Horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky

Things to do in  Lexington

Bourbon, bluegrass, and basketball

Located in central Kentucky, Lexington welcomes visitors looking to bet on the thoroughbreds and sip some bourbon. The area’s rolling hills are outlined with the bright white fences of the horse farms, where many of the top equines are born and bred, along with the scenic Keeneland racetrack. Bourbon distilleries are found in and around the city, and historical attractions like Ashland and the Mary Todd Lincoln House offer a look at the state’s influential past.

Top 1 attractions in Lexington

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate is the former residence of the famed US politician, who served as a speaker of the House and a secretary of state. A National Historic Landmark, the 17-acre (7-hectare) estate has been meticulously restored, and comprises an 18-room Federate-style mansion, six outbuildings, and expansive gardens and grounds.More

Top activities in Lexington

All about Lexington

When to visit

The best—and most pleasant—times to visit Lexington are in the spring (April to June) and fall (August to October), although springtime can bring more rain showers and colder temps as compared to fall. These two seasons are also when travelers flock to Lexington to visit Keeneland for the biannual races, which usually take place in April and October. The University of Kentucky is also located here and draws large crowds during home football and basketball games.

Getting around

In downtown Lexington, many of the attractions, restaurants, and stores are within walking distance of the major hotels. And while there are public buses, they’re not very popular, as most locals prefer to get around by car. Lexington’s road system features a wagon wheel layout, which makes navigation easier but traffic congestion sometimes worse. Taxis and rideshare services are also available.

Traveler tips

Head to the Kentucky Castle, located near Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport and Keeneland, in the town of Versailles (which is pronounced ver-SAYLES, not ver-SAI). It features 15 guest accommodations, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a spa, and it resembles a European castle that’s been plopped down in the middle of Kentucky. Be sure to book dinner reservations in advance, especially during busy times like the holiday season and events such as Keeneland.

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People Also Ask

Is Lexington worth visiting?

Yes. You might have overlooked it in the past when considering vacation destinations, but Lexington boasts its own unique character and charm, much of it defined by two prominent industries: bourbon and racehorses. It’s also home to the University of Kentucky, which is known as a college basketball powerhouse, while the city’s food scene ranges from burger joints to high-end dining.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Lexington?

As you may expect, the biggest attractions in Lexington revolve around horses. During April and October, the Keeneland racetrack becomes the thing to do. When the horses aren’t running, visitors can stop by the Kentucky Horse Park where they can learn more about equines and watch trade demonstrations with blacksmiths, wagoners, and harness makers.

What is Lexington best known for?

Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and has been dubbed the “Horse Capital of the World.” Every year, visitors descend on the Keeneland racetrack to watch the biannual races, while owners purchase thoroughbreds at the horse sales. Some of the top bourbon distilleries, including Woodford Reserve and Four Roses, are located in and around Lexington, making it a jumping-off point for those tackling the Bourbon Trail.

What is the best month to visit Lexington?

Either April or October. That’s when travelers head to the Keeneland racetrack in Lexington to catch the horse meets. The track only operates for about three weeks during those two months. Keep in mind that the April races lead up to the Kentucky Derby in May, so expect bigger crowds then, while October is a little more laid-back.

How should I spend a day in Lexington?

Start your day with a guided tour of one of the horse farms and stop by the Kentucky Horse Park, if you’re looking for more thoroughbred knowledge. Then, head to a bourbon distillery such as James E. Pepper Distilling Company, which is within city limits. (If you have more time, consider venturing beyond the city to others like Maker’s Mark.) Meanwhile, history buffs can tour the Mary Todd Lincoln House and Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate. Be sure to order a “hot brown,” the open-faced sandwich that Kentucky is known for.

How do Lexington and Louisville differ?

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, while Lexington is the second-largest. The two cities are about an hour’s drive from each other. Nestled among the rolling hills of central Kentucky with expansive horse farms filled with bluegrass, Lexington features more natural beauty. Louisville is busier and more congested than Lexington and offers a truly urban setting.

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