Lexington, known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” is one of the most picturesque cities in all of Kentucky. Lexington is famous not only for its thoroughbred horses and horse racing but also for its thriving music and arts communities.
In addition to being the third-safest city in the United States to visit, Lexington is packed with exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. The Mary Todd Lincoln House sheds light on the life of the first lady, and the Aviation Museum of Kentucky showcases the state’s illustrious aviation heritage.
Seeking Lexington nightlife recommendations? In the evening, after dinner, you can take in a film, either an independent flick or a Hollywood blockbuster, at the beautiful Kentucky Theatre, or go shopping for designer goods at The Summit at Fritz Farm.
Best Places to Visit in Lexington KY
Whether you’re in town for the day or planning a weekend getaway for two, here are some of the top things to do in Lexington before you visit the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
We’ve compiled a list of ten of Lexington, Kentucky’s finest attractions for your perusal.
1. Louisville, Kentucky’s Horse Park
On the third Sunday of every May, the High Hope Steeplechase is held at the Kentucky Horse Park, which is also a working horse farm and theme park.
Four museums and numerous memorials and statues in the park tell the story of horses and the human connection to them. Hall of Champions, a collection of the park’s most prestigious horses, is regularly featured in shows, demonstrations, and presentations.
2. To the Headley-Whitney Museum
In 1968, jewelry designer George Headley III and his wife Barbara Whitney opened what would become their museum as a private gallery to display their own work. Among the many things on display at the museum are Headley’s miniature dollhouses for Whitney’s daughter and her jewelry, bibelots, and mounted semiprecious stones.
- Discover Paradise: The 10 Best Thrilling Places to Visit in Africa in December!
- Don’t Miss Out on the 10 Best Amazing Places to Visit in Duluth, MN, USA!
- Heat Up Your Winter: The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in December!
There, the couple displays their international collection of fine and decorative art. For those young and old alike who are interested in learning new crafts like flower arranging or jewelry making, there are also workshops available.
3. Mansion Hunt-Morgan
The Hunt-Morgan House, also known as Hopemont, was constructed in 1814 by John Wesley Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains. Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of only a handful of Kentuckians to win a Nobel Prize, was inspired by Hunt’s legacy and is also honored with a name in the house.
The home was built in the early 19th century in the style of the Federal period and features period furnishings that give visitors a taste of life in the “Athens of the West” at that time.
4. Place de Jacobson
Everyone in the family can have fun and relax in the fresh air at Jacobson Park. In addition to a reservoir and the Lakeside Golf Course, the 216-acre park in east Lexington features basketball and volleyball courts, a dog park, playgrounds, and more. If you want to spend some time on the water, you can rent pedal boats or kayaks.
All around the reservoir, you’ll find a number of fishing piers. Many visitors and locals recommend spending a day (or more) at the park with kids as a fun diversion from sightseeing or playing tourist.
5. Come shop ’round at Joseph-Beth Books
Joseph-Beth Booksellers could be considered a second home for any reader. The independent bookstore in the Lexington Green Mall has a wide selection of books, and you could spend hours there.
Author readings and signings, wine tastings, customer appreciation days, book fairs, and other events are just some of the many things that take place at the bookstore. If you want to know what’s going on at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, check their website first.
6. Lexington’s Brewing and Distilling Company
There is a wide variety of craft beers, malt beverages, spirits, and whiskeys available from Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company, which has been in business since 1999. Take a tour of the brewery and distillery and get four tasting tokens to try some of the products you learn about along the way.
Beer and bourbon tastings are available here, unlike anywhere else along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. When the tour is over, head to the beer garden for some post-tour relaxation. If you buy something to take home from the store, the company website likely has some recipes you can try.
7. The Graveyard at Lexington
The Lexington Cemetery, located just north of the city center, is a popular destination for more than just ghost hunters. With over 200 tree species, 16,000 tulips, and an avenue of dogwoods, magnolias, pink weeping cherry trees, and more, the cemetery grounds are a stunning example of natural beauty.
- Explore the 10 Best Luxurious Places to Visit in South America in July!
- Hidden Gems Alert: 10 Best Places to Visit in Central California, USA!
Seeing the cemetery in the winter or spring, when the snow is falling or the flowers are blooming, can be a truly memorable experience. Civil War statues, memorials, and mausoleums abound in this 19th-century cemetery, much to the delight of history buffs.
8. The Park at McConnell Springs
The city of Lexington was established in 1775 at McConnell Springs Park, from which it took its current name. The park features two natural springs and the remains of historical buildings.
Historic features such as a small rock quarry, remnants of a dam, and the foundation of a creamery are all there for curious sightseers to explore. Hikers can enjoy two miles of trails throughout the park’s 26 acres.
9. Watch a show or a game at the Rupp Arena
The men’s and women’s basketball teams of the University of Kentucky Wildcats call Rupp Arena their home court. However, besides sporting events, the arena also plays host to a wide variety of cultural gatherings, such as concerts, bull riding competitions, comedy tours, monster truck shows, and more.
Hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Lexington, Hilton Lexington Downtown, and 21c Museum Hotel Lexington are all within a short stroll of the arena.
10. Historical Site of Waveland
The Waveland State Historic Site is a well-preserved window into Lexington’s past, particularly the city’s plantation era. The plantation’s owner, Joseph Bryan, and his family are profiled, as are some of the enslaved people who lived and worked there.
The antebellum mansion, grounds, flower, and herb gardens, and exhibits on the hemp industry of the 1850s are all open to the public. There are also events, like vintage baseball games and Tuesday Tea, held there.
Lexington, Kentucky, combines the best of the South with breathtaking scenery. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, Lexington is home to a plethora of breathtaking attractions.
This city offers a delightful tapestry of attractions, from sprawling horse farms and picturesque countryside to historic landmarks and lively urban spaces.