Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, Ashland, Kentucky, is a charming town that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or a fan of the arts, Ashland has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you through a curated list of things to do in Ashland, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this hidden gem.
- Visit the Paramount Arts Center: Begin your Ashland adventure with a trip to the Paramount Arts Center, a historic venue that has been entertaining the community since 1931. This beautifully restored theater hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to concerts and comedy acts. Check the schedule to catch a live performance and immerse yourself in the local arts scene.
- Explore Central Park: Ashland’s Central Park is a haven for nature lovers. With walking trails, lush greenery, and a serene lake, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic. The park often hosts events and festivals, so be sure to check the calendar for any upcoming activities during your visit.
- Discover Ashland’s Industrial Heritage at AK Steel: Dive into the town’s industrial history with a tour of AK Steel. Learn about the steelmaking process, the town’s economic development, and the role it played in shaping Ashland. The guided tours provide a fascinating insight into the region’s industrial past.
- Step Back in Time at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center: For a dose of history, head to the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center. This museum showcases Ashland’s rich heritage through engaging exhibits and interactive displays. From Native American artifacts to exhibits on the town’s coal and railroading history, it’s a captivating journey through time.
- Take a Scenic Drive along the Ohio River: Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Ohio River by taking a scenic drive along the riverbanks. There are several vantage points and parks where you can stop, take in the scenery, and capture some memorable photos. It’s a peaceful way to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds Ashland.
- Savor Local Flavors at Ashland’s Dining Spots: Ashland boasts a variety of dining options, from classic diners to upscale restaurants. Try local favorites like the famous Ashland Hot Dog or explore the diverse culinary scene with international cuisine. Don’t forget to stop by one of the charming cafes for a cup of coffee and a taste of local hospitality.
- Attend Festivals and Events: Check the town’s event calendar for festivals and events that might coincide with your visit. Ashland hosts a range of community celebrations, from music festivals to seasonal events. Attending one of these gatherings will give you a true sense of the town’s vibrant community spirit.
- Hike or Bike the Poage Landing Trails: Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the Poage Landing Trails, offering a network of scenic paths for hiking and biking. The trails wind through woodlands and along the river, providing a peaceful escape for those seeking outdoor adventure.
- Golf at Bellefonte Country Club: Enjoy a round of golf at Bellefonte Country Club, a premier golf destination in the region. The well-maintained course surrounded by picturesque landscapes makes it a perfect spot for both avid golfers and those looking to relax outdoors.
- Shop at Ashland Town Center: For a dose of retail therapy, head to the Ashland Town Center. This shopping mall features a variety of stores, from major retailers to local boutiques, offering a diverse shopping experience. Spend an afternoon exploring the shops and finding unique treasures.
- Attend a Kentucky Oaks Mall Event: Check out the events hosted at the Kentucky Oaks Mall. From seasonal festivals to community gatherings, the mall often serves as a hub for entertainment. It’s a great place to experience local culture and connect with the community.
- Fishing on the Ohio River: Grab your fishing gear and cast a line into the Ohio River. Fishing is a popular pastime in Ashland, and the river is home to a variety of fish species. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the tranquil waters provide a relaxing setting for a day of fishing.
- Explore Jesse Stuart Foundation: Dive into the literary heritage of Ashland by visiting the Jesse Stuart Foundation. This nonprofit organization celebrates the life and works of Jesse Stuart, a renowned Kentucky author. The foundation often hosts events, book signings, and educational programs.
- Attend Ashland Summer Motion Festival: If your visit aligns with the summer months, don’t miss the Ashland Summer Motion Festival. This annual event features live music, food vendors, carnival rides, and a spectacular fireworks display. It’s a lively celebration that brings the community together in a festive atmosphere.
- Discover Arts and Crafts at Pendleton Art Center: Explore the local arts scene at the Pendleton Art Center. This creative space showcases the work of talented artists and often hosts art exhibitions, providing a platform for the community to engage with various forms of artistic expression.
- Visit Poage’s Landing Museum: Delve deeper into Ashland’s history with a visit to the Poage’s Landing Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum displays artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the region’s development, from its early days to the present.
Conclusion: Ashland, Kentucky, may be a small town, but its charm and character make it a must-visit destination. Whether you’re interested in history, the arts, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Ashland has something to offer every type of traveler. Immerse yourself in the local culture, explore the natural beauty, and create lasting memories in this hidden gem along the Ohio River.