Most Americans recognize the two biggest cities in Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington, partially due to their notoriety in sports, but the next eight largest cities might be less familiar to those outside the Bluegrass State.
In total, Kentucky recognizes 425 active cities. Here are the ten biggest cities in Kentucky
based on population size. Surprisingly, Kentucky’s capital of Frankfort doesn’t make the list.
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Located in Jefferson County, Louisville is home to over 600,000 people across its 340 square miles. The biggest city in Kentucky is known for the University of Louisville and ranks in the top 30 largest cities in America. During the famous Kentucky Derby, nearly 150,000 people descend upon Churchill Downs
, making it one of the most-attended annual sporting events in the United States.
As the only other first-class city located in Kentucky—meaning they are governed by a mayor-alderman system—Lexington comes in at about half the size of Louisville with 308,000 residents. Its claim to fame is the University of Kentucky and its stellar basketball team
, which is the winningest program of all-time in both wins and winning percentage.
3. Bowling Green
Since 1981, Bowling Green has enjoyed a singular distinction; it’s the only place in the world where Chevrolet Corvettes are produced
. Not surprisingly, it’s also home to the National Corvette Museum – and over 61,000 people.
Number four on the list of the biggest cities in Kentucky is Owensboro, which is known as both the “City of Churches,” with about 170 in its county, and Kentucky’s “Festival City,” with over 25 festivals annually.
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This waterfront city sits on the banks of the Ohio River opposite of Cincinnati and only fifteen minutes from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. This location helps give Kentucky’s fifth-largest city a population of about 41,000 people.
Next is Hopkinsville, with about 32,000+ residents. The tourism slogan here is, “a wealth of adventure, history and mystery
” with an emphasis on its founding in 1797.
Located in North Central Kentucky, Richmond’s claim to fame is that it was almost chosen to be our nation’s capital
. Apparently Richmond’s lack of seaports caused it to lose out to Washington, D.C.
At just 10 square miles, Florence is home to just over 31,000 Kentuckians and is located in the Northern part of the state also near Cincinnati. It’s located in Boone County, which gets its namesake from none other than Daniel Boone
, who helped established the first permanent settlement within modern-day Kentucky’s borders.
Known as the “Gateway to the Kentucky Horse Park,” Georgetown sits just 10 miles north of Lexington. But perhaps more importantly to Kentucky’s history and economy, Georgetown’s founder, a Baptist minister named Elijah Craig, is said to have invented bourbon whisky. The city boasts a pretty Victorian historic downtown district with many antique shops, boutiques and restaurants.
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The smallest of the 10 biggest cities in Kentucky, Elizabethtown comes in at just under 30,000 residents. Known for its proximity to Fort Knox and the nation’s gold bullion depository, Elizabethtown has also enjoyed some fame after the film of the same name was released
in 2005. The movie starred Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon.
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