Bowling Green is the third largest city in Kentucky, and it has many attractions both natural and manmade, to draw the driver’s interest. Bowling Green began in 1778 when settlers established McFadden’s Station on the north bank of the Barren River. Today Bowling Green is a charming, flourishing city with a predominance of red brick buildings and friendly people.
Fountain Square Park is the leafy centerpiece of the city and is lovely every season of the year. From the park, you can stroll the quaint historic district of Bowling Green to your heart’s content, in order see its many fine historic buildings. There is a gorgeous fountain in the middle of the park, surmounted by a whimsical statue by the celebrated sculptor Antonio Canova, of Hebe the eternal goddess of youth, with her ewer and chalice.
Things To Do
Are you a Corvette fan? Who isn’t? Put the National Corvette Museum and the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant on your top priority for sightseeing. see Corvettes being assembled on a one-hour guided walking tour. If you are lucky, you will be present to witness when a new Corvette is presented to its owners; there is an impressive ceremony that goes with the transfer of the vehicle. This assembly plant has been the source of all Chevrolet Corvettes built since 1981. Hint, at the information booth inside the National Corvette Museum you can get a map of the Civil War Driving Tour of Bowling Green and Warren County.
Lost River Cave and Valley is a seven-mile cave system. The cave tour is a short boat tour with a small hike. Enjoy a close-up exploration of the cave without having to do anything strenuous. Chaney’s Dairy Barn is known for its ice cream including its spirited Kentucky Bourbon Crunch flavor. The dairy farm tour is quite educational and enjoyable; see a cow at milking time. Especially fun for the kids. There is also a hayride, a restaurant, and coin operated batting cages.
Bowling Green is also home to the state’s second-largest public university: Western Kentucky University. The setting is enchanting, with delightful views from the top of the hill. The Kentucky Museum features many Kentucky Historical Exhibits.
Riverview at Hobson Grove
Riverview at Hobson Grove is a beautiful brick Italianate antebellum mansion. Your tour takes you through almost the entire house, as you learn about its history. The dining table is set with old lace and vintage china, ready for you to sit down to a meal, that is, in your imagination. In every room, there are so many beautiful antiques on view, many of them family pieces that have been returned to the home. One of the beds looks like it came directly from the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House. Enjoy the tour.
Go to the Historic Railpark and Train Museum if you are a train enthusiast; you will be in your element in this museum housed in the old depot. There is a fantastic model train layout, and some great train engines and railroad cars on display.
And of course, Mammoth Cave is nearby. Hint, when you go to Mammoth Cave, take the short tour, which offers you a great look at the most impressive features of the cave. If you want the longer tours with the many, many steps, by all means, go for it. We did and enjoyed it very much. But be advised, there is a lot of up and down on metal stairways that are also usually quite wet from the natural flow of water in the cave.
As for meals in Bowling Green: The Bistro has great ambiance in a 19th-century house. Their menu is European style and their location is a short stroll from Fountain Square. Rafferty’s Restaurant & Bar with its brick and wood décor offers popular fare including delicious salads, burgers, prime rib—whatever you are hungry for. Their honey croissants are a specialty. Smokey Pig BBQ is Bowling Green’s best-known barbecue place; dating back to the early 1970s. Montana Grille is an American Steakhouse with a mountain lodge décor. Their steaks and prime rib get raves, as does their justly famous skillet-served cornbread. Micki’s on Main offers both a casual, relaxed bar and grill and, at 440 Main, a more upscale dining restaurant. So go to Micki’s for a simple meal and 440 for a special dinner.
One of Bowling Green’s most illustrious sons was Duncan Hines, the travel guidebook writer who lent his name to the celebrated cake mixes. Today, Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau features an 80-mile loop, called the Duncan Hines Scenic Byway, that takes you through some of the most interesting places in the area. You can read about it in detail and follow the trail, here.