The Most Magical Christmas Towns in Kentucky

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Are you looking for the most magical Christmas towns in Kentucky? Lucky for us, the holiday spirit is alive throughout the state so no need to go far to find yourself enjoying some of the most magical Christmas towns in Kentucky.  

As a matter of fact, there are several towns and cities here in Kentucky that have become well known for their festive holiday celebrations.  It won’t take you long to see just why.  Once you enter these towns, you can feel the holiday magic in the air.

I love a magical Christmas town, don’t you? You know the type of town I am talking about? The type that makes you just want to walk around in wonder with a hot cocoa in hand.  The kind that makes you wish that Christmastime was all year long. 

The Most Magical Christmas Towns in Kentucky

If you are ready to find these magical Christmas towns in Kentucky, check out this list and start your holiday planning now.

Smiths Grove

Did you know that the small town of Smiths Grove has a holiday celebration so amazing that it has been highlighted in Southern Living Magazine?  That’s right.  Known to many as the “Little City with a Big Heart,” Smiths Grove is just about an hour NE of Nashville and is a magical place to visit for the holidays. 

The holiday celebrations in Smiths Grove opens up the first weekend in December with a festive parade that the entire community is involved.. The parade is full of homemade floats by countless community clubs and organizations. Oodles of festively decorated tractors and vintage cars, and Santa will be there, of course! 


James Beville Park in Leitchfield is brightly lit with thousands of lights that stay lit throughout the month of December.  Additionally, Leitchfield is home to an annual holiday parade filled with characters, Santa and his elves. This parade always brings a festive crowd.


From November 20th through the end of the year, Lexington is festively lit up with twinkling lights and animated figures for all to see.  You can even enjoy pony rides, visits from Santa and so much more in this magical Christmas town in Kentucky. This celebration, Southern Lights, has been voted one of the top 100 best holiday events in North America by the American Bus Association.


A festively lit downtown, carriage rides, old fashioned shops, and more will greet you when you visit Burlington at Christmas time.  The nostalgia of the holiday in this charming town takes you back to colonial Kentucky, when things were more simple. This memory worthy holiday celebration is most definitely worth a visit this December.

The Most Magical Christmas Towns in Kentucky

Harrodsburg – Shaker Village

If you are looking for old fashioned, holiday fun, Shaker Village is where to go!  Weekends in December are Illuminated Evenings, where you can enjoy holiday music, warm up around the bonfires, enjoy cocoa and other holiday treats and have fun watching the twinkling holiday lights brighten the town. 

Each weekend you will find different acts, different programs and different tours. You can keep coming back over and over and experiencing something new. There’s even a tea time program with Mrs. Claus that I’m truly looking forward to!

All of this wonderful holiday celebration takes place in the oldest town in Kentucky and with all of that history, it is no surprise that they know how to celebrate an old-fashioned holiday.


On the last Friday of November, head down to Bardstown for the official beginning of the holiday season and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony downtown. Bardstown brings to life the old-fashioned small town charm that everyone loves during the holidays. 

This lovely little town offers candlelight tours of the My Old Kentucky home and the local (world famous, if I might add) distilleries. During these tours you will also get to enjoy the holiday refreshments, and listen to local carolers.

Don’t worry though, there is more!  The town is also home to a holiday theater production and a Christmas parade. If Christmas trains are your thing, you can head to Bardstown to enjoy the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and North Pole Express, which is open several weekends during the month of December. 

Grand Rivers

If your idea of a magical Christmas town includes a massive and brightly decorated light display, then you need to head to Grand Rivers.  The Grand Rivers Festival of Lights takes place at Patty’s 1880’s Settlement.  It runs into the month of January and features over 700,000 lights.


A visit to Frankfort for the holidays is a memorable one. The Buffalo Trace Distillery becomes a gloriously decorated marvel at the Lighting of the Trace.  Not only does the distillery light up, but there will be holiday treats.  And a beautiful performance by the Kentucky State University Choir.


The biggest city in Kentucky is still on the list as a magical Christmas “town” in Kentucky.  That’s because there are countless holiday activities and festivities available. With an ice rink, a community Christmas tree, the Mega Cavern’s Lights Under Louisville and more, there are countless holiday activities to experience in Louisville.


Carrollton is home to a the annual Frozen Wonderland and Festival of Trees.  That’s right, this town turns into a giant Frozen (yes, the movie) wonderland. It’s complete with characters and Santa too, of course.  

Are there any other magical Christmas towns in Kentucky that you would add to this list?

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Tags: attractions, boomer travel, Boomers, travel like a local, travel plans, travel tips, wanderlust

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Barb Webb is a sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s following the road less traveled, writing about country living and artisan culture. Travel specialties are: Agritourism and Second Season of Life (over 50) Adventures.
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