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20 Best Places to Live in Kentucky


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Welcome to our guide on the best places to live in Kentucky! If you’re considering a move to the Bluegrass State, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be sharing the top 20 cities and towns in Kentucky that are known for their desirability and quality of life.

Whether you’re looking for a vibrant city with a bustling downtown scene or a peaceful town surrounded by natural beauty, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let us help you find your perfect city to settle down in Kentucky. Let’s dive in and discover the best places to call home in 2023!

1. Louisville

Ashland kentucky
Photo by Chris Watson / wikimedia.org

Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky, offers a vibrant and diverse community that is perfect for both families and young professionals. Known for its rich history and thriving arts scene, Louisville has something for everyone.

The city is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, where horse racing enthusiasts gather every year to witness the excitement.

With its beautiful parks, such as Cherokee Park and Waterfront Park, residents can enjoy outdoor activities and breathtaking views.

Louisville also boasts a wide range of delicious dining options, from traditional Southern cuisine to international flavors. Whether you’re a sports fan, history buff, or foodie, Louisville has it all.

  • Population: About 617,000 friendly folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, it’s $950/month.
  • Household Income: Most families here earn around $50,000/year.
  • Walk Score: 33 (some places are walkable).
  • Transit Score: 28 (there are a few bus routes).
  • Bike Score: 42 (okay for biking in some spots).

Best Things to Do in Louisville:

  1. Kentucky Derby: Big horse race in May! 🐎
  2. Louisville Slugger Museum: Learn about baseball and see giant bats.
  3. Waterfront Park: A lovely spot to chill, picnic, and see the river.
  4. Bourbon Tours: Kentucky’s famous drink. Take a sip and see how it’s made!

So, if you like a mix of city fun and southern charm, Louisville’s the place to be! 🌆🍗🎉🥃

2. Lexington

lexington kentucky
Image source: visitlex.com

Lexington, the fifth-largest city in Kentucky, offers a vibrant and diverse community for residents. Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Lexington is home to numerous horse farms and the famous Keeneland Racecourse.

The city also boasts a rich history, with its charming downtown area featuring beautiful historic buildings and landmarks. Lexington is a hub for education, with the University of Kentucky located here, providing opportunities for higher learning and cultural experiences.

Residents can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, as well as a thriving arts and music scene. With its welcoming atmosphere and abundance of amenities, Lexington is a top choice for those seeking a great place to live in Kentucky.

  • Population: Over 300,000 people live here.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Expect to pay about $800/month.
  • Household Income: The average income is around $55,000/year.
  • Walking, Biking, and Buses: It’s a friendly city for all these.

Top Activities:

  • Horse Parks: See beautiful horses and learn about them.
  • Downtown Area: Lots of shops, restaurants, and fun places to hang out.

Lexington is a must-visit if you love history, horses, and a warm community vibe! 🐎🏛️🍽️

3. Bowling Green

Bowling Green kentucky
Image source: visitbgky.com

Bowling Green is a city in Kentucky that is known for its vibrant community and rich history. Located in the southern part of the state, Bowling Green offers a charming small-town atmosphere with plenty of amenities and opportunities.

The city is home to Western Kentucky University, which adds a youthful energy to the area. Bowling Green also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries and theaters to explore.

Nature lovers will appreciate the city’s proximity to beautiful parks and outdoor recreational areas. Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or a family looking for a welcoming community, Bowling Green has something for everyone.

  • Population: Around 70,000 friendly folks live here.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, it’s about $700/month.
  • Household Income: Most families earn close to $45,000/year.
  • Walk, Bus, or Bike: The city is decent for walking, has okay bus routes, and is pretty bike-friendly.

Cool Stuff to Do:

  • Lost River Cave: Go on boat tours in this stunning underground cave!
  • Car Museums: If you’re into cars, there’s the Corvette Museum.
  • Parks and Nature: Enjoy the fresh air at the many parks.

So, if you like adventures and fun times, Bowling Green is the place to be! 🌳🚗🚣‍♂️

4. Owensboro

Owensboro kentucky
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Owensboro, the 4th city on our list of the best places to live in Kentucky, offers a charming and vibrant community. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, Owensboro boasts a rich history and a strong sense of community pride.

With its picturesque downtown area and beautiful riverfront, residents can enjoy scenic views and a variety of recreational activities.

Owensboro is also known for its thriving arts and cultural scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and theaters to explore. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a lover of the arts, Owensboro has something for everyone.

  • Population: Roughly 60,000 super-friendly people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Usually, it’s around $750/month.
  • Household Income: The average family earns close to $50,000 a year.
  • Walk, Bus, or Bike: Owensboro is great for walking, has a few bus routes, and biking is enjoyable too.

Cool Things to Do:

  • Smothers Park: A beautiful park with fountains and playgrounds by the river.
  • Museums: The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is a must-visit.
  • Barbecue Fest: You can’t miss the yearly BBQ festival – yum!

Owensboro is a great place for families, music lovers, and BBQ fans. It’s worth a visit! 🎵🍖🌳

5. Paducah

Paducah kentucky
Photo: GETTY IMAGES/JT CRAWFORD

Paducah is a charming city in Kentucky that offers a wonderful quality of life. Known for its rich history and vibrant arts scene, Paducah has something for everyone. The city is home to the National Quilt Museum, showcasing the artistry and craftsmanship of quilting.

With its picturesque riverfront, residents can enjoy scenic views and outdoor activities like boating and fishing. Paducah also boasts a thriving downtown area with unique shops, delicious restaurants, and lively entertainment options.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a friendly community, Paducah is a fantastic place to call home.

  • Population: Roughly 60,000 super-friendly people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Usually, it’s around $750/month.
  • Household Income: The average family earns close to $50,000 a year.
  • Walk, Bus, or Bike: Owensboro is great for walking, has a few bus routes, and biking is enjoyable too.

Cool Things to Do:

  • Smothers Park: A beautiful park with fountains and playgrounds by the river.
  • Museums: The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is a must-visit.
  • Barbecue Fest: You can’t miss the yearly BBQ festival – yum!

Owensboro is a great place for families, music lovers, and BBQ fans. It’s worth a visit! 🎵🍖🌳

6. Berea

Berea kentucky
Photo: COURTESY BEREA TOURISM

Berea, a small town nestled in Kentucky, offers a delightful blend of history and culture. Known for its vibrant arts scene, Berea is home to numerous galleries, studios, and craft shops where local artisans showcase their talents.

The town’s rich cultural heritage is evident in its charming architecture and historic buildings, which add to its unique character. Nature enthusiasts will also appreciate the stunning landscapes surrounding Berea, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring nearby parks.

Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in the arts or enjoying the great outdoors, Berea has something for everyone.

  • Population: Roughly 15,000 friendly folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: It’s around $650/month on average.
  • Household Income: Most families here earn about $40,000 each year.
  • Getting Around: Walking is okay, there’s limited public transit, and biking is doable.

Cool Things to Experience:

  • Berea College: It’s famous and has a beautiful campus!
  • Artisan Village: Watch artists work and buy handmade goodies.
  • Pinnacles: Hike and see amazing views.

Berea is not just a town; it’s a hub of creativity and natural beauty. If you love crafts, nature, and learning, Berea is a must-visit spot! 🎨🌲

7. Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas kentucky
Photo by Warren LeMay / flickr.com

Fort Thomas is one of the best places to live in Kentucky. This charming city offers a peaceful and friendly community for residents. With its beautiful neighborhoods and well-maintained parks, Fort Thomas provides a safe and comfortable environment for families.

The city is also known for its excellent schools, making it an ideal place to raise children. In addition, Fort Thomas has a rich history, with many historic buildings and landmarks to explore.

Whether you enjoy outdoor activities or prefer a quiet suburban lifestyle, Fort Thomas has something for everyone. It’s no wonder why Fort Thomas is considered one of the top places to live in Kentucky.

  • Population: About 16,000 smiling faces.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: You’re looking at an average of $800/month.
  • Household Income: Families typically bring in around $60,000 annually.
  • Getting Around: People like to walk here, there are some transit options, and biking’s pretty good too.

Fun Things to Dive Into:

  • Tower Park: Great for picnics and playtime!
  • Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum: Learn local history.
  • Merchants & Music Festival: Annual fun with tunes and treats.

Fort Thomas is more than its scenic views. With a mix of history, nature, and community events, it’s a warm and inviting place to explore or call home! 🌳🎵🏠

8. Danville

Danville kentucky
Photo by Chris FloNight / wikipedia.org

Danville, a charming city in Kentucky, is a must-visit place for those seeking a peaceful and friendly community. Known for its rich history and small-town charm, Danville offers a welcoming atmosphere that makes it an ideal place to call home.

With its picturesque streets and historic buildings, this city is a delight to explore. Whether you’re strolling through the vibrant downtown area or enjoying outdoor activities in the nearby parks, Danville has something for everyone.

From its friendly residents to its thriving arts and culture scene, Danville is a hidden gem that should not be missed.

  • Population: Around 16,500 folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, about $750/month.
  • Household Income: Most families earn close to $45,000 a year.
  • Getting Around: People love to walk, there’s a bit of transit, and biking is okay too.

Cool Spots to Check Out:

  • Constitution Square Historic Site: Where Kentucky began!
  • Great American Dollhouse Museum: Tiny wonders await.
  • Pioneer Playhouse: Enjoy a show under the stars.

Danville is not just any town; it’s a place where history meets heart. From its historic landmarks to the friendly community, it promises memories waiting to be made. Come on over and feel the magic! 🏡

9. Pikeville

Pikeville kentucky
Image source: upike.edu

Pikeville, located in eastern Kentucky, is a charming city known for its rich history and breathtaking natural beauty. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Pikeville offers residents a peaceful and picturesque setting to call home.

With its friendly community and strong sense of pride, Pikeville is a welcoming place for families and individuals alike. The city also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries and theaters to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of recreational activities available, including hiking, fishing, and camping. Pikeville truly offers the best of both worlds – a small-town feel with access to modern amenities and conveniences.

  • Population: Around 7,000 cool folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, it’s about $650/month.
  • Household Income: Families usually make around $40,000 yearly.
  • Getting Around: People mostly walk. Not a lot of buses, but biking’s decent.

Fun Stuff to Do:

  • Hatfield & McCoy River Trails: History and Nature in one!
  • Pikeville Cut-Through Overlook: See a mountain view like no other.
  • East Kentucky Exposition Center: Events, concerts, and more.

Pikeville is a small town with a big heart. The mountains hug you tight, and the views are pure magic. History buffs, nature lovers, and everyone in between will find something special here. Pop by and see what the buzz is about! ⛰️🎵🌲

10. Murray

Murray kentucky
Photo Credit: Murray CVB

Murray is a charming city located in southwestern Kentucky. Known for its friendly community and small-town charm, Murray offers a peaceful and welcoming environment for residents.

The city is home to Murray State University, which adds a vibrant and youthful energy to the area. With a low cost of living and a strong economy, Murray provides ample opportunities for employment and a comfortable lifestyle.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the nearby Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, offering endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating.

Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or a retiree, Murray is a delightful place to call home.

  • Population: About 18,000 lovely people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Guess what? It’s around $700/month.
  • Household Income: Most families earn about $33,000 every year.
  • Getting Around: Walking’s okay, not many buses, but biking’s fun!

Cool Stuff to Do:

  • Murray State University: Not just for students! They have neat events.
  • Central Park: A peaceful spot for picnics and play.
  • Murray-Calloway County Fair: Rides, games, and tasty treats.

Murray is more than just a college town. It’s a place where everyone says “hello” and there’s always something fun going on. With parks, events, and that small-town feel, it’s no wonder people love Murray. Come see what makes it special! 🌳🎡📚

11. Florence

Florence kentucky
Photo by Chris Sixflashphoto / wikimedia.org

Florence is a charming city located in northern Kentucky, known for its friendly community and vibrant atmosphere. With a population of around 32,000, Florence offers a small-town feel with big-city amenities.

The city boasts a variety of shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it a hub for residents and visitors alike. Florence is also home to several parks and recreational areas, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities and family fun.

Additionally, the city’s convenient location near major highways makes it easy to explore other parts of Kentucky and beyond. Overall, Florence is a wonderful place to call home, offering a high quality of life and a welcoming community.

  • Population: Around 30,000 cool people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, it’s $950/month.
  • Household Income: Families here typically earn about $50,000 a year.
  • On Foot & Wheels: You can walk some places, not many buses, but biking is decent!

Super Fun Things to Do:

  • Florence Mall: Shop, dine, and have a blast!
  • Florence Nature Park: Trees, trails, and fresh air. Perfect!
  • Turfway Park: Love horse racing? This is your spot.

12. Frankfort

Frankfort kentucky
Photo by Mobilus In Mobili / flickr.com

Frankfort is one of the best places to live in Kentucky. This charming city, located on the banks of the Kentucky River, offers a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. As the state capital, Frankfort is home to many government buildings and historic sites, such as the Kentucky State Capitol and the Old State Capitol.

Residents can enjoy exploring the city’s vibrant downtown area, filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Nature lovers will appreciate the nearby Kentucky River Palisades State Park, which offers hiking trails and breathtaking views. With its friendly community and rich heritage, Frankfort is a wonderful place to call home.

  • Population: About 28,000 awesome folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Think $850/month on average.
  • Household Income: Most families bring in around $45,000 yearly.
  • Getting Around: Pretty walkable, buses are okay, and it’s kinda of bike-friendly!

Top Fun Spots:

  • Kentucky State Capitol: History + stunning architecture = ❤️!
  • Salato Wildlife Center: Wild animals and nature up close! 🦌🌲
  • Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours: Sweet treats and stories? Yes, please!

Frankfort isn’t just where laws are made; it’s where memories are created! Dive into history, meet cool animals, and treat your taste buds. Frankfort’s waiting to make your day special. Ready to explore?

13. Richmond

Richmond kentucky
Photo by FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore / wikimedia.org

Richmond is a charming city located in the heart of Kentucky. Known for its rich history and friendly community, Richmond offers a peaceful and welcoming environment for residents.

With its picturesque landscapes and vibrant downtown area, there is always something to explore and enjoy in Richmond. The city is home to Eastern Kentucky University, providing educational opportunities and a lively campus atmosphere.

Richmond also boasts a variety of recreational activities, including hiking trails, parks, and nearby lakes for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a close-knit community or a place to pursue higher education, Richmond is a top choice in Kentucky.

  • Population: Around 36,000 super cool people.
  • Two-bedroom rent: About $750/month – nice for the wallet!
  • Household Income: Most families earn roughly $42,000 annually.
  • On the Move: You can walk some places, buses are alright, and you’ll see a few bikers around!

Top Spots for Fun:

  • Fort Boonesborough State Park: History comes alive + camping fun! ⛺️
  • Lake Reba: Fishing, picnics, and more. Splash! 🎣🚣
  • Richmond Area Arts Center: Art, music, dance – all the goodies!

Richmond isn’t just a place to pass by; it’s a destination! Dive into the past, relax by the water, or get artsy. What’s your Richmond adventure? Let’s find out! 🎨🏞️🎶

14. Georgetown

Georgetown kentucky
Photo credit: Rich Howard / pexels.com

Georgetown, a charming city in Kentucky, is a fantastic place to call home. Known for its small-town charm and friendly community, Georgetown offers a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.

With its rich history and picturesque landscapes, this city has something for everyone. Whether you enjoy exploring historic sites, strolling through beautiful parks, or indulging in local cuisine, Georgetown has it all.

The city also boasts excellent schools and a strong economy, making it an ideal place to raise a family or start a career. With its close proximity to Lexington and other major cities, Georgetown offers the perfect balance of small-town living and urban convenience.

  • Population: Around 34,000 friendly faces.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, you’ll pay about $900/month. Pretty decent!
  • Household Income: The average family here pockets about $56,000 each year.
  • Getting Around: Walking is okay, public transport is good, and biking is a breeze!

Cool Stuff to Do:

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Tour: See how cars are born! 🚗
  • Yuko-En on the Elkhorn: A gorgeous Japanese friendship garden. 🌸
  • Old Friends Farm: Meet retired racehorses – they’re the real celebs here! 🐴

Georgetown is a blend of history, nature, and modern fun. Whether you’re a car geek, a nature lover, or a horse fan, there’s something here for you. Time to explore! 🌟🌳🚘

15. Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown kentucky
Photo credit: Nyttend / wikimedia.org/

Elizabethtown, located in Kentucky, is one of the top 20 best places to live in the state. This charming city offers a mix of small-town charm and modern amenities, making it an ideal place to settle down.

With a rich history and a vibrant community, Elizabethtown has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s historical sites, enjoying outdoor activities in the nearby parks, or shopping and dining in the downtown area, Elizabethtown has it all.

With its friendly residents and affordable cost of living, Elizabethtown is a great choice for those looking for a welcoming and comfortable place to call home.

  • Population: A warm community of about 30,000 people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Expect to spend roughly $750/month.
  • Household Income: The typical family brings in about $48,000 yearly.
  • On the Move: Walking’s cool, public transport is decent, and biking is pretty easy!

Fun Around Town:

  • Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum: A trip down memory lane with vintage cars. 🚗
  • Freeman Lake Park: Perfect for picnics and nature walks. 🌲
  • Hardin County History Museum: Discover the town’s rich past. 📜

E-town, as the locals call it, offers a blend of history and nature. From beautiful parks to cool museums, there’s a little something for everyone. Enjoy your adventure! 🌟🍃🏞️

16. Covington

Covington kentucky
Photo credit: EEJCC / wikimedia.org

Covington, a city in Kentucky, is one of the top 20 best places to live in the state. With its charming atmosphere and rich history, Covington offers a great quality of life for its residents.

Located along the Ohio River, this city boasts beautiful views and a vibrant downtown area. Covington is known for its diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Whether you’re looking for a lively urban setting or a quiet suburban community, Covington has something for everyone.

With its affordable housing options and access to amenities, it’s no wonder why Covington is a popular choice for those looking to settle down in Kentucky.

  • Population: A buzzing community of about 40,000 people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: On average, $900/month.
  • Household Income: Most families earn around $40,000 a year.
  • Getting Around: It’s good for walking, public transit’s okay, and biking is quite friendly!

Cool Spots to Check Out:

  • Roebling Suspension Bridge: A historic beauty that connects to Cincinnati. 🌉
  • Devou Park: Gorgeous views and fun hiking trails. 🍃
  • MainStrasse Village: A charming area with shops, food, and festivals. 🍦🛍️

Covington is a blend of history, nature, and culture. It’s got riverside charm with urban excitement. There’s so much to see, do, and enjoy. Dive in and have a blast! 🌆🎉🌳

17. Nicholasville

Nicholasville kentucky
Photo credit: Nyttend / wikipedia.org

Nicholasville is a charming city located in Jessamine County, Kentucky. With its friendly community and picturesque surroundings, it’s no wonder why Nicholasville is considered one of the best places to live in Kentucky.

This vibrant city offers a mix of small-town charm and modern amenities, making it an ideal place for families and individuals alike. Nicholasville is known for its excellent schools, affordable housing options, and a variety of recreational activities.

Whether you enjoy exploring the beautiful countryside, shopping at local boutiques, or dining at delicious restaurants, Nicholasville has something for everyone. Experience the warmth and hospitality of Nicholasville and discover why it’s a top choice for those looking to settle down in Kentucky.

  • Population: A tight-knit group of about 30,000 folks.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Expect to pay roughly $800/month.
  • Household Income: Many households bring in about $45,000 annually.
  • Getting Around: Walking’s alright, not much in the way of public transit, but biking can be fun!

Must-Visit Spots:

  • Taylor Made Farm: Giddy up and see some beautiful horses! 🐎
  • Chrisman Mill Vineyards: Taste some local wines and relax. 🍷
  • Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park: Dive into history and nature. ⛺📘

Nicholasville offers a mix of the serene countryside with town fun. It’s a place where memories are made, and adventures await! Come on in and enjoy! 🌳🎶🌼

18. Ashland

Ashland kentucky
Image source: visitaky.com

Ashland, located on the banks of the Ohio River, is a charming city that offers a delightful blend of history and natural beauty. Known for its picturesque landscapes and friendly community, Ashland is an ideal place to call home.

The city boasts a rich history, with historic sites like the Ashland Estate, once home to Henry Clay, a prominent American statesman. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of outdoor activities, from exploring the beautiful parks and trails to enjoying water sports on the river.

With its small-town charm and scenic surroundings, Ashland is a wonderful place to settle down and enjoy a relaxed, peaceful lifestyle.

  • Population: About 20,000 cool people.
  • Two-Bedroom Rent: Around $700/month is the usual.
  • Household Income: On average, families earn $40,000 each year.
  • Getting Around: Walking is decent; transit’s okay, and biking can be an adventure!

Fun Times in Ashland:

  • Paramount Arts Center: Amazing shows all year round! 🎭
  • Central Park: A great spot for picnics, play, and relaxation. 🌳
  • Highlands Museum & Discovery Center: Uncover local stories and cool exhibits! 🏛

Ashland is more than just a town; it’s where history, nature, and fun mingle. So, pack your bags, and let’s dive into an Ashland adventure! 🌟🎒🌈

Conclusion

Kentucky offers a wide range of fantastic cities and towns to call home. Whether you’re looking for a bustling urban environment or a peaceful small town, there is something for everyone in the Bluegrass State.

From the vibrant city life of Louisville and Lexington to the charming communities of Berea and Fort Thomas, each place has its own unique charm and appeal.

With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and friendly communities, Kentucky truly has it all. So, if you’re thinking about making a move, consider one of these top 20 best places to live in Kentucky and start your new chapter in this beautiful state.

If you’re considering a move to Kentucky or just want to learn more about the best places to live in the state, here are some recommended resources to help you in your search:

  1. Kentucky Tourism: Visit the official website of Kentucky Tourism to explore the state’s attractions, events, and communities.
  2. Kentucky Department of Education: Check out the Kentucky Department of Education’s website for information on schools and education in different cities and towns.
  3. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce website provides valuable resources on business opportunities and economic development in various areas of the state.
  4. Local Real Estate Websites: Visit local real estate websites to find listings and information on housing options in different cities and towns.
  5. City and County Government Websites: Explore the websites of city and county governments to learn about local services, amenities, and community events.

By utilizing these resources, you can gather valuable information and make informed decisions about the best places to live in Kentucky.