America’s “Most Beautiful Small Town” Keeps Winning Awards

“Fodor’s added to list of those recognizing Bardstown, Ky., as irresistible place to visit”

All About Our Little Town

Bardstown, Ky., located in central Kentucky and known worldwide as the Bourbon Capital of the World, continues earning accolades for its movie-set good looks, historic charm, one-of-a-kind attractions and bustling Courthouse Square. Additionally, Bardstown ranked among “the best of the best” in Fodor’s Second Annual List of “America’s Best Small Towns.” Another perk: The Kentucky Bourbon Festival, held annually in September in Bardstown, was ranked among “Kentucky’s 10 Best Summer Events: Art Exhibitions to Food Festivals” by, a one-stop, global website, showcasing the best of art, food, culture and travel for every country in the world.

In addition, several Bardstown attractions were chosen as “bests” in Kentucky Living magazine’s 2014 reader write-in contest. Bardstown’s Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History was named Whisky Magazine’s 2014 “Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Check out some of the other winners below!

Bourbon Capital of the World Earns Capital A in Awards

  • A Fodor pick for one of “America’s Best Small Towns”
  • Kentucky Bourbon Festival among the state’s “10 Best Summer Events”
  • Whisky Magazine’s 2014 “Visitor Attraction of the Year”
  • 2014 “Best in Kentucky” in Kentucky Living’s reader write-in contest in these categories:
  • Best Golf Course – Kenny Rapier Golf Course at My Old Kentucky Home State Park
  • Best Annual Festival – Kentucky Bourbon Festival , held annually in September
  • Most Iconic Kentucky Landmark – Federal Hill (aka My Old Kentucky Home) at My Old Kentucky Home State Park
  • Best Museum – Civil War Museum of the Western Theater
  • Travel + Leisure 2013 “America’s Favorite Town” 
  • Travel + Leisure 2013 “America’s Most Beautiful Town Square”
  • Named a Certified Kentucky Cultural District (one of only six Kentucky cities to achieve the honor) – 2013
  • Named an Official Trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® – 2013 
  • 2013 “Best in Kentucky” in Kentucky Living’s reader write-in contest in these categories: 
  • Best Bed and Breakfast – Jailer’s Inn
  • The best non-franchise restaurant – Mammy’s Kitchen
  • Chose as best walking/running/bicycling trail – Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest
  • Voted best Kentucky product – Maker’s Mark
  • Award for best winery – Chuckleberry Farm and Winery.
  • Rand McNally/USA Today 2012 “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” 

Why should you go?

Due to where bourbon began, Bardstown is home to seven distilleries. Almost all of them can be located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  Not a bourbon buff? New bourbon-related attractions add shine to Bardstown’s downtown, where some 200 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bourbon Manor is especially relevant to bourbon fans – as it’s a bourbon-themed bed and breakfast, cafe and spa and the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace offers a distinctive Bourbon Bar & Tasting Room and upscale bourbon-related souvenirs. Not to mention, people from all over flock to Bardstown during one week in September to celebrate their favorite libation. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival takes place over the course of a week, with every bourbon fanatic kind you could imagine showing up from all four corners of the world.

A new tour takes visitors to Kentucky’s original Holy Land for things to see and do at the Abbey of Gethsamani, St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral. Other major attractions include “The Stephen Foster Story” – Kentucky’s Official Outdoor Drama, now in its 56th year; My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, serving chef-prepared four-course dinners while rolling through Kentucky Bourbon Country – also the Kentucky Railway Museum, the only train-related attraction in the state with both a model layout and train excursions. Add lots of locally-owned restaurants and boutiques and 17 bed and breakfast inns, and as a result you’ve got one destination that gives visitors plenty of reasons to visit. The best part about where you stay, each and every one of them is different. Head on over to our Hotels, motels and more page to see where you’ll fit best. Want to see what all the buzz is about?

Click here to plan your getaway to the “Most Beautiful Small Town in America.”

City Details

Bardstown is located at the beginning of the Bourbon Trail’s trailhead. With seven distilleries inside Bardstown’s city limits, it’s no wonder bourbon lovers flock from all over the world. A few of the major attractions include the outdoor musical “The Stephen Foster Story” which entertains guests interested to learn more about America’s first and favorite musician. It also includes My Old Kentucky Home State Park, where there are trails and hikes for everyone young and old.

Another attraction in Bardstown people love to see is the highly regarded Civil War Museum of the Western Theatre, which showcases our country’s fight, brother against brother. The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and The Kentucky Railway Museum are two attractions you just can’t miss. From a 1940’s themed car to dinner served while above a trestle, disappointment isn’t in their vocabulary. Voted Whisky Magazine’s Visitor Attraction of the Year – the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History.

Perks and Extras

Another perk; Bardstown has four 18-hole golf courses, three wineries, two haunted tours and numerous religious attractions. Fodor picked Bardstown as one of “America’s Best Small Towns.” Additionally, it was selected the “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” in the Rand McNally/USA Today 2012 “Best of the Road” contest.

In addition to all these, Bardstown also landed in the top 20 of “America’s Favorite Towns” by Travel + Leisure. They also recognized Bardstown as having  one of “America’s Most Beautiful Town Squares.” as well. Furthermore, in 2013, Bardstown became a certified Kentucky Cultural District, one of only six Kentucky cities to achieve this honor. Bardstown’s starting to get so many awards – it’s hard to keep track of, much less say! Each year an increasing number of people flock to Bardstown to see all that it has to offer, and each year we welcome them further. Plan your next trip with us, so you can experience all this and much more.

If you’re a bourbon connoisseur, and you’re looking to quench your thirst for America’s Signature libation – Bardstown is a tiny town with a ton of bourbon that’s just perfect for you.