Henderson is a hidden gem in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky. It is nestled along the banks of the majestic Ohio River and boasts a rich history, diverse attractions, and a warm community. This charming city is a must-visit destination for tourists from all over.
Henderson was established in 1797 and boasts a storied past as one of Kentucky’s earliest settlements. It’s best known as the birthplace of W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” and for John James Audubon, the famous naturalist and artist who once called this place home.
Audubon’s legacy is celebrated with the John James Audubon State Park and Museum, which attracts nature enthusiasts and art aficionados alike.
Annually, Henderson draws in thousands of visitors who come to revel in the city’s abundant charms. Its popularity is anchored in its picturesque riverfront, historical significance, and vibrant cultural scene.
The city’s numerous festivals, such as the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival and the Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival, provide a captivating blend of music, food, and local culture that keeps tourists returning year after year.
Consider the weather when planning your visit to Henderson. The city experiences a moderate climate, with warm summers and cool winters. Spring and early fall are ideal times to explore the outdoors and attend the various festivals.
However, if you prefer milder temperatures and smaller crowds, late spring and early summer are also delightful times to experience the city’s natural beauty and cultural events.
With its rich history, natural beauty, and welcoming spirit, Henderson is a true Kentucky treasure that beckons travelers to explore its many offerings throughout the year.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s no shortage of fun activities and attractions to enjoy in this welcoming Kentucky town. Here are 21 of the most entertaining things to do in Henderson, KY.
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1) John James Audubon State Park
John James Audubon State Park was established in 1934 and is considered a Kentucky gem. The park was named after the renowned naturalist and artist John James Audubon.
It is a place where nature and history come together. John James Audubon lived in Henderson, KY, and made it his home in the early 1800s.
This 692-acre park is a bird watcher’s paradise. Audubon was famous for his incredible bird illustrations and found inspiration for many of his works right here. It’s no surprise that the park is home to a wide variety of bird species.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll appreciate the park’s trails and wetlands. You can explore the diverse flora and fauna, and there’s even a museum that displays Audubon’s art and personal memorabilia.
Audubon State Park offers plenty of recreational activities, including picnicking and swimming. The park’s golf course, designed by golf legend Tom Fazio, is a treat for golf enthusiasts.
101 N. Water Street, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
2) Henderson River Walk
The Henderson River Walk was established in 1999. This picturesque riverside walkway offers a serene escape, with roots tracing back to the late 19th century when it was initially envisioned.
The River Walk spans approximately 1.5 miles and is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts and families looking for a leisurely stroll with beautiful views. It’s also a great place for picnics and birdwatching, with a variety of bird species to admire.
One interesting fact is that it’s part of the Great Ohio River Recreational Trail. This extensive trail system connects various river towns, making it a haven for boating and water recreation, offering to experience new things to do in Henderson.
The River Walk frequently hosts events and festivals, including the popular W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival, where visitors can enjoy live music and delicious barbecue in a delightful riverside setting.
River front, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
3) Audubon Mill Park
Audubon Mill Park was established in 1978 and is a picturesque riverside park in Henderson, Kentucky. This charming park has a rich history dating back to the 19th century when it was home to a grist mill, sawmill, and woolen mill.
The park sits on the site where John James Audubon, the famous ornithologist and artist, operated a mill in the early 1800s. His time in Henderson greatly influenced his love for birds and nature, ultimately inspiring his remarkable artwork.
Visitors to Audubon Mill Park can enjoy its peaceful atmosphere and scenic views of the Ohio River. It features a playground, picnic areas, and open green spaces, making it an ideal destination for families to relax, play, and take in the natural beauty.
The park is also a significant part of the city’s annual W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival, where locals and tourists gather to enjoy live music, delicious barbecue, and the beautiful riverside ambiance.
123 N Water St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
4) Lions Club Arts & Crafts Festival
The Lions Club Arts & Crafts Festival was established in 1967. It is a beloved annual event in Henderson, Kentucky. This festival has deep roots in the community, showcasing a rich history of celebrating local art and craftsmanship.
The festival aimed to provide a platform for local artists and crafters to display and sell their work. Over the years, it has evolved into a significant cultural event drawing people from all around the region.
The festival is organized by the Henderson Lions Club, offering unique things to do in Henderson. It is a community service organization known for its dedication to helping those in need through various charitable activities.
The festival features a wide array of arts and crafts, live music, delicious food, and family-friendly activities. It’s a vibrant and lively event that brings the community together, fostering a sense of unity and support.
The Lions Club Arts & Crafts Festival is a testament to Henderson’s commitment to the arts and community involvement, offering a fun and enriching experience for all who attend.
3100 Us Highway 41 N., Henderson, KY 42420, United States
5) W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival
The W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival is a lively annual event in Henderson, Kentucky. The event was established in 1990 and was named after the “Father of the Blues,” William Christopher Handy. The festival pays tribute to this legendary musician and composer.
W.C. Handy was born in 1873 in Florence, Alabama. He made significant contributions to blues music, and Henderson honors his legacy through this festival.
One fascinating fact is that this festival is entirely free to attend, offering variety of things to do in Henderson. It’s a gift to the community and music enthusiasts, offering access to world-class blues performances without any cost.
The festival is a mecca for blues music lovers, featuring outstanding live performances by renowned artists. Alongside the music, it also boasts a delectable array of barbecue and Southern cuisine.
The W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival has become a pivotal event not only in Kentucky but also in the wider blues music scene. It’s a place where people come together to enjoy great music and mouthwatering food while celebrating the enduring legacy of W.C. Handy.
2961 US Hwy 41, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
6) Henderson Fine Arts Center
The Henderson Fine Arts Center is a cultural hub in Henderson, Kentucky. It was established in 2000. This modern facility is a testament to the community’s commitment to the arts and serves as a vital part of the local cultural scene.
Henderson Fine Arts Center was founded to provide a space for artistic and cultural enrichment for the city and surrounding areas. It hosts a wide range of artistic events, including concerts, theater productions, art exhibitions, and educational programs.
The center is affiliated with Henderson Community College. This partnership allows students and the public to engage with a diverse array of artistic and educational experiences.
The center features a state-of-the-art performance hall that can accommodate up to 439 guests. It also includes galleries and classrooms for art instruction and exhibitions.
The Henderson Fine Arts Center plays a pivotal role in nurturing the arts and cultural appreciation in the community, making it a vital and vibrant part of Henderson’s cultural landscape.
2660 S Green St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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7) Ellis Park Race Course
Ellis Park Race Course is a historic and beloved horse racing venue in Henderson, Kentucky. It was established in 1922. With nearly a century of history, this race course has been a center of excitement and entertainment for locals and visitors alike.
The track was named after Commodore John Ellis, who donated the land to build the racecourse. It quickly became a significant part of the community’s social and cultural fabric.
The race course offers a unique summer racing season, making it one of the few tracks in the United States to do so. This summer tradition has attracted racegoers for generations, offering them a place to enjoy several things to do in Henderson.
Ellis Park is renowned for its thrilling horse racing events, including the Ellis Park Derby. It’s a place where people gather to place bets, enjoy the excitement of horse racing, and experience the Kentucky horse culture.
As an integral part of Henderson’s heritage, Ellis Park Race Course continues to draw racing enthusiasts and celebrate the history of horse racing in the Bluegrass State.
3300 US Highway 41 N, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
8) Atkinson Park Riverwalk
Atkinson Park Riverwalk was established in 2015. It is a beautiful addition to the natural landscape of Henderson, Kentucky. This scenic riverwalk offers a serene space for residents and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors.
Atkinson Park itself has a long history in Henderson, established in 1931. It has evolved over the years to become a hub of recreation and relaxation for the community.
The Riverwalk features an accessible path for all visitors, including those with disabilities. This inclusivity makes it a welcoming destination for everyone.
The Riverwalk provides stunning views of the Ohio River, making it an excellent spot for a leisurely stroll, birdwatching, or simply unwinding by the water.
Whether you’re looking for a place to walk your dog, have a family picnic, or just take in the beauty of the river, the Atkinson Park Riverwalk is a gem for those who seek a peaceful connection with nature.
1813 N. Elm St. Henderson, KY 42420, United States
9) Henderson County Fair
The Henderson County Fair is a long-standing tradition in Henderson, Kentucky. The fair was established in 1966. This lively event provides a platform for the community to come together and celebrate the local culture and agriculture.
The fair has deep historical roots, dating back to the early 20th century when it was known as the “Cattleman’s Day.” It has grown and evolved over the years to become a significant annual event, offering variety of things to do in Henderson.
The fair showcases various agricultural exhibits, including livestock, horticulture, and crafts. It’s a wonderful opportunity for local farmers and artisans to display their talents.
The Henderson County Fair features carnival rides, games, and delicious fair food, providing fun for all ages. It’s a highlight for families in the area and a time for people to come together and enjoy the festivities.
As a beloved community event, the Henderson County Fair continues to be a vibrant and cherished tradition, fostering a sense of togetherness and pride in Henderson.
101 N. Water Street, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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10) Bliss Artisan
Bliss Artisan was established in 2015. It is a unique and vibrant establishment in Henderson, Kentucky. This local gem offers a variety of artisanal products, and its history is as rich as its offerings.
This charming store was founded by Jane Bliss and started as a small boutique. Over the years, it has grown to become a beloved part of the Henderson community.
Bliss Artisan boasts a wide range of handmade goods, including jewelry, pottery, and paintings, all created by local artists. Shoppers can find one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs that reflect the heart and soul of Kentucky.
Bliss Artisan hosts regular art exhibitions and events, providing local artists with a platform to showcase their talents. These events contribute to the thriving art scene in Henderson.
With its warm and welcoming atmosphere, Bliss Artisan continues to be a must-visit spot in Henderson, Kentucky, and a true celebration of local creativity.
130 N Main St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
11) Citi Center Gallery – OVAL
Citi Center Gallery – OVAL was founded in 1999. It is a prominent cultural hub in Henderson, Kentucky, known for its intriguing history and distinctive features.
This gallery was established to promote local artists and has played a vital role in shaping the art scene of the region. With the OVAL standing for Ohio Valley Art League, this organization is at the heart of the gallery’s mission.
The gallery frequently hosts exhibitions, featuring various forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photography. It also offers art classes and workshops, making art accessible to all, adding to the never-ending list of things to do in Henderson.
The Citi Center Gallery – OVAL is its commitment to community involvement. It collaborates with schools and local organizations, creating opportunities for art education and engagement.
This cultural hotspot not only showcases artistic talent but also fosters a vibrant artistic community in Henderson, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and a source of pride for the city.
230 Second Street, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
12) Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival
The Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival was established in 1989. It is a beloved event in Henderson, Kentucky, with a rich history and fascinating aspects.
The festival was founded to celebrate the region’s cultural heritage and showcase the beauty of bluegrass music, folk traditions, and local crafts.
Every year, thousands of visitors gather to enjoy live bluegrass performances, traditional food, and artisanal crafts. It’s a true cultural immersion which offers various things to do in Henderson.
The festival is completely free, making it accessible to all. Families, music enthusiasts, and tourists from all around come to participate.
Bluegrass in the Park also hosts a Folklife stage, featuring storytelling, dancing, and demonstrations of traditional crafts, preserving and passing down local traditions.
This festival not only entertains but also educates, providing an authentic Kentucky experience, and is a testament to the region’s love for its cultural roots.
101 N. Water Street, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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13) Henderson Brewing Co.
Henderson Brewing Co. was founded in 2014. It is a thriving brewery in Henderson, Kentucky, with a compelling history and captivating details.
This brewery was established by two brothers, Drew and Brandon Peyton. The brewery has become a local hotspot for craft beer enthusiasts.
Henderson Brewing Co. offers a wide array of craft beers, from IPAs to stouts, all brewed on-site with precision and care. They often experiment with unique and seasonal flavors, keeping visitors and locals excited about what’s on tap.
The brewery has a welcoming taproom where people can enjoy fresh beer, play board games, and even attend events like trivia nights and live music performances.
Henderson Brewing Co. has not only introduced an exciting beer culture to the city but has also been instrumental in community support and events, making it a delightful place for both beer aficionados and locals alike.
737 2nd St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
14) Audubon State Wetlands
Audubon State Wetlands was established in 1971. It is a vital natural area in Henderson, Kentucky, with a fascinating history and noteworthy features.
This wetland was named after the renowned naturalist John James Audubon and is dedicated to preserving the unique ecosystem and habitats found in the region.
Audubon State Wetlands offers a sanctuary for various wildlife species, including birds, fish, and reptiles. Birdwatchers often flock to this area for exceptional sightings.
The wetlands serve as an essential stopover for migratory birds, providing them with a safe place to rest and refuel during their journeys.
Visitors can explore the wetlands through designated trails, boardwalks, and observation points, making it a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to experience new things to do in Henderson.
Audubon State Wetlands is not just a local treasure but a testament to the commitment to preserving the environment and biodiversity in Henderson, Kentucky.
Henderson, KY 42420, United States
15) Redbanks Park
Redbanks Park is a prominent place in the city that was established in 1952. The park is a popular recreational area in Henderson, Kentucky, with a rich history and intriguing characteristics.
This park was created to provide a beautiful outdoor space for the local community to enjoy and has since become a cherished part of Henderson’s landscape.
Redbanks Park is located along the Ohio River, offering scenic views and ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking.
The park features a network of walking trails, playgrounds, and sports fields, making it a hub for outdoor activities and family fun.
With its lush green spaces and well-maintained facilities, it’s a gathering place for both residents and visitors, especially during the annual Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival.
Redbanks Park’s establishment and continued development have played a crucial role in fostering a sense of community and providing a place for relaxation and recreation in Henderson.
22 N Water St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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16) Koi Asian Fusion
Koi Asian Fusion is a popular dining spot on Henderson. It was established in 2012. The restaurant has a captivating history and noteworthy features.
Koi Asian Fusion was founded to provide a unique culinary experience and has been serving a fusion of Asian cuisines in a stylish and welcoming atmosphere.
The restaurant offers a diverse menu, combining flavors from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and other Asian traditions, creating a delightful and varied dining experience.
Koi Asian Fusion is known for its sushi and hibachi dishes, prepared with skill and creativity, satisfying the palates of locals and visitors.
The restaurant’s interior is tastefully decorated, providing a comfortable and elegant ambiance for diners and offering them a place to enjoy charming things to do in Henderson.
With its commitment to serving delicious Asian cuisine, Koi Asian Fusion has become a popular choice for those seeking a taste of the Orient in the heart of Henderson.
1999 US-60, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
17) Henderson Arts Alliance
Henderson Arts Alliance was established in 1994. It is a dynamic arts organization in Henderson, Kentucky, with a rich history and fascinating aspects.
This art alliance was founded to promote and celebrate the arts and has been instrumental in enhancing the cultural landscape of the region.
One interesting fact is that they host a wide variety of performances, from live theater and music concerts to dance events, catering to diverse artistic tastes.
Henderson Arts Alliance is known for its dedication to education and community engagement, often organizing workshops and outreach programs for local schools and residents.
The alliance collaborates with talented artists and performers, both local and national, bringing a range of artistic experiences to the Henderson community.
With its commitment to fostering creativity and artistic appreciation, the Henderson Arts Alliance continues to be a vital part of the city’s cultural tapestry, providing entertainment and enrichment for all.
2660 S Green St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
18) Henderson Municipal Golf Course
Henderson Municipal Golf Course was established in 1939. It is a historic and beloved golf course with a rich past and intriguing features.
This golf course was founded to provide affordable golfing opportunities to the community and has been a local favorite for decades. It was designed by Bill Diddel who was a renowned golf course architect, known for his exceptional course layouts.
The Henderson Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole, par-72 course, offering challenges for both beginners and experienced golfers. The course is known for its well-maintained fairways and greens, making it a great place for a relaxing round of golf.
In addition to golfing, the course hosts various events and tournaments throughout the year, bringing the local golfing community together to enjoy unique things to do in Henderson.
With its long history and commitment to golfing excellence, the Henderson Municipal Golf Course remains a cherished destination for golf enthusiasts in the region.
1805 N Elm St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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19) The Preston Arts Center
The Preston Arts Center was established in 2011 as a prominent cultural institution in Henderson, Kentucky, with a fascinating history and intriguing features.
The arts center was founded to promote the arts and cultural enrichment in the community and has become a hub for creativity and artistic expression.
One interesting fact is that the Preston Arts Center hosts a diverse range of events, including live performances, art exhibitions, and educational programs.
The center’s state-of-the-art facility boasts a 520-seat auditorium, an art gallery, and classrooms, providing space for various artistic endeavors.
It collaborates with local and national artists, showcasing a broad spectrum of artistic talents, from music and dance to visual arts.
The Preston Arts Center’s commitment to fostering creativity and cultural appreciation has made it a vital part of Henderson’s cultural scene, offering engaging and enriching experiences for residents and visitors alike.
2660 S Green St, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
20) The Field & Main Bank Parade
The Field & Main Bank Parade was established in 1983. It is a cherished tradition in Henderson, Kentucky, with a rich history and intriguing aspects.
The parade started to celebrate the spirit of the community and has been a beloved event for locals and visitors for many years.
One interesting fact is that it features a wide array of parade entries, including marching bands, colorful floats, and community groups, making it a vibrant spectacle.
The parade typically takes place in early December, ushering in the holiday season with festive cheer. Santa Claus himself often makes an appearance, delighting both young and old.
This event draws crowds from near and far and brings the community together, promoting unity and festive spirit.
The Field & Main Bank Parade has become an annual tradition that signifies the close-knit nature of Henderson, spreading joy and holiday magic throughout the city.
140 N. Main St. Henderson, KY 424200, United States
21) Downtown Henderson Partnership
The Downtown Henderson Partnership was established in 1994. It is a crucial organization in Henderson, Kentucky, with a compelling history and fascinating features.
This partnership was founded to revitalize and enhance downtown Henderson and has played a vital role in the city’s growth and development.
One interesting fact is that it organizes numerous events and activities, including the popular Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival, bringing culture and vibrancy to the area, offering new things to do in Henderson.
The partnership is dedicated to preserving historic buildings and promoting local businesses, creating a welcoming and charming downtown atmosphere.
With its focus on community engagement, it collaborates with residents and businesses, working towards a brighter future for the city.
The Downtown Henderson Partnership has been instrumental in creating a thriving and lively downtown area, making it a delightful place to visit, shop, dine, and enjoy various cultural events.
101 N Water St STE B, Henderson, KY 42420, United States
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Henderson, Kentucky offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing by the river, there’s something for everyone in this delightful riverfront city.
Make sure to include these 21 fun things to do in Henderson, KY, to your list of must-visit places and plan your trip accordingly.