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Covington, Kentucky flies under the radar as a tourist destination. The city is too small to have a big city buzz and too big for small town charm. Instead, Covington, KY fits somewhere in the middle…and it’s utterly enjoyable.
Boasting a rich, well-preserved history, outstanding outdoor spaces and an exciting dining and bar scene, visitors will find that there are an array of fun things to do in Covington, KY.
Covington, Kentucky FAQs
Before we jump into a list of the absolute best things to do in Covington, KY, let’s cover the basics so that you can start planning your perfect trip!
Where is Covington, Kentucky?
Covington, KY is located in Northern Kentucky at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. You can use our Covington, KY map at the end of this article to help get your bearings.
How Far is Covington, Kentucky from Cincinnati, Ohio?
Cincinnati is directly north of Covington across the Ohio River. Visitors can drive, take a bus or walk across a bridge to reach Cincinnati from Covington.
How Far is Covington, Kentucky from Lexington, Kentucky?
Lexington is almost directly south of Covington. The distance between downtown Covington, KY and Lexington is approximately 80 miles. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive between the two cities.
How Far is Covington, KY from Louisville, KY?
Louisville sits about 100 miles southwest of Covington. Driving between the two cities takes roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes. Be sure to check out all of our recommended Things To Do In Louisville as well!
How To Get to Covington, Kentucky
Covington can be reached by plane or car. While we typically like to fly (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!), for our stay in Covington, we drove a car from Columbus, Ohio.
Covington, Kentucky Airport
The airport in Covington, KY is officially called the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (Code CVG). If you are flying to Covington, use our tips for getting the best flights and rates!
How To Get from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Intl Airport to the City?
The distance from the Covington airport to the city center is about 12 miles and it will take about 25 minutes to make the drive.
Where to Stay in Covington, KY
Visitors have a nice choice of accommodations in Covington. That said, where to stay in Covington, Kentucky will depend on your style, budget and plans.
Covington, Kentucky Hotels
For a short trip to the city, we think it is best to stay in one of the hotels in Covington, Kentucky – either on the riverfront or in the heart of the city.
Marriott Cincinnati Hotel Covington, Kentucky
The Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter is actually a hotel in Covington, Kentucky – and our top choice of places to stay in Covington for business or a vacation .
The Marriott is located right on the waterfront – with some rooms featuring balconies and incredible views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline. Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, an on-site restaurant and bar and free WiFi. Check Rates and Availability!
Hotel Covington Cincinnati Riverfront is a luxury boutique hotel that is not on the river but located in the center of historic downtown Covington. The hotel occupies the former Coppin Department Store Building – which was built in 1907 as the first ‘skyscraper’ in Kentucky.
With chic design and modern amenities, Hotel Covington aims to impress its guests. Check rates and availability!
Airbnb Covington, KY
During our month-long visit, we stayed in one of the Airbnb apartments in Covington, KY. There are numerous Airbnb options – from entire homes to shared apartments – in a range of prices.
Covington, Kentucky Weather
The weather in Covington, Kentucky is typical for the midwestern United States. Winters are cold and can be snowy, springtime is cloudy with rain, summers tend to be hot and humid, and autumn is typically dry with cooler temperatures.
The best time to visit Covington, KY is during the summer and early autumn when visitors can enjoy outdoor activities and seasonal events.
20 Best Things To Do In Covington, KY
Now that we have covered the basics of planning your trip, let’s chat about what to do in Covington, Kentucky! Be sure to use our map at the end of the article for attraction locations. We share a few packing tips below, as well.
#1 Explore Mainstrasse, Covington, Kentucky
Exploring the quaint Mainstrasse Village is one of the top things to do in Covington! The neighborhood dates to the 19th century when German immigrants settled there – and many original buildings still stand today.
Not to be missed in Mainstrasse Village are the 6th Street Promenade and Goose Girl Fountain. Other top attractions in the Mainstrasse District are boutique shops, art galleries, and the ample dining options that line Main Street.
Mainstrasse is designated a National Register Historic District – and interesting architecture lines Main Street and beyond. We highly recommend exploring the area on foot – and take time to wander through the side streets and into the adjacent Mutter Gottes District, as well!
#2 Gaze Up at the Glockenspiel in Goebel Park
Situated on the west end of the 6th Street Promenade, Goebel Park is a small green space with a playground for kids. The park is also home to one of the top Covington, KY attractions: a 100-foot-tall clock tower.
The traditional German glockenspiel – officially called the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower – features 43 bells, which chime on the hour. Additionally, from April through October, the clock tower’s mechanical figures emerge onto the balcony to act out the short story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin when the bells ring.
#3 Seek Out Unique Covington Street Art
The City of Covington fully embraces its artistic side! Throughout the Covington Central Business District, large street art murals grace the sides of many buildings.
Visitors can use this handy self-guided tour to find the best murals in the city.
In addition to the colorful street art murals, visitors will find other forms of public art works – like statues, mosaics and sculptures.
#4 Drink a Local Covington Libation
One of the fun things to do in Covington, KY is to get a taste of the local flavors – and by that we mean beer and bourbon. While the city has no shortage of bars, there are two exceptionally cool places to have a drink: a brewery and a rare bourbon bottle shop.
Beer at Braxton Brewing
Widely regarded as one of the best brewers in Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati Region, Braxton Brewing Company calls Covington its home.
Brewing right in the heart of downtown Covington, the Braxton facility features a spacious tap room and a rooftop lounge where patrons can sample brews straight from the source.
Bourbon at Revival Vintage Bottle Shop
A little shop tucked away just off Madison Street, Revival Vintage Bottle Shop is a tasting room offering bourbon flights and vintage spirits for sale.
Welcoming curious beginners and expert sippers, the friendly and unpretentious staff helpfully guide customers to find exactly what it is they are looking for.
Use our list of the Best Bars in Covington, KY for more places to imbibe!
#5 Take a Stroll on the Covington Riverwalk
Taking a stroll on the Covington Riverwalk is one of the fun things to do in Covington, Kentucky.
The waterfront path nearly stretches the length of the city’s northern boundary along the Ohio River from the Brent Spence Bridge to the Licking River.
Along the route, walkers are treated to fine views of the Cincinnati skyline and the many beautiful bridges that span the Ohio River.
#6 Wander the Licking Riverside Historic District
The Licking Riverside Historic District is the most well-preserved residential community in the city. Wandering among the 19th-century homes ranks as one of the top Covington things to do.
The district was already formed when the City of Covington was established in 1815, but the majority of homes in the Licking Riverside Historic District were built in the mid-1800s by wealthy citizens.
The varying architecture – from brick bungalows to gorgeous Greek Revival mansions – are a sight to see. Perhaps the most famous house in the neighborhood is the Grant House – which was owned by the parents of US President Ulysses S. Grant.
#7 Eat the Best Food in Covington
We can’t talk about what to do in Covington, KY without talking about the food, because – trust us – it’s amazing!
There is an abundance of restaurants in the city featuring various cuisines – including contemporary eats, fusion food, southern comfort, international fare and greasy-spoon breakfasts.
Top eateries are found on Main Street, along Madison Avenue and at Roebling Point – and there are a few hidden gems in the city, too.
Interested visitors can join a fun Mainstrasse Food Tour and taste several samples of the city’s best food.
Or, use our list of the Best Covington, Kentucky Restaurants – where we feature dining for every taste!
#8 Walk Across the Roebling Bridge
The impressive John A. Roebling Bridge is an iconic landmark that straddles that Ohio River, connecting downtown Covington to downtown Cincinnati.
Walking across the historic bridge is one of the best Covington, KY things to do and an ideal way to get to a Cincinnati sporting event if you are staying in Covington!
Completed in 1867 – at which time it ranked as the longest bridge in the world with a span of 1,075 feet – the Roebling Bridge served as a prototype for the famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
Today, the cabled suspension bridge remains the most stunningly beautiful bridge in the region.
#9 Peruse the Produce at the Saturday Farmers Market
One of the fun things to do in Covington, KY is to spend Saturday morning at the local Covington Farmers Market.
Vendors at the market sell in-season produce, farm fresh eggs and a range of baked goods. Shoppers can also pick up teas, coffee and even local beer.
The market runs on Saturday mornings from 9am until 1pm at Park Place and Court Street.
#10 Visit the Beautiful Covington, Kentucky Churches
The historic churches in Covington, KY are exquisite, to say the least. Old brick churches with tall bell towers are sprinkled across the city, but there are three must-see churches that should be on your Covington, KY To-Do list.
Basilica of the Assumption Cathedral Covington, KY
The grand, gothic St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is, hands down, the most impressive church in Covington (and the entire region, for that matter!).
Modeled after the Notre Dame in Paris, building commenced in 1894. The facade of the double-towered church is adorned with gargoyles and statues. However, it is the interior, with the massive stained-glass windows and ornate altars that make the church truly extraordinary.
Mother of God Roman Catholic Church Covington, KY
Built in the year 1870, the Mother of God Church in Covington features Corinthian columns, twin renaissance spires, and a central cupola. Visitors are welcome to go inside, following the signs to the right of the main entrance.
Trinity Episcopal Church
The red-brick, Gothic Revival Trinity Episcopal Church was built in the 1850s. The church’s dominating features are the unique bell tower and street-facing stained-glass windows.
#11 Learn Covington, Kentucky History
Covington has a rich history and proudly celebrates its past. Within the city there are nearly 50 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can learn about many of Covington’s historic places, people and events via the informational plaques that dot the city.
Use this map to find some of the city’s most prominent historical places.
#12 Take in the View from Devou Park
West of the central Covington, Devou Park is a sprawling 700-acre space featuring rolling hills and nature trails.
In fact, one of the top Covington, Kentucky things to do is to drive (or hike!) up to the Memorial Overlook for a panoramic view of Cincinnati, the Ohio River and the city of Covington.
After taking in the view, explore more of the park, like the on-site golf course, the cultural museum and the amphitheater used for summer entertainment.
#13 Find the 7 Covington Waterfront Statues
One of the unique things to do in Covington, KY is to seek out statues of some of the city’s most famous residents.
Along the Riverwalk in the Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood, there are seven life-size bronze statues – all of which feature accompanying information.
The statues along the river include Chief Little Turtle (a Native American military leader), Simon Kenton (an explorer), John James Audubon (an artist), James Bradley (a freed slave), Daniel Carter Beard (founder of the Boy Scouts), Mary B Green (a river boat pilot) and John A Roebling (the architect who built the Roebling and Brooklyn Bridges).
Furthermore, there are numerous other statues located throughout Covington – so keep an eye out for more statues as you discover the city on foot!
#14 Visit the Roebling Murals
An outdoor museum of sorts, the Roebling Murals are an artistic display of the history of Covington, Kentucky from 800 BC to modern times.
Located just west of the Roebling Bridge, the 18 enormous panels are displayed on the city’s flood wall above the Covington Plaza. The compilation was created by artist Robert Dafford.
Each panel includes a tile and a snippet of info, but this guide provides more historical details.
#15 Play with the Kitties at the Purrfect Day Cat Cafe
If you love cats, then you will definitely want to put Purrfect Day Cat Cafe on your ‘Things To Do: Covington, KY’ list!
At Purrfect Day Cat Cafe, visitors can mix, mingle, cuddle and play with adorable kittens – all of which are up for adoption.
In addition to the Kitty Lounge Experience (where reservations are recommended and there is a fee to mingle), guests can book unique experiences – like Story Time, Art Classes and Yoga with Kittens.
#16 Attend One of the Free Covington Events
Visitors looking for free things to do in Covington, KY will be pleased to find a number of free events in the city.
Some of the best free events are the summertime Luv the Cov concert series that take place on Friday nights on the Ohio Riverbank at Covington Plaza.
The biggest event in the autumn is Oktoberfest in Covington, Kentucky, which is a Mainstrasse Village event that has been celebrating the city’s German heritage since 1979.
Check the city’s calendar for more upcoming events.
#17 Watch a Show at Madison Theater Covington, Kentucky
The legendary Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky is the place to watch live entertainment in the city.
The classic theater is located on Madison Avenue in Covington’s central business district. Covington’s Madison Theater features three performance stages and promotes regional acts and superstars alike. Blake Shelton, The Black Crowes and Snoop Dog have all performed at The Madison in Covington!
For upcoming performances, check The Madison Covington, Kentucky Website.
#18 Go to the Linden Grove Cemetery Covington
A park, an arboretum and a cemetery all rolled into one, the Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington is an interesting and peaceful place to visit.
The Linden Grove Cemetery has been a place of burial since 1843 – as evidenced by some of the headstones.
Marking the final resting place for many Covington residents (including politicians, athletes and other historically prominent figures of the city), the cemetery also features shaded paths and a Level I arboretum – making it a perfect place for a casual walk.
#19 Enjoy the Exhibits at the Carnegie Art Center
Comprised of art galleries, a theater and educational classrooms, the Carnegie Art Center is housed in a 1904 building that was originally constructed as the Carnegie Library.
While the Carnegie Theater performances require a ticket, the gallery exhibits are free to visit.
#20 Relax at the George Rogers Clark Park
George Rogers Clark Park is one of the best places in Covington, KY to relax and enjoy the view.
The shaded park is located on the riverfront within the Licking Riverside Historic District. The small park offers views of the Cincinnati skyline and Roebling Bridge – and hosts two of the 7 Riverside Statues.
Bring a book or a pack a picnic lunch, lay down a blanket or find a bench among the trees and truly enjoy relaxing in the park.
Things To Do Near Covington, KY
One of the great things about Covington is that it is ideally situated near two other city destinations: Newport, KY and Cincinnati, OH. Travelers staying in Covington can easily drive – or walk! – to either city.
Just east of Covington, across the Licking River, is Newport, Kentucky. The city boasts an entertainment district, historic neighborhoods to explore, locally-owned eateries and both a brewery and a distillery.
Use our guide of Things To Do in Newport, KY to plan what to see and do!
Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River, is a perfect place to spend a day! With professional sports teams, intriguing museums, picturesque parks and fabulous neighborhoods, visitors have ample choices for things to do.
We highlight the best attractions and activities in our blog post, Things To Do in Cincinnati!
Map of Covington, KY
Our map of Covington, Kentucky highlights the top things to do and see. Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Covington, Kentucky Map.
What You Will Need for Your Trip to Covington, KY
One of the things we like best about Covington is how walkable the city is! Whether navigating our way to Covington sights or strolling along the riverfront path, it was essential that we wore proper footwear.
Use our tips for finding the Perfect Travel Shoes for your Covington trip!
If you are out discovering the city or sitting on the Braxton rooftop drinking a beer, you will want to make sure you have adequate sun protection. Make sure to pack sunscreen or a wide-brimmed hat that you can wear during your days of sightseeing (or sipping!). Oh – and bring a travel umbrella…just in case!
We think it is best to carry a day pack when traveling. A day bag is perfect for keeping your phone, camera, and keys organized. We like the Osprey Day Pack, but you can find more details in our blog post, The Best Day Packs for Traveling.
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of Things To Do in Covington, KY?
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