Bardstown Creative District
Nestled in the heart of central Kentucky, Bardstown is one of the most visited communities in the state.
Named the "Most Beautiful Small Town in America" by Rand McNally and USA Today, and given the distinction
of being voted "One of the Top Ten Most Beautiful Downtown Squares," Bardstown continues to receive
national accolades not only for its picturesque setting but for its wide array of cultural and
historic features and events.
Founded in 1780, Bardstown is the second oldest town in Kentucky. From the minute you enter the community you feel as if you have stepped back in time. Many homes and buildings have been beautifully preserved. You don't have to experience this from the window of your car. You can take a walking tour highlighting the architectural treasures or maybe ride a horse and carriage through the tree-lined streets. More than 300 of the buildings in the downtown district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During your walk, you will pass many galleries including the Bardstown Art Gallery which features the work of renowned artist Jim Cantrell. Another popular stop is the old library building on the Court Square which houses the Fine Arts of Bardstown Gallery, selling the works of more than 30 local artisans.
Bardstown's Downtown Historic district is a destination in itself, bringing visitors from all over the country to shop in boutiques, enjoy fine dining, and taste Bardstown's world-renowned bourbon in the many taverns, pubs and bars, including The Old Talbott Tavern, circa 1779. With more than 40 festivals and events each year, locals and visitors celebrate African-American heritage, the bourbon industry, and Civil War history. More than 30,000 visitors in October will attend the annual arts and crafts fair. Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World, and a must-see stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, features several local distilleries you can tour to see how this internationally popular spirit is made, and even "sample the spirit" while there.
History runs deep at Kentucky's State Shrine, My Old Kentucky Home, where Stephen Foster, America's first great composer, penned his famous song. His story comes to life in the summer under the stars at "The Stephen Foster Story" outdoor drama set in a wooded amphitheater in the state park. Bardstown's cultural diversity can be experienced at one of the many historic attractions and museums throughout the community dedicated to celebrating Catholicism, the Civil War, the bourbon industry, and trains.
Bardstown's location and accessibility is another reason why it has become such a popular visitor destination. Located between Kentucky's two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, and less than an hour from two major airports, visitors are not disappointed by the seductive charm that Bardstown has to offer.
Page last updated: June 9, 2016
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