09 Aug Five Things to do in Paris, Kentucky
Known for its horses and history, Paris Kentucky is a must see for visitors traveling to the Bluegrass State.
Paris is located less than twenty miles from Lexington, and the commute down the famed Paris Pike is one of the most scenic drives in Central Kentucky, with horse farms lining both sides of the road. From horse farms to historical sites and locally sourced food to a great downtown area, we’ve put together our top five things to see and enjoy in Paris and Bourbon County.
- Visit a Horse Farm
- Two Horse Country members call Bourbon County home – Denali Stud and Runnymede Farm. Both farms are nurseries, and provide young horses with a strong foundation for their future from the time they are born until they head off to the sales ring or racetrack.
- Runnymede Farm is the oldest continuously operated Thoroughbred farm in the state of Kentucky. The farm has been passed down through generations of the Clay family, and raises mares and foals in the heart of Bourbon County. Recent champions raised at the farm include Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Lady Eli. Runnymede is a great stop for history lovers as well, as the farm is home to a number of historic buildings including Cooper’s Run Baptist Church, which was built in 1803 and is one of the oldest churches in Kentucky.
- Denali Stud is a family owned and operated nursery farm, just down the road from Runnymede Farm and downtown Paris. Denali Stud was founded by former jockey Craig Bandoroff and focuses on foaling and raising young horses, many of which go on to be sold through the Denali consignment at major Thoroughbred sales. The farm has raised and/or sold such superstars as Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Breeders’ Cup Champion Malathaat and more, and is the home of Hall of Fame racemare Serena’s Song.
- Immerse Yourself in Local History
- Whether you’re a history buff or exclusively interested in horsey-history, Paris is a great place to explore. For true history fans, Bourbon County is home to a number of historic sites dating back to the early days of the United States. Over two dozen historical markers are located in Paris + Bourbon County, which can be found by checking out this self guided tour from the Kentucky Historical Society. If you’re more of an equine history aficionado, the Bourbon County Horse Walk of Fame has to be on your itinerary. Throughout downtown Paris are horse shoes and nameplates featuring some of the best horses to live in Bourbon County at some point in their lives. Some horses of interest are Hall of Famer Serena’s Song (Denali Stud), Breeders’ Cup winner Midshipman (Jonabell Farm) and of course, Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
- Take a Stroll Through Downtown Paris
- Downtown Paris is the perfect place to get a taste of small town Southern hospitality – with a hint of Parisian flair of course (here’s to you, Mini Eiffel Tower) Shops and restaurants with locally sourced products can be found throughout the historic downtown district. A few of our favorite stops include Loch Lea Antiques, Lil’s Coffee Shop and the Paris/Bourbon County Farmers Market. While you’re walking along main street, be sure to look down occasionally to see the Bourbon County Horse Walk of Fame.
- Eat Locally
- One thing you need to know about Kentucky is that we take local food seriously here, and thanks to a strong agriculture industry, lots of restaurants use locally sourced ingredients from area farms. Paris has two restaurants in particular that are well known for the tasty Kentucky fare. Trackside at the Depot is located just outside of downtown Paris in the historic Paris train depot, and is well known for its food and selection of bourbon. Windy Corner Market is located a bit south of Paris, but the food and views are more than worth a short drive.
- Experience the Bourbon Trail
- When visiting Bourbon County, a distillery tour or at least a few sips of some Kentucky Bourbon should be on your itinerary. Hartfield and Company was the first distillery to open in Bourbon County after Prohibition forced the closure of the industry in 1919. This craft distillery offers tours that give an up-close look at how bourbon is made, as well as the history of their company and Bourbon County as a whole. Even if bourbon isn’t your drink of choice, distillery tours provide unique insight into the process of creating top notch beverages and often include local lore and tales about Kentucky’s history.