Historic Frankfort Itinerary

Day 1

Begin your journey with a guided tour of the Kentucky State Capitol. Here,  you will see the house and senate chambers, as well as the beautiful interior of this historic building. You will learn about Kentucky’s current state of government, as well as some interesting history!  Aside from the marble and murals, visitors also enjoy seeing the collection of 18″ dolls that are replicas of Kentucky’s First Ladies in their inaugural gowns.  Outside, the floral clock, the rose garden and the  sculpture garden are must stops for the perfect photo opps!  This building is the fourth permanent building since statehood in 1792.  It was built to replace the earlier 1830 capitol, still standing in downtown Frankfort, which had become inadequate to accommodate the growing state government. 

Please call the Capitol Tour Desk at 502-564-3449 to confirm availability of tours during the time you wish to visit.

Capitol, Interior image by Gene Burch

Although not open for tours at this time, the Governor’s Mansion has served as the residence of Kentucky’s governors since 1914, and contains many furnishings & works of art which are of museum quality.   You will see it situated on the east lawn of the State Capitol grounds on a bluff high above the Kentucky River in Frankfort. It faces west overlooking the front lawn of the State Capitol building.  Designed in the Beaux-Arts style; inspiration for the mansion came from French architecture. Designed by C.C. and E.A. Weber of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. The Mansion’s exterior was modeled after the Petit Trianon, Queen Marie Antoinette’s villa near the Palace of Versailles in France.

For more history of Frankfort AND famous “Bourbon Ball candy” visit the Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Factory where the world famous Bourbon Chocolates originated. Tour the factory, learn about their interesting story, immerse yourself in the day to day of the factory operations, visit the gift shop, and of course – walk away with a free treat!

Head to historic downtown Frankfort to dine at one of our locally owned and operated restaurants. If time allows, stroll along the brick streets and peruse through the local shops and art galleries. You may also find the Capital City Museum, housed in a 150 year old building that represents all that is left of the Capital Hotel, which burned in 1917. The Museum is filled with history. There are plenty of details to explore, with exhibits painting a vivid picture of both political and personal life in Kentucky over the past 200 years.  Admission into the museum is free but donations are welcome. 

Kentucky history awaits you at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History and Museums Campus. Immerse yourself in the Kentucky experience and watch history come to life in this breathtaking, multimillion dollar museum and research facility. The center also houses one of the largest genealogy libraries in the country.

After you experience the “Kentucky Journey”, it is time for a guided tour of the Old State Capitol. Delve into the politics and everyday life of the tumultuous 19th century by touring this National Historic Landmark that served as Kentucky’s capitol from 1830 to 1910.

The Old State Capitol

 

Built in 1850, the State Arsenal is home to the Kentucky Military History Museum. Revisit the Commonwealth’s military history in this fortress-like building that overlooks downtown Frankfort. Kentucky’s rich military history is both preserved and explained at the Kentucky Military History Museum. The State Arsenal for more than 100 years and a Civil War-era munitions factory, this Gothic Revival style building houses the exhibits “Kentucky Military Treasures” and “George M. Chinn: Sights Set on Innovation,” and 19th-century war records (available for use by appointment)

After a long day of history and touring, check out Riverboat grill for a casual dinner on the water, or head over to Sig Luscher, Frankfort’s oldest Brewery, and the 8th oldest Brewery in the country, for a cold beer and more fascinating history from one of Luscher’s decedents.  

Inside Sig’s with Tim Luscher and Nathan Cryder

 

Day 2

Begin your day with a guided tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery –Throughout the challenges of floods, fires, tornadoes, and even Prohibition, the distillery was never compromised. Buffalo Trace offers seven complimentary tours from the general Trace Tour, to a Hard Hat tour, and even a Ghost Tour!  All are interesting and  include a tasting.  The grounds of this historic distillery are breathtaking and the expansive gift shop has something for everyone. Good luck leaving the gift shop empty-handed!

Lunch is served seasonally at the Firehouse Sandwich Stop located on the grounds of Buffalo Trace.  We highly suggest the Burgoo- It was voted Kentucky’s Best in USA Today’s 10 Best.  One bite of this hearty regional stew and you will see why!

After lunch, we suggest a tour at Liberty Hall Historic Site. Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown houses make up this campus. John Brown was Kentucky’s first senator. LHHS serves as a learning center that engages the public in exploring the history, politics, social and cultural life in early Kentucky through the homes, gardens, documents, and artifacts of Senator John Brown and his family.  It is also a beautiful location for an intimate wedding or social event.

Liberty Hall Historic Site Facebook page

Before leaving Frankfort, you’ll want to see the Kentucky Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – The Memorial overlooks the state Capitol and honors the 125,000 Kentuckians who served this nation so courageously and unselfishly during the Vietnam era. Each name is precisely located so the shadow of the sundial pointer or gnomon, touches each veteran’s name on the anniversary of their death.

Optional Add-Ons

Daniel Boone’s Grave

The Gravesite of Daniel and Rebecca Boone, in the Frankfort Cemetery, overlooks the city of Frankfort…From the Grave site you will see the entire downtown Frankfort along with the KY River and the Capitol dome.

Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill

Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill features two Civil War Earthen Forts, the Sullivan House interpretive center, scenic Downtown Frankfort overlook, and several hiking trails. 

Travel safe. Stay informed about coronavirus precautions and updates in Frankfort.

 Hours of operation and offerings change rapidly these days, so confirm details and options before you arrive. During the coronavirus pandemic, when visiting public places please wear a mask, keep your hands clean, and stand far enough away from other people that you’ll need to raise your bourbon glass in a toast rather than clink glasses.