The Best Things To Do In Bardstown, Kentucky

This spirited small town is worth a visit.

Bardstown Small Town Kentucky
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

For centuries, bourbon has been Kentucky’s biggest and best calling card. So it’s no surprise that when you’re here, you’re well and truly in bourbon country. Historic Bardstown, a small town about an hour outside of Louisville, is in the heart of it all. The long-lived and long-loved distilleries in and around Bardstown (all 11 of them!) helped earn the place its spirited reputation–as well as its nickname as the Bourbon Capital of the World.

There’s no mistaking Bardstown for its big-city neighbors, and that’s the charm of it. Across its square mileage, it packs a bunch of fun things to do, both bourbon-related and otherwise, amid the beautiful Kentucky countryside. No visit is complete without a trip to Heaven Hill Distillery, which is based in Bardstown and is known as the largest family-owned spirits producer in the U.S. They’ve been producing widely loved brands since 1935 and these days, you can book the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience for a tour and a chance to bottle your own bourbon to take home. 

Nearby, Lux Row Distillers offers whiskey tastings–but that’s not all. There three different sorts of tours available–the Distiller’s Collection Select, which includes a cocktail and a peek at the distillation process, the Distillers Production Tour, which explores each stage of the bourbon production process, and the A Taste of Lux Row experience, which includes tasting, thieving, and a chocolate pairing. While you’re there, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the resident peacocks wandering around the property. 

Finish things up with a trip to Bardstown Bourbon Company, an award-winning distillery and one of the best local haunts for sipping. Book a tour or stop by the Kitchen & Bar for fantastic cocktails and a menu full of Kentucky dishes made with local ingredients. While you’re in town, stop by the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History to learn more about the history of the area and its distilling legacy, and check out the Old Talbott Tavern too. It’s one of the oldest stagecoach stops in the country, and you can still book a room, sip a glass of bourbon, or order a meal of Kentucky classics during your visit.  

Round out your trip with a journey aboard My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, a dinner train with themed rides that will whisk you through the Bardstown scenery. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Bluegrass State, you’ll find lots to enjoy in Bardstown.

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