Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky. A small city of about 25,000 residents, it is in the Bluegrass Region about 50 miles (80 km) from the state's largest city of Louisville and 25 miles (40 km) from Lexington.
The historic core of Frankfort is hidden in the deep valley of the Kentucky River, completely invisible to travellers on Interstate 64. Author William Least Heat-Moon once wrote about the city, "If you're ever looking for the most hidden statehouse in America, look no farther than Frankfort." The river, whose main course runs from southeast to northwest, makes a rough S-curve through the city, dividing it into four major parts:
- Downtown — The historic business district, in the valley and north of the river (which flows east-west at this particular point). This region of Frankfort is characterized by charismatic, old-fashioned, antebellum style buildings holding shops, cafes, restaurants and museums.
- South Frankfort — Home to the State Capitol, in the valley and south of the river; mostly residential apart from the Capitol. The governor's mansion and capitol are surrounded by floral gardens and lawns.
- East Side and West Side (also "East Frankfort" and "West Frankfort") — The more modern areas on either side of the valley, with more shopping options.The "West side" of town has traditionally had the most concentration of modern stores, restaurants and hotels. However, companies have started to put more focus on the East side, with new shopping complexes, restaurants and attractions being completed monthly. The East side is also home to many traditional Mexican restaurants.
I-64 connects Frankfort with Lexington to the east and Louisville to the west. US 60 (which connects to Versailles) parallels I-64 along most of its route through Kentucky. US 127 South connects Frankfort with the Blue Grass Pkwy and Harrodsburg to the south. US 127 North, a winding road, is the shortest route to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. US 460 offers a short route to Georgetown (the Toyota plant) and I-75.
- Capital City Airport (FFT), US 60 West, +1 502 564-3714. General Aviation.
- Blue Grass Airport(LEX), Man'O War Blvd. at Versailles Rd., Lexington, +1 859 425-3114. Passenger jet service.
- Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport(SDF), I-264 at Exit 11 (past I-65), Louisville, +1 502 368-6524. Passenger jet service.
There is no Amtrak service to Frankfort.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 220 Versailles Rd., +1 502 695-5542.
- Frankfort Transit[dead link], +1 502 875-8565.
- Blue Grass Cab, +1 502-803-1140.
- 1 Daniel Boone's Grave at Frankfort Cemetery, 215 East Main St, ☏ +1 502 227-2403. The gravesite of Daniel and Rebecca Boone in a setting overlooking the city of Frankfort. Other notables buried in the cemetery are Presley Neville O' Bannon, first American to raise the American flag on foreign soil and inspire "The Shores of Tripoli" in the Marine hymn; artist Paul Sawyier; Joel T. Hart; Theodore O'Hara, author of "Bivouac of the Dead"; professional wrestling valet Elizabeth Hulette, better known as Miss Elizabeth; Vice President Richard M. Johnson; and 17 Kentucky Governors.
- Greenhill Cemetery, Corner of East Main & US 60, +1 502 564-7005. Features the only monument in the state honoring Kentucky's African American Civil War Soldiers. It is one of only four monuments in the country dedicated to African American Civil War Soldiers. The 14-ft monument was erected by the Colored Women's Relief Corps in 1924.
- Switzer Covered Bridge, KY 1261 Switzer off US 460 East. Built in 1855, this covered bridge is the only example of a Howe Trussed bridge in the state of Kentucky. It has been restored from major flood damage, which occurred in 1997. An area by the bridge offers a peaceful place to picnic.
- 2 Buffalo Trace Distillery, 113 Great Buffalo Trace, toll-free: +1 800 654-8471. Buffalo Trace Distillery is on an ancient buffalo crossing that became a pathway for westward moving explorers, pioneers and settlers. Distilling began here over two centuries ago, making it the oldest distilling site in the United States. The distillery boasts 12 of the largest fermenters in the industry, and a four-story still tower.
- Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 West Broadway St, ☏ +1 502 564-1792. Short walk includes 167,000 square foot Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, plus two National Historic Register treasures---the 1830s Greek Revival Old State Capitol and the 1850s Old State Arsenal. 12,000 years of rich Kentucky history, inspiring architecture, exhibits and collections examining Kentucky's culture, politics and military history. The remolded exhibit "Hall of Governors" is also worth seeing. The museum is also home to state of the art archives that can be visited during normal business hours.
- Executive Mansion, +1 502 564-8004. Located across from the Capitol building and overlooking the Kentucky River is the Governor's mansion, constructed of native limestone, was modeled after the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's summer villa. Tour includes the state dining room, ballroom, reception room and formal salon.
- Floral Clock, +1 502 564-3449. Located on the West Lawn of the Capitol Grounds and planted with thousands of colorful flowering plants, the face of this clock is 34 feet in diameter.
- 3 Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Coffee Tree Rd., off the East-West Connector (KY 676). Overlooking the city, the names of all Kentuckians who died in Vietnam are etched in granite beneath the memorial sundial, with the point of the gnomon's shadow actually touching the veteran's name on the anniversary of his death. Recognized as one of the most original and unusual memorials in the nation.
- 4 Old Governor's Mansion, 420 High St, ☏ +1 502 564-3449 (info), +1 502 564-3000 (schedule tours). Tours by appointment only. The oldest official executive residence in the U.S. still in use. The federal mansion was home to 33 Kentucky governors from 1798-1914. Seven U.S. presidents visited. Still the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor, but no holder of that office has lived in the mansion since 2003. (A 1992 change to the state constitution stripped the position of almost all of its constitutional duties, making it unnecessary for lieutenant governors to live in Frankfort.)
- Old State Capitol, Broadway and Lewis St., +1 502 564-1792. This national landmark was Kentucky's seat of government from 1831 - 1910. Greek Revival structure includes a unique, self-supporting staircase held together by precision and pressure.
- 5 Kentucky State Capitol, 700 Capital Ave, ☏ +1 502 564-3449. Completed in 1910, the Beaux Arts design features 70 columns, decorative murals and sculptures of Kentucky dignitaries. Also, the First Lady Doll Collection, changing history and culture exhibits are featured on the first floor.
- 6 Berry Mansion, 700 Louisville Rd, ☏ +1 502 564-3000. Built in 1900, by George Franklin Berry, a prominent distiller, this Georgian Revival mansion is situated on a bluff overlooking the State Capitol. The most outstanding feature is an elaborate music room built in Gothic Revival style with pipes rising behind an intricately carved oak grill, with a massive cathedral organ. Wood carvers spent two years carving ornamentation for this one room.
- 7 Liberty Hall Historic Site, 218 Wilkinson St, ☏ +1 502 227-2560. Liberty Hall (1796) is the Federalist style mansion of Kentucky's first senator, John Brown. This architectural masterpiece from Kentucky's first decade is lavishly decorated with local antiques owned by four generations of Browns that lived in the house. The grounds contain the largest formal boxwood garden in Kentucky with nearly three acres of beautiful, perennial and annual borders.
- Orlando Brown House, 218 Wilkinson St (adjacent to Liberty Hall and on the same property), ☏ +1 502 227-2560. The Greek-Revival Orlando Brown House, built in 1835, is the residence designed by Kentucky's most famous architect Gideon Shryock and gifted by John Brown to his son. It is splendidly furnished with antiques owned by the three generations of the Brown family that lived there until 1954.
- 8 Zeigler House, 509 Shelby St. Frank Lloyd Wright, recognized as the greatest American architect, designed his only house built in Kentucky for the Rev. Jesse R. Zeigler. The 1910 prairie-style house, now completely restored by Jane and Jim Brockman, has a lighted stained glass case surrounding the fireplace at the ceiling, the only one designed by Wright during his prairie period.
- Franklin Square Cinema 6, Franklin Square Shopping Center, US 127 South, +1 502 875-9000.
- Scenic Overlook, Louisville Rd., US 60 West. Scenic overlook allows visitors a panoramic view of the city of Frankfort and the State Capitol, nestled in the Kentucky River valley.
- Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill, 400 Clifton Ave, ☏ +1 502 696-0607. M-Sa 11AM-5PM. Park situated on hill overlooking over the city that was the site of two Civil War forts, plus a log cabin.
- Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary, 1305 Germany Rd, ☏ +1 859 873-5711. Observe wildlife at a bio-diverse bird blind, hiking trails, and numerous events. Operated by the National Audubon Society, the fields, forests and wet areas are a haven for birds, mammals and wildflowers. Hiking trails meander about this 374 acre nature center nestled along the Kentucky River.
- Salato Wildlife Education Center, 1 Sportsman's Ln, ☏ +1 502 564-7863. An educational center with interactive and interpretive exhibits featuring native plants and animals. Scheduled wildlife education programs for children and adults are offered year round.
- Josephine Sculpture Park, 3355 Lawrenceburg Rd (1/2 mi. east of Stewart Home School), ☏ +1 502-352-7082. open dawn until dusk. Josephine Sculpture Park is free and open every day from dawn until dusk. Experience our rotating exhibit of large outdoor sculptures and community artworks in the beauty of Kentucky's native, rural landscape. Enjoy the art and the outdoors on foot or on bike through artist-led or self guided tours. free.
- Juniper Hill Park, 800 Louisville Rd, ☏ +1 502 875-8559. 18-hole golf course.
- Lakeview Park, US 460, Steadmantown Rd. & Georgetown Rd., +1 502 695-8431. 9-hole, Par 3 family golf course.
- A Little Bit of Heaven, US 127 North, +1 502 223-8925. Guided trail rides and horse rentals for all levels. Picnic sites, hayrides, indoor classroom and restroom facilities. Cold drinks and snacks available. Various lesson packages for children and adults. 8 miles north of Frankfort. Come have fun.
- Canoe Kentucky, 7323 Peaks Mill Rd, ☏ +1 502 227-4492. Or (800) K-CANOE-1. 8 miles north of Frankfort, Canoe Kentucky provides a network of water adventures: canoeing, kayaking, duckies, tubing, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and caving. Canoe Kentucky's environmental/educational training division offers kayak and canoe classes with certified instructors. Guided or self-guided canoe trips and raft rentals available over mild whitewater Class I and II, depending on the stream.
- Kentucky River Tours, "The Bourbon Boat", 701 Wilkinson Blvd (in River View Park), ☏ +1 502 219-3318. Daily 9AM-5PM. Tours with a focus ranging from bourbon distilleries to history of the capital, or just sunset cruises. from $20 upwards.
- 1 Kentucky State University, E Main St, ☏ +1 502 597-6000. KSU is a small, unique liberal studies university founded in 1886. Founded for the state's African American community during the era of legalized segregation, KSU has long been integrated, but retains much of its historic African American character. Hume and Jackson Halls are on the National Register. Jackson Hall contains a public art gallery which features exhibits by KSU students and the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans. Blazer Library contains over 350,000 volumes, has a special African-American collection, and is open to the public. KSU has facilities available for meetings and conferences. Athletic events, concerts, art exhibits, theater productions and public lectures are available to the public.
- Completely Kentucky, 237 Broadway, ☏ +1 502 223-5240, toll-free: +1-800-457-1990. Completely Kentucky is proud to offer the work from over 450 of Kentucky's best artisans. Large selection of Kentucky arts and crafts and Kentucky gourmet foods.
- Jessie's Art Gallery & Custom Framing, 200 W 2nd St, ☏ +1 502 227-2495. Jessie's feature collectible reproductions of original oil paintings by American artists. You will find signed and numbered limited edition prints and canvases, along with a large collection of the most popular open edition prints available.
- Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum, 116 East Second St, ☏ +1 502 223-7475. Store: M-Sa 10AM-6PM & Su noon-6PM. Guided tours: M-Sa 10AM-noon & 1PM-5:30PM. Rebecca Ruth Candy is world-famous as the originators of bourbon candy. This business was co-founded in 1919 by two ladies, Rebecca and Ruth, at a time when few women ventured into business. Today Ruth Booe's grandson is owner and operator of this unique confectionery landmark. Factory tour highlights include free samples, an antique cooking furnace with hand stirred copper kettles and a 15-foot marble slab named "Edna's Table". Rebecca Ruth makes over 100 varieties of confections and mail orders candy worldwide. Guided tours: $4.00 per person. Children 5 & under are free.
- The Gift Box/ Candleberry's Tearoom & Cafe, 1500 Louisville Road (US 60West), ☏ +1 502 875-0485. 10AM-5PM. A gift shop full of unique and one of a kind gifts. Browse the two floors for that very special gift for any occasion. Adjacent tearoom/cafe open for lunch M-Sa 11AM to 2PM.
- Gibby's, 212 W. Broadway, +1 502 223-4429.
- Jim's Seafood, 950 Wilkinson Blvd, ☏ +1 502 223-7448.
- Serafini, 243 W Broadway, +1 502 875-5599.
- The Terrace, 405 Wilkinson Blvd (Capital Plaza), ☏ +1 502 227-5100.
- Capital Annex Cafeteria, Capital Annex Bldg., +1 502 564-3142. M-F, 7AM-2:15PM.
- Cliffside Diner, 175 Old Lawrenceburg Rd, +1 502 352-2454.
- Rick's White Light Diner, 114 Bridge St, ☏ +1 502 696-9104.
- Arandas Mexican, 193 Versailles Rd, ☏ +1 502 695-4002.
- Garcia's, 105 Brighton Park Blvd,, ☏ +1 502 695-6855.
- LaFiesta Grande, 1055 US 127 South, ☏ +1 502 695-8378.
- Linney's Pizza & Pasta, 721 E Main St, ☏ +1 502 875-4685.
- Casa Fiesta, 801 Louisville Rd, ☏ +1 502 226-5010.
- My Guadalajara, 1232 US 127 South, ☏ +1 502 696-9164.
- China Buffet, 1300 US 127 South, Ste 8, +1 502 226-3400.
- Thai Smile, 19 Century Plaza, +1 502 227-9934.
- 1 Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe, 235 W Broadway St, ☏ +1 502 875-3009. M-W 6AM-9PM; Th-Sa 6AM-11PM; Su 8AM-7PM. The Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe offers weekly live music by top regional and national musicians. Performances are typically of the bluegrass, folk, singer/songwriter, and Americana genres. Homemade soups, sandwiches, breakfast and desserts available all day, along with a wide selection of organic coffees and, wine, handcrafted cocktails, micro-brew beers.
- Brick Alley, 325 Saint Clair St, ☏ +1 502 875-2559.
- Office Pub & Deli, 614 Comanche Trl., +1 502 227-9585.
- Parleys Tavern, 1410 Versailles Rd, ☏ +1 502 848-9002.
- Rose's Pub, 150 Elkhorn Ct, ☏ +1 502-352-2892.
Bed & Breakfast
- 1 The Meeting House, 519 Ann St, ☏ +1 502 226-3226. Enter a circa 1849-Civil War Home with the charm and history of yesteryear. Located in the heart of the Historic District, you'll enjoy your stay in a home rich in the history of Frankfort's political forefathers.
- 2 Best Western Parkside Inn, 80 Chenault Road, ☏ +1 502 695-6111, fax: +1 502 695-6112.
- 3 Bluegrass Inn, 635 Versailles Road, ☏ +1 502 695-1800, toll-free: +1-800-322-1802. U.S. 60. 61 rooms. Cable TV with HBO, complimentary continental breakfast, outdoor pool, senior citizen discounts, rooms with refrigerators, non-smoking rooms.
- 4 Capital Plaza Hotel, 405 Wilkinson Blvd, ☏ +1 502 227-5100. 189 rooms. Located Downtown, adjacent to Frankfort Convention Center. Within walking distance of KY History Center, Historic Distirict, downtown shops and restaurants. 7 executive suites. Interior corridors. Meeting and banquet facilities for 500. Covered parking. Restaurant and bar on site. Hot Breakfast Buffet. Indoor pool, sauna, exercise room and game room.
- 5 Fairfield Inn & Suites Frankfort, 40 Chenault Drive, ☏ +1 502 695-8881, fax: +1 502 848-0870.
- 6 Hampton Inn, 1310 US 127 South (I-64 at Exit 53B), ☏ +1 502 223-7600, toll-free: +1-800-HAMPTON (4267866). 123 rooms. Interior corridors. Meeting facilities for up to 80 people. Outdoor pool and exercise room. Handicap accessible. Complimentary Continental Breakfast.
- 7 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1000 Vandalay Drive (I-64 at Exit 53B), ☏ +1 502 352-4650, toll-free: +1-888-HOLIDAY (4654329), email@example.com. 67 rooms, 3 jacuzzi suites, indoor heated swimming pool, 24 hour guest laundry, fitness center, business center, and meeting room.
- 8 Elkhorn Campground, 165 Scruggs Lane, ☏ +1 502 695-9154. US 460 East. At the forks of Elkhorn Creek, campground offers electric, water and full hookups. Tent and trailer sites, camp store, swimming pool, showers, dump station, fishing, miniature golf, LP gas, laundry, playground and pavilion.
- 9 Still Waters Campground, Marina & Canoe Trails, 249 Strohmeier Road, ☏ +1 502 223-8896. US 127 North. Located on the Kentucky River, at the mouth of Elkhorn Creek. RV & tent areas have water/electric at all sites and sewer to most RV sites. Two primitive camping areas. Camp store, concessions, dump station, and bathhouse. Boat ramps, bait, canoeing and kayaking on the Kentucky River and Elkhorn Creek. Fishing, skiing, hiking, and old fashioned recreation.
- Kentucky River Campground, 1489 Steele Branch Rd. off US 127 North (6 miles north of Frankfort), +1 502 227-2465. Features electric and water hookups, primitive camping, and bathhouse, 25-ft barbecue pit, two shelter houses, cable TV, RV supplies, propane gas, sewer hookups to all campsites, Kentucky River boat ramp, fishing, playground and laundry facilities.
- Lakeside Arena Campground, 1385 Duncan Rd., ☏ +1 859 489-4885. Campground shares facility with Lakeside Arena.
- 2 Paul Sawyier Public Library, 319 Wapping St, ☏ +1 502 352-2665.
|Routes through Frankfort|
|Louisville ← Shelbyville ←||W E||→ Midway → Lexington|
|Louisville ← Shelbyville ←||W E||→ Jct W E → Lexington → Charleston|
|Cincinnati ← Florence ←||N S||→ Lawrenceburg → Crossville|
|END ←||W E||→ Jct → Paris → Mount Sterling|