Our cost of living is among the nation’s lowest, with Kentucky ranking third and Indiana fifth as the most affordable places to live in the US, based on overall cost of living, housing, transportation, utilities, health and grocery expenses.
No less famous is the region's bourbon, with dozens of distilleries generating 15,400 jobs, an annual payroll of $707 million, and sales of $3 billion. In 2014, total bourbon inventory topped 5.6 million barrels -- a million more barrels of bourbon than residents in Kentucky. The Bourbon Trail is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Whether it's ballet, opera, classical music, visual arts or the exceptional handcrafts of regional artisans, you can find it here. There are more than a dozen theater groups in Louisville alone, and hundreds of galleries and art studios throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Our healthcare facilities are second to none, and we lay claim to many trail-blazing "firsts," including the first artificial heart implant in 1982 and the first full hand transplant in 1999.
Our region is home to some four dozen colleges and universities, including basketball rivals University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Indiana University, as well as highly regarded private institutions such as Centre College, Bellarmine University and Hanover College. Our institutions of higher learning offer everything from fine arts training to leading-edge scientific research.
Our region offers easy access to healthy foods. Consumers can readily find locally grown and raised vegetables, fruits, beef, lamb, pork and poultry, available in farmers markets throughout our rich agricultural region.
Hiking, camping, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing opportunities abound. Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge and Mammoth Cave are wonderful examples of our region's preserved wilderness areas.