30 Things to Do in Bardstown KY: Bourbon Heritage & More

Looking for a fun-filled getaway? Look no further than Bardstown, KY! This charming town, a great place in bourbon country, is packed with fun things and attractions that will leave you wanting more. From historical sites to outdoor adventures and delicious food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, including fun things to do and great places to shop. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the best of Bardstown, bourbon country, a great place to shop, as recommended by a TripAdvisor member!

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But that’s not all! Prepare your taste buds for some mouthwatering delights at local wineries and distilleries, great places where bourbon takes center stage. And if shopping is your thing, browse through unique boutiques, a great place to discover treasures waiting to be discovered.

Scroll down for reviews of our top picks – let’s dive into the best experiences Bardstown has to offer, based on subjective opinions from tripadvisor members who have checked them out!

1. Visit the Bourbon Heritage Center

If you’re a fan of bourbon and want to learn more about its rich history, a visit to the Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, KY is a must according to tripadvisor member reviews.  Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

Location1935 Elijah Craig Blvd, Bardstown, KY 40004 
TypeDistillery tour and museum 
Hours* Monday-Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
* Sundays: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
* Check the website ([https://heavenhilldistillery.com/hhb-experience.
  1. Interactive Exhibits: At the Bourbon Heritage Center, tripadvisor members can check reviews of interactive exhibits that bring the bourbon-making process to life. From learning about grain selection and fermentation to witnessing the art of barrel aging, these exhibits provide an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
  2. The Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown, is an ideal location for exploring bourbon’s historical significance in Kentucky’s heritage. The center showcases artifacts and stories from iconic distilleries that have shaped the industry over centuries.
  3. Tasting Opportunities: No visit to a bourbon-centric destination would be complete without tasting some fine spirits! The Bourbon Heritage Center offers guided tastings where you can sample different types of bourbons and discover their unique flavors and characteristics.
  4. Knowledgeable Guides: The center employs knowledgeable guides who are passionate about sharing their expertise with visitors. They can answer any questions you have about bourbon production, offer recommendations on local distilleries worth visiting, or suggest food pairings that complement different types of bourbons.
  5. Gift Shop Delights: Before leaving, make sure to stop by their gift shop where you can purchase bottles of your favorite bourbons or unique souvenirs related to whiskey culture.

3. Take a tour of the Barton 1792 Distillery

If you’re in Bardstown, Kentucky, don’t miss the opportunity to take a tour of the Barton 1792 Distillery. This historic distillery has been producing bourbon since 1879 and offers visitors an immersive experience into the world of whiskey-making.

During the tour, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how bourbon is crafted from start to finish. Knowledgeable guides will walk you through each step of the process, from mashing and fermentation to distillation and aging. You’ll learn about the importance of ingredients like corn, rye, barley, and limestone water in creating that signature flavor profile.

One highlight of the tour is exploring Barton 1792’s impressive aging warehouses. These massive structures house thousands upon thousands of barrels filled with maturing bourbon. As you walk among them, you’ll be enveloped by their rich aroma and marvel at rows upon rows of casks slowly developing their distinct character over time.

But it’s not just about learning; there are also opportunities for tasting along the way! Sample different expressions of Barton 1792’s award-winning bourbons and discover your personal favorite flavors. Whether you prefer something smooth and caramel-forward or bold with hints of spice, there’s a bourbon here to satisfy every palate.

The Barton 1792 Distillery tour provides an educational yet enjoyable experience for both whiskey enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Immerse yourself in Kentucky’s proud bourbon heritage as you explore this historic distillery nestled amidst picturesque landscapes.

4. Enjoy a meal at the Old Talbott Tavern

The Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, KY is not only a historic landmark but also a fantastic place to enjoy a delicious meal. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY :

  1. Historic Ambiance: The Old Talbott Tavern has been serving guests since 1779, making it one of the oldest taverns in Kentucky. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time with its charming decor and rustic atmosphere.
  2. Mouthwatering Cuisine: The menu at the Old Talbott Tavern offers something for everyone’s taste buds. From classic Southern comfort food like fried chicken and country ham to gourmet burgers and fresh salads, there’s no shortage of delectable options to choose from.
  3. Signature Dishes: One dish that stands out among the rest is their famous Bourbon Ball Pie – a rich and creamy dessert made with bourbon-infused chocolate filling topped with whipped cream and served in a flaky pie crust. It’s an absolute must-try!
  4. Craft Beer & Spirits: If you’re looking for something refreshing to accompany your meal, the tavern also offers an impressive selection of craft beers and spirits, including local favorites and rare finds.
  5. Live Music: On select evenings, the Old Talbott Tavern hosts live music performances featuring talented local artists. So while enjoying your meal, you can sit back, relax, and soak up some soulful tunes.
  6. Historical Significance: Throughout its long history, the Old Talbott Tavern has welcomed many notable figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Jesse James who have left their mark on this legendary establishment.
  7. Friendly Service: The staff at the Old Talbott Tavern goes above and beyond to ensure that every guest feels welcome and well taken care of during their visit.

9. Sip on craft cocktails at the Harrison-Smith House

Nestled in the heart of Bardstown, Kentucky, the Harrison-Smith House is a must-visit destination for craft cocktail enthusiastsHere is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. A Unique Blend of Ingredients: The mixologists at the Harrison-Smith House take great pride in creating innovative cocktails using only the finest and freshest ingredients. From locally sourced herbs and fruits to artisanal spirits, each drink is carefully crafted to perfection.
  2. Creative Cocktail Creations: Prepare to be amazed by their creative concoctions! Whether you prefer classic cocktails with a modern twist or experimental flavor combinations, there’s something for everyone at this bar. Try their signature “Bourbon Bramble” featuring Kentucky bourbon infused with blackberry liqueur and fresh lemon juice – a true delight!
  3. Impeccable Presentation: At the Harrison-Smith House, presentation is everything. Each cocktail is meticulously garnished and served in beautiful glassware that adds an extra touch of elegance to your drinking experience.
  4. Expert Mixologists: The talented mixologists behind these craft cocktails are true artists in their field. They have honed their skills through years of experience and are passionate about delivering extraordinary flavors with every sip.
  5. Historic Ambiance: Step into history as you enter this historic house-turned-bar dating back to 1820s Bardstown architecture style. The cozy atmosphere combined with warm lighting creates an inviting ambiance where you can relax and enjoy your drinks.
  6. Local Pride: Supporting local businesses is important, especially.

So whether you’re a seasoned cocktail connoisseur or simply looking for a unique drinking experience, make sure to visit the Harrison-Smith House in Bardstown, KY. Indulge in their expertly crafted cocktails and immerse yourself in the rich history and flavors of this charming town.

15. Sample local wines at McIntyre’s Winery & Berries

Located in Bardstown, Kentucky, McIntyre’s Winery & Berries offers a delightful experience for wine enthusiastsHere is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Wide selection of wines: At McIntyre’s Winery & Berries, you’ll find an impressive array of wines to choose from. Whether you prefer reds or whites, sweet or dry, they have something to suit every palate. Take your time exploring their collection and discover new flavors that tickle your taste buds.
  2. Unique fruit-infused wines: One standout feature of McIntyre’s Winery & Berries is their fruit-infused wines. They take locally grown fruits like blackberries and blueberries and blend them with traditional grape varieties to create unique and delicious combinations. These fruity concoctions offer a refreshing twist on traditional wine flavors.
  3. Knowledgeable staff: The friendly and knowledgeable staff at McIntyre’s are always ready to guide you through the tasting experience. They will provide insights into each wine’s characteristics, share interesting stories about the winemaking process, and answer any questions you may have.
  4. Beautiful setting: The winery is set amidst picturesque landscapes with rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye can see. You can relax on their outdoor patio or take a leisurely stroll through the vineyard while sipping on your favorite glass of wine.
  5. Events and entertainment: McIntyre’s Winery & Berries often hosts events such as live music performances or food pairings that complement their exceptional wines perfectly. Check their calendar for upcoming events during your visit to enhance your overall experience.

If you’re looking for a memorable wine-tasting adventure in Bardstown, Kentucky, be sure to visit McIntyre’s Winery & Berries where delicious local wines await. Cheers!

19. Participate in a bourbon tasting class

If you’re visiting Bardstown, Kentucky, participating in bourbon tasting class is a must-do activity. This immersive experience allows you to delve into the rich history and flavors of this iconic American spirit. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Expand your knowledge: A bourbon tasting class provides an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of different bourbons, including their production methods, aging processes, and flavor profiles. Knowledgeable instructors will guide you through the nuances of each pour, helping you develop a deeper appreciation for this beloved spirit.
  2. Discover your preferences: With countless brands and variations available, finding your favorite bourbon can be overwhelming. By sampling various bourbons during a tasting class, you’ll gain insight into what styles and flavors appeal to your palate. This knowledge will empower you when selecting bourbons in the future.
  3. Enhance your sensory skills: Bourbon tastings engage all five senses as you observe its color and clarity, inhale its aromas, savor its taste on your tongue, feel its texture in your mouth, and appreciate its lingering finish. These exercises help refine your sensory skills when evaluating other spirits or beverages.
  4. Connect with fellow enthusiasts: Attending a bourbon tasting class provides an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share an interest in this timeless drink. You can exchange recommendations on favorite bottles or even join local whiskey clubs that organize regular tastings or events.
  5. Support local distilleries: Bardstown is known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World” due to its deep-rooted connection with distilling traditions dating back centuries. By participating in a bourbon tasting class led by experts from local distilleries or establishments dedicated to promoting Kentucky’s heritage spirits industry, you directly contribute to supporting these businesses.

Immerse yourself in Bardstown’s vibrant bourbon culture by participating in a tasting class. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of bourbon, these classes offer an educational and enjoyable experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

2. Explore My Old Kentucky Home State Park

My Old Kentucky Home State Park is a must-visit destination in Bardstown, KY. This historic park offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the state and provides visitors with a range of activities to enjoy.

Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

Step back in time at Federal Hill

At the heart of My Old Kentucky Home State Park lies Federal Hill, an iconic mansion that dates back to the early 19th century. Take a guided tour through this beautifully preserved home and learn about its fascinating history. You’ll be transported back in time as you explore each room, adorned with period furnishings and decor.

Enjoy outdoor adventures

The park’s expansive grounds offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a leisurely stroll along one of the scenic walking trails or pack a picnic and relax under the shade of towering trees. The lush greenery surrounding Federal Hill creates a serene atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding and connecting with nature.

Immerse yourself in music and culture

My Old Kentucky Home State Park is also famous for its connection to American folk music. The park hosts live performances throughout the year, showcasing traditional tunes that have deep roots in Kentucky’s heritage. Sit back and let the melodies transport you to another era as talented musicians captivate your senses.

Attend special events

Throughout the year, My Old Kentucky Home State Park hosts various special events that celebrate local traditions and culture. From craft fairs to historical reenactments, there’s always something happening at this vibrant destination. Check their event calendar before your visit to make sure you don’t miss out on any exciting happenings during your stay.

6. Discover the Civil War Museum

If you’re a history buff or simply interested in learning more about the Civil War, a visit to the Civil War Museum in Bardstown, KY is a must. This fascinating museum offers deeper insights into this crucial period of American history.

The museum showcases an impressive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring the stories of the Civil War to life. You’ll have the opportunity to see authentic uniforms worn by soldiers from both sides, weapons used during battles, and personal belongings that belonged to individuals who lived through this tumultuous time.

One of the highlights of the museum is its extensive collection of photographs taken during the war. These images provide a visual narrative that helps visitors understand what life was like for those involved in one of America’s most significant conflicts.

In addition to its exhibits, the Civil War Museum also hosts educational programs and events throughout the year. From lectures by renowned historians to reenactments and living history demonstrations, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in this important chapter of our nation’s past.

Whether you’re a student looking for an educational experience or simply curious about our nation’s past, make sure to include a visit to Bardstown’s Civil War Museum on your itinerary when exploring all that Kentucky has to offer.

11. Visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History

The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History is a must-visit attraction in Bardstown, KY. Here, you can delve into the fascinating world of whiskey and learn about its rich history.

  1. Immerse Yourself in Whiskey’s Past: The museum takes you on a journey through time, showcasing the evolution of whiskey production from its humble beginnings to becoming one of America’s most beloved spirits. Explore exhibits that highlight the different types of whiskey, including bourbon and rye, and discover how they are made.
  2. Discover Rare Artifacts: At this museum, you’ll find an impressive collection of artifacts related to whiskey production and consumption. From vintage bottles and decanters to historic distilling equipment, these artifacts provide a glimpse into the craftsmanship and traditions behind this iconic spirit.
  3. Learn from Knowledgeable Guides: Knowledgeable guides are available to enhance your experience at the museum. They offer insights into whiskey-making techniques, share interesting anecdotes about famous distilleries, and answer any questions you may have.
  4. Taste Whiskey: As part of your visit to the Oscar Getz Museum, don’t miss out on their tasting sessions where you can sample different varieties of whiskeys under expert guidance. It’s an opportunity to refine your palate and appreciate the distinct flavors that make each type unique.
  5. Engage with Interactive Exhibits: The museum features interactive exhibits that engage visitors in hands-on experiences related to whiskey making processes such as mashing grains or coopering barrels—providing an immersive learning environment for all ages.
  6. Special Events & Workshops: Keep an eye out for special events hosted by the museum throughout the year such as tastings led by master distillers or workshops on cocktail crafting using various whiskies as ingredients—a chance for enthusiasts to deepen their knowledge further.

Visiting the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History offers a captivating experience for whiskey lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Immerse yourself in the world of whiskey, discover its intriguing past, and gain a deeper appreciation for this beloved spirit.

14. Explore the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral

The Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral is a must-visit attraction in Bardstown, KY. This historic church holds immense cultural and religious significance, making it a fascinating destination for tourists and locals alike. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Rich History: The Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral dates back to 1816 when it was established as the first Catholic cathedral west of the Allegheny Mountains. Its stunning architecture showcases both Gothic Revival and Greek Revival styles, reflecting its evolution over the years.
  2. Architectural Marvels: Step inside this magnificent basilica to admire its breathtaking stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and ornate altar pieces. The grandeur of the interior will leave you awe-inspired as you take in the beautiful craftsmanship that went into creating this sacred space.
  3. Spiritual Significance: As one of only four proto-cathedrals in the United States, this basilica holds special importance within the Catholic Church hierarchy. It serves as an important place for worship for local parishioners and attracts visitors seeking spiritual solace or a glimpse into religious history.
  4. Historical Landmark: Recognized on both state and national registers of historic places, visiting this basilica allows you to immerse yourself in Kentucky’s rich heritage while appreciating its architectural treasures.
  5. Community Events: Beyond its historical significance, the Basilica hosts various community events throughout the year that are open to all visitors—such as concerts featuring renowned musicians or art exhibitions showcasing local talent—making it an active hub within Bardstown’s vibrant cultural scene.
  6. Guided Tours: To fully appreciate all that this landmark has to offer, consider joining a guided tour led by knowledgeable docents who can share captivating stories about its past and provide deeper insights into its significance.

16. Attend a show at the Bardstown Community Theatre

If you’re looking for some entertainment in Bardstown, Kentucky, attending a show at the Bardstown Community Theatre is a must-do activity. This local theater group puts on a variety of performances throughout the year, showcasing talented actors and actresses from the community.

  1. Diverse Productions: The Bardstown Community Theatre offers an array of productions that cater to different interests and preferences. From classic plays to contemporary dramas and musicals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
  2. Local Talent: One of the highlights of attending shows at this community theater is witnessing the incredible talent found right in Bardstown itself. The actors and actresses are passionate about their craft and bring their unique skills to each performance.
  3. Intimate Setting: Unlike larger theaters, the Bardstown Community Theatre provides an intimate setting that allows you to feel fully immersed in the production. With its cozy atmosphere, every seat feels close to the action on stage.
  4. Affordable Entertainment: Attending a show at this community theater won’t break your budget either! Tickets are reasonably priced, making it accessible for individuals or families looking for affordable entertainment options.
  5. Supporting Local Arts: By attending shows at the Bardstown Community Theatre, you’re not only enjoying quality entertainment but also supporting local arts and culture in your community. Your presence helps sustain this vibrant creative space.

So gather your friends or family members and head over to experience an evening filled with captivating performances by local talents at one of Bardstown’s hidden gems – The Bardstown Community Theatre!

24. Visit Wickland, Home of Three Governors

Wickland is a historic mansion located in Bardstown, Kentucky. It holds the distinction of being the home to not just one, but three governors of Kentucky. Stepping inside this grand estate is like taking a journey back in time. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

Immerse Yourself in History

As you explore Wickland, you’ll be surrounded by the rich history and stories that have unfolded within its walls. The mansion was built in the early 19th century and has witnessed significant events throughout Kentucky’s past. From political discussions to lavish parties, Wickland has been at the center of it all.

Discover Architectural Beauty

The architectural beauty of Wickland is truly captivating. With its elegant design and stunning craftsmanship, every room exudes charm and sophistication. From intricate woodwork to ornate chandeliers, each detail tells a story about the people who once called this place home.

Learn About Prominent Figures

Wickland’s claim to fame lies in its association with three prominent governors: Charles Anderson Wickliffe, Jereboam O’Beirne Morton, and Thomas E. Bramlette. These influential figures played significant roles in shaping both Kentucky’s history and politics.

Experience Guided Tours

To make your visit even more enlightening, guided tours are available at Wickland. Knowledgeable guides will take you through each room while sharing fascinating anecdotes about the mansion’s past residents and their contributions to society.

Host Special Events or Weddings

Aside from being open for public tours, Wickland can also serve as an enchanting venue for special events or weddings. Imagine exchanging vows amidst such historical grandeur – it would surely be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

Visiting Wickland allows you to step into the lives of some of Kentucky’s most influential individuals while immersing yourself in a world filled with elegance and nostalgia.

7. Experience a ride on the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience in Bardstown, Kentucky, be sure to hop aboard the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. This charming excursion offers more than just a train ride—it’s an opportunity to step back in time and indulge in delicious food while taking in the picturesque scenery of the Bluegrass State.

The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train takes passengers on a leisurely journey through beautiful countryside, offering stunning views of rolling hills, horse farms, and historic landmarks. As you relax onboard one of their vintage dining cars, you’ll be treated to a delectable meal prepared by their talented chefs.

What sets this experience apart is not only the delightful cuisine but also the immersive atmosphere. The train cars are meticulously restored to reflect different eras of railroad history, creating an ambiance that transports you back in time. From elegant decor to attentive service reminiscent of days gone by, every detail contributes to an unforgettable evening.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking something out-of-the-ordinary during your visit to Bardstown, this dinner train is sure to impress. It’s perfect for couples looking for a romantic date night or families wanting to create lasting memories together.

So why not embark on this enchanting journey? Climb aboard the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and treat yourself or your loved ones to an extraordinary adventure filled with good food, breathtaking views, and nostalgic charm. That is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

8. Stroll through the historic downtown Bardstown

Bardstown, Kentucky is known for its rich history and charming small-town atmosphere. One of the best ways to experience this is by taking a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown area. Here are some reasons why you should include this activity on your itinerary:

  1. Historical Landmarks: As you wander through downtown Bardstown, you’ll come across several well-preserved historical landmarks that offer a glimpse into the town’s past. From beautiful 19th-century architecture to quaint shops housed in old buildings, every corner tells a story.
  2. Unique Shops and Boutiques: Downtown Bardstown is home to an array of specialty shops and boutiques where you can find one-of-a-kind items. Whether you’re looking for handmade crafts, antiques, or local artwork, there’s something for everyone here.
  3. Dining Delights: Craving delicious food? Downtown Bardstown has got you covered with its diverse selection of restaurants and cafes. From Southern comfort food to international cuisines, there’s no shortage of options to satisfy your taste buds.
  4. Festivals and Events: Throughout the year, downtown Bardstown hosts various festivals and events that celebrate the town’s culture and heritage. These events often feature live music performances, art exhibits, craft fairs, and more – providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.
  5. Friendly Atmosphere: The warm hospitality of locals adds an extra charm to your stroll through downtown Bardstown. You’ll be greeted with friendly smiles wherever you go as residents take pride in their community and love sharing it with visitors.

So put on your walking shoes and explore all that historic downtown Bardstown has to offer! Immerse yourself in its fascinating history while enjoying unique shopping experiences, delectable dining options, vibrant festivals,and embracing the welcoming atmosphere. That is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

22. Enjoy kayaking or fishing at Sympson Lake

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for some adventure in Bardstown, Kentucky, then a visit to Sympson Lake is a must. This scenic lake offers the perfect setting for kayaking and fishing, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying your favorite activities.

  1. Kayaking: Grab your kayak and explore the calm waters of Sympson Lake. Glide through the pristine blue waters as you take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and lush greenery. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, this serene lake provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

  2. Fishing: Cast your line into Sympson Lake and try your luck at catching some fish. The lake is well-stocked with various species including bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. Spend a relaxing day on the water as you wait for that exciting moment when a fish bites on your bait.

  3. Wildlife Spotting: As you paddle or fish at Sympson Lake, keep an eye out for wildlife that call this area home. You might spot birds soaring overhead or turtles sunbathing on logs along the shoreline. It’s not uncommon to see deer grazing near the water’s edge or beavers building their dams nearby.

  4. Picnic Areas: After an adventurous day on the lake, take advantage of the picnic areas available around Sympson Lake. Pack some delicious snacks or lunch and enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Whether you’re seeking solitude amidst nature or looking for fun-filled activities with family and friends, kayaking or fishing at Sympson Lake offers it all.

23. Take a scenic drive through the surrounding countryside

If you’re looking for a relaxing and picturesque experience, taking a scenic drive through Bardstown’s surrounding countryside is a must-do activity. The area is known for its stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and charming small towns that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
  1. Enjoy breathtaking views: As you drive along the winding roads, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of lush green fields, vibrant wildflowers, and towering trees. It’s the perfect opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.
  2. Explore historic landmarks: Along your route, keep an eye out for historic landmarks that dot the landscape. You might come across old barns with weathered wood siding or even remnants of stone walls from centuries past. These sights serve as reminders of Bardstown’s rich history and add charm to your journey.
  3. Discover hidden gems: One of the joys of taking a scenic drive is stumbling upon hidden gems off the beaten path. Keep an eye out for quaint country stores selling homemade jams and jellies or roadside stands offering fresh produce straight from local farms. These unexpected finds can add extra delight to your trip.
  4. Capture memorable photos: With its idyllic scenery as your backdrop, don’t forget to bring along your camera or smartphone to capture some unforgettable photos during your drive. Whether it’s a vibrant sunset over rolling hills or a picturesque farmhouse nestled among trees, these snapshots will serve as lasting memories of your visit.
  5. Experience peace and tranquility: Taking a leisurely drive through Bardstown’s countryside provides an opportunity for peaceful reflection away from the noise and distractions of everyday life. Roll down your windows, breathe in the fresh air scented with wildflowers, and let yourself unwind amidst this serene setting.

26. Explore the wildlife at Saunders Springs Nature Preserve nearby

Located just a short distance from Bardstown, Saunders Springs Nature Preserve offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. With over 26 acres of land, this preserve is home to diverse wildlife and boasts breathtaking natural landscapes .Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Tranquil Trails: Take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained trails that wind through Saunders Springs Nature Preserve. As you explore, you’ll encounter lush greenery, towering trees, and picturesque streams. The peaceful ambiance makes it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike.
  2. Abundant Wildlife: Get ready to witness an array of fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. From songbirds chirping melodiously to deer gracefully grazing in open meadows, there’s no shortage of wildlife encounters here. Keep your eyes peeled for squirrels scurrying up trees or turtles sunbathing on logs as you traverse the trails.
  3. Picnic Spots: Looking for a place to relax or have a delightful picnic? Saunders Springs Nature Preserve has plenty of designated picnic areas where you can unwind amidst nature’s serenity while enjoying delicious food with family and friends.
  4. Historical Significance: Besides its natural wonders, this preserve also holds historical significance dating back centuries ago when it was once used as a water source by early settlers in Kentucky. You might stumble upon remnants like old stone walls or even discover hidden artifacts if you’re lucky!
  5. Educational Opportunities: If you’re interested in learning more about local flora and fauna, keep an eye out for guided tours or educational programs offered at the preserve throughout the year. These experiences provide valuable insights into conservation efforts and help foster appreciation for our environment.

Saunders Springs Nature Preserve near Bardstown is truly a haven where nature thrives harmoniously with history! So grab your walking shoes, pack some snacks, and embark on an adventure filled with tranquility and wildlife wonders.

27. Enjoy a picnic at Dean Watts Park

Dean Watts Park is the perfect spot to have a delightful picnic in Bardstown, KY. This scenic park offers a serene environment and various amenities that make it an ideal location for spending quality time with family and friends.
Beautiful Surroundings
Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you relax on the lush green grass of Dean Watts Park. The park boasts picturesque views, with towering trees providing shade on sunny days. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated by the tranquil atmosphere surrounding you.
Picnic Areas
Dean Watts Park provides designated picnic areas equipped with tables and benches, ensuring you have a comfortable space to enjoy your meal. Whether you’re planning a small gathering or a larger get-together, there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Playground for Kids
If you’re visiting with children, they’ll love exploring the playground at Dean Watts Park. Let them burn off some energy while climbing on play structures or swinging on swings. It’s an excellent opportunity for kids to engage in physical activity and make new friends.
Walking Trails
Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails within Dean Watts Park. These well-maintained paths offer a chance to appreciate nature’s wonders while getting some exercise. Breathe in fresh air as you meander through the park, taking in its natural beauty.
Sports Facilities
For those who enjoy active pursuits, Dean Watts Park features sports facilities where you can engage in friendly matches or practice your skills. Play basketball on one of their courts or challenge your friends to a game of tennis.

10. Go hiking in Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

If you’re a nature enthusiast or simply enjoy outdoor activities, a visit to the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a must when in Bardstown, KY. This expansive forest offers breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and numerous trails for hikers of all skill levels.

With over 16,000 acres of land to explore, Bernheim Arboretum provides an immersive experience that allows visitors to connect with nature. The forest boasts more than 40 miles of well-maintained trails that wind through lush woodlands, open meadows, and serene lakes. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike, there’s something for everyone here.

One popular trail at Bernheim is the Millennium Trail which spans two miles and takes you through various ecosystems including wetlands and upland forests. Along the way, keep an eye out for the unique sculptures scattered throughout the forest as part of their renowned art program.

For those seeking a longer trek or more challenging terrain, consider exploring the Guerilla Hollow Trail or Lake Nevin Loop Trail. These trails offer picturesque landscapes and opportunities to spot native flora and fauna along your journey.

If you’re interested in learning about conservation efforts or want to delve deeper into environmental research initiatives happening within Kentucky’s forests, make sure to check out some of the educational programs offered by Bernheim Arboretum. That is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

25. Attend the Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antiques Fair

The Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antiques Fair is an annual event that showcases the vibrant arts and crafts scene in Bardstown, Kentucky. This fair brings together talented artisans, craftsmen, and antique dealers from all over the region to display their unique creations. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Support Local Artists: By attending this fair, you have the opportunity to support local artists and craftsmen who pour their heart and soul into creating one-of-a-kind pieces. From handmade jewelry to beautifully crafted pottery, you’ll find a wide array of artistic treasures.
  2. Discover Unique Finds: If you’re on the hunt for something truly special or looking to add a vintage touch to your home decor, this fair is the place to be. With a vast selection of antiques available for purchase, you can uncover hidden gems with fascinating histories.
  3. Engage in Interactive Workshops: The fair also offers interactive workshops where visitors can learn new skills or try their hand at various crafts. Whether it’s pottery-making or painting techniques, these workshops provide an opportunity for both kids and adults alike to unleash their creativity.
  4. Experience Live Demonstrations: Witness firsthand how skilled artisans create their masterpieces through live demonstrations throughout the fairgrounds. From woodcarving to glassblowing demonstrations, these captivating displays allow you to gain insight into traditional craftsmanship techniques.
  5. Enjoy Local Food and Music: In addition to browsing through art booths and antique stalls, indulge in delicious local food offerings while enjoying live music performances by talented musicians from the area.

Attending the Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antiques Fair is not only an enjoyable experience but also a way to contribute directly to supporting local artists and preserving traditional craftsmanship techniques.

28. Participate in the Bardstown Road Farmers Market

If you’re a fan of fresh produce, local artisans, and a vibrant community atmosphere, then participating in the Bardstown Road Farmers Market is a must-do activity during your visit to Bardstown, KY. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Support Local Farmers: The market provides an excellent platform for local farmers to showcase their products and connect directly with consumers. By buying from them, you are supporting the local economy and ensuring that these small-scale farmers can continue doing what they love.
  2. Fresh and Organic Produce: At the market, you’ll find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables grown using sustainable farming practices. From juicy tomatoes to crisp lettuce leaves, each bite bursts with flavor while nourishing your body with essential nutrients.
  3. Artisanal Products: In addition to farm-fresh produce, the market also features a wide array of artisanal products crafted by talented locals. Indulge in homemade jams bursting with flavors or pick up unique handcrafted jewelry as souvenirs for loved ones back home.
  4. Community Engagement: The Bardstown Road Farmers Market serves as a hub where people from all walks of life come together to celebrate food, artistry, and community spirit. It’s not just about shopping; it’s about connecting with neighbors, meeting new friends, and fostering a sense of belonging.
  5. Live Entertainment: As you peruse through stalls filled with goodies at the market, enjoy live music performances by local artists who add an extra touch of ambiance to your experience. Tap your feet along while savoring delicious bites or simply sit back and soak in the lively atmosphere.

5. Attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival

If you’re a fan of bourbon, attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown is an absolute must-do. This annual festival celebrates everything about this iconic American spirit and offers a unique experience for both bourbon enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Immerse Yourself in Bourbon Culture: The Kentucky Bourbon Festival provides an immersive experience where you can learn about the history, production, and tasting techniques of bourbon. From distillery tours to educational seminars, there’s something for everyone to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of this beloved drink.
  2. Sample a Wide Variety of Bourbons: With over 50 different bourbons available for sampling at the festival, it’s a whiskey lover’s paradise. Whether you prefer traditional brands or want to explore craft distilleries, there are plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds.
  3. Engage with Industry Experts: The festival brings together master distillers, brand ambassadors, and industry experts who are passionate about bourbon-making. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with them during tastings and panel discussions, gaining insights into their craft and learning from their expertise.
  4. Enjoy Live Music & Entertainment: In addition to all things bourbon-related, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival also offers live music performances by talented artists throughout the event. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy some entertainment while sipping on your favorite whiskey.
  5. Explore Bardstown’s Charm: Beyond the festival itself, Bardstown is known as “The Bourbon Capital of the World” for good reason—it has deep roots in bourbon heritage that extend beyond just one event each year. Take advantage of your visit by exploring local distilleries or visiting historical sites like My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

Attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival allows you to indulge in all things bourbon while immersing yourself in an atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie. It’s an experience that whiskey lovers won’t want to miss.

12. Enjoy live performances at the Stephen Foster Story Amphitheatre

The Stephen Foster Story Amphitheatre in Bardstown, KY offers a memorable experience for those who appreciate live performances. Here, you can immerse yourself in the captivating world of theater and music while enjoying the beautiful outdoor setting.

  1. A celebration of American music: The Stephen Foster Story Amphitheatre pays tribute to one of America’s most beloved composers, Stephen Foster. Known for his timeless classics like “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races,” Foster’s music continues to resonate with audiences today. At this amphitheater, you can witness talented performers bring his compositions to life.
  2. Outdoor ambiance: Set against the backdrop of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the amphitheater provides a unique outdoor experience that enhances your enjoyment of the show. As dusk settles over the park, you’ll be enchanted by the combination of live music and natural surroundings.
  3. Professional productions: The performances at the Stephen Foster Story Amphitheatre are professionally produced with top-notch talent from across the country. From skilled actors to exceptional musicians, every aspect is carefully crafted to deliver an unforgettable evening filled with entertainment and artistry.
  4. Engaging storytelling: Through song and dance, these live performances transport you back in time as they tell stories inspired by Stephen Foster’s life and work. You’ll gain insights into his creative process while being entertained by compelling narratives that showcase his enduring musical legacy.
  5. Family-friendly fun: The shows at this amphitheater cater to all ages, making it a perfect outing for families or groups looking for wholesome entertainment options in Bardstown. It’s an opportunity for children and adults alike to appreciate history through engaging performances that celebrate American culture.

Attending a performance at the Stephen Foster Story Amphitheatre allows you to enjoy an enchanting evening under starry skies while being serenaded by some of the most iconic melodies in American music history. Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Bardstown, KY. 

13. Take a ghost tour of Bardstown

If you’re looking for a thrilling and spine-chilling experience, don’t miss the opportunity to take a ghost tour of Bardstown. This historic town is known for its rich history and haunted tales that will send shivers down your spine. Here is why this should be in your list of Things to Do in Bardstown, KY  : 

  1. Explore haunted locations: Joining a ghost tour allows you to visit some of Bardstown’s most haunted locations. From old mansions with eerie pasts to abandoned buildings with mysterious stories, you’ll have the chance to step into the paranormal world and witness firsthand the chilling atmosphere these places hold.
  2. Learn about local legends: Throughout the tour, knowledgeable guides will share captivating stories and legends associated with each location. You’ll hear tales of restless spirits, tragic events, and unsolved mysteries that have left their mark on Bardstown’s history. These accounts add depth and intrigue to your journey through this haunted town.
  3. Experience supernatural phenomena: Many visitors report experiencing strange occurrences during their ghost tours in Bardstown. From unexplained cold spots to flickering lights or even apparitions, these encounters can leave you questioning what lies beyond our understanding.
  4. Connect with history: Beyond the spooky tales, taking a ghost tour offers an opportunity to connect with the historical significance of Bardstown. As you explore haunted sites, you’ll gain insights into the town’s past and how it has shaped its present-day reputation as one of Kentucky’s most haunted destinations.
  5. Fun for all ages: Ghost tours in Bardstown cater to different age groups and comfort levels. Whether you prefer mild thrills suitable for families or more intense experiences tailored for thrill-seekers, there are options available that ensure everyone can enjoy this unique adventure.

17. Visit the Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast for a unique stay

If you’re looking for a truly unique accommodation experience in Bardstown, Kentucky, look no further than the Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast. This charming establishment offers guests the opportunity to stay in a historic building that was once the Nelson County Jail. Here are some reasons why you should consider staying at the Jailer’s Inn:

  1. Historic Charm: The Jailer’s Inn is housed in a building that dates back to 1819, giving it an undeniable charm and character. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore the historic architecture and learn about its fascinating past.
  2. Unique Accommodations: Each room at the Jailer’s Inn is uniquely decorated with antique furnishings, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. From spacious suites to cozy jail cells-turned-bedrooms, there is something to suit every traveler’s taste.
  3. Ghostly Encounters: If you’re interested in paranormal activity, the Jailer’s Inn has gained quite a reputation for being haunted. Many guests have reported ghostly encounters during their stay, adding an extra layer of intrigue to your visit.
  4. Convenient Location: The inn is conveniently located within walking distance of Bardstown’s downtown area, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and attractions such as My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
  5. Warm Hospitality: The innkeepers at the Jailer’s Inn pride themselves on providing warm hospitality and excellent service to their guests. They are always ready to offer recommendations on local attractions or assist with any needs during your stay.

18. Shop for antiques and local crafts in downtown shops

When visiting Bardstown, Kentucky, exploring the downtown shops is a must-do activity. The charming streets are lined with unique boutiques and antique stores, offering a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

  1. Antiques Galore: Step into the past as you browse through the vast collection of antiques available in downtown Bardstown. From vintage furniture to retro clothing, there’s something for everyone with an eye for nostalgia.
  2. Local Craftsmanship: Support local artisans by checking out the handcrafted items found in the downtown shops. You’ll find beautifully made pottery, handmade jewelry, and intricately designed woodwork that showcases the talent of Bardstown’s creative community.
  3. Unique Finds: One of the highlights of shopping in Bardstown is stumbling upon those one-of-a-kind treasures that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether it’s a rare vinyl record or a piece of folk art, these unique finds add character to your home or make memorable gifts for loved ones.
  4. Immerse Yourself in History: As you explore the antique stores, you’ll come across pieces that have witnessed history firsthand. Imagine holding an item from another era and feeling connected to those who came before us.
  5. Supporting Sustainable Practices: Shopping at locally-owned businesses promotes sustainability by reducing carbon emissions associated with long-distance shipping while supporting small-scale production methods that minimize waste.
  6. Engaging with Locals: When you shop at downtown stores in Bardstown, you have an opportunity to engage with friendly locals who are passionate about their craft and eager to share stories about their products’ origins or offer recommendations on other attractions worth exploring nearby.

20. Explore the Bluegrass Parkway for scenic views

The Bluegrass Parkway is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. This picturesque road offers breathtaking scenic views that showcase the beauty of Bardstown, Kentucky, and its surrounding areas. Here are some key points to consider when exploring the Bluegrass Parkway:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The Bluegrass Parkway is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and vibrant greenery. As you drive along this highway, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas that capture the essence of Kentucky’s natural beauty.
  2. Fall Foliage: If you plan your visit during the fall season, you’re in for a treat. The foliage along the Bluegrass Parkway transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows blanketing the countryside.
  3. Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for wildlife as you traverse through this area. Deer grazing peacefully in meadows or birds soaring through clear blue skies are common sights along this route.
  4. Photography Opportunities: Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer looking to capture stunning shots of nature’s wonders, the Bluegrass Parkway offers endless opportunities. From sunrise to sunset, there’s always something captivating waiting to be captured on camera.
  5. Historical Landmarks: Alongside its natural beauty, this parkway also provides access to several historical landmarks such as My Old Kentucky Home State Park and Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park—perfect stops if you want to immerse yourself in local history while enjoying scenic surroundings.
  6. Outdoor Activities: The Bluegrass Parkway serves as a gateway to various outdoor activities such as hiking trails and picnic spots dotted throughout Bardstown’s vicinity.

21. Visit the Nelson County Public Library for local history

If you’re interested in learning about the rich history of Bardstown, a visit to the Nelson County Public Library is a must. This library is not just a place for books; it’s also a treasure trove of information and resources on local history.

  1. Historical Archives: The library houses an extensive collection of historical archives, including photographs, documents, and newspapers dating back decades. You can delve into the past and explore firsthand accounts of significant events that have shaped Bardstown.
  2. Genealogy Research: Are you curious about your family roots? The library offers access to genealogical records and databases that can help you trace your ancestry. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced researcher, their knowledgeable staff will be there to assist you in uncovering your family history.
  3. Local History Programs: The library regularly hosts programs and events focused on preserving and sharing Bardstown’s local history. From guest speakers discussing specific eras or topics to interactive workshops on historical research techniques, these programs provide valuable insights into the town’s heritage.
  4. Collaborative Projects: The library actively collaborates with other organizations like museums, historical societies, and educational institutions to preserve and promote local history collectively. Through partnerships with these entities, they contribute to ongoing research efforts while making historical information more accessible to the community.
  5. Digital Resources: In addition to physical collections, the library offers digital resources such as online databases and digitized archives that can be accessed remotely from anywhere with an internet connection.

Visiting the Nelson County Public Library opens up endless possibilities for exploring Bardstown’s fascinating past through its vast collection of historical materials, engaging programs/events, collaborative projects with other organizations dedicated to preserving local heritage.

29. Take a hot air balloon ride over Bardstown

If you’re looking for a unique and breathtaking experience in Bardstown, why not take a hot air balloon ride? Soaring above the picturesque landscapes of this charming Kentucky town will give you a whole new perspective. Here are some reasons why you should consider adding this adventure to your itinerary:

  1. Unparalleled Views: From high up in the sky, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Bardstown and its surrounding countryside. Imagine floating gently through the clouds as you take in the beauty of rolling hills, lush greenery, and historic landmarks.
  2. Peaceful Serenity: Hot air balloon rides offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you glide through the air, there’s a sense of calmness that envelopes you. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature’s tranquility.
  3. Romantic Experience: Looking for a romantic outing? A hot air balloon ride is perfect for couples seeking an unforgettable date or even popping the question! The intimate setting combined with awe-inspiring views sets the stage for creating cherished memories together.
  4. Safe Adventure: While it may seem thrilling, hot air ballooning is actually one of the safest forms of aviation. Experienced pilots ensure all safety measures are followed, providing passengers with peace of mind throughout their journey.
  5. Photography Opportunities: If photography is your passion, taking a hot air balloon ride will give you incredible opportunities to capture stunning aerial shots. Whether it’s capturing sunrise or sunset vistas or snapping pictures of Bardstown’s iconic landmarks from above, your camera lens will thank you!

So don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience when visiting Bardstown! A hot air balloon ride offers unparalleled views, peaceful serenity, romance, safety precautions by experienced pilots,and fantastic photography opportunities that will leave lasting impressions.

30. Visit the Kentucky Railway Museum

The Kentucky Railway Museum is a must-visit attraction in Bardstown, KY. Here are some reasons why you should add it to your itinerary:

  1. Step back in time: The museum offers a unique opportunity to experience the golden age of rail travel. Explore vintage locomotives and train cars that have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
  2. Family-friendly fun: This destination is perfect for families with kids of all ages. Take a ride on one of the museum’s scenic train excursions and enjoy breathtaking views of the Kentucky countryside.
  3. Educational experience: Learn about the rich history of railways in Kentucky through interactive exhibits and knowledgeable guides. Discover how trains shaped transportation and played a vital role in the development of communities across the state.
  4. Special events: The museum hosts various special events throughout the year, such as “Day Out With Thomas” where children can meet their favorite blue engine or “Santa Express” during the holiday season. These events offer unforgettable experiences for visitors young and old.
  5. Train enthusiasts’ paradise: If you’re passionate about trains, this museum will be a dream come true! Get up close to beautifully preserved steam engines, diesel locomotives, and historic rolling stock that showcase different eras of railroading.
  6. Scenic surroundings: Located amidst picturesque landscapes, this railway museum provides an idyllic setting for leisurely walks or picnics while enjoying views of passing trains.
  7. Memorable photo opportunities: Capture timeless moments against stunning backdrops like antique cabooses or alongside impressive engines – perfect for creating lasting memories!

Whether you’re seeking nostalgia, family entertainment, or educational experiences, visiting the Kentucky Railway Museum promises an enriching day out filled with history and excitement.

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of the top things to do in Bardstown, KY. From exploring the rich bourbon heritage to immersing yourself in history and culture, this charming town has something for everyone. Whether you’re a whiskey enthusiast, nature lover, or simply looking for a unique getaway, Bardstown offers a wide range of experiences to satisfy your interests.

Now it’s time to start planning your trip and embark on your own adventure in Bardstown. So grab your travel companions, pack your bags, and get ready to explore all that this vibrant town has to offer. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine, soak up the small-town charm, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Bardstown is waiting for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular attractions in Bardstown, KY?

Bardstown, KY offers a variety of popular attractions. Some must-visit places include the Bourbon Heritage Center, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Barton 1792 Distillery, and the Civil War Museum.

Where can I enjoy local cuisine in Bardstown?

For a taste of local cuisine in Bardstown, head to the Old Talbott Tavern. It’s not only a historic landmark but also serves delicious meals with a touch of Southern charm.

Is there an annual bourbon event in Bardstown?

Yes! The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is an annual event that celebrates all things bourbon. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in bourbon culture with tastings, workshops, live music, and more.

Are there any outdoor activities near Bardstown?

Absolutely! You can go hiking at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest or enjoy kayaking and fishing at Sympson Lake. There’s also Saunders Springs Nature Preserve for wildlife enthusiasts.

Where can I find unique accommodations in Bardstown?

Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast offers a unique stay experience within the walls of an old jailhouse. It combines history with comfort for an unforgettable stay in Bardstown.

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