The small city of Danville, Kentucky lies in the heart of the state’s Bluegrass Region. Known for its small town charm and Southern hospitality, the city is also committed to the preservation of its unique history and heritage, however, still strives to move forward and is known as a “place where Preservation Meets Progress.” Danville is also often called “The City of Firsts.” One of the few designated Cultural Districts in Kentucky, the city is rich in history, but also boasts a vibrant arts scene. Visitors will also find the oldest outdoor dinner theatre in the state, museums, and distilleries. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.The Great American Dollhouse Museum
© The Great American Dollhouse Museum
The Great American Dollhouse Museum is home to a collection of more than two hundred miniature buildings and houses, populated with people at play and work and furnished in great detail. Housed within a historic national guard armory featuring steel bowstring trusses and 20-feet high ceilings, this unique museum is the only one specializing in United States social history in miniature form in the country. From mansions to the industrious Shaker Village to the factory district, guests can meander through a variety of avenues as if they were in a real town, looking into the open businesses and houses.
344 Swope Dr, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-1883
2.Pioneer Playhouse, Danville, Kentucky
The Pioneer Playhouse is the oldest dinner theatre in the state of Kentucky, presenting a variety of Off-Broadway musicals and plays. The grounds of the playhouse include a nineteenth-century village featuring early 1900’s antiques from the town of Danville and store fronts. A state historic landmark, the Pioneer Playhouse has been a part of the Danville community for more than sixty-five year, providing memorable stories beneath the stars. The theater itself was hand built using recycled materials that date back over the last two hundred years. The Box Office was featured in the “Raintree County” movie as a train station.
840 Stanford Rd, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-2747
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3.Wilderness Trail Distillery
© Wilderness Trail Distillery
The family owned and operated Wilderness Trail Distillery is set on more than 160 acres of land in Danville, Kentucky. Starting operations in 2012, Pat Heist and Shane Baker use their over 28 years of experience of fermentation expertise and a love of whiskey to craft some of the finest bourbon whiskey in the state. The distillery prides itself on non-chill-filtered whiskeys, low-barrel proof entry, the sweet mash process, and using locally sourced grains. Tours of the Wilderness Trail Distillery are offered Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am until 5:00pm, with a break from noon to 1:00pm.
4095 Lebanon Rd, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-402-8707
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4.Constitution Square Historic Site, Danville, KY
© Constitution Square Historic Site
The Constitution Square Historic Site is both an open-air museum and park. Known as “the birthplace of Kentucky,” the site where Kentucky officially became the fifteenth state in the Union on June 15 of 1792. Visitors can tour the park and take a look at the cabins where the state’s history was made and the Constitution of Kentucky was drafted. Celebrating the early political history of Kentucky, the Constitution Square Historic Site consists of three replica buildings that had stood on Danville’s original town square, which include the courthouse where ten constitutional conventions were held between the years of 1785 and 1792.
105 E Walnut St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-7794
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5.Art Center of the Bluegrass
© Community Arts Center
The Art Center of the Bluegrass in the middle of historic Danville is a vibrant organization for the visual arts. Featuring works by national, regional, and local artists in rotating exhibits, the art center also offers a wide array of art classes designed to inspire both adults and children alike to explore creativity in a judgement-free and supportive atmosphere. Three exhibit galeries change every couple months, highlighting a new selection of artwork. The Art Center of the Bluegrass is open Tuesday to Friday from 11:00am until 7:00pm and Saturdays from 10:00am until 5:00pm.
401 W Main St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-4054
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6.McDowell House Museum, Danville, Kentucky
© McDowell House Museum
The McDowell House Museum offers visitors a chance to tour the historic McDowell House of Danville, an eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century home, gardens, and apothecary. Guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday from 10:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, as well as Sundays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. During the tour, which lasts between forty-five and sixty minutes, guests will hear about pioneer surgeon Dr. Ephraim McDowell’s story and view the meticulously restored house, the gardens, and his medical office. The McDowell House Museum is open from the beginning of March through the end of October.
125 S 2nd St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-2804
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7.Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Danville, Kentucky
© Elmwood Inn Fine Teas
Situated in the historic downtown district of Danville, Elmwood Inn Fine Teas is a retail shop and tasting bar offering more than 140 different types of tea. Guests can browse the many specialty tea products available in this unique tea shop and immerse themselves within the intoxicating scents and tastes in one of the finest tea gardens around. The owners of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Bruce and Shelley Richardson, have written more than a dozen books and appear at cultural events, universities, and festivals all over the world. The tea shop is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
135 N 2nd St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-6641
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8.Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, KY
© Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts
Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts is a performing arts venue that hosts a variety of award-winning musicians, singers, dancers, and comedians from all over the world during its world-class performing arts series. Designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s William WEsley Peters, the center first opened its doors as the Centre College Regional Arts Center in 1973 with its Opening Night Gala featuring Otello. The 85,000-square-foot venue complex features beautiful exhibition and performance spaces, along with academic facilities for drama, music, and art. The two theaters have consistently received praise from both audiences and performers alike.
300 W Walnut St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-236-4692
9.Grace Cafe, Danville, Kentucky
© Grace Cafe
Grace Cafe is one of the more unique dining establishments in Danville, Kentucky. This “pay-what-you-can,” non-profit community restaurant boasts a commitment to serving highly nutritious, organic whenever possible, locally sourced, fresh delicious food to everyone in the community, regardless of anyone’s ability to pay. The cafe is the first of its kind within the state of Kentucky, taking an innovative and new approach to solving food insecurity and hunger, and is supported by volunteerism, fundraising, and in-Cafe donations. There are suggested donation amounts for those who can “pay it forward” instead of prices for each menu item on the daily changing menu.
219 S 4th St, Danville, KY 40422, Phone: 859-209-2529
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9 Best Things to Do in Danville, Kentucky
- The Great American Dollhouse Museum, Photo: The Great American Dollhouse Museum
- Pioneer Playhouse, Danville, Kentucky, Photo: backup16/stock.adobe.com
- Wilderness Trail Distillery, Photo: Wilderness Trail Distillery
- Constitution Square Historic Site, Danville, KY, Photo: Constitution Square Historic Site
- Art Center of the Bluegrass, Photo: Community Arts Center
- McDowell House Museum, Danville, Kentucky, Photo: McDowell House Museum
- Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Danville, Kentucky, Photo: Elmwood Inn Fine Teas
- Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, KY, Photo: Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts
- Grace Cafe, Danville, Kentucky, Photo: Grace Cafe
- Cover Photo: karenfoleyphoto/stock.adobe.com
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