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Best Attractions & Activities



With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time can be quite an agonizing decision. 10best has narrowed all of the available attractions in Lexington to a list of the most appealing and reputable, to aide in your decision making. You can rest easy knowing that any choice you make from our list is sure to please.


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Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill


Modern visitors find a particular peace while visiting this community, whose members advocated a simple life during its 19th-century heyday. Today, the restored buildings and expansive grounds provide a glimpse of Shaker life, from clean-lined design to clever methods of doing household work. At the National Historic Landmark, visitors can view gardens, buildings, domestic goods and interiors, and watch various crafts being practiced. A riverboat ride, miles of trails, a restaurant, and guest accommodations are available as well. Twenty-five miles from Lexington.

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It was at this site that early settlers first named Lexington, having heard news of the start of the Revolutionary War in Lexington, Massachusetts. Through the years, farms and industry made use of the area, which was reclaimed as public parklands in the late 1980s. Today, you'll find natural springs, mature oaks, and lush vegetation. Stone walls and foundations allude to past habitation, and trails are available for hiking and exploring. Special programs are sponsored regularly as well, and a visitors center offers informative tours.

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Mary Todd Lincoln House


This elegantly proportioned brick home was built in the late Georgian style at the turn of the 19th century. Initially an inn, it was sold in 1831 to Robert Todd, Mary's father and a prominent Lexington businessman, and he, with his second wife and children, moved to the 14-room structure in 1832. Mary lived there until 1839, when she joined her sister in Springfield, Illinois, and eventually met and married Abraham Lincoln. Restored in the 1970s, the historic home now appears as it did when the Todds inhabited it. It also features period furnishings and gardens and many of the family's personal possessions.

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Keeneland Race Course


As famous for its beauty as its racing prominence, Keeneland was constructed in 1936 and is now a National Historic Landmark. Distinguished by its limestone buildings and mature trees, Keeneland helped to reinvigorate horse racing when it was faltering – clearly a successful effort. These days, visitors from around the world gather to watch horses train, catch them race during April and October, and bid for thoroughbreds at auction. A gift shop and restaurant are available onsite.

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Spanning 240 acres, this facility serves as headquarters for thoroughbred training in the area. At any given time, approximately 700 to 800 horses are housed at the complex, which maintains a number of barns and dependencies, along with two race tracks. Tours feature thoroughbreds, their trainers and routines, care and housing, and methods through which they're conditioned for competition. Children's theater productions are also scheduled, and special events are welcomed. Tours run about an hour and a half.

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This joint project promises a wealth of beauty for visitors, residents, and anyone who finds pleasure in nature. Themed gardens place focus on water environments, roses, herbs, butterflies, and the interests of children. Also available is a section that showcases plants from Kentucky's various regions, including representative trees. Trails are available as well, and special events provide even more reason for visitors to frequent the arboretum throughout the year.

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Waveland State Historic Site


Constructed by descendants of Daniel Boone, this refined, brick-built Greek Revival home features an abundance of classical details, including friezes, mouldings, and Ionic columns. Dating from the mid 19th century, the home (whose name derives from fields of grain moving in the breeze) features period furnishings, artwork, and family possessions. Outbuildings, including slave quarters and kitchen dependencies, may also be viewed. A fascinating glimpse of early Kentucky life. Tours are given on the hour.

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Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate


Perhaps Kentucky's most famous statesman, Henry Clay was not only the "Great Compromiser," who warded off the Civil War for a time, but a Speaker of the House and Secretary of State (among other offices). Ashland, the home now considered a National Historic Landmark, was built by his son on the foundation of the original and features period items and furnishings. Built of brick, the stately Italianate structure also features a cluster of dependencies and manicured gardens on its remaining twenty acres.

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Spread across more than 1200 acres, this local complex pays homage to Lexington's source of pride and tourism, the horse. Visitors can view dozens of breeds via horseback and trolley tours, special shows, and in museum exhibits and programs. There's a working horse farm, a memorial to the great racehorse Man o' War, and even a campground with leisure activities. Throughout the year, scheduled events add to the slate of activities and display equines in all their glory. Great for folks of all ages.

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This university-affiliated museum provides "town and gown" communities with an opportunity to view a range of masterworks by well- and lesser-known artists from a variety of countries and times. The permanent collection includes pieces by Dürer, Lichtenstein, Chuck Close, and Rembrandt in such genres as Abstract Expressionism and American Impressionism. Textiles and regional art also find a place in the facility, which brings in traveling exhibitions and offers lectures as well. While the permanent collection is free, temporary exhibits charge varying fees.

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