12 Best Sights in Kentucky Bluegrass Country, Kentucky

Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum

Fodor's choice

Exhibits here recount the history of America's oldest sporting event and include a surround-sound film of the race. Admission includes a tour of the historic racetrack; in summer visitors can tour the stable areas as well. The café overlooks a paddock occupied by a retired racehorse.

Kentucky Horse Park

Fodor's choice

Tour the International Museum of the Horse, run in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to viewing the many exhibits on the ancient relationship between people and horses, you'll also be able to get close to real horses. There's a Parade of Breeds, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a 45-minute trail ride around the park—suitable even for those who've never ridden before. The park also houses the American Saddlebred Museum (that's the breed used for dressage). Tours of nearby horse farms are available for an extra fee.


This 18-room brick mansion was the country home of Senator Henry Clay and his family for more than four decades. The tour highlights antebellum Kentucky plantation life and the political achievements of Clay, who served both in the U.S. House of Representatives (as Speaker) and in the U.S. Senate.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Bluegrass Tours

Lexington's oldest tour company takes visitors to horse farms, Keeneland racetrack, and historic venues in Lexington. It's an excellent introduction to the area, especially if you only have a day or two in the region.

Equus Run Vineyards

Thirty-five rolling acres are planted in several kinds of grapes, but you won't mistake this for Napa Valley. As the name suggests, horses are grazing in the Bluegrass pasture just over the fence.

Headley-Whitney Museum

George W. Headley was a prominent designer of jewelry and small decorative art objects known as bibelots. Dozens of his pieces are on display here in a museum on his former estate.

Hunt-Morgan House

John Wesley Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Appalachians, built this Federal-style house in Lexington's Gratz Park district in the early 1800s. His grandson, John Hunt Morgan was a Confederate cavalry officer. Family furniture decorates the house, which also has a small Civil War museum.

Locust Grove

This redbrick Georgian plantation house was built around 1790 by William and Lucy Croghan, who was George Rogers Clark's sister (the Revolutionary War hero and founder of Louisville lived here during the last nine years of his life). The 55-acre grounds include eight outbuildings and restored gardens; the last tour departs at 3:30.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

You can't miss this place—a seven-story baseball bat leans against the building housing the museum and bat factory. (An appropriately sized baseball is imbedded in one window of the plate glass factory next door, too.) Step up to the plate at the very scary virtual pitching diamond. Autographed bats of virtually every baseball great are also on display.

Louisville Zoo

More than 1,300 animals from around the world live here in landscaped settings. The Gorilla Forest, home to Lowland Gorillas, is an award-winning exhibit; birds will perch on your shoulder at Lorikeet Landing. Other zoo residents include polar bears, lions, tigers, penguins, timber wolves, and Komodo dragons.

Mary Todd Lincoln House

This two-story Georgian house, built from 1803 to 1806, was originally an inn. Abraham Lincoln courted Mary Todd, who lived here with her parents, when he came to visit Kentucky friends. This was the first historic site to be restored in honor of a First Lady.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Limestone buildings dating from the early 19th century have been restored to operation for distilling, aging, and bottling Woodford Reserve bourbon. At the end of the distillery tour, guests 21 and over can sample the whiskey