7 Fun Things to Do in Berea, Kentucky

If you are looking for one of Kentucky’s hidden gems, it’s Berea, Kentucky.

Berea is a college town that’s also an artisan community with lots of outdoor recreation for locals and tourists.

I’m sharing fun things to do in Berea, Kentucky during a day trip or overnight getaway.

Things to do in Berea Kentucky

Where is Berea, Kentucky?

Berea is located in Central Kentucky around 15 miles south of Richmond.

Driving Distance and Time to Berea, Kentucky

  • 40.2 miles/ 46 minutes from Lexington, Kentucky
  • 114.5 miles/ 1 hr 43 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky
  • 118.5 miles/ 1 hr 46 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 134 miles/ 2 hr 4 minutes from Knoxville, TN
Things to Do in Berea Kentucky

What is Berea, Kentucky Known For?

Berea, Kentucky is home to Berea College, (a private National Liberal Arts College), artisan festivals, historic buildings, and outdoor adventures.

Berea is the only one of America’s top colleges that makes a no-tuition promise to every enrolled student, which means that no student pays for tuition. That’s pretty mind-blowing!

Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea

1. Stop at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

200 Artisan Way, Berea, KY

Open daily from 9am- 6pm, you’ll find an assortment of Kentucky-made items for sale from 1000+ Kentucky artisans who reside all over the state.

Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea

The Kentucky Artisan Center also has exhibits on display inside that are open to the public, free of charge. Check the Kentucky Artisan Center event calendar to learn about upcoming special events and demos offered to the community.

There’s an artisan cafe inside offering breakfast, sandwiches, soups, and salads in a cafeteria-style setting.

Many roadtrippers know this is also a great stop off the expressway for a clean bathroom, too.

If you are new to the area, ask the staff for a map of Berea and check out the brochures to learn more about the attractions in the surrounding area.

Adventure Mom and friend at The Pinnacles in Kentucky

2. Explore the Hiking Trails at The Pinnacles

2047 Big Hill Road, Berea, KY

The Pinnacles have been named the best hike in Kentucky by Outdoor Magazine.

view from Indian Fort Lookout at the Pinnacles in Berea

This hiking gem is not as well known as Red River Gorge making it a less crowded and dog-friendly scenic trail option.

Parking at Berea College Forest The Pinnacles

You’ll find lots of parking available for hikers in the lot that’s open from dawn until dusk. This lot also connects to the paved bike path.

hiking trail at The Pinnacles in Kentucky

The trail begins with a paved path but quickly progresses to a trail with an incline that has an elevation change of 700 ft from the parking lot to the summit.

steep incline at The Pinnacles

There are a few benches along the way if you need to stop and catch your breath on the way up.

loaner hiking sticks at The Pinnacles in Kentucky

I would also recommend borrowing one of the walking sticks before you go up.

Things to Do in Berea Kentucky

The views are totally worth it once you make it to the top!

trail map at the Pinnacles in Berea

Some of the signage can get a little confusing at the top because some of the trails on the sign don’t start directly next to the sign.

trail map at the Pinnacles in Berea

I would recommend taking a picture of the trail map before you start your hike so that you can go back to it as an additional point of reference.

I’m also directionally challenged and maps on my phone have helped me many times.

hiking trail signs at The Pinnacles in Kentucky

Trail Distances at The Pinnacles

It always helps to know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time when it comes to the trails.

  • 1.2 miles -Parking Lot to Indian Fort Lookout
  • 1.3 miles- Parking Lot to East Pinnacle
  • 1.7 miles -Parking Lot to West Pinnacle
  • 1.8 miles- Parking Lot to Buzzard’s Roost
  • 1.0 mile- Indian Fort Lookout to East Pinnacle
  • 2 miles – West Pinnacle to East Pinnacle
Eagle's Nest at The Pinnacles

Indian Fort Lookout and Eagle’s Nest were definitely the highlights of our hike.

hiking trail at The Pinnacles in Kentucky

On-site near the parking lot there is a Forestry Outreach Center. The hours can vary by the season which means that the indoor restroom facilities may be closed.

3. Explore Other Local Hikes in Berea, KY

If you want to explore more hikes in the area check out Anglin Falls, a mile-long hike that leads to a waterfall in the John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest.

Another option is to explore Brushy Fork offering 5 miles of wooded trails with multiple loop options.

hazelnut latte at Native Bagel in Berea

4. Drink and Eat Local in Berea

During our visit, we tried Native Bagel Co. for the first time.

We had limited options for open restaurants because we visited on a Monday and were glad to find this spot.

breakfast panini at Native Bagel

I decided to carb up for my hike with a panini made with county ham, jalapeno cream cheese, and blackberry jam on an everything bagel.

Their hazelnut latte was also a great boost of caffeine to help get me ready for my hike.

Great Restaurants to Try in Berea

The following options came HIGHLY recommended by multiple locals I talked to before and during our visit.

Berea Tourism Welcome Center Tourism Welcome Center

5. Stop Inside the Berea Tourism Welcome Center

3 Artist Circle, Berea, KY 

The building is open daily from 9am- 5pm and closed on Sunday.

exhibit at Berea Tourism Welcome Center

This former train depot has a lot of history on display inside, along with restrooms open to the public, and staff available to answer your questions about the area.

There is parking in front of the building and there is additional free parking within a short walk.

Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio in Artisan Village Berea

6. Meet and Support Local Artisans at the Artisan Village in Berea

When you visit Artisan Village in Berea there is a good chance that you can observe a local artisan in action while they create in their studio or shop.

open flag outside Glassblowing shop in Berea

The hours for shops in Artisan Village can vary so be on the lookout for a flag outside the building to signal they are open.

shops in Artisan Village in Berea
Honeysuckle vine Local shop in Berea Kentucky
Weston Glass Studio in Artisan Village Berea

There are 16+ shops within a few streets to explore.

hand sculptures in Berea Kentucky

7. Discover Public Art Throughout Berea

There is art on display all over Berea in a variety of mediums.

mural in Berea KY

Be on the lookout for the “show of hands” art installations throughout the city, sculptures, a giant rocking chair, and several murals while you are walking around Artisan Village.

giant rocking chair in Berea KY

Find Deals on Hotels in Berea

Save on your stay as you compare prices on local hotels in Berea using the map above.

Are You Ready to Plan a Visit to Berea, Kentucky?

Things to do in Berea Kentucky

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