LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — In March, Southern Living recognized three Kentucky small towns as the best in the South. Now, Southern Living is recognizing the most charming small towns in Kentucky, and some familiar places have made the cut.

Southern Living said the 13 towns on the list were recognized for their pretty downtowns, rich histories, and charm. The number one town on the list was Bellevue, with the small town of just over 5,000 people being recognized for its view of Cincinnati and the Ohio River.

Southern Living’s Most Charming Small Towns In Kentucky:

  1. Bellevue
  2. Winchester
  3. Paris
  4. Danville
  5. Horse Cave
  6. Berea
  7. Pikeville
  8. Bardstown
  9. La Grange
  10. Maysville
  11. Greenville
  12. Hodgenville
  13. Augusta

Four of the towns on the list are nestled in central Kentucky, with Winchester, Paris, Danville, and Berea all making the list.


Winchester, the birthplace of beer cheese, made the number two spot for its Winchester’s Beer Cheese Trail, its historic downtown, and its proximity to Red River Gorge. Winchester was founded in 1793 and has a population of around 19,071, according to the United States Census Bureau, making it the largest small town on the list.



Southern Living praised Paris’s downtown, mentioning the 20-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica and Secretariat Park.

“Kentucky’s own ville de lumière has a charming downtown surrounded by the horse farms of Bourbon County,” Southern Living wrote.

Paris was founded in Hopewell in 1789 but was renamed Paris in 1790 out of appreciation for French assistance during the American Revolution. The town has a population of about 10,209, according to the United States Census Bureau.


Danville is no stranger to Southern Living’s praise. Earlier this year, the town was recognized in the lifestyle magazine’s 50 Best Small Towns in the South, thanks to its rich history.

The magazine once again praised Danville’s many museums and historical sites, such as the three-acre Constitution Square Historic Site and the Great American Dollhouse Museum.


“From this historic park to the beautiful campus at Centre College nearby to the recent multimillion-dollar Main Street streetscape project, it is obvious this town takes pride in what makes it unique,” Southern Living said.

Danville has a population of around 17,000, according to census data, and was founded in 1787.


Kentucky’s Folk Art and Craft Capital made the 50 best small towns in the South in 2022 and 2023, so no surprise Berea found a spot on this list. Spoonbread, the town’s love for local artists, and the great local hikes were some of what Southern Living loved most about this central Kentucky town.

“The annual Christmas in the Village, with tree lighting, storytelling, hot cocoa, and marshmallow roasting, is straight out of a “Hallmark” movie,” the magazine wrote.

Berea began to form in 1850, with strong ties to emancipation. With a strong history of education and antislavery, the town and Berea College would go on to become important pieces of American history. The town now has a population of just under 16,000, according to census data.

To read the full list of the most charming towns in Kentucky, visit Southern Living’s website.