Bowling Green : Kentucky

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What it's Like to Retire in Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Kentucky is a picturesque and growing college town that makes a perfect retirement community for active adults who would like to stay near the Midwest. This town of about 61,000 in southwest Kentucky has development projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars underway or newly completed. It is about an hour’s drive north of Nashville. Bowling Green has been cited by Forbes Magazine (Best Small Places to Do Business) as a 2007 “Top Ten Value Towns” for retirees. The city was chosen as one 2006’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Bowling Green is located in Warren County.

Western Kentucky University and its 21,000 students add college town ambiance and cultural opportunities to make this an interesting community to live in. One plus of living in this community as an active adult is that, as the only city that serves alcohol between Louisville and Nashville, it has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita of any city in America. The  General Motors Corvette plant is a source of local pride, it's where these legendary cars have been built since 1981 In fact the National Corvette Museum is a big local attraction. Just big enough to offer the excitements of a small city, it is small and Midwestern enough to have lower than average costs of living. Another plus is free tuition provided by the State of Kentucky.

Bowling Green is undergoing major redevelopment in 3 districts. Near the University major new buildings, both for the school and for private developement, are going up. There is a Hyatt Place Hotel to be finished in 2015, plus a $28 million mixed used development. The Bowling Green Ballpark, home to the Class A Hot Rods. Among many other major developments in town is is the 1,800 seat Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center was built in 2009 , with a main focus being Riverwalk Park near the Barren River. There are many recreational activities as well, thanks to the presence of many parks. There are 7 golf courses and 8 disc (Frisbee) golf courses here. Photo of downtown Bowling Green downtown courtesy of Wikipedia and OPMaster.

See more details in this recent New York TImes article, "A University Helps Remake Its Kentucky Home".


Where to Retire in Bowling Green and Home Prices

The area is developing rapidly with upscale retirement communities aimed at  active adults looking for vacation homes. There are also nice neighborhoods within and around town to live in. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price of a home in Bowling Green was $142,100 in the first quarter of 2016.


What is special about Bowling Green

• College town with a vital university • Riverwalk Park and Circus Square • National Corvette Homecoming event • National Corvette Museum • Capitol Arts Center • Cave Spring Caverns • Eloise B. Houchens Center • Historic Railpark at the L&N Depot • Low cost of living  •  Bowling Green Ballpark minor league baseball • Major economic development projects


What is not special about Bowling Green

It is far from any big city.

Who will like retirement in Bowling Green

Bowling Green attracts a community of who would like to live in a vital college town and participate in that environment.

Use this link for a retirement guide to Kentucky.

Local economy is driven by

In addition to Western Kentucky University the area's other large employers include Commonwealth Health Corporation, Fruit of the Loom and the GM plant that makes Corvettes and Cadillac XLRs. The city is the center of the region from an educational, medical, and commercial viewpoint.


Climate and Physical Environment

Bowling Green is located in Southwestern Kentucky on the Barren River. The area looks just like its name; rolling hills and Kentucky bluegrass abound. The climate is mild but one can experience all 4 seasons. The average January temperature is in the mid 30s and the average July temp is in the high 70s.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Western Kentucky University provides a big part of the cultural resources in this town. The Capitol Arts Center boasts an 800 seat theatre and 2 art galleries. The Public Theatre of Kentucky/Phoenix Theatre is a 147 seat professional theatre. The Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science is a "hands-on" science museum. The Kentucky Museum and Library is here. The Warren County Public Library has four permanent locations. SKyPAC is the $28 million Southern Kentucky Arts Center (1,800 seats). Hitcents Park Plaza is large new mixed-use development with restaurants, offices, and shops.



Crime is slightly above the national average, but the crime reported is not violent crime.


Medical facilities

The Medical Center is a large and growing regional hospital. It recently spent 10s of $ millions for new facilities. Western Kentucky U has a new 73,000 sq.ft. Health Sciences Complex.



Bowling Green - Warren County Regional Airport is here. Nashville International Airport is about 1 hour south.

Valuable Links

City-Data page on Bowling Green

What people are saying about Bowling Green

Questions about retiring here
I would like to know if anyone is living or from Kentucky. I have visited several times and find the Franklin-Bowling Green area favorable to my future needs. I have looked at housing ,both buying and renting, entertainment, taxes, retail prices, and it is very reasonable pricewise. I don\'t want to stop working when I retire, prefer pools to beaches, and like gardening, hiking and books. Reading some of the answers, suggestions, and warnings about different areas, leaves me to ask \"Has anyone any bad or good experience from living or retiring in Kentucky?\"
Posted by DeyErmand on September 04, 2015

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  • State: KY
  • Environment: College Town,Golf Community,
  • City Population: 50,001-100,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 21-40
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 20,001-40,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • Cost of Living Index: 81-90 (low)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: boomer1

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