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14 Fun & Free Things To Do in Bardstown, KY

Explore Bardstown, KY with our guide on 14 fun & free attractions! From historic distilleries to scenic nature walks, enjoy Southern charm without spending a dime. Perfect for travelers.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
14 Fun & Free Things To Do in Bardstown, KY

If there’s one thing Kentucky is known for, it is bourbon. Bardstown lives up to the Bluegrass State’s reputation, boasting 11 great distilleries that attract bourbon enthusiasts year-round. In fact, it is known as the Bourbon Capital of The World. Many Bardstown residents have made their living by distilling this American original spirit.

Bardstown is also the second-oldest city in all of Kentucky, as it was settled in 1780. It features a historic downtown district with structures that reflect days past. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass state, this laid-back, small-town atmosphere provides Southern charm.

With a wide variety of entertainment, eats, and shopping attractions in Bardstown, it makes the ideal location for a weekend getaway for Bourbon-lovers and non-bourbon lovers alike. Below, we’ve compiled a list of what to do in Bardstown, KY to ensure your stay is unforgettable!

Free Things To Do in Bardstown, KY

1. Bernheim Forest

Credit: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

If you enjoy connecting with nature, consider a visit to Bernheim Forest. Bringing in more than 500,000 visitors per year, Bernheim is an ideal destination for adventurers of all ages. Bernheim Forest spans over 16,000 acres of land within Bullitt and Nelson Counties.

Address: 2075 Clermont Rd, Clermont, KY 40110

Open Hours: 7 AM –8 PM

Phone: (502) 955-8512


Cost: As for cost, there is a recommended donation, and members can have free admission.

2. Basillica of St. Joseph

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral is the first cathedral built west of Allegheny mountains. This historic site was established in 1816 and represents a historic piece of the Christian faith in the United States.

Beyond that, it presents a picturesque worship building and visually pleasing columns and stained glass. If you are a religious observer or simply looking to learn more about Bardstown, the Basilica of St. Joseph has something to offer for all who visit.

Address: 310 W. Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY, 40004

Open Hours/Mass Times: Saturday 4PM; Sunday 7 AM, 9 AM, and 11 AM, Monday – Friday 11 AM

Phone: (502) 348-0941


Cost: Free

Fun Things To Do in Bardstown, KY

3. McIntyre’s Winery & Berries LLC

Credit: Sampling America

If bourbon isn’t your taste, McIntyre’s Winery & Berries LLC has a great alternative with their all natural fruit wines. Located six miles east of Bardstown, this winery is situated within a curvy, scenic backdrop. Their site features a nice outside porch and seating area so you can take in the country scenery as you sample their offerings. We highly recommend pairing this with some cheese!

Their samplings include sweet fruit wines and crisp, drier wines to suit every palate. No need to be a sommelier, their kind hosts are there to fill your glass and inform you all about their selection.

Rather than being grape based as many wines are, their selection includes a berry base. McIntyre’s grow their blueberries and strawberries onsite, and the owners are known to show guests around their expansive property. If you are up for some tasty dry, semi-sweet, or sweet wine, look no further than McIntyre’s on your visit to Bardstown.

Address: 531 McIntyre Ln, Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: The winery is open daily from 10 AM until 7 PM

Phone Number: (502) 507-3264


Cost: Varies by bottle and items ordered.

Related Read: 25 Top Treehouse Rentals in Kentucky

4. My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

Credit: Visit Bardstown

An especially fun attraction in Bardstown, KY is the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. This famous ride rolls entertainment, tourism, and fine dining all into one with its various excursions. With options including a lunch or dinner excursion, or even a Murder Mystery train ride, the My Old Kentucky dinner train offers a one-of-a-kind venue and experience you will be talking about for years to come.

If bourbon is what brings you to Bardstown, you’ll be happy to know that there is also a Bourbon Excursion. You can sit back and relax as you ride through the Kentucky countryside. The tour includes a delectable four-course meal and a tasting, hosted by a master distiller. Wine excursions are also available for those who want a taste of local Kentucky vintages as they tour the Bluegrass State.

Address: 602 N 3rd, Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 8 AM – 5 PM; Friday 8 AM – 3 PM

Phone Number: (502) 348-7300


Cost: Varies by ride selected; ranges from $81 - $127 for fare depending on excursion type

5. Hurst Drugstore Soda Fountain

Credit: Visit Bardstown

A classic, cannot-miss Bardstown, KY experience is grabbing a milkshake from the Hurst Drugstore Soda Fountain. Grab a seat by the bar on one of their polished red vintage diner style stools and find yourself transported to a simpler time.

At Hurst Drugstore, you will feel the comfort of a hometown diner from days gone by as you treat yourself to classic American staples. The fare includes griddled sandwiches and fries, as well as handmade milkshakes reminiscent of your childhood.

In addition to full-scale pharmacy services, this storefront also features food and items for purchase. Their selection features home décor, candles, and a variety of tasty American food options, so you also can grab a souvenir before or after you eat. Visitors and locals alike frequent the business not only for its convenient array of merchandise but also its unique ambiance.

Address: 102 N. Third St., Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Monday – Friday 9 AM – 6 PM; Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM

Phone Number: (502) 348-9261


Cost: Varies by order

6. Around the Town Carriage Ride

Credit: Around The Town Carriage / Facebook

Take in attractions of Bardstown, KY on wheels. Take an old-school carriage or stagecoach around as you admire the down-home feel of Bardstown, KY. The Around the Town Carriage Ride is a staple of Bardstown, KY tourism and showcases the beauty of its small and hospitable downtown. The guided tour offers information about the history of its town, points of interest, and other attractions in Bardtown, KY that may be of interest.

No matter the occasion, the Around the Town Carriage provides a pleasant experience. They have been known to offer rides for engagements and weddings, proms, funerals, sweet 16 celebrations, parades, and more. The carriage ride is an ideal fit for romantic couples and families alike.

Address: 223 N. 3rd St., Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Monday – Sunday 10 AM – 9 PM

Phone Number: (502) 348-0331


Cost: The ride is run by an older man and is low tech, but visitors estimate cost to be between $50 - $100

7. Heaven Hill Trolley Visit and Distillery Tour

Credit: Heaven Hill Distillery

Taste the Kentucky tradition and raise a glass of American Whiskey at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience. You can discover their heritage and taste the authenticity in their Bourbon as you visit one their three stunning tasting rooms. As the largest independent, family-owned distillery in the world, Heaven

Beyond tasty bourbons, this experience also features a bar, gift shop, and several gallery spaces. This immersive experience provides a history of the distillery, the bourbon-making process, and a showcase of distilled products from over the years. Please note that the last tasting is offered one hour before closing and plan accordingly! You will want to be sure to give yourself enough time to take in all that Heaven Hill has to offer.

Address: 1311 Gilkey Run Rd., Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, Mon-Thurs 11 AM – 5 PM; Fri and Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sun 1 PM – 5 PM

Phone Number: (502) 272-2623


Cost: Ranges by type of experienceMagic of the Mashbill – 45 minutes for $18.00Whiskey Connoisseur – 45 minutes for $25.00Do Bourbon – 60-75 for $40.00Heaven Hill also offers specialty tastings and events throughout the year.

8. My Old Kentucky Home

Credit: Visit Bardstown

My Old Kentucky Home is an excellent timepiece. The site features a 200 year old mansion that captures a pivotal time in American history – deadly duels, horse racing, fortune, fame, and more. The Old Kentucky home incorporates guides who perform the song for which the house is named, using an on-site amphitheater to “wow” guests.

Address: 501 E. Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Mansion tours available Monday – Sunday 9 AM – 4 PM

Phone Number: (502) 564 - 1917


Cost: Adults (18-61) cost $16; Youth (13-17) cost $12; Children (6-12) cost $10, and ages 5 and under are free

Things To Do in Bardstown, KY at Night

Downtowns survive because they are a great place to gather. Bardstown is no exception, as it offers several awesome night life options for visitors looking for some evening fun.

9. 3rd Street Tap House

Credit: 3rd Street Tap House / Facebook

Kick off the night by starting on 3rd Street. The Tap House features more than 30 craft beers on draft. Additionally, their offerings include bourbon, wine, and bar favorites like pizza and fries, so you will be able to wet your whistle and refuel with some food.

Best of all, they regularly bring in musical entertainment. Whether you are aiming to unwind and kick back or live it up after a day of tourism, the atmosphere at 3rd Street Tap House fits the bill. Between the drinks, tunes, and pleasant ambiance, 3rd Street is an ideal choice for an evening out in Bardstown. Visitors frequently rave about the laid back atmosphere and wide selection offered.

Address: 112 N. Third St., Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: Monday – Thursday, 5 PM – 1 AM; Friday & Saturday, 3 PM – 1 AM, Sunday 5 PM – 12 AM

Phone Number: (502) 348-8991


Cost: Varies by beverage and meal option

10. Old Talbott Tavern

Credit: Brent Moore / Flickr

History buffs and novices alike will enjoy Talbott Tavern. Established in the late 1700s, this historic site is located on the Court Square in Bardstown and has provided respite for many Kentucky travelers over the year. If you are yearning to spend the night in Bardstown, this is one of the most authentic places to visit.

You can dine, stay, or stop in simply to learn more about the location. Tours of the Talbott Tavern are available in-person, via app, and are even accessible online. No matter what you choose, know that you will be experiencing a pivotal piece of Bardstown History.

Their mouthwatering lunch and dinner menu offers delicious fare that is sure to keep you full and content as you spend your time in Bardstown. Their bourbon bar also features alcoholic beverages and live entertainment for visitors. If you so choose, you can also book a stay in one of their six famous rooms, each named after an infamous visitor of the Talbott Tavern.

Address: 107 W Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY 40004

Open Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM Sunday – Thursday; 11 AM – 9 PM Friday & Saturday

Phone Number: (502) 348-3494


Cost: Varies by dish, drink, and accommodations selected

Places To Visit Near Bardstown, KY

11. Lexington

Credit: Shutterstock

Bardstown is south of Louisville and also in comfortable driving distance of Lexington, Kentucky. Like Louisville, Lexington has a Southern charm and distinct atmosphere. Lexington was founded in 1775, seventeen years before Kentucky had statehood. It is best known for being the Horse Capital of the World and brings in horse enthusiasts year-round.

The performing arts also have a strong basis in Lexington, where the University of Kentucky hosts an Opera House, The Singletary Center for the Arts, and Lexington Opera House. Additionally, there are wonderful opportunities to shop and enjoy local storefronts, particularly at Fayette Mall and Hamburg Pavilion. All in all, Lexington, KY has an array of attractions with something to offer for everyone.

12. Louisville

Credit: Shutterstock

A great way to end your visit to the Bardstown area is with a visit to Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is one of the most populous and popular cities to visit in Kentucky. Like Lexington, it also has a reputation that centers on the equestrian, as it is home to the world famous Kentucky Derby, hosted annually in May. The event takes place at the immaculate Churchill Downs Racing facility and brings in equestrian and betting enthusiasts from all over to try their odds at a big win.

Related Read: 15 BEST Water Parks In Kentucky

13. Kentucky Derby Museum

Credit: Kentucky Derby Museum / Facebook

As stated, Churchill Downs is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby event. Every may, attendees don their bright hats and springy apparel as they make their bets and watch the horses race.

Though this event happens only once a year, the event has a dedicated museum that is open year-round for visitors to see and learn about the event. Located just next to the Churchill Downs Racetrack, this historic neighborhood is located only 10 minutes from downtown Louisville and features stunning architecture.

Free parking is available on premises all year. When you visit, you can celebrate the pride and hospitality of this renowned event. The museums various exhibits will tell the story of how the Derby came to be, showing race artifacts and trophies from years’ past.

If you work up an appetite after learning what it takes to be a jockey, you can stop by the Derby Café for a take on some signature dishes of Kentucky, including but not limited to paninis, Mint Juleps, and even bourbon flights. This attraction is an excellent choice for people of all ages!

Address: 704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208

Open hours: The museum is open Monday – Saturday 8 AM – 5 PM and Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Phone: (502) 637-1111

Website: DerbyMuseum.Org

Cost: General Admission is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $11 for children ages 5-12 and kids 5 and under are admitted for free.

14. Louisville Ghost Tour

Credit: Onasil ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

If you’re not visiting for the Kentucky Derby and want other things to see, this New York Times recommended experience is a Louisville favorite. Lasting 1 hour 40 minutes, this guided walking tour of the several eerie Victorian mansions that trace back to wealthy families of the 1800s.

The area is considered “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood” and features multiple stops. Supernatural buffs from around the country stop through to see the Gilded Age grandeur and spooky scenery. Each stop includes stories about these allegedly haunted abodes.

This tour is located near public transportation, making it accessible and convenient as you stay in Louisville. It is wheelchair accessible, and strollers are also welcome, making it ideal for all ages and abilities.

When you go, be mindful that there will be no access to bathrooms, and it will require walking longer distances. The starting point is in a transitional area where you may encounter panhandlers, homeless people, or others who do not look like you.

Address: Corner of South 4th Street and W. Ormsby Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208

Open Hours: 11 AM – 2:30 PM; 7:30 – 9 PM

Phone: (502) 718-2765


Cost: $25 per person


Now that you’ve learned about attractions in Bardstown, KY, and beyond. It’s time to plan your visit! Reference this guide as often as necessary to ensure your visit is unforgettable.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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