Small Market of the Month: Owensboro, Kentucky

An aerial shot of downtown Owensboro.
An aerial shot of downtown Owensboro.


Located within 800 miles of 80 percent of the United States’ population, Owensboro, Ky. connects the Midwest to the South. It’s got that small-town cool vibe, paired with big city amenities.

Owensboro is a river town; in this case, the mighty Ohio. Water flows through the downtown, framing up the perfect setting for several restaurants, bars, breweries, boutiques, and even some axe throwing. The best part? All of this surrounds the Owensboro Convention Center.

This Kentucky city is three hours from St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.  It’s also less than two hours from Nashville and Louisville.

Known as the bluegrass capital of the world, Owensboro is a live music fan’s dream. Pair that with some Green River Distilling Co. bourbon and some hickory smoked BBQ, and you’ve got yourself a heck of a good time.

Major airports

Owensboro is less than two hours north of Nashville International Airport (BNA) and less than two hours west of Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Owensboro also has Cape Air, which offers daily commuter flights between Owensboro and Nashville and Owensboro and St. Louis.

Top attractions

The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum calls Owensboro home. Catch a concert, immerse yourself in the exhibits, and take a music lesson on the way out. Owensboro sits along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with Green River Distilling Co., one of the oldest and largest bourbon distilleries in the world.

Tours and tastings are a must-do when you visit. Smothers Park is home to the nationally acclaimed Lazy Days Playground, ranked by the Landscape Architects Network as the best playground in the United States. Owensboro is surrounded by farms, so make sure to hit up a local orchard on your way into town or out.

Owensboro Convention Center.
Owensboro Convention Center

Meeting spaces

Western Kentucky’s premier meeting venue is the Owensboro Convention Center. This impressive space features floor-to-ceiling windows and overlooks the Ohio River. It’s a full-service facility featuring more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Looking for something a little cozier? Two riverfront hotels sit on either side of the center, and both offer an array of meeting space. Or maybe you’re looking for that unique spot to keep people’s attention? The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum features some of the coolest meeting spaces you’ll ever find.


You can’t do Owensboro without trying its authentic BBQ. Moonlite, Old Hickory, and Ole South have been keeping both locals and visitors happy for decades (in some cases, generations). Farm-to-table restaurants line the downtown streets for a perfect night of sidewalk dining. Step back in time with The Miller House, complete with meeting space and one of the largest bourbon bars in America.

Some beats at Owensboro's Ole South BBQ
Some eats at Owensboro’s Ole South BBQ

Fun facts

Owensboro has a one-of-a-kind music festival called Friday After 5 that occurs every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Eight stages line the riverfront, each with a different genre of music. The event is free to attend.

Bluegrass music was invented just outside of Owensboro in a town called Rosine. The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum pays homage to bluegrass roots while ushering in a whole new sound of music.

There are three craft breweries in the downtown corridor, all located within a quarter mile of each other. They also mix in a couple of cocktail bars and a wine bar to keep things interesting.

The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is the second-largest art museum in Kentucky.


Sarah Haynes




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