What is the state of Kentucky known for?

Kentucky, What is this place famous for? -

What is the state of Kentucky known for?

Called the Bluegrass State, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is one of the most iconic state of the east south-central region of the United States! A diverse and fascinating land, Kentucky is home to two major American cities: Louisville and Lexington. Most American people think about the Kentucky Derby or bourbon when thinking about the Bluegrass state, but there is way more to know! Let’s learn together what is Kentucky famous for!

Kentucky flag
Let's discover what is the Bluegrass state best known for


The 10 most famous things about Kentucky

  1. Horse Racing

Kentucky is home to the fastest and the most majestic horses in the United States! With many horse farms all over the state, the Bluegrass state knows how to celebrate its equestrian champions. The Kentucky Derby takes place every year and is the biggest and most prestigious horse race in the United States! If you too are passionate about horses, don’t forget to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Park!

Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is the most important horse race in America


  1. Bourbon

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey, a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. It has been produced since the 18th century and its name is inspired by the Bourbon county in Kentucky! The Bluegrass state distils the best bourbon in the world and produces 95% of the American bourbon. Bourbon is officially recognized as a “distinctive product of the United States” and makes more than two third of the total exports of American alcohol! If you are a high-quality spirit lover, don’t forget to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail next time you visit the state.

Kentucky bourbon
95% of the world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky
  1. Muhammad Ali

The greatest boxer of all time was born in Louisville, Kentucky, under the name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr (inspired by the abolitionist Republican politician of the same name) in 1942. Raised in Derby City, that’s where he learned to box and started is amateur career, which peaked with a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Cassius will then become a professional boxer, convert to Islam and change his name to Muhammad Ali before becoming word champion in 1965. He will then become the legend of boxing we all know about (with a 56 W – 5 L record) and a major activist about Civil Rights. The most significant sporting figure of the 20th century is from Kentucky!

Muhammad Ali

The legendary Muhammad Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky


  1. Coal mining

Coal has been discovered in the Bluegrass state in 1750, but it was only in 1820 that the first commercial coal mine was opened in Kentucky. Coal has been exploited since then and Kentucky is the third largest coal producer in the United States! While the coal industry is declining really fast, Kentucky’s coal mines were still employing about 10,000 people last year.

Coal mine in Kentucky 
The state of Kentucky is the third biggest coal producer in the United State


  1. College basketball

College basketball is taken very seriously in Kentucky. Its level is on top of the entire world, especially around the University of Kentucky. Indeed, their NCAA Division 1 team, the Wildcats, is simply the best in college basketball history with 2293 all time wins and a huge winning percentage of 76.5%. Kentucky has won 8 NCAA Championships and produced many NBA champions. For instance, among the active players coming from University of Kentucky, can be found superstars like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins or John Wall!

Kentucky Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats is the most succesful team in college basketball history


  1. Fast food brands

Kentucky is home to the headquarters of many big American fast food companies. The most important one is Yum! Brands, which operates the brand Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and, most importantly, Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC is the second-largest restaurant chain in the world behind McDonalds and is number one in Asia. Founded by Colonel Harland Sanders who began selling friend chicken in Corbin, Kentucky, it is now present all over the world and helped making the name Kentucky famous worldwide. Headquarters of Texas Roadhouse, Long John Silver’s, A&W Restaurants, Kona Ice and Papa John’s are also located in Kentucky.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is the 2nd largest restaurant chain in the world


  1. Bluegrass

Kentucky is officially nicknamed the Bluegrass State because of its vast expanses of bluegrass all over the state. While as green as any other type of grass, it looks blueish in spring thanks to the blue-purple buds of the bluegrass. The northern part of Kentucky is also called the Bluegrass region and has a particularly fertile soil where high-quality livestock is bred. It also inspired the name Bluegrass music, a genre of American roots music popular in Kentucky.

Bluegrass does look blueish from a distance


  1. Healthcare industry

While Kentucky has more than 160 healthcare-related facilities, many healthcare companies from the Bluegrass state are famous nationally. The biggest one is Humana, a health-insurance company which has more than 13 million customers in the United States and 52,000 employees. Kindred Healthcare and PharMerica also have their headquarters in Louisville.

University of Kentucky healthcare center

There are 160 healthcare-related facilities in Kentucky


  1. Mammoth Cave

Located in central Kentucky, the Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the main touristic attraction of the Bluegrass state. Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system known in the entire world! A natural wonder, it has been classified as a national park in 1941 and a World Heritage Site in 1981! Traces of human history from 6000 years ago can be found in the caves, and while many scientists study them daily, they are open to visitors.

Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world


  1. Louisville sluggers

The Louisville sluggers are the iconic official baseball bats used in the Major League Baseball. The company who produces the famous bat is the Hillerich and Bradsby Company from Louisville. According to the story, the first Louisville slugger was hand made by John “Bud” Hillerich in 1884 for the star player of the Louisville Eclipse. Baseball fans from all over the world can visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory to know more about this iconic bat and its importance in the sport’s history!

Louisville slugger museum

The Louisville slugger is the most iconic baseball bat in history


Now that we’ve seen some things that Kentucky is known for, let’s take a look on a few famous people that come from the Bluegrass state.

Famous people from Kentucky

Abraham Lincoln, 16th American President
Abraham Lincoln

George Clooney, superstar actor
George Clooney

Muhammad Ali, greatest boxer of all time
Muhammad Ali

Jennifer Lawrence, actress starring in the Hunger Games movies
Jennifer Lawrence

Johnny Depp, superstar actor
Johnny Depp

Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and author
Hunter S. Thompson


Here are some facts, stories and insight that should give you a better idea of what Kentucky is famous for! If you enjoyed this article or learned something about Kentucky and its unique identity, please share this article!

Don’t forget to check our Kentucky clothing collections, we have outstanding t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and hats all designed in honor of the Bluegrass State and its major cities!

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