Frankfort may be the capital city of Kentucky, but it is very much a small town where everybody knows your name. Well, they might not know your name if you’re visiting…but you know what we mean! It’s a great place to enjoy parks and museums.
Because Frankfort has such a down home feel, you can be sure it’s a great place to celebrate the holidays. Here are some things you can do when you visit.
Frankfort’s Candlelight Tradition
In late November, the holiday season kicks off with Frankfort’s Candlelight Tradition. The evening’s activities include a Holiday History Train. This is an interactive 65-foot exhibit with trains running simultaneously featuring over 100 cars, smoke and a whistle.
You can also stroll through the Kentucky Historical Society’s signature exhibition A Kentucky Journey to learn more about the state.
The Stewart Home School Store will be on site hosting a sale with 20% off holiday decorations and 25% off other select items. It’s a great way to get a jump start on your holiday shopping.
Downtown Frankfort Candlelight Weekend
Hosted by the downtown area, this four-day long event encourages guests and residents to visit the 40+ participating stores to take advantage of the great deals they have to offer. There will also be carriage rides, hot chocolate and visits with Santa.
State Capitol Tree Lighting
The State Capitol Tree Lighting is another Frankfort tradition worth checking out. It kicks off with a parade that travels from High St. to Capital Ave. before ending at Capitol Circle. Then the governor takes over by lighting the spectacular tree set up in from of the Capitol building. There are plenty of cookies and hot chocolate on hand.
Afterwards, guests can come in to the Governor’s Mansion to take a tour and meet የገና አባት.
Tour the Old State Capitol Building
The Old State Capitol is a historic site worth checking out,
The building was designed by Gideon Shryock in 1910, after the original Capitol became too crowded. It features a Greek revival style and is made to look like a Greek temple. It has an interesting self-supporting staircase in its center.
It has been restored to its pre-Civil War appearance and converted into a museum. It is the home of the Kentucky Historical Society, an organization that runs tours for visitors. It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
Even if you miss the lighting ceremony at the New State Capital Building, the tree will be up throughout the holiday season. While at the building, be sure to take a look inside.
The building was built in 1910 and took over for the Old State Capitol. It was designed by Frank Mills Andrews and has an elegant façade of Vermont granite and Indiana limestone.
Its interior is comprised of various marbles and there are hand-painted walls and tapestries throughout the building. The Lincoln statue in the rotunda and the collection of dolls belonging to various first ladies are some must see attractions.
Enjoy Christmas at the Capital City Museum
The Capital City Museum may be small, but it has a ton to see. In fact, it manages to hold 200 years of Kentucky history in one room.
The Museum is located in what’s left of the Capital Hotel which is a historic site in and of itself. It holds fascinating exhibits and collections of memorabilia from diverse aspects of Frankfort life. It also has a research library with countless historical documents.
Before you go, be sure to visit the gift shop. Every year they make an ornament available that celebrates Kentucky’s rich history. 2020’s ornament was “Magnolias” which depicted an old house on the corner of Capital and 4th.
Visit Josephine Sculpture Park
Josephine’s Sculpture Park encourages children to play creatively. It includes nearly 70 works of art and 30 acres of walking paths.
The park hosts events and workshops throughout the year with many that have a festive theme scheduled throughout the holiday season. The Christmas Bird Count and Seven Days of Giving are just some examples of what you might experience when you come by.
The Grand Theater serves as Frankfort’s center for performing arts. Originally constructed as a vaudeville theater in 1911, it has since been used as a concert venue and movie theater.
It has recently been updated to its current condition and is used for live concerts, theater events, movie showings, art exhibits and children’s theater events. Be sure to check out what’s going on at the theater during your holiday visit.
Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours and Museum
Christmas is a great time for enjoying sweet treats, and what better way to do it than with a tour of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory. Established in 1919, Rebecca Ruth has become a go-to for Frankfort sweet tooths. You can tour the factory to see how they make their bourbon balls and buy and taste other delicious treats.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
The Buffalo Trace Distillery is a landmark destination and home to Kentucky’s award wining Bourbon. The facility offers five different tours offering insight on their whisky making process. The tours are completely free and guests are treated to a sample. Now that’s a great way to spend the holiday season!
Visit the Capitol Education Center
The Capitol Education Center is a former equipment storage facility that was ‘recycled’ to become a learning center for children and adults. The interactive exhibits teach guests about the history and geography of the state and provides information on sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
If you are looking to spend a country style Christmas, Frankfort is the place to do it. Its quaint hometown feel gives it a cheery atmosphere that makes it a terrific holiday destination. What will you be doing when you visit?