Danville Grows as Tourism and Entertainment Destination

Danville's expanding arts, dining and cultural options are making it the area's recreation destination.

By Joe Morris on December 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm EST
Newlin Hall at Norton Center for the Arts in Danville, KY


“You can come anytime of year and find something to do”

Jennifer Kirchner, Director, Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A night on the town? Check. Day exploring the arts? Got it. A quick bite with friends, or maybe a distillery tour? Yep. With so much to do in and around Danville these days, small wonder that it and Boyle County are becoming the region’s entertainment mecca.

Not only does Danville have more to offer than ever before, it’s also a dynamic small town that combines its love for the past with its commitment to progress, says Jennifer Kirchner, director of the Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We have many artistic options, whether that be live music or a gallery exhibit,” Kirchner says. “Danville changed its alcohol laws in 2010 and it has been a boon to local business. The change has led to many new small and unique restaurants opening downtown as well and evening entertainment options.”

Dining Scene Continues Rapid Growth

Indeed, variety has become the spice of Danville’s culinary offerings. Diners can enjoy American-style fare at Cheddar’s, for example, or head over to the newly relocated (and expanded) Bluegrass Pizza and Pub, which serves Danville’s only brick-oven pizzas. Owners Colin and Melissa Masters, members of the Kentucky Proud program, have launched Thorny Meadow Farm to grow their own organic produce

Bourbon Trail Comes to Danville

Kentucky is rightfully known for its bourbon, and with the opening of the Wilderness Trace Distillery Danville has claimed a spot on the state’s famed Bourbon Trail. Wilderness Trace makes bourbon, rye whisky, vodka and a type of rum from Kentucky sorghum molasses. And for additional whistle-wetting, there’s also Beer Engine, which brews its own beer and offers other Kentucky brews on tap.

Shopping, Dining on the Rise

Danville also continues to grow its restaurant and retail options in every direction. At V the Market, find an ever-rotating array of bourbons, craft beer, cheeses and chocolates. And proving that the use of historic downtown structures is limited only by the imagination, stop by Cue on Main to see how Danville’s oldest operating pool hall has found new life. While you’re there, enjoy the daily quiche, or perhaps the crabmeat eggs Benedict.

Norton Center Thrives as Arts Hub

For some culture before or after all that dining and shopping, don’t miss the Norton Center for the Arts, home to Centre College’s performing arts season of professional touring shows, as well as the college’s own music and theatrical productions. It also hosts many other community events in its 1,470- and 367-seat venues.

“You can come anytime of year and find something to do,” Kirchner says. “Main Street is one of our best attractions because it has so much in a small idyllic setting, but beyond that people come for our history. The Perryville Battlefield is a destination for many visitors to capture our history and view sacred ground from the Civil War. The state’s Tourism, Art and Heritage Cabinet has officially recognized downtown Danville as a Cultural District. It is well deserved because of the concentration of attractions that celebrate our heritage, from the McDowell House’s preservation of period furniture to world-renowned glass blowing artist Steven Powell's magnificent art pieces. We really do have something for everybody.”

Find more attractions in Danville, KY.

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