15 Best Things to Do in Springfield, KY

Springfield, KY
invictus999 / iStock.com

The vibrant city of Springfield, Kentucky, is rich in history and culture, offering a blend of idyllic countryside living and modern conveniences.

As the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln, the city proudly keeps relics and stories about the Lincoln family, passed on from generation to generation.

It is also the seat of Washington County, one of the first counties the Kentucky State Legislature created.

Springfield isn’t just home to historical sites, architecture, and arts but also scenic rural landscapes, the perfect spot for a relaxing and satisfying vacation.

Discover the best things to do in Springfield, Kentucky, with this handy list.

Admire the Tudor-Gothic Architecture of St. Rose Priory Church

Exterior of St. Rose Priory Church
Bbadgett, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1806, the St. Rose Priory Church is the oldest structure west of the Allegheny Mountains that still stands and functions as a church.

It has served Springfield for over 200 years.

Its proto-priory is also the oldest Dominican religious institution in the US.

Tudor-Gothic architecture marks St. Rose Priory Church’s striking octagonal tower and beautiful stained-glass windows that stand the test of time.

History marker of St. Rose Priory Church
Nheyob, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Named after Rose of Lima, a Dominican saint, it is now the only remaining Catholic church in the area.

The other churches had closed down through the years.

Seeing the majestic and solemn structure in the middle of the countryside will complete your one-of-a-kind Springfield experience.

Stained glass window of St. Rose Priory Church
Nheyob, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore History at the Lincoln Legacy Museum

Learn about the history of Abraham Lincoln and his family directly from the city of his roots.

Visit the Lincoln Legacy Museum in the Washington County Courthouse along Main Street.

The museum tells the life story of the 16th President of the United States (US), housing several artifacts from his family.

You can’t miss out on this place if you find yourself exploring the historic streets of Springfield.

While people know many things about Lincoln, the museum fleshes out his story.

Learn more about his ancestry, his parents’ time in Springfield, and his father’s background and talent in woodworking.

The Lincoln Legacy Museum will show you how the president became one of the most distinguished leaders in the history of the country.

Explore the Mordecai Lincoln House

Visit the Lincoln Homestead State Park on Lincoln Park Road.

See the original home of Lincoln’s mother and the cabin replicas where his father grew up.

You’ll even find the replica of the blacksmith shop where his father grew up and learned the trade.

They say Abraham Lincoln’s favorite uncle was Mordecai Lincoln, who once owned the home within this state park.

Built in 1797, the Mordecai Lincoln House is the only remaining structure in Kentucky that stands on its original site.

Likewise, it’s the only house in Kentucky that a member of the Lincoln family owned and occupied.

The Mordecai Lincoln House stands about a mile away from the main visitor center of the Lincoln Homestead State Park.

You must see and learn the value of this important heritage site that the city has preserved through time.

Enjoy Fishing and Golfing at Lincoln Homestead State Park

The Lincoln Homestead State Park doesn’t just feature historical sites but also activities that active locals and tourists can enjoy.

Enjoy a game or two of golf or disc golf in the natural rolling hills of Kentucky with the gorgeous lakes and sceneries as your backdrop.

Whether a fishing pro or a newbie, you can try catching fish at the 7.6-acre Lincoln Homestead Lake.

You can catch largemouth bass and channel catfish, among others.

Check the local fishing forecast from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife website to know the perfect time for fishing.

The Lincoln Homestead State Park is also the perfect place for a picnic and grill; picnic shelters are available for rental all year round.

Before you leave, don’t forget to buy souvenirs and support local handicrafts at the gift shop.

Watch Performances of the Central Kentucky Community Theatre

Get in touch with local culture and arts at the Springfield Opera House along West Main Street.

You can catch the Central Kentucky Community Theatre’s (CKCT) monthly performances and classes in the city’s opera house.

Established in 2006, the community theater showcases the performing talents of the local Springfield community and surrounding areas.

The CKCT doesn’t just produce shows but also educates the youth about theater arts and allows them to lead their productions.

Go and see them perform all kinds of shows, including plays and musicals.

You may also watch chorus concerts at the Springfield Opera House with performances by CKCT and performers from across Central and Northern Kentucky.

See the Historic Washington County Courthouse

Exterior of Washington County Courthouse
Bedford at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take the time to appreciate the oldest active courthouse in Kentucky, the Washington County Courthouse.

The historic courthouse holds the original marriage certificate of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, parents of Abraham Lincoln.

The bond, dated June 10, 1806, was written the day before they tied the knot in nearby Beechland.

Built in 1816, the brick structure is a fine example of Georgian architecture, receiving only a few minor alterations over the years.

In 1977, the National Register of Historic Places added the Washington County Courthouse.

Satisfy your thirst for knowledge in this building steeped in cultural heritage.

Admire Local Art at the Springfield Opera House

Why not immerse yourself in the local art scene and visit galleries inside the Springfield Opera House?

Discover old and modern art made by talented local artists when you visit the art gallery in the opera house.

The city is also the proud birthplace of former quarterback Phil Simms of the New York Giants and the National Football League (NFL).

Check out an exhibit of his life and career at the building’s West Gallery.

With its theater and bustling locality, Springfield also shares an undeniable resemblance to the fictional city of Springfield in The Simpsons.

This Kentucky city has embraced this pop culture connection.

Don’t forget to take a photo with the Simpsons before leaving Springfield Opera House.

The same building also houses the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield-Washington Economic Development Authority.

Meet the Alpacas at Serano Alpacas and Yarns

See huacaya alpacas and learn about these fluffy animals and their valuable fiber at Serano Alpacas and Yarns.

They offer a Kentucky Farm Tour that will teach you about the alpaca fiber industry and its evolution from farm to fashion.

The farm has an in-house store offering handcrafted yarns, socks, and other unique apparel made from alpaca fleece.

Serano Alpacas and Yarns is the perfect place for families to bond with their kids and enjoy meeting and feeding these beloved gentle animals.

Don’t forget to take as many pictures as possible while enjoying the experience.

Wind Down at Idle Hour Park

After a long day exploring the city, relax in the company of nature at Springfield’s Idle Hour Park.

You may enjoy a picnic at the available shelters while enjoying the park’s field of greeneries.

Kids will enjoy the playground while adults may use the park’s outdoor fitness equipment.

If you’re still up for something sporty, you may try the batting cage, tennis courts, softball and little league field, basketball court, and sand volleyball court!

Idle Hour Park has a paved walking and jogging trail for light but enjoyable exercise.

Stay for a Night at Maple Hill Manor

Staying at the historic Maple Hill Manor is an experience in itself.

The 7,000-square foot bed and breakfast is one of the best-preserved antebellum homes in Kentucky.

Upon entering the manor, you will see a cherry spiral staircase under three Murano crystal chandeliers dating back to the 1900s.

The Maple Hill Manor has the tranquil charm of a country home that will complement your entire Springfield experience.

It sits amid rolling hills of bluegrass, with a tobacco farm on one side and a racehorse farm on the other, a restful scene for your eyes.

Outside Maple Hill Manor, you will find tree swings and hammocks where you can relax after a peaceful stroll in their flower gardens.

Staying here will surely complete your mind and body’s much-needed serene vacation.

Stimulate Your Creativity at the Art Distillery

Channel your creative juices and learn from art professionals at The Art Distillery along Lebanon Road.

The art studio hosts workshops on all art forms, including visual, music, literature, and performance.

Artists Rich Brimer and Carol Henry established the place in 2019.

They modeled the Art Distillery after Carmel Visual Arts, their first studio in California.

The restored 150-year-old manor serves as a retreat destination for all types of artists while also offering bed and breakfast accommodations.

Bring out your inner artist when you join workshops taught by world-renowned instructors.

Other Things to Do Nearby

After visiting the attractions at Springfield, why not drop by other nearby sites a few minutes away?

Tour the Maker's Mark Distillery on Star Hill Farms

Exterior of a building at Maker's Mark Distillery on Star Hill Farms
Roig61 / Shutterstock.com

Discover the history and fascinating process of making bourbon whiskey at Maker's Mark Distillery on Star Hill Farms.

Located in the nearby city of Loretto, Kentucky, the distillery is proud of the whiskey-making process that it has followed since 1953.

Likewise, the distillery is 24 minutes from Springfield.

They have even preserved the old but beautiful distillery structure.

The garden of Maker's Mark Distillery on Star Hill Farms
Roig61 / Shutterstock.com

Its founding family has established a legacy in the local whiskey industry.

Enthusiasts will surely enjoy learning about its well-kept operations.

After touring the place, don’t miss their restaurant, Star Hill Provisions.

It offers seasonal menus perfectly paired with their bourbons and prepared by the country’s top chefs.

Bring the family to Star Hill Farms!

A bottle of bourbon from Maker's Mark Distillery on Star Hill Farms
Céréales Killer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn Unique History at the Great American Dollhouse Museum

Stop by the unique and fascinating Great American Dollhouse Museum in Danville, Kentucky, 31 minutes from Springfield.

The museum houses over 200 dollhouses, miniature buildings, rooms, and scenes featuring intricate craftsmanship.

Learn about US history and society through miniature displays.

One area of the museum presents a historical timeline starting from the history of Native Americans, the colonial period, and the modern era.

Another central display of the Great American Dollhouse Museum contains small towns and other structures that tell detailed fictional stories.

The museum displays a fantasy section with a miniature forest featuring fairies, elves, witches, and other fantasy creatures.

The museum is a regular destination for travelers in the Danville area.

Visitors of all ages can enjoy the fun exhibits they offer!

Step Back in Time at the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

A canon on the grounds of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site
Jordan Kercheff / Shutterstock.com

One of the country's pristine Civil War sites is the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site.

Today, it’s a park and museum you should visit.

You can find it in Perryville, Kentucky, 23 minutes from Springfield.

Commune with nature and explore this historic place's 19 miles of walking and hiking trails.

You may also try birding on the park’s bird trail while you’re here.

Union monument at Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site
Navin75, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is a wildlife refuge.

Likewise, the 1,000-acre expanse of grasslands contains rare bird species and other native wildlife.

After exploring nature, learn about the Battle of Perryville through the museum’s graphics and artifact displays.

You will even see uniforms and weapons used in the 1862 battle that will send you back in time.

Catch a Glimpse of the Historic Merchants Row

Shops along Merchants Row
Brian Stansberry, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stay in Perryville and explore the city’s historic Merchants Row.

You can find it about 20 minutes from Springfield.

Like Springfield, Perryville also contains well-preserved structures.

For example, you can see the business district's original buildings that still stand today.

Initially built in the 1800s, the row of eight buildings composes the city’s business district.

Today, the local government owns and preserves Merchants Row to give visitors a glimpse of a 19th-century rural community.

The Historic Merchants Row hosts antique dealers, gift shops, and museums.

This street of buildings is also one of the oldest remaining retail districts in the country.

Travel back in time to antebellum America in this district!

Final Thoughts

Springfield has preserved so much of its history.

History buffs or anyone who appreciates all things historical should visit the city.

Several activities will give you a slow-paced but exciting adventure in a small-town setting.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Springfield, Kentucky!