Owensboro is a town on the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky's Western Coal Fields. It bills itself as the Barbecue Capital of the World and has had some interesting figures call it home over the years, such as Beulah Annan, whose story inspired the play and movie Chicago; Florence Henderson, aka Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch; NASCAR great Darrell Waltrip (as well as his brother Michael, also a longtime NASCAR driver); and Johnny Depp. On a darker note, it was also the site of the last public hanging in the United States, the subject being an African American, in 1936.

Get in edit

By plane edit

By car edit

The Owensboro aka Glover Bridge connects Owensboro with Indiana, whereas I-165 connects it with Bowling Green to the south and US Route 60 with Henderson to the west.

Get around edit

  • Downtown Owensboro Trolley. The Owensboro Trolley provides FREE transportation on both weekdays and weekends in downtown Owensboro. You can catch a ride on the trolley at tons different areas across downtown Owensboro, with stop times around every 20 minutes: The great thing about the Trolley is that both visitors and locals can experience everything downtown Owensboro has to offer, without ever having to move their car. You can simply hop on the trolley from your hotel and be taken to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum if you’d like. From there, you can hop back on the trolley and be taken to one of our local bars or restaurants for a fun night out. Or to our riverfront walk. Or to our historic shopping district. And then, once you’re done exploring, catching a show–whatever it is you’ve made plans for–you can catch a ride on the trolley back to your hotel. The trolley schedule changes with the seasons, but from April-October, you can catch free rides Monday-Thursday from 11AM-3PM AND from 4-8PM. On Friday and Saturday, the trolley’s hours are extended to 11AM-3PM and 4-10PM. From November-March, the downtown trolley runs Tuesday-Thursday from 11AM- 2PM and Friday and Saturday from 11AM-6PM.
  • Owensboro City Buses, 101 East 4th Street, +1 270-687 8570. 6AM-7:35PM, M-F; 7:45AM-4:15PM, Sa; No service on Su. For travel outside of downtown, Owensboro city buses travel numerous routes that can take you to shopping centers, medical facilities, schools and universities, public parks, and other points of interest. Buses run most routes every 45 minutes. $1 for adults, 50¢ for children 7-18 and seniors 60+, or $3 for a day pass for anyone.

See edit

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
  • 5 Green River Whiskey Distillery, 10 Distillery Road (From downtown Owensboro, travel west on 2nd Avenue until you see the signs pointing to the Green River Distillery entrance.), +1 270-691 9001. M-F 9AM-4:30PM, Sa 9AM-3:30PM. One of the country's first Kentucky Bourbon distilleries, it underwent a fairly recent reconstruction of its facilities and grounds after being abandoned for a number of years. They offer distillery tours at several times every day, except Sunday. Tours cost $20/person, which includes sample tasting of 3 of their whiskies and a Green River shot glass. They also have a gift shop and cocktail lounge.

Do edit

  • 1 The River Park Center, 101 Daviess St, +1 270 687-2787. The arts and cultural center for the Owensboro-Daviess County Region. Featuring plays and operas, as well as concerts by the local symphony orchestra and regional, national, and international musical artists.
  • 2 Smothers Park, 199 W Veterans Blvd, +1 270-687-8333. Daily 7AM-10PM. This centralized park with its fountains and playplaces and promenade along the Ohio River looks pretty avant garde next to its surroundings and the river bottom terrain. Besides being a drawing point for aesthetics, it hosts a lot of events.
Glover Bridge and Smothers Park in foreground
  • 3 Escape Today, 820 West 2nd Street, +1 270-240 4216, . Escape Today offers three different escape room scenarios, six axe throwing lanes, and 35 arcade machines that you play by the hour, instead of per game. Hours vary by the day of the week, so it is highly advisable to book your visit online to be sure that you have use of the specific facility offerings when you want them.

Events edit

Owensboro is known as 'The City of Festivals', serving host to many local and international festivals and fairs. Some of the more popular, recurring events include:

  • Friday After 5, offering multiple venues of live entertainment along the beautiful riverfront every Friday starting around Memorial Day and running through Labor Day.
  • The International Bar-B-Q Festival, second weekend of May
  • The River of Music Party (ROMP), a 4-day bluegrass music festival held at Owensboro's Yellow Creek Park.
  • The Apple Festival
  • The Owensboro PumpkinFest, held in September
  • The Owensboro Air Show, held on a weekend in September along the riverfront, with a static aircraft display at the airport the day before.

Buy edit

Like most U.S. cities of its size, Owensboro has the usual assortment of "standard" retail chains, such as Walmart, Target, Kohl's, etc. However, for a more unique retail buying experience, a visit to the stores listed below is recommended.

  • Willow & Pine Market, 126 West 2nd Street, +1 270-478 1022, . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, closed Su. Specialty tabletop, kitchenware, jewelry, and gifts. Specializing in Polish pottery, including bakeware and dinnerware. Also carry Owensboro and Kentucky-themed items.

Eat edit

While Owensboro is best known regionally for two dishes, barbecue and burgoo (a traditional stew made with mutton, chicken, beef and vegetables), its restaurant scene has broadened to include a number of fine and unique dining establishments.

  • Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, 2840 W Parrish Av, +1 270-684-8143. M-Th 9AM-8:30PM, F Sa 9AM-9:30PM, Su 9AM-3PM. Best known for its barbecue mutton, it also offers barbecue chicken, beef, and pork, either as plates or sandwiches. Other menu offerings include breaded shrimp, chicken, and catfish, for those who prefer something other than barbecue. It also has a lunch and dinner buffet for those with bigger appetites. Its barbecue meats have won numerous awards and accolades, including being voted best in Kentucky by readers of Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living.
  • Ole South Bar-B-Q, 3523 Hwy 54 East, +1 270-926 6464. M-F 6AM-8PM, F Sa 6AM-9PM, Su 6AM-2PM. Offers a very wide variety of barbecued meats, including barbecue chicken, turkey, pork, brisket, ribs, and mutton, as well as traditional burgoo for lunch and dinner. Also offers traditional breakfast fare, or for those with larger appetites, a daily breakfast buffet.
  • Old Hickory Bar-B-Que, 338 Washington Avenue, +1 270-205 4229. Su-Th 9AM-9PM, F Sa 9AM-10PM. Family-owned restaurant, founded in 1918, offering pit-smoked barbecue mutton, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, ham, and ribs, as well as burgoo, in dine-in, carry-out, or drive-thru options.
  • Windy Hollow Biscuit House, 630 Emory Drive, +1 270 231 7222. Tu-Su 7AM-2PM, closed M. Off the beaten path a bit, the Windy Hollow Biscuit House is well worth a trip by anyone seeking true southern-style cooking. The interior of the restaurant is decorated throughout with historic items from the region, numerous movie posters from old westerns, and lots of WWII and other military memorabilia. They offer traditional breakfast fare, with an obvious emphasis on biscuits, as well as a robust buffet offering pretty much everything you might want for breakfast or brunch.
  • Gramps Coffee and Donuts, 335 Frederica Street (in Downtown Owensboro), . Tu-F 7AM-3PM, Sa 7AM-2PM, Su 7AM-noon, Su. Located , Gramps offers truly unique and scrumptious donuts, along with a wide variety of your standard barista coffeehouse offerings (e.g. latte, espresso, Americano, etc.) and other beverage options (e.g. tea, hot chocolate, soda, etc.). The perfect breakfast or brunch alternative for those who prefer somewhat lighter fare.
  • Colby's Fine Food & Spirits, 204 West 3rd Street, +1 270-685 4239. Tu-Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM, closed Su M. Colby's Fine Food & Spirits provides the highest quality seasonal dishes using aged meats and fresh produce with a first-class wine selection. Their dining atmosphere is pleasantly casual and intimate.
  • Fetta Specialty Pizza and Spirits, 118 Saint Ann Street, +1 270 926 0005. Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM, closed M. Fetta's offers a wide variety of standard and specialty pizzas (e.g. mashed potato pizza or chicken bacon ranch pizza) by the slice or as whole pizzas, for dine-in or delivery. Not in the mood for pizza, then try one of their specialty salads. They're especially known for their garlic knots, which are great addition to whatever is ordered. A wide selection of beer, wine, and cocktails are also available to complement your meal.
  • Famous Bistro, 102 West 2nd Street, +1 270-686 8202, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, closed Su. Famous Bistro strives to produce amazing, scratch-made food and provide the best service in town. It offers deli style lunch with soups, sandwiches, salads and daily specials. For dinner, it offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere - anything from fresh seafood to hand-carved steaks, classic Greek entrees and many other cuisines. Winner of TripAdvisor's 2021 Traveler's Choice Award.
  • Miller House Restaurant, 301 East 5th Street, +1 270-685 5878, . Tu W 5-9PM, Th 11AM-2PM & 5-9PM, F 11AM-2PM & 5-10PM, Sa 5-10PM, Su 10AM-2PM, closed M. Located in Owensboro's Historic District, the Miller House Restaurant is in a older home (built in 1905) that serves up southern-style food, with a bourbon-focused bar that carries over 600 different bourbons.
  • Niko's Italian Cuisine, 2200 East Parish Avenue, +1 270-852 1618, . M-Th 11AM-2PM & 4-8PM, F 11AM-2PM & 4-9PM, Sa 4-9PM, closed Su. Visit Niko's Italian Cuisine for nicely cooked spaghetti carbonara, pizza and fillet steaks. It also has a full bar, to allow you to select just the right wine or cocktail to go with your meal.
  • Lure Seafood and Grille, 401 West 2nd Street (inside the Hamption Inn and Suites), +1 270 240 5556. M 4:30PM-10PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-2:30PM & 4:40-10PM, Su 11AM-2:30PM & 4:40-9PM. With one of the better views of the Ohio River, Lure Seafood & Grille offers a made-from-scratch lunch and dinner menu complemented by the freshest ingredients, and a comfortable ambiance. It offers a diverse menu with rotating specials that will please the palette of fine diners and foodies alike.
  • Pamir Afghan Cuisine, 630 Emory Drive (Windy Hollow Biscuit House), +1 270-695 7519. F-Su 4-8PM. Pamir Afghan Cuisine operates out of the Windy Hollow Biscuit House in the evenings on weekends, since the Biscuit House shuts down its meal service at 2 PM. For those who've never had Afghani food, it's a bit like Indian food, with lots of rice and vegetables, but not quite as spicy. Among their standard offerings are Kabuli Palaw, basmati rice with carmelized carrots, raisins, and beef chunks, and Murgh Biryan, fried chicken marinated in herbs and spices served over a bed or rice. They also offer both 3 and 5 dish "samplers" that let your try a little bit of each of their main dishes. Reservations are highly advisable.

Drink edit

  • The Brew Bridge, 800 West 2nd Street, +1 270-215 7742, . Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-8PM, closed M. A microbrewery named, tongue-in-cheek, after Owensboro's iconic Glover Bridge, affectionately known by locals as the Blue Bridge because of it's distinctive color. Offers several of its own beers for consumption, along with a full bar. It also has a restaurant offering typical brew pub fare, such as hamburgers and chicken fingers. It has live local music performances most weekends. A covered patio is also available for those who prefer to do their drinking and dining outside when the weather permits.
  • Goodwood Brewing and Spirits, 101 Frederica Street (across from Smothers Park in downtown Owensboro), +1 270-215 5000, . Su-W 11AM-9PM, Th 11AM-11PM, F 10AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-9PM. Spot for burgers, brunch and brews. It offers a traditional, southern menu with favorites such as Buffalo Cauliflower, Chicken and Waffles and Fried Green Tomatoes. It also features sixteen beer taps and over thirty bourbons. Both indoor and outdoor patio dining options are available.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Holiday Inn-Owensboro Riverfront, 701 West 1st Street (right next to the Owensboro Convention Center), +1 270-683-1111, toll-free: +1 888 HOLIDAY (4654329). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A full-service hotel fronting the Ohio River. It offers several amenities including: free Wifi, business center, 24-hour fitness center, heated indoor saltwater pool, in-house guest laundry and onsite restaurant (Burger Theory). It is a short walk away from Smothers Park, and local cultural attractions such as the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the Owensboro Museum of Science & History,.
  • 2 Hampton Inn & Suites-Downtown Owensboro/Waterfront, 401 West 2nd Street (right next to the Owensboro Convention Center), +1 270-685 2005, toll-free: +1 800 HILTONS (4458667). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Fronting the Ohio River. Lure, the hotel's seafood restaurant located on the first floor, is also an option for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch. Pet-friendly rooms are available, as well as an indoor pool and fitness center. Free parking, free wifi, and a free hot breakfast are all standard.
  • 3 Marriott TownePlace Suites-Owensboro, 3365 Hayden Road, +1 270-231 8222, toll-free: +1 888 236 2427. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Each suite comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a work area with high-speed Internet access. It also has a state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor saltwater pool, Weber gas grills, complimentary breakfast, 24-hour sundries market, and an on-site laundry. Pets are also welcome (up to 40 lb).

Connect edit

By phone edit

Most telephone numbers in Owensboro consist of +1 270 plus a seven-digit number, but the western third of Kentucky 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). The same is true on the Indiana side of the river, which has its own overlay complex of 812 and 930.

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 270 before these if no area code is indicated (or 812 if in Indiana).

Go next edit

Henderson, to the west, is the home of Ellis Park, a thoroughbred horse track that races in the summer months.

To the south are two towns that gave birth to musicians. Rosine is the birthplace of Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass music. Central City is the birthplace of Don Everly, the older of the two Everly Brothers, famous for countless hits including "Bye, Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Susie". (The other brother, Phil, was born in Chicago.)

Routes through Owensboro
END  N   S  HartfordBowling Green
Evansville via  Henderson  W   E  Fort KnoxLouisville
LafayetteJasper  N   S  HartfordBowling Green
END  N   S  → Jct  LewisburgNashville

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