Things to do in Lexington, KY

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    Lexington: The horse capital of the world

    Photo courtesy of alexeys/iStock

Get Your Bearings in Lexington

By Megy Karydes
Lexington Expert

Stay
Eat
See & Do
Party
Shop

Where to Stay

Hotel accommodations in Lexington, Kentucky range from budget to luxury, but you’ll want to book something downtown for easy access to the rest of the city. The city is set up like a wheel with spokes, with main arterial roads running from downtown Lexington out into horse country. Getting to and from downtown Lexington is easy, too. 

Hot Tips:

Blue Grass Airport is about a 10-minute drive away from downtown hotels (as are the famous horse farms, golf courses and major attractions such as the Kentucky Horse Park).

What to Eat

Downtown is home to many of Lexington’s most popular and creative restaurants including many nestled in hotels. Try the Triangle Grille at the Hilton Lexington/Downtown, The Blue Fire Grill at the Hyatt Regency or Jonathan’s at the Gratz Park Inn. Outside the hotels are more than 90 places to eat in downtown Lexington from fast food options at the Food Court at The Shops at Lexington Center to the Chase Tap Room for a cocktail before a show at the Lexington Opera House. Also venture to Jefferson Street, Lexington’s newest burgeoning restaurant district. 

Take It or Leave It:

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy offers instruction and hands-on experiences around the distillery.

Be Sure to Sample:

Kentucky bourbon, mint julep.

Things to See

As the horse capital of the world, Lexington does love its horses. Enjoy horses and more in Lexington's Bluegrass Region including seeing nearly 50 breeds of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park or visiting the grounds at Keeneland Race Course. Take a tour of one of the four period historic homes of the area’s most famous citizens including Mary Todd Lincoln’s home. Or take another type of tour: visit all of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries. Historic downtown Lexington is filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and historic sights.

Caution:

Lexington Center is home court to one of the top programs in college basketball, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Tickets are difficult to obtain but you may call ahead to check availability.

Places to Party

Local theater, Broadway shows, concerts, bar hopping. . .there is no shortage of nightlife activities in Lexington. Live concerts are especially popular. The Rupp Arena seats 23,000 and hosts top country, pop and rock acts throughout the year. For smaller concerts, Bar Lexington downtown has an energetic atmosphere and features a variety of entertainers every week: local, regional and national. The new Buster's in the distillery district is a popular concert venue. Or grab your hat and boots and head out to Austin City Saloon in Woodhill, Lexington's original country bar and home of John Michael Montgomery.  

Caution:

Many clubs close at 1 am, but some remain open until 2:30 am.

Where to Shop

From brand names to bargain buys to a collection of locally owned and operated boutiques and specialty shops, Lexington packs in a lot of shopping experiences. Woodland Triangle is local shopping at its best where shoppers can find fair trade treasures at Lucia’s World Friendly Boutique, The Black Market Boutique, natural fibers and classes at Magpie Yarn or meet a local Lexington author at Black Swan Books.
Victorian Square, at the heart of downtown Lexington since the 1880’s, has 16 buildings offering visitors an original mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, bars, and even a theater and museum for the kids.

Hot Tips:

An interesting used bookstore is located in the basement of the Lexington Public Library.

Best Local Souvenir:

Rebecca Ruth bourbon ball.

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