12 Best Memorial Day Weekend Activities In Kentucky

things to do in kentucky memorial day weekend

As the temperature warms up and summer approaches, many of us look forward to celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with friends and family. This year, why not head to Kentucky for a weekend filled with unforgettable activities and experiences? Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, historical attractions, or simply a chance to relax and unwind, Kentucky has it all. To help you plan your perfect weekend, we've put together a list of the 12 best Memorial Day Weekend activities in Kentucky. From bourbon tastings to horse racing, there's something for everyone in the Bluegrass State. So, grab a mint julep and get ready for a truly memorable holiday weekend in Kentucky!

Activity Description
Kentucky Derby Festival Annual event featuring hot air balloons, marathons, parades and fireworks in Louisville
Riverfest Weekend-long music festival with food vendors and fireworks at Newport on the Levee
Memorial Day Parade Traditional parade honoring fallen military members in Lexington
Lake Cumberland Boating Rent a boat and enjoy a day on the lake with family and friends
Mammoth Cave National Park Explore the largest cave system in the world on a guided tour
Bourbon Trail Explore the scenic and historic Bourbon Trail with distillery tours and tastings
Horseback riding in Lexington Enjoy a picturesque trail ride through the Bluegrass region
Newport Aquarium Visit the Newport Aquarium to see exotic marine life and attend special events
Camping at Red River Gorge Spend the weekend camping and hiking in the beautiful Red River Gorge
Louisville Bats Baseball Game Catch a minor league baseball game with the Louisville Bats


Visit the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington

Source: www.whereverimayroamblog.com

As Memorial Day weekend fast approaches, many people are beginning to plan their weekend getaways. For those looking for an exciting and memorable destination, look no further than the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

This internationally renowned working horse farm and equine park is the perfect place for animal lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and history buffs alike. With a variety of activities and events, visitors can experience the beauty and power of these magnificent animals up close.

One of the main attractions of the Kentucky Horse Park is the daily Parade of Breeds, which showcases different breeds of horses from around the world. Visitors can learn about the unique traits of each breed and watch as they perform various jobs, such as carriage driving, racing, and jumping.

For those looking for a more interactive experience, horseback riding is available for all skill levels. From trail rides to lessons, visitors can enjoy the thrill of riding at this world-class facility.

History buffs will also appreciate the International Museum of the Horse, which is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of horses and their impact on human society. With exhibits showcasing the evolution of horses, their importance in battles, and their role in transportation, visitors can learn about the rich and fascinating history of these animals.

With the Kentucky Horse Park hosting several events throughout the year, there is always something new and exciting to see and do. During Memorial Day weekend, the park hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, one of the world's most prestigious equestrian competitions. Visitors can watch as top riders and horses compete in events such as dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

Overall, a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park is a must for anyone visiting the Lexington area. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and exciting events, it is the perfect destination for a memorable Memorial Day weekend.

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Attend the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville

Source: www.danvillekentucky.com

The Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and it’s time to start planning your weekend getaway! If you are in the state of Kentucky, there’s no better way to celebrate the weekend than by attending the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville.

This annual festival is an event that’s not to be missed. Held over three days during Memorial Day weekend, the festival brings together some of the best brass bands from around the country and attracts visitors from near and far. With good music, delicious food, and beautiful scenery, the festival offers a unique experience to visitors.

The festival takes place in Danville, a small historic town that boasts a vibrant community and beautiful countryside. During the festival, the town is transformed into a lively hub of activity, with people from all over the country flocking to enjoy the festivities.

The Great American Brass Band Festival features a vast range of legendary brass musicians, including university and military bands. Audiences will enjoy more than 30 hours of live music, with performances by some top-notch musicians. The music ranges from classical pieces to traditional marches, patriotic songs, and modern brass band arrangements.

Food lovers will enjoy the delicious food trucks and culinary delights that offer an impressive collection of southern-style foods. Festival-goers can take a seat at the covered dining area to enjoy their meals or simply find a spot on the lawn.

Besides music and food, the festival also boasts various outdoor activities like the children’s parade, street parties, craft shows, and much more. The festival also presents an excellent opportunity to discover the town and enjoy a leisurely stroll in the picturesque streets.

In conclusion, the Great American Brass Band Festival is a great way to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend in Kentucky. So, pack up and head down to Danville to revel in the music, food, and fun!


Enjoy the Louisville Jazz Festival

Source: www.gotolouisville.com

As Memorial Day approaches, many people are beginning to plan their holiday weekend celebrations. If you're looking for something fun to do in Kentucky this year, why not check out the Louisville Jazz Festival? This annual event has become a beloved tradition for music lovers throughout the state, and it's sure to be a highlight of your Memorial Day weekend.

The Louisville Jazz Festival takes place on May 29th and 30th at Waterfront Park, located on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. The two-day event features a lineup of incredible jazz musicians from across the country, performing on multiple stages throughout the park. This year's headliners include Grammy-winning artists like Robert Glasper, Gregory Porter, and Dianne Reeves, ensuring that you'll be treated to some of the best jazz performances around.

But the Louisville Jazz Festival is about more than just the music. There will also be a variety of food vendors on hand, offering a diverse selection of delicious cuisine to choose from. Whether you're in the mood for barbecue, pizza, tacos, or something sweet, you'll find plenty of options to satisfy your cravings. And if you're feeling really indulgent, you can even treat yourself to a drink from one of the festival's beer and wine stands.

In addition to the music and food, the Louisville Jazz Festival also offers a number of other attractions and activities. There will be a jazz education tent where you can learn more about the history of the music and its impact on American culture. You can also browse through vendor booths selling everything from handmade crafts to festival merchandise. And of course, the beautiful setting of Waterfront Park provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing weekend spent enjoying great music and good company.

So if you're looking for a fun way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in Kentucky, be sure to add the Louisville Jazz Festival to your list. Whether you're a long-time jazz fan or just looking for a way to enjoy some fantastic live music, this event is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So pack a blanket, bring your friends and family, and get ready to soak up the sounds of one of the best jazz festivals in the country.


Explore the Mammoth Cave National Park

Source: www.nps.gov

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many people are making plans for a fun and relaxing holiday. For those in Kentucky, there is no better place to spend this weekend than at the Mammoth Cave National Park.

The park, located in central Kentucky, is home to the world's longest cave system. With over 400 miles of passageways, there is plenty to explore. Visitors can take guided tours that range from easy walks through illuminated areas of the cave to more strenuous excursions that explore the natural wonders of the underground world.

One of the most popular tours is the Historic Tour, which takes visitors through the Gothic Avenue and the Rotunda, where they can see some of the most impressive cave formations. The Domes and Dripstones tour is also a must-do, as it explores some of the more recently discovered regions of the cave system.

If you're feeling more adventurous, there are several options for more strenuous tours, such as the Wild Cave Tour, which takes visitors on a six-hour journey through areas of the cave that are not open to the general public.

In addition to cave tours, the Mammoth Cave National Park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for horseback riding, biking, kayaking, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, camping, and stargazing under the clear Kentucky skies.

Overall, spending Memorial Day weekend at the Mammoth Cave National Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Kentucky and to honor the sacrifices made by our country's servicemembers. With endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation, this park is a true gem of the Bluegrass State.


Attend the Kentucky Reggae Festival in Louisville

Source: www.facebook.com

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many people are searching for fun and exciting events to attend in Kentucky. If you're a fan of reggae music, there's no better place to be than the Kentucky Reggae Festival in Louisville.

The festival takes place at the Louisville Water Tower Park, which is a beautiful and unique venue located on the banks of the Ohio River. Here, you can enjoy live music, food and craft vendors, and a variety of other activities.

One of the biggest draws of the Kentucky Reggae Festival is the music. This year's lineup features some amazing performers, including Dubbest, Zion Roots, and The Ark Band. There will be two stages set up, so you can enjoy continuous music throughout the day.

Aside from the music, there are plenty of other things to do at the festival. There will be a variety of food vendors offering everything from Caribbean jerk chicken to vegetarian options. And if you're looking for a little retail therapy, there will be craft vendors selling jewelry, art, and other unique items.

Another great thing about the Kentucky Reggae Festival is its family-friendly atmosphere. Kids under 10 get in for free, and there are a variety of activities just for them. There will be face painting, balloon animals, and other fun things to keep them entertained while you enjoy the music.

Overall, the Kentucky Reggae Festival is a great way to kick off your Memorial Day weekend. With amazing live music, delicious food, and plenty of activities for the whole family, this is an event you won't want to miss. So grab your tickets and get ready to have a great time!


Visit the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green

Source: www.corvettemuseum.org
Characteristic Description
NameNational Corvette Museum
TypeMuseum in Bowling Green, Kentucky
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.7 / 8,954
Address350 Corvette Dr, Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone(270) 781-7973
HoursWednesday - 9 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 9 AM–5 PM
Friday - 9 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 9 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 9 AM–5 PM
Monday(Memorial Day) - 9 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 9 AM–5 PM

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many of us are looking for ways to honor and remember those who have lost their lives while serving our country. If you're planning to spend the weekend in Kentucky, why not take a trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green?

Located just a few hours south of Louisville, the National Corvette Museum is a must-visit destination for car enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The museum is dedicated to celebrating the history and legacy of one of America's most beloved sports cars, the Chevrolet Corvette.

Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits showcasing the evolution of the Corvette over the years, from its origins in the 1950s to the latest models. Highlights of the museum include displays of rare and historic Corvettes, interactive exhibits that allow visitors to design their dream car, and a Corvette simulator that gives visitors a taste of what it's like to drive one of these iconic sports cars.

But the Museum isn't just about cars. It's also a tribute to the men and women who have made the Corvette what it is today. Visitors can learn about the engineers, designers, and drivers who have played a role in shaping the Corvette's history, as well as the fans and enthusiasts who have made the Corvette a cultural icon.

As you explore the museum, be sure to make time for the Motorsports Park, where you can take a guided tour, watch a race, or even drive your own car on the track. You can also check out the Corvette Cafe, which serves up delicious snacks and drinks, and shop for souvenirs in the Corvette Store.

Whether you're a die-hard car enthusiast or just looking for a fun way to spend Memorial Day weekend, the National Corvette Museum is a destination you won't want to miss. With its mix of automotive history, interactive exhibits, and hands-on experiences, it's the perfect place to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country and celebrate one of America's most beloved sports cars.

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Go camping at Lake Cumberland

Source: www.explorekywildlands.com

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and if you're looking for something to do, consider heading to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky for a camping trip. With its picturesque views and calm waters, Lake Cumberland is the perfect destination for a relaxing Memorial Day getaway.

First, you'll need to find a campsite. The Lake Cumberland area offers plenty of campgrounds, including Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and Kozy Haven Log Cabins & RV Park. Both offer breathtaking views of the lake and easy access to outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming.

Once you've found your campsite, it's time to start planning your activities. If you like fishing, Lake Cumberland is a fisherman's paradise. The lake is home to a variety of fish, including crappie, bass, and catfish. You can rent a boat, bring your own, or fish from the shore. If you prefer boating or paddling, you can rent kayaks or canoes or bring your own. The lake has several marinas, and you can rent pontoon boats, ski boats, and jet skis.

If you'd rather stay on land, there are plenty of hiking trails to explore. The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park has several trails, including the Eagle Falls Trail and the Moonbow Trail. The Lake Cumberland State Resort Park also offers hiking trails, including the Grider Hill Dock Trail and the Kendall Trail.

In addition to outdoor activities, the Lake Cumberland area has plenty of other things to offer. You can take a tour of the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, which commemorates the Civil War Battle of Mill Springs. The area also has several wineries, including the Cedar Creek Vineyards and the Cave Hill Vineyard & Winery.

Finally, don't forget to relax and take in the beautiful scenery. The Lake Cumberland area is known for its majestic sunsets, and there's no better way to end a day than by gathering around a campfire and watching the sun dip below the horizon.

In conclusion, Lake Cumberland is a great Memorial Day weekend destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the outdoors. With plenty of camping options, outdoor activities, and scenic views, you'll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. So pack your bags, grab your gear, and head to Lake Cumberland for a weekend you won't forget.


Watch the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Source: www.lanereport.com

Memorial Day weekend is coming up and what better way to celebrate than to watch the legendary Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs? The Derby, known as the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports," is a world-renowned horse racing event held annually on the first Saturday in May. However, this year, the Derby has been postponed to September 5th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, if you're looking to plan ahead and celebrate Memorial Day weekend in style, don your best attire, and head to Churchill Downs for a day filled with excitement, entertainment, and fashion.

Firstly, it would be wise to purchase your tickets in advance to beat the crowds and avoid long queues on the day. You can choose from various seating arrangements such as the grandstands, clubhouse seats, or premium boxes, depending on your budget and preferences. Additionally, you can opt for packages that offer various perks such as food and beverage services, access to exclusive viewing areas and more.

On the day of the event, be sure to arrive early to catch all the pre-race festivities. You can witness the horse's parade, listen to live music, and enjoy some delicious Kentucky-inspired cuisine. Don't forget to put on your best hat or fascinator as the Derby is most famously known for its fashion and style.

Once the races begin, you will be kept on the edge of your seat as you cheer on your favorite horses. If you're not familiar with horse racing, don't worry, Churchill Downs offers a glossary of terms and betting guides to make your experience more enjoyable.

Apart from the Derby itself, there are many other activities to explore at Churchill Downs. You can visit the Kentucky Derby Museum, take a tour of the racetrack, or shop at the many vendors selling souvenirs, clothing, and accessories.

In conclusion, if you're looking to enjoy a Memorial Day weekend filled with thrilling moments and unforgettable experiences, then a trip to Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby is the perfect choice. Make sure to prepare adequately before the day, arrive early, and most of all, have fun.


Enjoy the Newport Italianfest

Source: www.citybeat.com

As Memorial Day draws near, it's time to plan your weekend getaway. If you happen to be in Kentucky, one event that you should definitely not miss is the Newport Italianfest. This festival is filled with mouth-watering food, live music, and exciting activities, making it the perfect Memorial Day weekend destination.

Located in the heart of Newport, Kentucky, the Italianfest is a four-day event that draws thousands of visitors from across the country. This year, the festival is scheduled to take place from May 27th to May 30th, giving you plenty of time to celebrate the long weekend with your family and friends.

One of the main highlights of the festival is undoubtedly the food. Expect to indulge in some of the best Italian dishes that Kentucky has to offer. From delectable pasta dishes to crispy pizza, you won't be disappointed with the variety of food options available. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll be happy to hear that the Italianfest also has a range of mouth-watering desserts that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

In addition to the delicious food, the festival also features live entertainment that will keep you entertained throughout the day. From local bands to international performers, there's a range of music to enjoy. If you're in the mood to dance, head over to the dance floor and show off your moves.

If you're bringing your kids along, there are also plenty of activities to keep them occupied. The festival has a dedicated kids' area that is filled with exciting games and activities that your little ones will love. Whether it's face painting, balloon twisting, or bounce houses, your children will have a blast.

Overall, the Newport Italianfest is the perfect Memorial Day weekend destination for anyone who loves good food, live entertainment, and exciting activities. With so much to see and experience, make sure to plan your visit in advance to make the most of this fantastic event.


Visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville

Source: www.tripadvisor.com

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many people in Kentucky are planning their long-awaited getaways, celebrating the arrival of warm weather with family and friends. If you are looking for a unique way to spend Memorial Day weekend, why not visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville?

Named after the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, the Ali Center is a cultural center and museum that celebrates the life and legacy of one of the greatest athletes of all time. Located in the heart of downtown Louisville, the Ali Center is an awe-inspiring place that is well worth a visit, especially during Memorial Day weekend.

At the Ali Center, visitors can explore a range of exhibits that showcase Ali's life story, from his humble beginnings in Louisville to his extraordinary accomplishments in the ring. From his famous fights against George Foreman and Joe Frazier to his work as a civil rights activist, the Ali Center offers a comprehensive look at the man behind the legend.

One of the highlights of the Ali Center is the interactive exhibits that allow visitors to test their boxing skills and learn more about the sport. You can even try your hand at shadowboxing like Ali himself, experiencing what it feels like to be in the ring with a champion.

In addition to the exhibits, the Ali Center also hosts events and programs throughout the year, including film screenings, concerts, and lectures. As part of the Memorial Day weekend celebration, the Ali Center will be offering a variety of events and activities that honor the contributions of servicemen and women.

For example, visitors can participate in the "Ali's Homecoming" exhibit, which celebrates his return to Louisville after he famously refused to fight in the Vietnam War. The exhibit features artifacts from Ali's time in Louisville and explores the impact that his activism had on the civil rights movement.

Overall, the Muhammad Ali Center is an essential tourist destination for anyone visiting Louisville, Kentucky. It is an ideal place to spend Memorial Day weekend, as you not only get to learn about the life of a true American hero but also pay tribute to the men and women who served our country. With so much to see and do at the Ali Center, you're unlikely to be disappointed!

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Attend the Owensboro BBQ Festival

Source: www.14news.com

Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time for a road trip, and if you happen to find yourself in Kentucky, there is no better place to be than the Owensboro BBQ Festival. The annual festival is a celebration of all things barbecue, and it draws thousands of visitors from all over the country each year.

The Owensboro BBQ Festival is held every Memorial Day weekend at the downtown riverfront in Owensboro, Kentucky. The festival runs for three days and features over 50 teams of pitmasters and barbecuers who compete in various categories, including pork, chicken, ribs, beef, and brisket. The festival is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), which means that the competition is taken very seriously.

But the Owensboro BBQ Festival is not just about the competition. It's also about enjoying great food, live music, and the company of other barbecue enthusiasts. The festival features a variety of food vendors offering everything from pulled pork sandwiches to ribs to brisket. There are also craft vendors selling unique items, as well as a beer garden featuring some of Kentucky's best craft beers.

One of the highlights of the festival is the People's Choice competition, where visitors can sample and vote for their favorite barbecue. The winner of the People's Choice competition receives a prize, as well as bragging rights.

In addition to the barbecue competition and the food vendors, the Owensboro BBQ Festival features a variety of live music acts over the three-day event. The music ranges from blues to country to rock, and there are plenty of opportunities to dance and sing along.

If you're planning on attending the Owensboro BBQ Festival over Memorial Day weekend, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, come hungry. There is a lot of great barbecue to try, and you'll want to make sure you have room for it all. Second, dress comfortably. The festival takes place outdoors, and the weather can be unpredictable. Finally, bring your sense of humor and your love of all things barbecue. The festival is a fun, laid-back event that celebrates the best of Kentucky's food and culture.

In conclusion, if you're looking for something fun and unique to do over Memorial Day weekend in Kentucky, look no further than the Owensboro BBQ Festival. With great food, live music, and a fun, relaxed atmosphere, it's the perfect way to celebrate the holiday weekend. Whether you're a barbecue enthusiast or just looking for a good time, you won't want to miss this event.

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Go boating or fishing at Kentucky Lake

Source: kentucky.gov

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many people are looking for fun and exciting ways to spend their time off. If you're in Kentucky or planning to visit the state during the long weekend, one great option is to go boating or fishing at Kentucky Lake.

With over 160,000 acres of water and 2,380 miles of shoreline, Kentucky Lake is a popular destination for boaters and anglers alike. The lake is located in western Kentucky, about two hours from Louisville and just over three hours from Nashville, Tennessee.

If you're interested in boating, there are plenty of options available at Kentucky Lake. Several marinas in the area offer boat rentals for the day or even the entire weekend. You can choose from a variety of boats, including pontoons, speed boats, and fishing boats. Many of the marinas also offer services like fueling and boat storage if you bring your own vessel.

Once you're on the water, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. You can spend the day tubing, wakeboarding, or waterskiing, or simply relax and take in the beautiful scenery. There are also several restaurants and bars accessible from the lake if you want to stop for a meal or drink.

If fishing is more your speed, Kentucky Lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. You can rent a boat or bring your own and spend the day casting and reeling in your catch. There are several fishing guides and charters available in the area if you're new to the sport or want to increase your chances of success.

As you plan your Memorial Day weekend, keep in mind that Kentucky Lake can be quite busy during this time of year. It's best to book your boat rental or fishing charter in advance to ensure availability. Additionally, be sure to wear appropriate safety gear while on the water and follow all boating and fishing regulations.

In conclusion, going boating or fishing at Kentucky Lake is an excellent way to spend your Memorial Day weekend. With plenty of water and shoreline to explore, as well as a variety of activities to enjoy, there's something for everyone at this beautiful lake. So pack your sunscreen, grab your fishing gear, and head to Kentucky Lake for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

Frequently asked questions

There are many fun outdoor activities to enjoy over the Memorial Day weekend in Kentucky, including hiking at Red River Gorge, paddleboarding or kayaking on the Ohio River, boating on Lake Cumberland, and horseback riding at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Yes, there are several Memorial Day events and festivals in Kentucky. For example, the Kentucky Reggae Festival in Louisville, the Memorial Day Parade in Frankfort, and the Neal Lancaster Four Star Challenge golf tournament in Danville.

There are several family-friendly activities to do in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend, such as visiting the Louisville Zoo, exploring the Kentucky Science Center, and taking a scenic train ride on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway.

Yes, many stores and shopping centers in Kentucky offer special Memorial Day sales and discounts on clothing, electronics, and home goods. Some popular shopping destinations in Kentucky include the Fayette Mall in Lexington and the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Louisville.

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