Nicholasville Travel Guide

Discover the top things to do and places to visit in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read about its attractions, culture, accommodation options, and travel tips.

Introduction to Nicholasville

Located in the heart of the Bluegrass Region, Nicholasville is a charming city in Kentucky that offers visitors a unique blend of countryside charm and urban amenities. As the county seat of Jessamine County, it has a rich history dating back to the 18th century and is home to fascinating cultural attractions, natural wonders, and exciting outdoor activities.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll take a deeper look at the best things to do and places to see in Nicholasville, as well as the best places to stay and eat. We’ll also provide travel tips, so you can make the most of your visit to this South Central Kentucky gem.

List of Places to Visit in Nicholasville

Nicholasville offers something for everyone, from history buffs and nature lovers to adrenaline seekers and foodies. Here are the top places to include in your itinerary:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • The Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park: This National Historic Landmark once served as a recruiting depot for Union soldiers during the Civil War and is now a museum that celebrates the stories and sacrifices of soldiers and civilians.
  • The Mary Todd Lincoln House: Take a tour of the childhood home of the former First Lady, which is now a museum that offers a glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women.
  • The Nicholasville Courthouse: This historic courthouse is a Greek Revival style building that was built in 1873. It is still in use today and features a beautiful clock tower and stained glass windows.

Natural Attractions of Nicholasville: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • The Raven Run Nature Sanctuary: This 734-acre nature preserve is a natural oasis that offers hiking trails, bird watching opportunities, and a chance to see the native flora and fauna of the Bluegrass Region.
  • The Palomar Centre Trail: This paved trail covers over two miles and is ideal for biking or rollerblading. Enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding countryside while you get some exercise.
  • The Kentucky River: Take a scenic riverboat tour of the Kentucky River and discover the historical significance of the waterway to the Bluegrass Region.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Nicholasville

Nicholasville is a great place for hiking and biking enthusiasts, with many scenic trails to explore. Here are the best trails to add to your list:

  • The Kentucky River View Trail: This trail covers 5.5 miles and offers majestic views of the Kentucky River and the surrounding countryside.
  • The Shillito Park Trail: This 2.1-mile trail is located in Lexington and is a great place to bike or walk, with beautiful bridges and waterways along the way.
  • The Legacy Trail: This 12-mile paved trail runs through Lexington and connects to the Horse Country Trail, offering a scenic route through the local farms and countryside.

Best Things to Do in Nicholasville: Activities and Tours

In addition to its museums, parks, and scenic trails, Nicholasville is also home to many exciting activities and tours. Here are some of our top picks:

  • The Chrisman Mill Vineyards: Take a tour of this scenic vineyard, sample some local wines and enjoy a picnic with friends or family.
  • The High Bridge Park: This park features a beautiful limestone arch bridge that was once the tallest railway bridge in the world. It’s a popular spot for hiking, biking, and scenic drives.
  • The Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Take a tour of the famous bourbon distilleries in the area, including Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Woodford Reserve, and learn about the art of crafting bourbon.

Week-Long Itinerary for Nicholasville

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a week-long visit to Nicholasville:

Day 1: Visit the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park and take a scenic riverboat tour of the Kentucky River.

Day 2-3: Explore the local parks and hiking trails, including the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Palomar Centre Trail, and Kentucky River View Trail.

Day 4: Take a tour of the Mary Todd Lincoln House and visit the Nicholasville Courthouse.

Day 5-6: Embark on the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail and enjoy a tour of the local distilleries.

Day 7: Wrap up your trip with a visit to the Chrisman Mill Vineyards and High Bridge Park.

Food and Drink Scene of Nicholasville

Nicholasville is known for its southern cuisine and local delicacies. Here are the must-try dishes and local beverages to enjoy:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Hot Brown: This classic Kentucky dish is a decadent open-faced sandwich that features turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce.
  • Burgoo: This savory stew is a classic southern dish that is typically made with a mix of meat and vegetables.

Local Beverages

  • Bourbon: Kentucky is known for its bourbon, so be sure to try a local variety while you’re in Nicholasville.
  • Ale-8-One: This locally-produced soft drink is a staple in Kentucky and is often referred to as “Kentucky’s original soft drink.”

Where to Stay in Nicholasville: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Nicholasville offers plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are some of the best places to stay in the area:

  • The Inn on Broadway: This cozy inn offers comfortable rooms and a convenient location near the Nicholasville Courthouse.
  • The 21c Museum Hotel: This trendy hotel offers unique art installations and stylish accommodations in the heart of Lexington.
  • The Campbell House: This historic hotel is a landmark in Lexington and offers elegant rooms and modern amenities.

What to Buy in Nicholasville: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

There are many unique and local products to bring home as souvenirs from Nicholasville. Here are some of the best:

  • Local Bourbon: Bring home a bottle of Kentucky’s famous bourbon as a souvenir or gift.
  • Handcrafted Jewelry: Many local artisans create beautiful handcrafted jewelry using Kentucky’s famous horse culture for inspiration.
  • Unique Artwork: Nicholasville boasts many talented artists who create unique and inspiring pieces that showcase the beauty of the Bluegrass Region.

Local Culture and Customs of Nicholasville

The people of Nicholasville are known for their southern hospitality and friendly nature. Visitors can expect to be greeted with warm smiles and a welcoming atmosphere. Southerners also value their heritage and traditions, so be respectful of local customs and traditions during your visit.

Best Time to Visit Nicholasville

The best time to visit Nicholasville is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the foliage is colorful. Summer can be hot and humid, while winters can be cold and snowy.

Do’s and Don’ts of Nicholasville


  • Do take time to explore the local parks and hiking trails.
  • Do try the local southern cuisine, including the famous Hot Brown and Burgoo dishes.
  • Do bring home a bottle of local bourbon as a souvenir.


  • Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for hiking and exploring the natural attractions of the area.
  • Don’t leave without trying some local bourbon or Ale-8-One.
  • Don’t forget to respect local customs and traditions while visiting.

Safety and Health

Safety in Nicholasville

Nicholasville is a safe city that welcomes visitors from around the world. As with any travel destination, be aware of your surroundings and take normal precautions to ensure your safety.

Health in Nicholasville

Kentucky experiences all four seasons, so travelers should come prepared with weather-appropriate clothing and gear. Be sure to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary medication. If you need medical assistance, there are several hospitals and medical facilities in the area.

Getting to Nicholasville: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Nicholasville

The Blue Grass Airport in Lexington is the closest airport to Nicholasville. It is located about 11 miles away from the city and offers flights from several major airlines.

Bus Stations Near Nicholasville

The Greyhound Bus station in Lexington is the closest bus station to Nicholasville. It is located about 12 miles away from the city.

Other Options

Renting a car is a great way to explore the surrounding area, but there are also several taxi and ride-sharing services available.

How to Get Around in Nicholasville

The best way to get around Nicholasville is by car or bike, as the city is spread out and some attractions are located outside of town. There are also several taxi and ride-sharing services available.

Where to Go Next from Nicholasville: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Nicholasville is conveniently located near many other great destinations in Kentucky and the mid-west. Here are some nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Louisville: This vibrant southern city is located just 75 miles away from Nicholasville and is known for its bourbon, horse racing, and southern hospitality.
  • Cincinnati: Located 90 miles away from Nicholasville, Cincinnati offers plenty of urban attractions including a vibrant food scene, world-class museums, and professional sports teams.
  • Mammoth Cave National Park: This stunning national park is located 120 miles away from Nicholasville and is the world’s longest-known cave system.


Nicholasville is a charming southern town that offers many exciting attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or foodie, there is something for everyone in this South Central Kentucky gem. With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful parks and trails, and enthusiastic residents, Nicholasville is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the Bluegrass Region.