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Bowling Green (Kentucky)

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South : Kentucky : Caves and Lakes : Bowling Green
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Bowling Green is the third-largest city in Kentucky, with nearly 60,000 residents. Bowling Green is the hub of activity in the Caves and Lakes region.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Bowling Green is accessible by car, primarily from I-65, which connects it with Nashville to the south and Louisville to the north.

Two roads in the state's parkway system of former toll roads serve the Bowling Green area. The William Natcher Parkway (formerly Green River Parkway) connects I-65 in Bowling Green with Owensboro, 70 miles to the northwest. The Natcher intersects with the Western Kentucky Parkway near Beaver Dam, giving Bowling Green easy access to Paducah and the Land Between the Lakes. The Cumberland Parkway connects I-65 northeast of Bowling Green to Somerset, 80 miles to the east. From there KY 80 provides access to I-75 at London.

Another major road in the area is U.S. 68. To the east of the city, it is a two-lane road that largely parallels I-65 and the Cumberland Parkway before taking a sharp turn toward central Kentucky. However, to the west, it is a four-lane divided highway (though with at-grade intersections) until the town of Cadiz, near Land Between the Lakes.

By air[edit]

  • Bowling Green - Warren County Regional Airport, 1000 Woodhurst St., (270) 842-1101, [1]. Full flight service, all weather capability, FBO 24 hours 7 days a week, rental cars, aircraft maintenance, free parking, courtesy car, two flight schools and charter service.
  • Louisville International Airport, [2] Approximately two hours north of Bowling Green. Eastern Time Zone (one hour ahead of Bowling Green).
  • Nashville International Airport, [3] Approximately one hour south of Bowling Green. Central Time Zone (same as Bowling Green).

Get around[edit]

By Bus[edit]

  • Bowling Green Public Transit, [4]. Provided by Community Action of Southern Ky. (270) 782-3162.
  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 55 Parker Ave., (270) 842-5131.

By Rental Car[edit]

  • Avis, 560 US 31W Bypass, BP Service Station, (270) 842-1700 or (800) 831-2847.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 1125 US 31W Bypass, (270) 782-5600 and 1851 Scottsville Rd. (270) 782-7700, [5].
  • Hertz Rent-A-Car, 899 US 31W Bypass, (270) 782-2215 or (888) 782-2215.
  • U-Save Auto Rental, 740 US 31W Bypass, (270) 783-3000 or (800) 272-8728.

See[edit][add listing]

Arts[edit]

  • Capitol Arts Center, (270) 782-ARTS or (877) 694-ARTS, [6]. Located in the historic downtown district, the Capitol Arts Center features an 800-seat auditorium and two art galleries. The civic auditorium hosts a full schedule of local and touring arts performances and civic events. The Center houses the Houchens and Mezzanine galleries for year-round exhibits.
  • Kentucky Library & Museum, 1906 College Heights Blvd, just off US 68/KY 80, (270) 745-2592, [7]. Kentucky Museum houses rich collections and offers exciting and educational exhibits that invite visitors to revisit the past to learn about Kentucky history and heritage. The Kentucky Library houses collections of genealogical materials, published works, manuscripts and folk life information. Public programs include workshops, lectures, family events and prearranged guided tours.
  • Memphis Marsha's Art Gallery & Classes, 524 E. 12th Ave., between State & Chestnut Sts., (270) 843-1726 or 877-640-7973, [8]. Award winning art from six states, including: jewelry, ceramics, paintings, photography, gifts and notecards. Classes available.
  • Public Theatre of Kentucky, Phoenix Theatre, (270) 781-6233, [9]. Located downtown off Chestnut St, this 147-seat facility is a professional, non-Equity, not-for-profit theatre company founded in 1987.
  • Western Kentucky University, Campus Events (270) 745-2497; Admissions (800) 495-8463, [10]. Founded in 1906, Western Kentucky University is recognized as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. The area of the university known as College Heights commands an impressive view of Bowling Green and the Barren River Valley. A statue of Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry in front of Cherry Hall provides Bowling Green with an impressive landmark. The historic colonnade, which was part of the old football stadium, serves as a backdrop to an outdoor theater and the Guthrie Tower and Plaza has become the centerpiece of the south campus area. WKU has over 18,000 students and 66 major buildings on the 200 acre main campus, with another 785 acres on the University Farm. Western has produced educational opportunities to more than 70,000 alumni who proudly claim the name Hilltoppers.
  • Lost River Cave and Valley, I-65 exit 22, left at stoplight #9, right on Nashville Road, (270) 393-0077 or (866) 274-2283, [11]v. Boat tours subject to weather so call ahead. Kentucky's only Underground Boat Tour and the enchanting Butterfly Habitat. Ripley's Believe It or Not claims is the shortest, deepest in the world. The walking tour along the river's edge will bring alive stories of Native Americans, Early European settlers, Civil War troops and the notorious Jesse James. Enjoy Treetop Bridge, nature trails, bird watching stations, picnic area, gemstone sluice, Old Mill Gifts and the rock climbing wall.
  • GM Corvette Factory, I-65 & US 31W exit 28, (270) 745-8419, [12]. Public Tours M-F 9AM, 11:30AM and 1:15PM. Group tours by reservation only. Every Corvette made today in the world is produced in Bowling Green. Here you can see the step by step production of America's favorite sports car along with Cadillac's XLR.
  • National Corvette Museum, I-65 & US 31W exit 28, (270) 781-7973 or (800) 53-VETTE, [13]. Showcase to America's Sports Car features over 75 Corvettes. Make a stop on Route 66 to see the cars that shaped our country's history. You'll see classics in mint condition, one-of-a-kind prototypes that never went into production, racetrack champions and modern-day wonders of engineering and design. Interact with educational hands-on exhibits, enjoy a film in the Chevy Theater. Sit behind the wheel of a Corvette and register to drive one home. Corvette Store offers a wide selection of apparel, collectibles home and gift items. If you live in the U.S. and are buying a new Corvette, Chevrolet will let you take delivery of your new car at the museum for an extra cost; this includes a VIP tour of the museum and factory for you and up to three guests.
  • Smiths Grove Historic District, 10 miles north of Bowling Green, I-65 exit 38, [14]. Smiths Grove, an antique shoppers' paradise, was an important railroad town in its earlier day (1859-1950s) when the L&N Line ran through the area and contributed greatly to its growth. It claims 1,000 residents today making it Warren County's second largest city. Many historic buildings, churches and homes remain with architecturally significant designs, many on the National Register.
  • Fountain Square Park, [15]. Fountain Square Park has been the focus of downtown Bowling Green since 1798. By 1812 a two-story brick building replaced the original log courthouse. In addition, the public square was the location of the town's jail and market house. The present park was build 1871-1872. The original stone fountain was replaced in 1881 by the present cast iron fountain along with statues of the Four Seasons, benches and urns. The landscaped public park has retained much of the same appearance since 1881.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon, (270) 781-7634, [16]. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends only in May and September. Amusement park that offers more than 40 rides. Other favorites include antique cars, a miniature golf course, giant swimming pool, water slides, interactive children's water play pool, games and go-carts.
  • Sloan Convention Center, I-65 & US 231 exit 22, (270) 745-0088, [17]. With 35,000 sq. ft. of meeting and pre-convention exhibit space, the center has a capacity to seat up to 1,700. Room configuration includes a grand ballroom, five break-out rooms, registration desk, ticket window and coat room. Located in the Hartland Business Park and adjoining the Holiday Inn University Plaza and CrossWinds Golf Course.
  • Carroll Knicely Conference Center, 2355 Nashville Rd., (270) 745-1908, [18]. This 40,000 sq ft facility offers seminars, workshops, receptions, training sessions, conferences and other social and educational programs.
  • Hardin Planetarium, 1906 College Heights Blvd. WKU Campus, (270) 745-4044, [19]. The planetarium is open to the public. Many of the shows are free, and highlight photographic and other work of WKU faculty members. In the evenings, nearby street parking is usually available.
  • Leonard D. Brown Agricultural Exposition Center, WKU Farm, 4 miles south of Bowling Green off Nashville Road (US 31W), (270) 843-3542, [20]. Events held year-round include livestock shows, sales, clinics, machinery shows, rodeos and other public events. The Center's main arena seats 2,000 with a sales arena seating 315. There are also meeting and banquet rooms.
  • Civil War Discovery Trail, (800) 326-7465. Thirteen sites are available to the public and include earthworks, a cave, a house museum, monuments and markers. With Kentuckians divided between North and South, the state adopted a policy of neutrality at the beginning of the Civil War. Bowling Green's reliable and defensible transportation network and the collection of hills that surrounded the city made it one of the most strategic cities in the state. In November 1861, Bowling Green was declared the Capital of the Confederate State of Kentucky but by mid-February 1862, fell into Union hands. Bowling Green was also the site of a federal government campaign to enlist slaves as Union soldiers.
  • Duncan Hines Scenic Byway This 82-mile route, which runs through Warren and Edmonson counties, passes many historic homes and churches. Beginning in Bowling Green at the former home and office of author Duncan Hines, it then runs through several small towns and Mammoth Cave National Park where it crosses the Green River by ferry. Along the route are stately mansions, quaint homes, antique shops, one-room school houses, an old train depot, historic cemeteries, Civil War battlefields, an old grainery and a stagecoach stop which was once the home of Patrick Henry's sister.
  • Bowling Green International Festival, Circus Square Park, 601 State Street, 270-904-6339 (Kim Mason) (), [21]. 9AM-7PM. A celebration of cultural diversity for the entire family featuring music, dance and demonstrations from around the world, authentic foreign foods, an international bazaar and free edu-tainment activities. The festival takes place the last Saturday each September. $3 per person children under 12 free.  edit

Sports[edit]

  • Beech Bend Raceway, I-65 & US 31W exit 28], (270) 781-7634, [22]. Raceway open March-November. Beech Bend has an auto racing facility known for its drag strip as well as an oval track for stock car racing. Race car enthusiasts can enjoy Stock Car racing on Saturday nights, Fun Racing on Tuesday and Friday nights, NHRA drag racing on Sundays and national automotive events throughout the year.
  • Priddy Boys Fishing Guide Service, (270) 597-7356, [23].
  • Western Kentucky University, [24] hosts teams in football, mens & womens basketball, womens soccer, mens & womens golf, baseball and seven other sports. For ticket information, call (800) 5-BIG-RED or (270) 745-5222.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods, 300 8th Avenue, (270) 901-2121, [25]. The Bowling Green Hot Rods are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. Since the 2010 season, the team has played in the Midwest League; it had previously been in the South Atlantic League. They play their home games at Bowling Green Ballpark located at 300 8th Avenue, Bowling Green, Ky 42101, (270) 901-2121.

Golf Courses[edit]

  • CrossWinds Golf Course, 1031 Wilkinson Trace, (270) 393-3559 or (800) 786-SAND, [26]. 18-hole par 71 golf course which will challenge the skills of the most avid players, as well as being enjoyable for the beginner golfer. CrossWinds has 6530 yards of Bermuda tees and fairways, and bentgrass greens surrounded by some of the largest bunkers in Kentucky. The Pro Shop is fully stocked to meet all your golfing needs.
  • Paul Walker Golf Course, 1044 Covington Ave., (270) 393-3821, [27]. A regulation length 9-hole, par 36 golf course set in the center of town. It is a mature, 5847 yard course with large trees and smaller greens. This course allows golfers of all ages and abilities to experience a relaxing yet challenging round of golf.
  • The Golf Course at Riverview, 1200 W. Main Ave., (270) 393-3877, [28]. The Golf Course at Riverview is a 3239 yard, 9-hole course located on the northwest side of town. This par 36 course is set on a more rolling terrain with mature trees and undulating greens.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Tattoos[edit]

  • Carter's Tattoo, 948 US 31-W Bypass, 270-843-1122, [29]. Carter's Tattoo Company is located at 948 US 31-W Bypass in Bowling Green, KY. It is owned and operated by Wes Carter & his wife Cara. For appointments call 270-843-1122 or just stop in.  edit

Shopping Centers[edit]

  • Greenwood Mall, 2625 Scottsville Rd. at Cave Mill Rd., I-65 exit 22 (270) 782-9047, [30]. Four department stores including Dillard's, Macy's, JCPenney and Sears and over 100 specialty shops including Bath & Body Works, Pacific Sunwear, Buckle, Sunglass Hut, New York and Company, Victoria's Secret, Yankee Candle and The Great Escape - Greenwood 10 Theatre. Choose from a wide variety of food selections in the family-friendly food court and take a ride on the carousel.

Specialty Stores[edit]

  • Camping World SuperCenter & National Outlet Center, 134 Beech Bend Rd, (I-65 exit 28), (270) 781-5366 or (800) 635-3196, [31]. Everything for your RV, plus a full selection of camping and outdoor living accessories. Full service and installation facilities.
  • Harley-Davidson Bowling Green, 251 Cumberland Trace, I-65 exit 22, (270) 846-4488, [32]. Accessories, motorcloths, motorcycles, parts, full service dealership.
  • Wild Bird and Nature Store, 901 Lehman Ave., Midtown Plaza, (270) 746-0203, [33]. Wild Bird and Nature Store offers a full line of bird houses, bird feeders, specialty seeds and bird baths. Herb Festival held each April features hundreds of plants for sale including antique roses, hard-to-find herbs and perennials which attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • the Place for Macs, iPods, and More, 431 Park Row, Fountain Square Park, (270) 796-1977, [34]. the Place is the regions only Apple Authorized Specialist stocking the full line of Apple products including iPods, iMacs, MacBooks, etc. as well as hundreds of accessories and peripherals to complement them. In the near future, the Place will also feature an Internet cafe where visitors can connect to the net while enjoying their favorite beverages.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • 440 Main Restaurant & Bar, 440 E. Main Ave., (270) 793-0450, [35]. Located in the historic downtown district, overlooking Fountain Square Park. Relax in a historic building that compliments the rich heritage of the Deep South. Featuring hand-carved steaks, fresh seafood, New Orleans cuisine and an award winning wine list.
  • Cambridge Market & Cafe, 830 Fairview Ave.,(270) 782-9366, [36]. Bowling Green’s most distinctive delicatessen. Specialties include homemade chicken salad, pimento cheese & desserts.
  • Chaney's Dairy Barn, 9191 Nashville Rd., (270) 843-5567, [37]. Also visit Chaney's at 830 Fairview Avenue. (270) 842-6020. Premium homemade ice cream is only the beginning at Chaney's. Settle in for lunch or dinner daily and enjoy homemade soup, sandwiches and desserts. Choose from a wide selection of Kentucky made products in our gift shop. Enjoy our outdoor pavilion and take a swing in our batting cage.
  • Country Mill Restaurant, 600 US 31W ByPass, (270) 781-7988. Country-style buffet featuring home-cooked vegetables, fish, chicken, pastry bar, and ice cream.
  • Mariah's, 801 State St., (270) 842-6878, [38]. Located downtown in Bowling Green's oldest brick house. Casual dining and great food and beverages. Mariah's serves specialty salads, hand-cut steaks and seafood, delicious pasta dishes and many unique items prepared in our wood-fired brick oven.
  • Montana Grille, 1740 Scottsville Rd., (270) 746-9746. Enjoy good food in a beautifully structured log building featuring a warm, open atmosphere with great food and service. Entrees include Bourbon Tenderloin Filet, Pacific Northwest Salmon, Fire Roasted Rotisserie Chicken and more.
  • Rafferty's, 1939 Scottsville Rd., (270) 842-0123, [39]. Specialties include hickory smoked barbecue ribs and chicken, choice cuts of steak and prime rib, unique salads and soups, plus burgers and sandwiches.
  • Riley's Bakery, 819 US 31W ByPass, (270) 842-7636. The most popular items include brownies, cream horns, Hungarian coffee cake and the children’s favorite - tea cookies. They also make delicious sandwiches. Fillings to choose from include chicken, tuna, ham and egg salad; olive nut cream cheese and pimento cheese.
  • Split Tree Barbecue, 115 Wilson Rd. (,I-65 exit 22, 4.5 miles south on US 231. On the left corner of Scottsville & Wilson Roads, Alvaton,), (270) 842-8897. The best slow smoked barbecue anywhere around! Menu includes sandwiches, chicken, ribs and barbecue by the pound.
  • Teresa's Restaurant, 509 Gordon Ave., (270) 782-6540, [40]. Teresa’s has home cooked food served at hometown prices.
  • Taj Palace Restaurant, 2800 Scottsville Rd. (270) 843-2233. Taj Palace is a place where you will enjoy Indian Authentic Food
  • Royal Thai, 1971 Cave Mill Road (In the shopping center next to Fazoli's), (270) 781-8277, [41]. 11a-2:30p, 5p-8p 9p on weekends. Bowling Green's original destination for Thai cuisine. Great food and great prices. $10-$24.  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

Alcohol[edit]

Bowling Green is a wet community. However, the rest of Warren County is dry.

  • Tidball's, 522 Morris Alley, (270) 793-9955, [42]. Tidball's is Bowling Green's premier venue for live music. It is located adjacent to historic downtown Bowling Green.

Coffee[edit]

  • Spencer's Coffee House, 915 College Street, Fountain Square Park, (270) 393-7060, [43]. A local favorite.
  • Starbucks, 2808 Scottsville Rd., (270) 746-0136, [44]. America's favorite coffeehouse.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Bed & Breakfasts[edit]

  • 1869 Homestead B&B, 212 Mizpah Rd., (270) 842-0510, [45].
  • Cave Spring Farm, 567 Rocky Hill Rd, Smiths Grove, (270) 563-6941, [46].
  • Victorian House B&B, 110 N. Main St, Smiths Grove, (270) 563-9403 or (800) 843-5210, [47].
  • Serenity Hill Bed and Breakfast, Phone: (270) 597-9647 3600 Mammoth Cave Road, Brownsville, [48]. Located on KY 70 (Mammoth Cave Road), situated on a hill top just a mile out of Mammoth Cave National Park. The decor can only be described as casually elegant. The 3 guest rooms are comfortably decorated and have full private baths. Sit, back, relax and enjoy the views from on the large covered porch. Serenity Hill is located just minutes from the Turn Hold Bend and Cedar Sink hiking trails. This rural Edmonson County bed and breakfast is just 18 miles from Bowling Green.

Campgrounds[edit]

  • Bowling Green KOA, 1960 Three Springs Rd., Just off I-65 exit 22, (270) 843-1919, [49].
  • Beech Bend Campground, 798 Beech Bend Rd., I-65 exit 28, (270) 781-7634, [50].
  • Gasper River Catholic Camp and Retreat Center, 2695 Jackson Bridge Rd., (270) 781-2466, [51].

Hotels[edit]

  • Baymont Inn & Suites, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Three Springs Rd. (270) 843-3200 or (877) BAYMONT, [52].
  • Best Value Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Cumberland Trace (270) 781-9594 or (877) 781-2407, [53].
  • Best Western Motor Inn, I-65 exit 22 / US 231 S, (270) 782-3800 or (800) 343-2937, [54].
  • Bryce Inn, I-65 & KY 80 exit 38 / Smiths Grove, (270) 563-5141, [55].
  • Candlewood Inn & Suites, I-65 exit 22 / US 231 N, (888) CANDLEWOOD, [56].
  • Cardinal Motel, 1310 US 31W ByPass, (270) 842-0328.Good motel operated by an Indian owner.
  • Comfort Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / US 231 S (270) 843-1163.
  • Continental Inn,I-65 & US 31W exit 28, (270) 781-5200.
  • Country Hearth Inn, I-65 & US 31W exit 28 / Corvette Drive, (270) 783-4443 or (877) 294-6491, [57].
  • Country Inn & Suites,I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Wall Street, (270) 781-7200, [58].
  • Courtyard by Marriott, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Convention Center, (270) 783-8569 or (800) 321-2211.
  • Crossland Motel, 421 US 31W ByPass, (270) 842-0351.
  • Fairfield Inn by Marriott, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Mel Browning St., (270) 782-6933 or (800) 228-2800.
  • Hampton Inn,I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Three Springs Rd. (270) 842-4100 or (800) HAMPTON.
  • Hilton Garden Inn,I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Convention Center (800) HILTONS.
  • Holiday Inn University Plaza, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Convention Center, (270) 745-0088.
  • HomeTowne Suites, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Mel Browning St., (270) 846-3311, [59].
  • May Fair Motel, 1540 Old Louisville Rd., (270) 782-3282.
  • Microtel Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Mel Browning St., (270) 745-9922 or (888) 771-7171.
  • Motel 6, I-65 & US 231 exit 22, (270) 843-0140.
  • News Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22, (270) 781-3460 or (800) 443-3701.
  • Quality Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22 / Mel Browning St., (270) 846-4588 or (800) 228-5151.
  • Ramada Bowling Green, 4767 Scottsville Rd./I-65, +1 270-781-3000, [60].
  • Red Roof Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22, (270) 781-6550 or (800) 733-7663.
  • Sleep Inn, I-65 & US 231 exit 22, (270) 842-3800.
  • Super 8, I-65 & US 31W exit 28, (270) 745-9986.
  • Topper Motel, 427 US 31W ByPass, (270) 842-4273.
  • Value Lodge, I-65 & US 31W exit 28, (270) 781-6181.
  • Western Hills Motel, US 231 & Hwy 68, (270) 842-5633.

Contact[edit]

By phone[edit]

Since February 2014, Bowling Green, as well as other parts of Kentucky served by area code 270, has had mandatory 10-digit dialing, meaning that when making any call within that area, even a local one, you must dial all 10 digits. This followed the introduction of a second area code, 364, that covers the same area. There is no geographic area code split—any new phone in the region may theoretically be assigned a number in either 270 or 364.

Because of the relatively recent introduction of 10-digit dialing, you may see an older 7-digit number (YYY-ZZZZ) on some signs. If you see a 7-digit number on a sign, assume that this number is in area code 270.

Get out[edit]

Just a few miles away is the beautiful national park Land Between the Lakes, (situated between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley) which annually draws multitudes of sportsman & vacationers from all around the country.

Great Family activities in Land Between the Lakes include the Woodland's Nature Station, the Homeplace, and the Elk and Bison Prairie.

The Nature Station, which has 43 species of native animal is a great family activity. Animal programs are conducted daily and the Nature Station hosts amazing weekend kids events, like the Cool and Crawly Critter Weekend. The Homeplace is an 1850's living farm with a homestead and fully functional farm. The Elk and Bison Prairie is a drive through attraction that lets you get up close to the largest animals in Land Between the Lake.


Routes through Bowling Green
LouisvilleCave City  N noframe S  FranklinNashville






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