Are you looking for the best things to do in Frankfort KY but not sure where to start? We have got you covered! Not usually on the top of any vacation destination lists, we think people are missing out! Known for it’s bluegrass music, kind people, picturesque mountains, and horse racing (hello Kentucky derby!), Kentucky is a state you need to see to believe! The weekend getaway destinations are in a class of their own and the hiking is a hidden gem!
There are so many places to visit in Kentucky, but we always find ourselves coming back to Frankfort! Most notably, Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky, but it also has wonderful distilleries, a plethora of historical sites, and so much more to do!
Every state in the union boasts its own personality. The things that make it special, unique, and the interesting ways it contributes to this melting pot of Americans. Kentucky is no different! Keep reading and we will let you know what to do in Frankfort!
15 Best Things To Do In Frankfort KY You Shouldn’t Miss
Buffalo Trace Distillery
One of the best things to do in Frankfort for adults is a trip to Buffalo Trace Distillery! Along the bourbon trail, this distillery has complimentary tours and tastings! You can register beforehand to ensure a spot on the tour!
The Buffalo Trace Distillery motto is “Honor Tradition, Embrace Change” and what more could you want from a bourbon? There are eight different tours to choose from including The Trace Tour, The Bourbon Barrel Tour, and the Arboretum and Botanical Tours. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, they also have the Hard Hat Tour and The Ghost Tour!
Because of the nature of Buffalo Trace Distillery, this is one of our most recommended things to do in Frankfort Kentucky for couples!
Liberty Hall Historic Site
One of our favorite places to visit in Frankfort in the Liberty Hall Historic Site. Their mission is to serve the public by preserving collections and sharing stories of urban life in early Kentucky. If you are looking for a peek into the past and the early days of the United States and of Kentucky specifically, then this is the spot for you!
There are two tours per day and both explore both houses on the property. Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown House are surrounded by four acres of beautifully kept lawns and gardens. The first part of the tour covers the years 1801-1838 and shows you the first floor rooms and work areas of the time. The tour covers both the elegant life of the homeowners, and the difficult life of the enslaved peoples that were owned by them.
The second floor gives the opportunity to tour one of Kentucky’s haunted places, the bedroom where the Gray Lady Ghost has been spotted! Chalk full of knowledge, Liberty Hall Historic Site is one of the most educational Frankfort activities!
Kentucky State Capitol
Visiting the Kentucky State Capitol is one of our favorite things to do in Frankfort with kids! Since statehood in 1792, Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfort had a long and bitter battle over who would be the capitol city and house the state’s government. Although a capitol building was built in downtown Frankfort in 1830, the permanency of Frankfort as the capitol was not decided until 1904 when this building was erected!
Although not one of the oldest historical sites in Frankfort, the Capitol building is still over 100 years old. This building is actually the fourth capitol building in the state’s history because it keeps outgrowing the buildings its in!
Tours leave frequently from the Tour Guide’s Desk or you can snag a brochure and do a self guided walking tour of the Capitol Building. Each state’s capitol building is enriched with history and culture. Touring the Kentucky State Capitol is one of the best free things to do in Frankfort.
Kentucky Historical Society
The Kentucky Historical Society is one of the most popular things to see in Frankfort! Under their tutelage is the Thomas D. Clark Center, the Old State Capitol, and the Kentucky Military History Museum. Whether you visit just one, or visit them all, you will feel like you know a little bit more about Kentucky. These historical sites in Frankfort illustrate the foundations from which the state was built on.
Recognizing that the state was built on the backs of enslaved peoples and by the displacement of native peoples, the original Kentuckians, the Historical Society works to preserve the history, the bad and the good.
Open to both researchers and visitors, each of their sites holds a special piece of Kentuckian history. For the history or for the walking, visiting the Kentucky Historical Society is one of the best places to visit in Frankfort!
Salato Wildlife Education Center
Salato Wildlife Education Center is one of the best things to do in Frankfort with kids! From lowland marshes to running streams, your group will get to experience the diverse regional ecosystems of Kentucky! With a wealth of fish, animals, birds, and plants, there is plenty to see and learn about!
The fisheries exhibit will have you getting up close to snakes, giant turtles, and the native fish in their large aquariums! Outside there are paved wheelchair accessible paths to see bison, bobcats, birds, and do not forget the Dragonfly Marsh!
262 acres of area to explore at the Salato Wildlife Education Center makes it one of the best outdoorsy things to do in Frankfort Kentucky!
Kentucky Vietnam Memorial
One of the most sobering historical sites in Frankfort is the Kentucky Vietnam Memorial which honors the 1,108 Kentuckians who have fallen. With one of the largest granite memorials in the nation, the site is really something to behold.
Constructed in 1988 with a view overlooking the state capitol, each veteran’s name is engraved precisely so that the shadow of the sundial will touch their name on the anniversary of their death. Behind the gnomon the names of all those Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action so that the shadow will never fall on their name.
One of the most touching free things to do in Frankfort, the Kentucky Vietnam Memorial should not be missed!
Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours and Museum
Handcrafting chocolates since 1919, Rebecca Ruth Chocolates is one of our favorite attractions in Frankfort! Family owned and Kentucky proud, these chocolatiers boast being the home of the Bourbon Ball!
You can tour the chocolate factory Monday-Saturday, but the chocolate is only made Monday through Thursday so plan accordingly! The tours are approximately thirty minutes long and they will show you the candy making process and talk about their 100 year history!
Of course on your way out, you must buy some of their delicious chocolates from their store. Our favorites are of course the bourbon truffles and the french vanilla creams! Please stop at Rebecca Ruth’s Chocolates for one of the most delicious things to do in Frankfort!
Cove Spring Park
One of our favorite free things to do in Frankfort is explore Cove Spring Park! This park and nature preserve is 240 acres of wetlands, springs, waterfalls, and forested ravines. From walking, hiking, nature observation, and environmental observation, this park has room for it all!
There are three miles of trails throughout the preserve. The thirteen trails criss cross and overlap each other, but also offer their own unique experience. The Raceway Spur is less than a half mile there and back, but offers a beautiful view of the top of the waterfall. The Sky Trail is a .61 mile loop that offers views of downtown Frankfort and Fort Hill. You can even see the Capitol Dome on a clear day. Sky Trail is paved so it is wheelchair and stroller accessible!
Cove Spring Park is one of the best things to do in Frankfort for couples who are looking to spend some time outside without breaking a sweat!
The Grand Theatre
Located in historic downtown, the Grand Theatre is one of the most romantic things to do in Frankfort for couples! Built in 1911, this historic theatre is the only remaining of the five theaters that operated downtown. Originally a vaudeville house, the Grand Theatre started showing “talkies” in the 1920’s.
In the 1940’s the original theatre became the entrance and a 600 seat addition was built behind it! Sadly the theatre closed in 1966, but has since been bought by a nonprofit. Until they raise the funds to restore it to its grandness, the theatre is being used for arts programming and fundraising.
Catching a show at The Grand Theatre is like stepping back in time and it’s one of our favorite things to do in Frankfort KY.
West Sixth Farm
Located in a 100 year old building, the West Sixth Farm is one of the best things to do in Frankfort for adults! The taproom is open seasonally and has a large pavilion with seating throughout the property!
West Sixth Farm is truly a place you can spend the day! They have 30 acres that includes the hop yard, apple cider orchard, blackberry bushes, and a catch and release fishing pond. There is a food truck on site, but you can also bring your own picnic lunch or dinner (or both)! Beer is allowed anywhere on the property so grab a bottle or a pint and go on an adventure!
Tours are available on Saturdays that will take you all over the property! There are also four miles of trails for your to explore! Definitely check out West Sixth Farm, one of the most fun Frankfort activities!
Josephine Sculpture Park
The Josephine Sculpture Park is one of the best free things to do in Frankfort! Founded on the grounds of her grandparents’ farm, Melanie Van Houten created this rural park decorated with sculptures and artwork from international artists!
Guests can view and interact with numerous works of art while exploring the native plants and wildlife. If you are looking to learn, Josephine Sculpture Park also offers workshops and classes. Theatre events and other art programs are used to promote the arts! Open from dawn until dusk, the Josephine Sculpture Park is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Frankfort!
Kentucky River Tours
Perhaps one of the most interesting ways to see a city is from the water. The Kentucky River Tours is one of the best things to do in Frankfort for couples because is anything more romantic than bourbon on the water?
Kentucky River Tours offers over ten different tours to choose from. Whether you are just looking to spend some time on the river, to learn about the bourbon trail, or learn more about the history there is a tour for you. The sunset cruise is one of the most wonderful things to do in Frankfort at night because you get to see the sunset and seeing the city lights come alive.
We can’t recommend the Kentucky River Tours enough!
The Floral Clock
Located on the west lawn of the capitol grounds, The Floral Clock is one of the most interesting things to do in Frankfort, KY! 34 feet across and filled with thousands of plants that are changed out seasonally, this clock is without a doubt, one of them most interesting things you will see.
Giving off Alice in Wonderland vibes, the clock is a great backdrop for a photo opportunity and a great place to have lunch! Visiting The Floral Clock is one of our favorite free things to do in Frankfort that gives a nice little walk through the beautiful Capitol grounds and let us know how long until dinner!
Mortimer Pibb’s Public House
One of the best things to do in Frankfort for couples on a date night is to swing through Mortimer Pibb’s Public House. This taste of Ireland in Frankfort is the perfect place to get to know someone new or to spend some one on one with your love after a crazy day.
The atmosphere is so charming and really transports you to another place.. another time. They have a handful of beers on tap, a delicious cocktail menu, and a fun food menu included pretzels and beer cheese, soup, and a grilled pimento cheese.
The best way to learn about a new town is to hang with the locals, and Mortimer Pibb’s Public House is the perfect place. Swing by and have a pint in one of the best things to do in Frankfort at night!
Louisville Mega Cavern
Louisville Mega Cavern is one of the coolest things to do near Frankfort! Located an hour west, these caverns are quite the experience! Most caverns are a walking tour to see stalagmites, but this is so much more!
You can zipline through the caverns, take a tram through if you’re not up for walking, and there is even the option to bike! More than that, there is an event space within the caverns that is 100 feet underground and rentable for your next event for 250 people! They even have catering partners to make food and beverage service so much easier.
Louisville Mega Cavern is one of the coolest things to do in Frankfort with kids and they won’t be able to stop talking about it! We can’t recommend it enough!