Kentucky | Travel Diary

It’s been AWHILE since we went to Kentucky, and so much has happened since then! I’m finally getting around to doing the travel diary for it because I feel that its so necessary for me to share with you all where we went and what we did.  If you didn’t already know, Tim and I’s goal is to visit all 50 states.  And my goal is to share a travel diary with you all after every state to share the details so in case you ever find yourself there (which you probably will, since we’ll be covering all the states). Since Sydney currently does all of my photos, I have no “blog camera”.  My camera is my iPhone! After we get back from each trip I send mine to the store to be printed and then I delete them off my phone. So, needless to say I have 0 photos to share with you all. #Fail. My recommendation to you is clicking on all of the links that I provided if you want to see photos or go to my Instagram and watch the “Travel” highlight. Since we stayed in both Lexington and Louisville, I’ll break it up by sections to make it easier for you all.



Josie’sWe ate here after arriving in Lexington and it hit the spot for breakfast! We stopped at Waffle House right after we got off the plane (highly recommend) but it definitely isn’t high end. We got a second breakfast because we really wanted to try this place!

821 Chevy Chase Place 

Lexington, KY 40502

Dudley’s on ShortSuch a nice lunch spot! A little bit nicer as far as attire goes, but I highly recommend ordering their BBQ chips with their homemade dip.  It was life changing.

259 West Short Street

Lexington, KY 40507

North Lime Coffee & DonutsI wanted Krispy Kreme, but we needed to try what was local! Not your average donut, definitely dessert flavors which I’m not a huge fan of, but still yummy!

3101 Clays Mill Road

Lexington, KY 40503

Thursday Night Live (April-October)This was so much fun and we felt right at home.  You can tell its a popular spot for the town and it’s a nice place to hangout! 

251 West Main Street

Lexington, KY

Goodfellas PizzeriaOne word: WOW. We got a slice of pizza (that was ginormous), a side, and a drink for only $6.  Unheard of around here! The pizza was doughy and thick which is how I like mine, it was delicious! 

1228 Manchester Street

Lexington, KY 40504

Crank & Boom Ice Cream LoungeWe headed here after the pizzeria because it caught our eye walking out.  If you’re looking to hit your sweet tooth, this is the place!

1210 Manchester Street

Lexington, KY 40504


County Club | Carson’s Food & Drink | Grey Goose | Nick Ryan’s | Local Taco


Peggy’s Gifts

112 Clay Avenue

Lexington, KY 40502

This was my favorite store out of them all.  Whether you’re buying something for a friend, for a child, or for yourself, there is something for everyone.  I wanted to buy it all, honestly!


805 Chevy Chase Place

Lexington, KY 40502

Everything at this store was very vibrant and full of colors, it instantly made me happy!


116 Clay Avenue

Lexington, KY 40502

Definitely an upscale women’s boutique, so if you’re looking to do some shopping then this is the place for you!

Shop Local KY

212 Woodland Avenue 

Lexington, KY 40502

If you’re looking for some shirts that you can’t get anywhere else but Kentucky, this is the place to be!

Bella Rose

126 West Maxwell Street

Lexington, KY 40508

This place is straight Kentucky style, especially derby style! So fun to look at the hats and dresses they have that you won’t see anywhere else.

Twirl Boutique

121 Clay Avenue 

Lexington, KY 40502

This is a wedding dress shop, and it is by appointment only.  BUT, in case you want to swoon, stop in and there isn’t an appointment they might let you take a peak.  They let me and I went to heaven and came back. 


Woodford Reserve

7855 McCracken Pike

Versailles, KY 40383

We did this bourbon tour and it was so fun! I’m not a drinker at all, so I was expecting this to be boring for me.  It was actually really interesting to see how its made and honestly how much work goes into making bourbon! I would go back again.  Not to mention how pretty it is!


4201 Versailles Road 

Lexington, KY 40510

This tour stole my heart and made me want to go to the Derby SO bad.  This isn’t where the derby is held, (we toured that place too!) but it is where they train most of the horses and also where they auction it off.  We learned so much history about the Derby and also got to see the stage where winner horses have been sold.  We only had about 5 people on our tour, so it was nice that it was quiet and we were able to stroll through this gorgeous place. 

Thursday Night Live

 251 West Main Street

Lexington, KY


The Campbell House Lexington

I LOVED this hotel! It was so charming and the interior decor is stunning.  Everything in our room was perfect and I really do appreciate an aesthetically pleasing hotel.  It was going under some construction (which didn’t bother us at all) so the outside did look a little funky, but I was so please with our stay and also how little people were there.  It felt like we were the only ones there because the walls were so sound proof which was nice.  Not to mention the indoor pool!

As far as sight seeing and such, this is all we did while we were in Lexington, along with going to all of the shops.  We took a red eye to Kentucky so when we landed we went to Waffle House because we were both STARVING, it was the closest thing, and we both really wanted to try it, so after then we went to our planned breakfast at Josie’s. Our morning consisted of a huge nap, checking into our hotel, and then heading out for our Woodford tour.  After that we got ready for Thursday Night Live and then went to dinner and passed out, ha! Our second day we did the Keeneland Tour, shopping, and eating.  I wish we spent more time Lexington because we loved it so much, so we are definitely planning on coming back! 



Belle of Louisville

401 West River Road

Louisville, KY

If you only do one thing in Kentucky, make this be your one thing.  I would go back in a heart beat if I could! This boat had a buffet dinner, and then we enjoyed the rest of the night eating a snack from the snack bar and enjoying the view.  It took us down Ohio River and back up, and it was absolutely beautiful.  Views like this you just don’t get in California. We were able to see the river, enjoy the greenery and enjoy each other’s company.  We ate inside in a buffet room, and we paid extra for a window seat which I would recommend as well.  I get sea sick easily, so for that reason mostly did we upgrade.  I also took medicine-just in case you’re like me! You share a table with people, depending how large of a group you’re in.  It was just the two of us so we shared ours with another couple. The food was delicious, and I went back twice for more chocolate cake.  #noshame

Hyatt Buffet

Don’t ask me why we didn’t look to see what food was at our own hotel, because I don’t know the answer.  We made a quick walk to the Hyatt (walking distance) and enjoyed a buffet breakfast there that was really good.  They ended up having a printer which worked out great, because then after we printed our boarding passes since we were leaving the next morning.

320 West Jefferson Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202

White Castle

Mark my words…I do NOT recommend this place.  But, Tim being Tim, wants to try all of the local spots to wherever we are.  I was trying to find McDonalds, Chick-FIl-A, really anything except White Castle. He insisted on going here since we don’t have any by home so I gave in.  The food was disgusting in my opinion, but I have to share with you guys because now thinking about it I crack up.  It’s one of those things where it isn’t funny at the time, but now looking back I laugh because I’ll never forget the time Tim dragged me to a White Castle and I asked to leave halfway through eating.  #memories

Taqueria Ramirez

So this location actually isn’t in Louisville.  We checked out of the Omni and went and stayed at a Quality Inn so we didn’t have a 2 hour drive in the morning.  Our plane left at 8 so we would’ve had to have gotten up earlier than we already were, which neither of us wanted to do.  Now that I have experienced what staying in a Quality Inn is like, I 100% would’ve rather made the drive.  You guys, our room smelled like cigarette smoke and the room was just flat out gross. Again, a horrible experience at the time, but now I laugh.  Literally never again! But this restaurant was walking distance from the Quality Inn, so we ate here and were pleasantly surprised.  The food was actually amazing, and you could tell it was true Mexican Food. 

6910 Burlington Pike

Florence, Kentucky 41042

Can you tell the food was delicious pretty much everywhere we went?!


Churchill Downs

fter going to Keeneland in Lexington, we decided we wanted to see Churchill after all.  We weren’t originally going to because the tour we wanted to do was expensive, but while we were there it was like eh, why not? If you do come here, DEFINITELY buy your tickets beforehand.  They were sold out and we had to do a general tour, which consisted of us and about 200 people.  We got tickets to the museum too, and that was so interesting. We watched the movie about the Derby over the years and it made me REALLY want to attend it! Overall this place is stunning, and really a huge piece in history. 

700 Central Avenue

South Louisville, Kentucky 40208

Belle of Louisville

This was our activity for our first night! Scroll up to read about it.


Joe Ley Antiques

This place was UNREAL. For visiting the states, we decided to collect license plates.  Tim and I called about 15 stores combined- antique shops, gift shops, tourist locations, and we could find absolutely nothing.  Someone recommended this place at a store we asked and since it was walking distance we decided to give it one last shot before we gave up.  Safe to say we spent about over an hour in here.  This place is 3 stories high (or 4, I can’t really remember), and has everything you can possibly think of.  It was like walking through a haunted house but also so interesting.  It wasn’t your normal shop either- everything was just thrown in. I honestly have no idea how or even if they do keep track of things.  I recommend stopping by if you have time to kill, or if you need a license plate lol, because we had a blast! It’s definitely the little things in life like going here that I’ll always remember.  The crazy antique store!

615 East Market Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202

Market Street

Other than Joe’s we really just walked up and down Market Street peaking into places that caught our eye! While we were there it happened to be a street market happening in some of the alley ways so it was cool to see the whole town gathered supporting local shops and private owned businesses. 

Market Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202


Omni Louisville

400 South 2nd Street 

Louisville, KY 40202

If you’ve ever stayed at an Omni, then you know how amazing they are.  We weren’t sure about the other hotels in Louisville, just because we didn’t get any personal recommendations for any besides this one.  I had actually never stayed at one before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  I fell in love with it because 1. its stunning 2. the staff was amazing 3. the rooms were gorgeous.  Can you tell what I look for in a hotel? Ha. Our room was cleaned every morning spotless and we felt like it was luxury.  Compared to the Campbell, this was way nicer i must say.  It was just bigger, but that did mean way more people here.  I didn’t mind it though because it made me feel at home, since Orange County is full of people.

Overall, Louisville stole my heart.  And I honestly think its because we did more tours there and saw the heart of the city more.  We were able to meet a few people there and we did way more exploring.  It had this vibe thet you definitely DON’T get in SoCal.  People talk to you walking by on the street, everyone is laid back, and it just feels like home.  I’m hoping the next time we go to Kentucky is for the Kentucky Derby because after visiting Churchill Downs, it seems like such a once in a lifetime experience, especially if you aren’t from there.  I highly recommend doing EVERYTHING we did because you will really get to experience what Kentucky has to offer and hopefully get the “home” feeling that we did too. 

Now, for the real reason as to why we went to Kentucky. For those who don’t know, our goal is to cross off all 50 states.  We started that this year and ended up picking out of a hat the modern way (online randomizer) and we got New Mexico.  You can read all about that trip HERE. We went to Kentucky with a purpose though.  We didn’t pick it out of a hat, though we of course wanted to cross it off.  We went to check it out to see if we liked it, so we could possibly move there after we are married. As you read previously, we fell in love with Kentucky– both of us. But with the current state of my dad, we decided as a couple that the best move is to stay close to home. If you are curious about my Dad and what happened, you can read about it HERE. Where we are moving after we’re married is completely undecided, but we do know that Kentucky is just too far.  

We will DEFINITELY be returning back someday (hopefully in the next few years) and it will forever hold a special place in our hearts.  If you are planning on going to Kentucky, I hope you have a BLAST and please reach out- because I would love to hear what you think about it and what recommendations you took from here.  My next travel blog post will be going over Costa Rica, so if you thought this one was long… get ready for an even longer one!


Danielle Alana

Leave a Comment