As the Bluegrass gears up for the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby, visitors may be wondering how to visit several iconic Kentucky locations as they travel to Louisville for the experience. Or, maybe your plans don’t involve going to Churchill Downs, but you’d still like to be close to the action. Here is a multi-day itinerary to help you celebrate the uniqueness of the Commonwealth which includes the Derby-specific “Horsepower Experience” with the NCM Motorsports Park and National Corvette Museum!

Day 1: 


  • Enjoy breakfast at Spencer’s CoffeeSince 2001, Spencer's has been southcentral Kentucky's destination for world-class coffee and espresso drinks. Spencer’s specializes in all things tasty, including handmade breakfast and lunch fare, from-scratch pastries, craft beer and more. 

    Spencer's Coffee
  • Visit the Kentucky Museum and head to the Recommended by Duncan Hines exhibit, Explore some sweet history and follow the career of the Bowling Green native from traveling salesman to esteemed restaurant critic to cake-mix king. Kentucky Museum visitor parking is available in the "Kentucky Building Lot" adjacent to the Kentucky Museum and in the "Kentucky Museum Lot" across the street. 


  • Arrive at the NCM Motorsports Park for your Horsepower Experience! This unique attraction honors the Kentucky Derby’s Sesquicentennial and will be available to the public on select dates in April and May. While it’s not horseback, we think you’ll still get a thrill cruising in a C8 Corvette through the Kentucky countryside.

     NCM Motorsports Park
  • Afterward, enjoy a Derby-influenced meal at the Stingray Grill located within the National Corvette Museum. A Derby lunch wouldn’t be complete without a mint Julep – sip, enjoy and dream of the fourth of May! 
  • Then take a self-guided tour through the Corvette Museum. Your credentials from the Horsepower Experience will also cover this tour. New this year is the Luster Exhibit. ‘LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting’, is a traveling museum exhibition comprised of over 55 paintings by nearly 15 of today’s realists and hyperrealists who specialize in automobiles and motorcycles as their primary subject of choice.


  • Enjoy a luxury steakhouse experience at Hickory and Oak located in downtown Bowling Green. The up-scale dining experience serves family-style comfort meals and elegant cocktails in a cozy, urban-meets-country atmosphere. 

    Fountain Square Park Fountain
  • Within walking distance from Hickory & Oak, historic downtown Bowling Green has the small-town charm and nostalgia of an older southern town. An especially delectable after-dinner treat is Meltdown Ice Cream & Soda Fountain also located on the square, which features a rotating menu of gourmet ice cream flavors. 

Day 2:


  • Enjoy breakfast at Café Kindness. This cozy wellness café located in downtown Bowling Green showcases freshly squeezed juices, made-from-scratch pantry goods, gourmet toasts, smoothie bowls and more. 

      Cafe Kindness

  •  Continue celebrating at locally-owned Providence Coffee and Marketplace with a BOOZY Derby Pie milkshake infused with bourbon, pecans and caramel  - enjoy responsibly! The marketplace is also home to 27 local small businesses and provides an array of browsing and purchasing opportunities. 

  Providence Coffee

Depart for Smiths Grove, Kentucky

  • Shop historic Smiths Grove approximately 15 minutes from Bowling Green, Kentucky, and enjoy perusing antiques, fabrics, home and garden decor, vintage items and Kentucky-made treasures. In Smith's Grove, many historic buildings, churches and homes remain with architecturally significant designs, several of which are on the National Register.

Afternoon and Evening

Depart for Mammoth Cave

    Mammoth Cave National Park

  • Enjoy lunch at the Lantern Café in Mammoth Cave’s newly reopened lodge – The Lodge at Mammoth Cave. The park is located approximately 45 minutes north of Bowling Green. 
  • Then explore the largest cave system in the world! Mammoth Cave boasts approximately 12 different kinds of cave tours which include an Accessibility Tour allowing those with physical limitations to enjoy the cave's beauty. This is also a great tour option for families with younger children.
  • For an overnight stay, The Lodge at Mammoth Cave offers a selection of lodging options based on the desired amenities. Their newly revamped Lodge is located directly next to the visitor center and features a mix of modern hotel rooms, and there are historic cottages on the premises as well.