. Housed in an old garage with a decor inspired by rock ‘n’ roll, it’s always a good time here, whether you dine inside or take your slice on the large patio beside the cozy fire pit.

1035 Chestnut Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-393-1800

 

Mariah’s

Mariah's Restaurant in Bowling Green

A staple in Bowling Green’s dining scene since 1980, Mariah’s serves up great American fare at Stadium Park Plaza. Come by for a light bite during the week, a casual date night dinner, or indulge in a decadent brunch paired with specialty cocktails on Sundays.

360 E 8th Avenue Bowling Green, KY | 270 846 0020

The Bike Rack Bistro

The Bike Rack Restaurant in Bowling Green, KY

This local gem was inspired by the desire for healthy and hearty meals after a long bicycle ride in the country. The result? Really good, hearty food served in a friendly setting. Favorites are the Bistro Burger with spicy pimento cheese and raspberry preserves, the Bistro Salad decked with strawberries, cranberries, apples, walnut and feta, and the homemade pies: key lime, peanut butter or chocolate chip.

855 Broadway Avenue Bowling Green, KY | 270-936-7575

 

Wild Eggs

Pumpkin Pancakes from Wild Eggs

Wild Eggs is just the spot when you’re hankering for a filling breakfast done your way, as the dishes are made to order (they do lunch too). There’s a sizable gluten-free menu with tasty options, kids eat well for $5.99 and best of all, the food is sourced locally. If you’re in the area during the fall, you must try the Pumpkin Pie Pancakes, fluffy pancakes made with real pumpkin and harvest spices, topped with caramel sauce and candied pecans.

804 Campbell Lane, Bowling Green, KY | 270-599-1649

 

Novo Dolce 2.0

Chipotle Seafood Pasta at Novo Dolce in Bowling Green

This gastro pub has gained a following for its signature espresso martinis, but there are delicious dishes too. The Chipotle Seafood Pasta and Chicken Elizabeth are a must try, as is the homemade gelato. It’s near the Western Kentucky University campus, so it’s a favourite with students for a quick bite that doesn’t break the bank.

651 US 31 West ByPass, Suite 101, Bowling Green, KY | 270-904-3300

 

Chuy’s

Chicka Chicka boom boom enchiladas at Chuys

People love coming here for authentic Tex-Mex food in a laid-back atmosphere. Don’t expect anything fancy, just good grub from South Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns. Think tortilla soup, loaded burritos, and house specialities from chuychangas to chicken flautas. Busy parents will love the family meal kits to go on busy nights.

3260 Ken Bale Boulevard, Bowling Green, KY | 270-796-2999

 

Best Places to Stay in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Hyatt Place Bowling Green 

Hyatt Place hotel in bowling green

Maybe you’re dropping off your kid at nearby WKU or you need easy access to the Corvette Museum that you’re dying to see, either way Hyatt Place Bowling Green is an ideal choice. All rooms are spacious, featuring large beds and a separate sitting area, and the free breakfast has great options.

1347 Center Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270 467 0001

Click here to BOOK Hyatt Place Bowling Green Now on Expedia

 

The Kentucky Grand Hotel & Spa 

The Kentucky Grand Hotel in Bowling Green

Nicely situated in Circus Square Park, in walking distance to many of the city’s downtown attractions, The Kentucky Grand Hotel & Spa is known for its hospitality. The locally-owned hotel features eight uniquely decorated suites, each with a separate bedroom and living room, and panoramic views of Circus Square Park. Don’t forget to sit down for a decadent dessert and signature cocktail at the Derby Piano and Dessert Bar before calling it a night.

635 College Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-779-8988

Click here to BOOK Kentucky Grand Hotel & Spa now on Expedia

 

Tru by Hilton Bowling Green

Tru by HILTON bowling green

Another good base for those wanting to be near Western Kentucky University, the hotel is also a hit with families as it’s within easy reach of Beech Bend Park and Lost River Cave. There’s an indoor pool to enjoy at any time of the year and guests love the build-your-own breakfast.

1864 Cave Mill Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-904-2260

Click here to BOOK Tru by Hilton Bowling Green on Expedia

The Hotel SYNC

The Hotel SYNC

A nice alternative to chain hotels, The Hotel SYNC offers an apartment-style stay. Based near all the top sites in town, the hotel has oversized suites with modern decor and hardwood flooring, full-size kitchen, spacious living room and bathroom. There are extra touches to complement your visit like a pool table in the lobby and an iPod dock in each room.

518 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY | 270-745-0123

Click here to BOOK The Hotel SYNC on Expedia

 

Courtyard by Marriott Bowling Green Convention Center

Courtyard by Marriot bowling green convention center hotel

How does “newly renovated” and Starbucks coffee grab you? The Courtyard Bowling Green Convention Center offers both, plus a 24/7 market with snacks and drinks always available. Just 2.5 miles from I-65 and across the street from Sloan Convention Center, the hotel is located in a quiet suburban area with restaurants within walking distance.

1010 Wilkinson Trace, Bowling Green, KY | 270-783-8569

Click here to BOOK Courtyard by Marriott Bowling Green Convention Center

 

Fairfield Inn & Suites Bowling Green

Fairfield Inn Bowling Green

Also conveniently located off I-65 with easy access to local attractions, the Fairfield Inn has the stuff you look for when you’re away from home, such as a hot, complimentary breakfast, comfy bedding, and a 24-hour fitness centre plus indoor pool to help you keep up with your fitness plan.

1832 Cave Mill Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-599-1832

Click here to BOOK Fairfield Inn & Suites Bowling Green on Expedia

Best Western Plus Bowling Green

Best Western Bowling green

Close to Lost River Cave, this Best Western has what you need for a quick sleep or a longer stay. Pleasing guest rooms feature the amenities you need for a relaxing stay, along with a complimentary full breakfast. A 24-hour gym with a range of equipment is available, but for those who prefer to work out in private, grab a “Fitness-In-A-Bag” from the front desk and work out in your room.

1940 Mel Browning Street, Bowling Green, KY | 270-782-6933

Click here to BOOK Best Western Plus Bowling Green on Expedia

 

Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bowling Green

Days Inn and Suites bowling green

Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bowling Green ticks the boxes when you want a budget on-the-road stay: clean (and freshly-renovated!) rooms with in-room amenities like a microwave and refrigerator, a complimentary breakfast and free parking for vehicles of all sizes. Great for families as it’s easy to get to all the local attractions.

181 Cumberland Trace Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-282-7932

Click here to BOOK Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bowling Green on Expedia

 

The Lodge at Olde Stone

The Lodge at Olde Stone in Bowling Green

Fancy something different, away from the interstate and in a luxury golf course setting? The Lodge at Olde Stone is perfect for a golf retreat, family vacation or a romantic getaway. The 12 Kentucky-inspired guest rooms were designed with a mix of vintage and custom furniture, mostly from local vendors, and offer picturesque views of the green golf course and garden.

950 Village Way, Bowling Green, KY |270-393-4653

 

Bowling Green KOA Holiday

Bowling Green KOA Holiday

If sleeping under the stars is more your thing, park yourself at the Bowling Green KOA Holiday campground. Open all year, the campground is also a fun place to hang out, with tons of activities: fishing (no license required), mini golf, games like horseshoes and jumbo outdoor checkers, playground with pirate ship, dog park and nature trail. Free wi-fi is available and guests have access to a laundry facility, camp store, and deluxe cabins and patio sites.

For all the fun of RV Camping without committing to owning an RV – book an RV rental through RVShare.com

1960 Three Springs Road, Bowling Green, KY | 270-843-1919

 


Nancy Matos is an experienced freelance travel and culture writer from Vancouver. With a background in broadcast, print and online media, her career has taken her from Beijing to Brussels and Hong Kong to London, with stops throughout North America. She’s visited all corners of the globe (still waiting to crack Antarctica, though) and loves sharing the places others wouldn’t normally write about. Nancy is a research queen who doesn’t need a map – give her an assignment and she’ll uncover the hidden gems.


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