Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Berea, KY

  • Published 2022/10/11

The town of Berea is known for many awesome things.

Nestled along the Cumberland Plateau, Berea is considered the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky because of its deep roots in arts and crafts.

You’ll experience why this town earned this kind of recognition through art workshops year-round, festivals, and art galleries filled with different masterpieces of local and renowned artists.

But there’s more to Berea than meets the eye.

It’s also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

It encompasses over 8,000 acres of forest, trail systems, and vibrant flora and fauna.

Berea’s geographic location makes it a perfect place to set an outdoor adventure.

The town is surrounded by Owsley Park, Berea Pinnacles, and the Appalachian Mountains, where countless outdoor activities await you.

In addition, the town itself is an excellent attraction that you need to discover.

It’s packed with local artisanal shops, restaurants, and hidden gems worth checking out.

Before anything else, take time to read this post to learn the 20 best things to do in Berea, KY.

Experience Campus Life at Berea College

Berea college sign post with the history of the college written on it.

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Berea College, founded in 1855, boasts free tuition where students enjoy a work-study career.

It’s one of the best colleges for liberal arts and one of the sources of Kentucky’s current and future artists.

As everyone knows, visiting universities or colleges is a unique experience where you’ll get to know about campus life and how students spend their regular days.

Exterior of the draper hall of berea college.

Parkerdr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Berea College typically offers you the same experience.

In addition, Berea College has many facilities worth checking out, such as the Berea College Phelps Stokes Auditorium, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, and the College Square.

So, you should take some time and stroll along with the vast Berea College and enjoy a relaxing experience with the campus community.

Welcoming sign post of berea college on clean cut grass.

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Unique Goods at the Artisan Village

The Artisan Village displays Kentucky’s rich art heritage and tradition through its shops, galleries, and historical sites.

This famous attraction in Berea is considered the central place for arts, but it offers a unique shopping experience that you won’t see anywhere else.

The Artisan Village boasts a vast gallery featuring regular performances and demonstrations from various Kentucky artisans, artists, and authors.

After enjoying the gallery, proceed to the Appalachian crafts and the Log House Craft Gallery for more unique and beautiful artworks.

Finally, proceed to the Artisan Village to shop as much as possible with various artisanal products, gourmet food, and souvenirs from 18 stores managed by locals.

Spend the Night at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel

Sign post of boone tavern hotel along the road.

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step inside the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel’s elegant white marble columns and be amazed at its Colonial Revival-style architecture designed by J.C. Cady in 1907.

Some famous people who stayed at the Boone Tavern Hotel were former first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Grace Goodhue, Henry Ford, Maya Angelou, Dalai Lama, and former United States President Calvin Coolidge.

With that in mind, it holds a historical significance not just in Berea but also in Kentucky.

Exterior of the white building of boone tavern hotel.

Parkerdr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The hotel in Berea is on the National Register of Historic Places list, making it an important historical landmark in town.

In addition, Boone Tavern Hotel is nearby Berea’s famous attractions, including the Berea College, making it a very convenient billeting place during your visit to the town.

So, if you want a recommended hotel to stay at during your visit to Berea, you can check in the Boone Tavern Hotel.

A restaurant set up with chairs and circular tables inside the boone tavern hotel.

James Kirkikis /

Buy Fresh Produce at the Berea Farmers Market

Browse through the freshly-harvested produce at the Berea Farmers Market along Chestnut St. that runs from April to October.

It’s one of the best places to immerse yourself with Berea’s locals and buy freshly harvested fruits and vegetables from local farmers.

You can also indulge in delicious homemade jams, bread, pastry, and food from local vendors.

One of the sought-after products at the Berea Farmers Market is homemade cinnamon rolls.

In addition, you can also buy organically raised pinto beans and black beans, gourmet edibles, medicinal herbs, edible mushrooms, plant-based soap bars, and a huge assortment of baked goods.

Berea Farmers Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday.

Hike through the Historic Boone Trace Trail

The entire Boon Trace Trail covers more than 150 miles covering five counties that traverse north by northwest.

If you feel intimidated, there’s no need for you to hike the entire 150 miles to complete your experience.

In Berea, you’ll come across the historical marker to pay homage to American frontiersman Daniel Boone, who trail blazed the historic route in 1775 along with 30 of his men and migrants.

Today, the historic trail is a beloved hiking destination where you’ll come across various museums and historical landmarks where Boone and his men passed through.

It’s a wonderful destination for both the outdoors and the history of Kentucky’s famous pioneers.

If you’re hardcore enough to follow the footsteps of Boone, you will pass through various historical landmarks along the 150-mile grueling journey.

These landmarks and sites are Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Pineville, Barbourville, Knox Historical Museum, Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park, Livingston Trail Town Visitor Center, Boone Gap, Fort Boonesborough State Park, and Winchester/Clark County.

Drop by the Berea Welcome Centre

Exterior of the brea welcome center with red roof and brick walls.

Parkerdr, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Upon arriving in Berea, you need to head first to the Berea Welcome Center before setting your travel adventure in town.

The place provides you with the needed brochures of the must-visit locations, must-try restaurants, and lots of interesting stuff about the town.

It also provides you with Berea’s town map and nearby places.

Brea welcome center entrance with cream colored doors and windows.

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition, the staff of Berea Welcome Centre is very hospitable to answer all your questions.

So, it’s highly recommended to drop by at the Berea Welcome Centre before you roam around the town.

Go on a Shopping Spree at College Square

One of the best reasons you need to visit Berea College’s campus is its unique environment where you’ll come across a shopping center.

Berea College’s College Square boasts an upscale shopping center and visitor’s center in the middle of the campus.

It will treat you to a unique shopping experience where you are presented with top-notch products from Berea College’s students.

You can buy various products from handicrafts, ceramic wares, gourmet food, clothing, artworks, and many more.

One of the highly-recommended shops you need to check out is the Log House Gallery, the most extensive and oldest running craft gallery in Kentucky.

It features unique artworks from more than 400 artists, including Berea College’s products from its Student Craft Program.

Aside from the Log House House Gallery, you can check out the Appalachian Fireside Gallery, Berea College Farm Store, Berea College Student Crafts, Berea College Visitor Center, Berea Fudge Shoppe, Gallery 103, Peace Craft, and The White Stitch.

Score Rare Finds at the U.S. 25 Yard Sale

The U.S. 25 Yard Sale is the biggest congregation of Kentucky’s backyard sellers and flea market vendors.

It features second-hand items from clothing, toys, collectible cards, old vinyl, housewares, jewelry, glassware, furniture, fresh produce, and a lot more.

This major yard sale has been happening every first week of June for the past decade.

It originated in Grant County in 2012 and has grown massively, now spanning through 14 cities and 200 miles, including Berea in Kentucky.

If you’re a fan of garage or yard sales back at home, going to the U.S. 25 Yard Sale is your perfect chance to score rare finds while helping schools, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and the church earn.

Learn to Dance at the Contraire Dance Association

The Contraire Dance Association promotes folk dances in Kentucky through its regular contra dancing sessions where everyone can join.

This kind of activity featuring the local dance culture of Kentucky has been happening for the past three decades.

Every fourth Saturday of the month, locals in Berea converge at the Russell Acton Folk Center to dance their hearts out to the tune of traditional music courtesy of the New England contra dance bands.

The folk dances featured in this unique and fun-filled activity are American contra, square dancing, quadrille, and Celtic dancing.

This activity aims to introduce the unique dance culture to the public and promote and innovate the traditional dances to visitors.

Above all, it’s one of the best ways for you to commune with locals during your visit to Berea.

Indulge Yourself with Arts and Leisure at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

Kids posing on their bikes in front of the kentucky artisan center.

Steven J Hensley /

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is a unique place to visit.

It perfectly blended the traditional and modern arts with leisure.

Aside from being a vast art gallery featuring the works of around 800 artisans, it’s also an excellent place to shop and dine.

Orange colored light inside the kentucky artisan center with their crafts on display.

James Kirkikis /

The whole place boasts innovative artworks from Kentucky’s finest artists through its galleries, museums, restaurants, and shops.

The center also has a wide collection of books and music that you can browse.

Visiting this place is one of the highlights of Berea’s rich art culture and community.

Watch Live Performances at the Spotlight Playhouse

Theater arts is also very lively in Berea, and to witness one, you can visit the Spotlight Playhouse, which features Broadway-themed performances.

The talented performers of the Spotlight Playhouse offer everyone a wholesome experience with their family-friendly and highly-entertaining plays.

It’s a wonderful experience to get entertained with reenactments of famous Hollywood movies with a twist of live theater performance.

Spotlight Playhouse is your go-to place if you want to see the other side of Berea’s thriving arts community.

To learn about Spotlight Playhouse’s upcoming shows, you can check their social media page for schedules.

Ride along the Silver Creek Bike Park

The Silver Creek Bike Park is a modern mountain bike course that offers Berea locals a new cycling destination.

One of the main reasons why the town of Berea put up this new bike park is to improve its tourism.

However, this time, it focuses on sports tourism instead of the already-established arts and culture tourism.

The Kentucky Mountain Bike Association currently manages and maintains the entire bike park designed by AGT Engineering and Andrew Parsons.

The bike park stretches for about 3.5 miles with enough climb ends and rundowns, safe enough for novice bikers.

In addition, the bike park is open to the public.

So, make sure to include biking at the Silver Creek Bike Park as one of the things to do in Berea.

Explore The Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest

Concrete stone row steps amphitheatre with green trees around it.

Steven J Hensley /

The Berea Pinnacles is a vast scenic trail that traverses through hills, forests, and farmlands.

Historically, the Native Americans traversed the trail as they once inhabited Berea’s lands.

Today, the trail is a popular outdoor destination that leads to numerous natural attractions in Berea, including the Berea College Forest, Daniel Boone National Forest, Eagles Nest, Devil’s Kitchen, Buzzard’s Roost, and Indian Fort Lookout.

Learn Innovative Farming at the Berea Urban Farm

If you think that visiting farms is boring, well, you need to think twice because the Berea Urban Farm will give you a whole new experience.

The Berea Urban Farm hosts various farm-related workshops featuring innovative and sustainable farming programs for everyone.

Even if you’re not interested in farming, joining one of its workshops will ignite your curiosity about this sector while appreciating the benefits of farming.

You can take up different workshops and enjoy hands-on activities at Berea Urban Farm’s 1.4-acre farm site.

If you don’t have the time to attend its workshop, you can still have fun by harvesting its produce at the farm, one of its attractions.

Play Golf at the Greens at Churchill (Berea Country Club)

The Berea Country Club, now known as the Greens at Churchill, serves as the second oldest country club in Madison County.

It’s been hosting golfers since 1951.

If you’re a golfer or an enthusiast of this sport, you will surely appreciate the course challenge that sprawls through the Appalachian landscape.

It features 3,067 yards of a scenic 9-hole course for 36.

Aside from the challenging course, you’re also treated to a picturesque backdrop of lush treelines and sloping hills.

Find Furniture to Purchase at Top Drawer Gallery

Thanks to founders Terry and Jerilu Fields’ establishment of connections with dozens of the most skilled crafters and artists from around the State of Kentucky and all over the country, Top Drawer Gallery, founded in 2003, has earned a reputation for craftsmanship.

They provide Handcrafted American Artistry in handmade goods, art, furnishings, and décor from their location in Berea, Kentucky.

Every jewelry showcases the best materials and craftsmanship available in the creative and fashion industries.

Master artisans carve each piece of wood into a unique sculpture that shows each artist’s natural beauty and individual style.

Black walnut, cherry, and maple are the three most common Appalachian hardwoods used to create their furniture.

Discover Crafts at Tater Knob Pottery & Farm

Each piece of Tater Knob pottery is made from red clay that has been wheel-thrown, then it is kiln-fired to 2185 degrees F, rendering it lead-free, suitable for food preparation, and fit to use in an oven, washer, and microwave.

There are 25 common products produced by Tater Knob Pottery, such as tableware, pitchers, vases, lamps, bells, and their renowned “Spoonbread Baker.”

It is built to bake and supply the famous spoonbread, a Berea hotel delicacy, prepared onsite.

Tater Knob crafts each item by hand, making each piece distinctive.

Due to the unique characteristics of each pot and those of its creator, no two pots will ever be completely alike.

Stroll around Todd’s Antique Mall

The family-run company Todd’s Antique Mall first opened its doors in 1978.

At this shopping center in Berea, Kentucky, you’ll find plenty for everyone.

The mall is accessible from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Throughout the store, there are various booths where you may look for exquisite vintage oak furniture.

View the impressive collection of vintage toys, glassware, crocks, equipment, and other interesting stuff.

Spend the entire afternoon shopping for stuff you want to keep or presents for your loved ones.

Unwind at Happiness Hills Farm

Happiness Hills Farm in Kentucky’s Pinnacles neighborhood is the perfect spot to revitalize your soul and reestablish connections with God, the environment, and other people.

For conferences, retreats, or events, their spaces are perfect.

It serves as a base for seeing Kentucky’s attractions, Appalachian artisan workshops, hiking, or simply relaxing on a break away from stress and loudness.

Their accommodation facilities feature cozy common areas and nice mattresses.

The 80-acre farm has grounds for outdoor sports, a lake where visitors can fish, a stream with minnows, a campfire site, and other water features.

A memorial chapel provides a peaceful spot for contemplation, while a sizable tobacco barn that has been renovated is ideal for group sessions undercover.

Order the Famous Pizza at PapaLeno’s

PapaLeno’s was established in 1984 and was purchased by the present administration, Brad and Jerome Lewis, in 1998.

They use some of the greatest ingredients since excellent cooking begins with quality ingredients.

From London-sourced Kentucky Proud fruit to Chicago-sourced premium meats, they want their consumers to know they have their best interests in mind.

Their Papa Leno’s Famous Pizza is highly renowned.

It has a handmade crust, a thick layer of sauce prepared with Italian tomatoes, a unique seasoning mixture, and the finest ingredients.

Additionally, you may create your pizza by selecting the size and toppings of your preference.

They also provide appetizers, sandwiches, spaghetti, sweets, drinks, and more on their menu.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an art lover or a casual tourist who wants to have a good time, Berea has a lot of reasons why it should be on your list of places to visit.

Barea has something unique and exciting for everyone.

There are plenty of attractions you’ll be visiting once you get there, especially those listed in this post.

Whenever you’re ready to visit Berea, be sure to bookmark this post for your instant itinerary.

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