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Bowling Green

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Shops along Fountain Square

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]

Map of Bowling Green (Kentucky)

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]

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • Bowling Green Public Transit, [1] [dead link]. Provided by Community Action of Southern Ky. +1 270 782-3162.
  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 55 Parker Ave., +1 270 842-5131.

By rental car[edit]

  • Avis, 560 US 31W Bypass, BP Service Station, +1 270 842-1700 or +1-800-831-2847.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 1125 US 31W Bypass, +1 270 782-5600 and 1851 Scottsville Rd. +1 270 782-7700, [2].
  • Hertz Rent-A-Car, 899 US 31W Bypass, +1 270 782-2215 or +1-888-782-2215.
  • U-Save Auto Rental, 740 US 31W Bypass, +1 270 783-3000 or +1-800-272-8728.

See[edit]

Arts[edit]

  • Capitol Arts Center, +1 270 782-2787, toll-free: +1-877-694-2787. 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.
  • [formerly dead link]Kentucky Library & Museum, 1906 College Heights Blvd, +1 270 745-2592. Just off US 68/KY 80. 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), +1 270 843-1726, toll-free: +1-877-640-7973. Award winning art from six states, including: jewelry, ceramics, paintings, photography, gifts and notecards. Classes available.
  • Public Theatre of Kentucky, Phoenix Theatre, +1 270 781-6233. 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, +1 270 745-2497, toll-free: +1-800-495-8463. 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, +1 270 393-0077 or +1-866-274-2283, [3] 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, +1 270 745-8419. 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, +1 270 781-7973, toll-free: +1-800-538-3883. 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.
  • Smiths Grove Historic District. 10 miles north of Bowling Green, I-65 exit 38. 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. 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 park was built in 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]

  • Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon, +1 270 781-7634. 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.
  • [dead link]Sloan Convention Center, +1 270 745-0088. I-65 & US 231 exit 22. 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, +1 270 745-1908. 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, +1 270 745-4044. WKU Campus. 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), +1 270 843-3542, [4] [formerly dead link]. 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, +1-800-326-7465. 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, +1 270 904-6339 (Kim Mason), e-mail: . 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.

Sports[edit]

  • Beech Bend Raceway, I-65 & US 31W exit 28, +1 270 781-7634. 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, +1 270 597-7356.
  • WKU Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers, +1 270 745-5222, toll-free: +1-800-5-BIG-RED (244-733). The sports teams of Western Kentucky University, competing in NCAA Division I as members of Conference USA. Teams include football, men's & women's basketball, women's soccer, men's & women's golf, baseball and seven other sports.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods, 300 8th Avenue (Bowling Green Ballpark), +1 270 901-2121. The Bowling Green Hot Rods are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays and playing in the Midwest League.

Golf Courses[edit]

  • Paul Walker Golf Course, 1044 Covington Ave, +1 270 393-3821. 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.
  • 1 The Golf Course at Riverview, 1200 W. Main Ave, +1 270 393-3877. 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.

Learn[edit]

Buy[edit]

Tattoos[edit]

  • Carter's Tattoo, 948 US 31-W Bypass, +1 270 843-1122. 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 +1 270-843-1122 or just stop in.

Shopping centers[edit]

  • 1 Greenwood Mall, 2625 Scottsville Rd (At Cave Mill Rd., I-65 exit), +1 270 782-9047. 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, 725 Bluegrass Farms Rd. Ste 2 (I-65 exit 28), +1 270 781-5366, toll-free: +1-888-626-7576, +1-800-635-3196. 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), +1 270 846-4488. Accessories, motorcloths, motorcycles, parts, full service dealership.
  • 2 Wild Bird and Nature Store, 901 Lehman Ave, +1 270 746-0203. Midtown Plaza. 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.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 440 Main Restaurant & Bar, 440 E. Main Ave, +1 270 793-0450. 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.
  • 2 Cambridge Market & Cafe, 830 Fairview Ave, +1 270 782-9366. Bowling Green's most distinctive delicatessen. Specialties include homemade chicken salad, pimento cheese & desserts.
  • Chaney's Dairy Barn, 9191 Nashville Rd, +1 270 843-5567. Also visit Chaney's at 830 Fairview Avenue. +1 270 842-6020. Premium homemade ice cream, lunch or dinner daily, homemade soup, sandwiches and desserts. A wide selection of Kentucky-made products in the gift shop. There is an outdoor pavilion and a batting cage.
  • 3 Montana Grille, 1740 Scottsville Rd, +1 270 746-9746. 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, and Fire Roasted Rotisserie Chicken.
  • 4 Rafferty's, 1939 Scottsville Rd, +1 270 842-0123. Specialties include hickory smoked barbecue ribs and chicken, choice cuts of steak and prime rib, salads and soups, burgers and sandwiches.
  • 5 Riley's Bakery, 819 US 31W Bypass, +1 270 842-7636. M-F 6:45AM-5:50PM Sat 6:45AM-2:30PM. 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.
  • 6 Taj Palace Restaurant, 2800 Scottsville Rd, +1 270 843-2233. Taj Palace is a place where you will enjoy Indian authentic Food


Barbecue[edit]

  • 8 Smokey Pig Bar-B-Que, 2520 Louisville Rd., +1 270 781-1712. A great barbecue restaurant overlooking the Barren River.
  • 9 Split Tree BBQ, 115 Wilson Rd Alvaton KY 42122 (I-65 exit 22, 4.5 miles south on US 231. On the left corner of Scottsville & Wilson Roads, Alvaton,), +1 270 842-2268. The best slow smoked barbecue anywhere around! Menu includes sandwiches, chicken, ribs and barbecue by the pound.

Drink[edit]

Alcohol[edit]

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

  • 1 Tidball's, 522 Morris Alley, +1 270 793-9955. Tidball's is Bowling Green's premier venue for live music. It is located adjacent to historic downtown Bowling Green.

Coffee[edit]

  • 2 Spencer's Coffee House, 915 College St. (Fountain Square Park), +1 270 393-7060. 7AM-3PM. Residing in historic downtown Bowling Green, Spencer's is a local favorite from high school students to professionals.

Sleep[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $80
Mid-range $80-100
Splurge Over $100


Bed & Breakfasts[edit]

Campgrounds[edit]

  • Bowling Green KOA, 1960 Three Springs Rd. Bowling Green, KY 42104, +1 270 843-1919, e-mail: . A private campground featuring 116 campsites which range from primitive to full hookups. Cabins are available for rent. The campground has many amenities and is open year round.
  • Beech Bend Campground, 798 Beech Bend Rd. Bowling Green, KY 42101, +1 270 781-7634. A private campground located on the Barren River and associated with Beech Bend Park. The campground has 415 campsites, 250 of which are full hook up along with many amenities. The facility is open year round and is first come first serve. No reservations are accepted.

Hotels[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 5 Home-Towne Suites, 1929 Mel Browning St., +1 270 846-3311. A hotel chain specializing in longer term occupancy. Rooms feature full kitchens.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Connect[edit]

By phone[edit]

Most telephone numbers in Bowling Green consist of +1 270 plus a seven-digit number, but the region is now served by an overlay complex of two area codes, with +1 364 being the second. A local or in-state telephone call now requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 270 before these if no area code is indicated.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Bowling Green
LouisvilleCave City ← Jct Cumberland Parkway E  N I-65.svg S  FranklinNashville
OwensboroMorgantown  N Natcher Parkway.svg S  END
PaducahAuburn  W US 68.svg E  GlasgowLexington
OwensboroMorgantown  N US 231.svg S  ScottsvilleLebanon
ColumbusAuburn  W Elongated circle 80.svg E  GlasgowLondon



This city travel guide to Bowling Green is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.