Picturesque and affluent, Kentucky’s most decorated town still rarely makes it into the mainstream traveler’s itinerary in the Bluegrass State. Why is a mystery.
There’s a lot to do and see here, whether it’s wondering about the elegant Victorian and Greek Revival homes of plantation owners over the centuries, sampling hearty country fare on a Kentucky farm, or stunned at the old-fashioned museum of aviation fighter.
Not to mention the deep tradition of whisky-making and beer-making for some reason!
Once you’ve ticked all the boxes on this list, there’s a lot more to see in the beautiful surrounding countryside, stretching east to Appalachia and west to meadows and outer bluegrass. Banjo picking town.
Here are the best things to do in Lexington:
1. Horseback Riding at Kentucky Horse Park
The true home of equine breeding in America, Kentucky Horse Park prides itself on celebrating and raising awareness of the human relationship to all horses.
Home to the Smithsonian International Horse Museum, the site documents the evolution of horse breeding and the various uses of horses in society, from the earliest times of the Arabian caliphs to royal horses and carriages in Victorian England.
People can also flock to see the tomb of the iconic Man o’ War thoroughbred horse and the magnificent statue that marks its resting place, not to mention the regular display of horses from all over the world – from the rare steeds of Bactria to the British main horse. we.
2. Get up close and personal with union history at Mary Todd Lincoln House
This beautiful Georgian brick building in the heart of West Street was originally constructed in the early 19th century.
First, it was the tavern of Lexington’s early settlers, then it was the home of Mary Todd—and soon after, Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the President and First Lady of the United States Lincoln).
Recently, the site has been transformed into a protected historic site, with the interior rooms well-preserved and all period furniture and photographs intact.
Today, visitors can come to stroll through the beautiful gardens and admire American history from more than a century ago.
3. Dancing for the Bluegrass Festival
In the home of bluegrass music, where banjo and honkytonk and Irish folk fiddle reign supreme each year in early June, the people of Lexington host one of the best parties the genre has on its calendar.
Run by a local Kentucky family, this is a healthy and intimate one-stage setting. For travelers with children, there are live banjo and music workshops that teach plucking, strumming and rhythm techniques.
An array of international and American bluegrass performances grace the stage, which is complemented by magic shows, handmade arts and crafts, and an equestrian parade provided by the venue (the aforementioned Kentucky Derby Park).
4. Soar high at the Kentucky Air Museum
Located on the edge of Bluegrass Airport, the Kentucky Aviation Museum covers more than 20,000 square feet and displays everything from the awesome F-4 Phantom to the Bell Cobra helicopter (the type widely used in the Vietnam War). The perfect place for budding petrol heads and lovers of all things winged (except maybe birds!).
The agency also hosts the Kentucky Airways Hall of Fame, which honors all the local greats in the industry.
Then there are regular touring exhibitions, from a collection of historical photos to models and aircraft-related artifacts.
5. Walk the graves at Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery, now home to more than 60,000 inmates and more than 150 years old, is located on the northern edge of downtown.
Covered with beautiful bushes of crabapple trees, magnolias, and tulips, not to mention the occasional gurgling water feature, the area is not only a resting place for some of Kentucky’s greatest VIPs, it’s also a great place to wander and wander from town.
There are some striking portraits to see, such as the National Union of Historic Places Soldiers Monument, as well as the graves of famous personalities such as golfer Guy Brewer, basketball coach Adolf Rupp, and even a pioneer and one of the founders. Witold. Lexington itself!
6. Visit the Endless Rooms at Henry Clay Estate
The two-winged Italian majesty of the Henry Clay estate has adorned the streets of southeast Lexington since the first decades of the 1800s.
In the 1811 New Madrid earthquake, this historic plantation was completely rebuilt in the middle of the century, with ornate Greek Revivalist décor and European grandeur.
Today, the entire home is surrounded by large green ash and fir forests, a great way to feel the heritage of Lexington and Kentucky as a whole.
Groups can tour the gorgeous interior rooms, view exhibits related to the lineage of the clay itself, and discover Civil War memorials within the grounds.
Book Online: Guided Ashland Henry Clay Estate Ticket
7. Grab a cool cup of coffee at Third Street Stuff & Coffee
Colorful, quirky and fun, Third Street Stuff & Coffee is a shaky hodgepodge of circa 1969 hippie art and psychedelics.
Filled with paintings and murals, this is a community-focused drink shop like no other.
One can settle in between the curved tables and graffiti-covered walls, and sip home-brewed beers, all roasted from fair-trade, hand-picked beans.
Occasionally, the interior is replaced by impromptu standing and live music, while the staff seem perpetually smiling and on call.
The menu features a mix of Guatemalan, Peruvian and Ethiopian drinks, as well as hot chocolate and some weird fruit ice mocha!
8. Taste the South at Blue Door Smokehouse
No trip so close to the Mason-Dixon line of yesteryear is complete without at least tasting the smoky hints of the Deep South that occasionally pop up on the streets of Lexington.
There is no better barbecue smell and smoke than Blue Door. Highly rated casual American grill restaurant on Walton Ave.
Here, the menu features pulled pork and smoked sausage platters, brisket combos, and authentic smoked ribs — the list of Southern staples goes on and on!
The service is easy and the Chocolate Fudge Brownies are to die for!
9. Get away from it all at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is located at the southernmost tip of the city of Lexington, where the Kentucky River meanders through the land, a vast American wilderness beckons to visitors with hiking trails and woodlands, babbling streams and protected forests.
Spread over 700 acres with its own brand new visitor center, this attraction is also perfect for those who want to get in touch with the state’s diverse wildlife.
There are many different species of ferns and flowers, birds and woodland creatures to view, not to mention the backcountry trails along the Kentucky River Fences.
10. Visit the elegant Waveland State Historic Site
Grand and historic with its Doric columns and red brick walls, the Waveland State Historic Site is one of the best-preserved examples of the American plantation era still in Kentucky.
It sits on its own green plaza on the southwest edge of the city, giving you a glimpse into the palatial lifestyle of the area’s 19th century landowners.
A fine example of an antebellum mansion of the era, guests here can tour the opulent interior rooms (once the home of the local Brian family) and the expansive grounds where an old igloo still stands, some slave quarters and a classic Southern Smokehouse.
11. See the city’s best art collection at the University of Kentucky Museum of Art
Combining contemporary and classic, subversive and thought-provoking (and a healthy dash of utter curiosity for good scale), the University of Kentucky Museum of Art is widely regarded as the home of the city’s finest art collections.
It features the likes of Albrecht Dürer and Lichtenstein, as well as a calendar of tours and workshops from children’s drawing schools to lectures by leading Lexington artists.
The best part? Access to the extensive permanent collection is completely free!
12. Drink at Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. at Alltech.
Alltech’s Brewing & Distilling Co., located a stone’s throw from the railroad tracks between the Speigle Heights and Davis Bottom neighborhoods of downtown Lexington, is a great place to grab a beer in what is widely regarded as the home of malt and bourbon.
For those of you who are a little tired of hard whisky, this distillery makes a ton of Kentucky Corsch and IPA.
The iconic beer is the flagship Kentucky beer, with a glowing amber color and smooth finish.
Of course, Kentucky whisky is never too far away, and visitors who choose to take a live tour can sample the much-loved Bluegrass Sunset Bourbon and Town Branch Rye. OK.
13. Enjoy local company and crafts at West Sixth Brewing
From one local brewery to another, the cool and funky West Sixth Brewing is located across the town from the Distilling Co.
Here, it offers an industrial-chic tap room and plenty of home-made liqueurs. There is the popular West Sixth IPA; canned soda with a quadruple of fun hops.
This is the Pay It Forward Porter, full of cocoa and chocolate flavors. Then there’s the aptly named DankeChain, brewed in homage to Oktoberfest and Bavaria’s ancient sparkling beer.
Sixth is also a community brewery, so expect plenty of activities with locals participating, from yoga classes to running groups!
14. Start your day at Windy Corner Market
Nestled in the heart of bluegrass country in the far northeast suburb of Lexington, Windy Corner Market is as warm and local as possible.
Serving a variety of Po-Boy subs and baked goods, buttermilk chicken fingers and fresh American salads, this restaurant is a Kentucky favorite all day long.
Most notable, however, are the breakfast options, from soft Belgian-style waffles to BLT baguettes and hearty country breakfasts.
real pull? Almost everything you eat comes from Kentucky!
15. See the beginning of the city at McConnell Springs
In the summer of 1775, pioneer William McConnell and his companions were among the streams and swaying ash trees in McConnell Springs, a large greenery on the northern edge of the city and wilderness.
There, the group learned of the beginning of the American Revolution and decided to name their settlement the town commemorating the first outbreak of anti-colonial conflict in Massachusetts. Lexington was born.
Today, visitors come here to see the historic founding site and to stroll the hiking trails between the springs that supported the town’s first inhabitants.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Lexington, KY (Kentucky)
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