Lexington, Kentucky is famous for its horses and its university, but did you know there's so much to do in this vibrant city? From historic buildings to fine-dining restaurants, scenic parks to premier sporting events, you can do it all in Lexington and most can be accomplished on foot. We offer four different ways to experience Lexington, KY depending on your lifestyle or mood.
Lexington for Students
With the University of Kentucky in town, there’s an active student body living in the city. Luckily, it’s easy to discover Lexington on a budget. Third Street Stuff & Coffee is a popular hangout and study venue for students with an artsy atmosphere and delicious sandwiches. Other cheap eats can be found at Bourbon n' Toulouse for Cajun and Gumbo Ya-Ya for Creole favorites like gumbo, and jambalaya.
There are also many festivals and events available to students year round. Cheer on the home team at a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game or attend many of the great events during KY Pride Week. Other festivals include the Harvest Festival, the Kentucky Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival, the Barbecue Festival, and the Fantastic July Festival.
Looking for a night out? Molly Brooke's Irish Bar has cheap drinks and a fun crowd. Redmon’s is a popular country bar that hosts a large college crowd on Thursdays, and the Two Keys Tavern is the local campus bar. Nurse your hangover the next day at Tolly Ho, a popular greasy spoon with classic comfort foods like burgers and shakes.
Dining: Lexington Restaurants
Downtown Lexington is a haven for foodies. With over 90 restaurants in downtown Lexington alone, there’s something to suit all taste buds. Fine-dining can be found at Portofino’s; a local favorite for sophisticated Italian cuisine. For some international dining, try Natasha’s Bistro & Bar. You can find everything from classic European fare to traditional North African dishes. While they do serve lunch, come in the evenings for some live music or a theatre performance
An area of downtown Lexington that’s getting lots of attention is Jefferson Street, the city’s up and coming dining district. Some notables to try include Stella’s Kentucky Deli, Nick Ryan’s Saloon, West Sixth Brewing Company, and Wagon Bones Grill.
While you’re dining in Lexington, look out for these Kentucky signature dishes like the burgoo, a traditional game stew that comes in many different variations. Another favorite is Hot Brown, an open-faced sandwich of turkey, bacon, and cheese sauce. And finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with some bourbon balls, a chocolate and bourbon confection with pecans.
Lexington, KY for Nature Buffs
There's a reason Lexington's nickname is "the city in the park." Surrounded by lush green space, and some spectacular scenery, outdoor enthusiasts will love all the recreational opportunities the city has to offer.
Triangle Park is a social hub filled with all sorts of fun activities like theatrical performances, backgammon matches, open-air yoga classes, and ice skating. Take a stroll on the stone walking paths nestled in Honey Locust Trees, and visit the iconic fountain. In the winter, the park is transformed in to a Winter Ice Village complete with outdoor ice skating rink. When it warms up in spring, residents can order a bite to eat at the Main Cross Cafe, and catch a movie or attend a concert as they take in the gorgeous summer blooms.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary offers 734 acres of natural beauty along the Kentucky River. Hike the over 10 miles of trails and explore all the natural biodiversity that call the park home. River Run is a great place to bird watch as there are over 200 species that reside in the park throughout the year. The Nature Center (found at the beginning of the trail) features several interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the park's local flora and fauna. Raven Run hosts year round events like nature walks and stargazing, and also runs an Outdoor Classroom which educates students on biodiversity, plant and animal ecology, and historical sites.
The Legacy Trail is popular with local runners and cyclists. Fully paved and winding around neighborhoods and parks, the trail combines scenery and challenging terrain for athletes of all ages. The 12-mile round trip has several access points, and wanders past cornfields, livestock, and other wildlife.
Historic Lexington, KY
Lexington is overflowing with history. From its heritage homes to its fascinating historic sites, history buffs will find no shortage of things to keep them occupied. Mary Todd Lincoln House, the Hunt-Morgan House, and the Waveland State Historic Site are popular destinations.
Pickers and collectors will love scouring the shelves at Heritage Antiques. A short walk from there will take you to LaFayette Galleries in The Shops at Lexington Center.
For entertainment, catch a show at the famed Kentucky Theatre. If live music is more your scene, ArtsPlace, is a hub for some of Lexington's up and coming artists and live Bluegrass shows.
If you’re not afraid of the dark, historic downtown walking tours like the Creepy Crawl guide visitors through Lexington’s most haunted sites.