Owensboro is Kentucky’s fourth-largest city located on the Ohio River, where it offers visitors several attractions. The city is famous for producing Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey for many decades – today you can visit the O.Z. Tyler Distillery to see the production process and enjoy a tasting or sidle up to the Spirits Bar which is famous for stocking over 600 Bourbons. Outdoor activities include visiting Reid’s Orchard for the fall Apple Festival or catching a basketball game at the Owensboro Sports Center. The Arts are alive and well in the city – you can visit the Owensboro Fine Art Museum or attend the Owensboro Symphony at the Riverpark Center which also hosts regular free Friday After 5 concerts in summer. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.O.Z. Tyler Distillery
© O.Z. Tyler Distillery
Since 1885 there has been a distillery on the site of the current O.Z. Tyler distillery in Owensboro. Although the business fell upon hard times on numerous occasions and has seen a string of different owners come and go, this distillery has stood the test of time. When you visit today you are invited to soak up some history and to see exactly how a true Kentucky Bourbon is made. A tour of the distillery will show you every step of the process from grain to barrel. At the end of the tour you will get to taste some of the fine bourbon Whiskeys produced on site.
O.Z. Tyler Distillery, 10 Distillery Rd, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-691-9001
© Reid’s Orchard
October is apple harvest time in Kentucky and this is the best time of the year to visit Reid’s Orchard. The orchard holds an Apple Festival on the third weekend of the month with dozens of food and craft stalls, kid’s entertainment and much more. Except for January and February, when the orchard is closed, you are welcome to visit the Apple House all year round to stock up on delicious farm-fresh fruit and vegetables as well as flowers. If you visit in mid to late may you can enjoy the U-Pick strawberry season and peaches are at their best in August. There is a children’s play area which offers pony rides and a petting zoo during October.
Reid’s Orchard, 4818 HWY 144, Owensboro, KY 42303, Phone: 270-685-2444
3.Western Kentucky Botanical Garden
© Western Kentucky Botanical Garden
Nestled in the heart of Owensboro, the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden is a must-see attraction for all nature lovers. A great way to enjoy your visit to the garden is to download a map for a self-guided walking tour. The garden includes 10 individual themed gardens including a rose garden, day-lily garden, herb garden, fruit and vegetable garden and the very popular children’s garden. There is just about always something lovely in bloom and gardeners come from near and far to seek inspiration and plants to take home with them from the on-site nursery. The gardens offer several attractive indoor and outdoor venues for events and celebrations.
Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, 25 Carter Rd, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-993-1234
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4.Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
© Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
For 40 years the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art has been bringing a feast of visiting fine art exhibitions to Owensboro. The museum is housed in three separate wings, two of which are housed in historic buildings which are worthy of a visit in their own right. The John Hampden Smith House is a fine pre-civil war mansion which houses the museum’s permanent collection of decorative art from all over the world. Local Kentucky artists offer their work for sale in the Regional Art Market and RIVERARTS is an outdoor sculpture garden which is also managed by the museum. Guided tours may be booked in advance.
Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, 901 Frederica St, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-685-3181
5.Town Square Mall
Town Square Mall offers Owensboro locals and visitors a convenient one-stop shopping facility containing 2 department stores, several places to eat and drink and many small specialty stores. You can shop till you drop at JC Penney and Macy’s, get a mani/pedi at Top Nail or shop for some sports equipment at Hibbett Sports. If you are in need of some pampering you can head to Bath and Body Works and you can buy everything you need for the family at The Children’s Place. When you need a break and a snack you can head to Applebee’s Grill and Bar, Ben’s Pretzels or Great American Cookies.
Town Square Mall, 4600 Frederica St, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-683-4545
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6.Owensboro Sports Center
© Owensboro Sports Center
The Owensboro Sports Center is one of the town’s oldest buildings. It first opened in 1949 and is currently the home ground of two local basketball teams, the Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers and the Owensboro Catholic High School Aces. (TBL team Owensboro Thoroughbreds have also recently relocated to the center). As such, it is a popular meeting place for Owensboro locals. In addition to hosting riveting basketball matches the 5,000-seater sports center also regularly hosts other sporting events as well as concerts, shows and exhibitions. The newly-renovated concessions area ensures that you will not go hungry during the game or concert.
Owensboro Sports Center, 1215 Hickman Ave, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-687-8330
The Riverpark Center is Owensboro’s delightful performing arts center, located in a prominent position on the Downtown river front. The center is home to three outstanding local groups including the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, the Owensboro Dance Theatre and Friday After 5. In addition to all the brilliant local talent, the center is often used as a springboard for National Broadway Tours. On these occasions lucky Owensboro residents are treated to fabulous tour launches at the center. It would be a shame to visit Owensboro without attending one of the 400 annual productions. You can check their website for details and tickets.
Riverpark Center, 101 Daviess Street, Owensboro, KY 42303, Phone: 270-687-2770
8.Owensboro Museum of Science and History
© Owensboro Museum of Science and History
Housed in an historic building in the heart of downtown Owensboro, the Owensboro Museum of Science and History is a great place to spend a few hours with the family. There are several themed environments within the museum including the Rotary Playzeum where children under 10 can have hours of educational fun crawling and playing on the colorful exhibits. At the ENCOUNTER exhibit children will enjoy learning all about science in a fun, interactive way. The Coal Mine Gallery is also a lot of fun and the whole family will learn about historic coal mining. Tours of the Coal Mine Gallery are offered at 3pm from Tuesday to Friday and at 11.30 and 3pm on Saturdays.
Owensboro Museum of Science and History, 122 East 2nd Street, Owensboro, KY 42303, Phone: 270-687-2732
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9.Moonlight Bar B Q Inn
© Moonlight Bar B Q Inn
After a busy day of exploring there is nothing better than settling in to enjoy a traditional Kentucky barbeque. If you happen to be in Owensboro, the Moonlight Bar-B-Q restaurant is the place to go. The family-owned and operated restaurant has over 50 years experience in serving up delicious slow-cooked prime cuts of meat with an authentic hickory flavor. The restaurant is famous for its very impressive buffet, which is served at lunchtime and dinner time from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays you can visit for a mouth-watering brunch served from 10am to 2.30pm. They also offer an extensive Take-Out Menu is you prefer to dine at home.
Moonlight BBQ, 2840 West Parrish Ave, Owensboro, KY 42303, Phone: 270-684-8143
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10.The Miller House Restaurant
© The Miller House Restaurant
The Miller House restaurant is located in history downtown Owensboro where it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from Tuesday to Friday, dinner only on Saturday and a Sunday brunch. The mood is relaxed and informal and the food has a distinct southern twist. The restaurant has its own vegetable garden where much of the fresh produce is produced – you can be assured of a true farm-to-fork meal. In the basement of Miller House you will find their bar called Spirits, which has won several awards for the amazing collection of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskeys you will find there – at any one time the bar has at least 600 different varieties.
Miller House Restaurant, 301 East 5th Street, Owensboro, 42303, Phone: 270-685-5878
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© Bill’s Restaurant
Bill’s Restaurant is owned and run by Bill Hughes, a Kentucky local who learnt to cook alongside his mother in the family home. Many years after studying Culinary Arts and working in various positions, Bill has achieved his lifetime dream of opening his own restaurant. The modern and innovative menu changes almost daily, dictated by whatever seasonal produce is available at the time. You can look forward to enjoying a daily selection of fresh fish and seafood alongside favorites like schnitzel and steak, all done to perfection and served with beautiful accompaniments. The lunch menu features lighter fare including sandwiches, salads and poke bowls.
Bill’s Restaurant, 420 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY 42301, Phone: 270-852-8120
11 Best Things to Do in Owensboro, KY
- O.Z. Tyler Distillery, Photo: O.Z. Tyler Distillery
- Reid’s Orchard, Photo: Reid’s Orchard
- Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, Photo: Western Kentucky Botanical Garden
- Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Photo: Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
- Town Square Mall, Photo: makarovada/stock.adobe.com
- Owensboro Sports Center, Photo: Owensboro Sports Center
- Riverpark Center, Photo: bellakadife/stock.adobe.com
- Owensboro Museum of Science and History, Photo: Owensboro Museum of Science and History
- Moonlight Bar B Q Inn, Photo: Moonlight Bar B Q Inn
- The Miller House Restaurant, Photo: The Miller House Restaurant
- Bill’s Restaurant, Photo: Bill’s Restaurant
- Cover Photo: City of Owensboro KY - Mayor's Office
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