Welcome to Lexington, KY!
Lexington is known as the Bluegrass City and brings to mind images of southern gentility. But just like the bourbon they make, there is a hidden kick to this adorable little town that shouldn’t be missed. Lexington is more than just horses and bourbon - although they do those things incredibly well. Whether you are after a trip full of history and exploration, looking to explore a little town full of shopping and art and food, or looking to drink your way across the bourbon trail, Lexington is where old meets new, where sweet tea meets a splash of whiskey, and where the bigger the hat the better the horse. Get ready to explore and fall in love with this little slice of southern comfort.
Here is a playlist to help you get into the spirit of your destination!
One last thing...
Here's Whym's top ten things to know about Lexington, KY
Known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” you don’t have to be an avid racing fan to enjoy this town. The natural beauty, culture, history, great restaurants & being voted “Best Place to Grab a Drink” are just a few of the reasons this small town has big city vibes. This under-the-radar jewel will surprise & delight you. Be prepared for a little bourbon, a little nature and a lot of southern cuisine.
Finding Your Way
The city is set up like a wheel with spokes, with main arterial roads running from downtown into horse country. Downtown is very walkable with attractions, restaurants and shops all close to the hotels. Public transportation is run by LexTran but is not the most reliable. Lyft is readily available & if you’re only here for a short time & staying in the heart of downtown, it is probably your best bet. If you’re looking to venture outside of the main area, a rental car is probably best! But should you choose to drink, call a Lyft to bring you to and from the distilleries.
Lexington’s small Blue Grass Airport is a 10 minute drive downtown & near Keeneland Race Course & many horse farms, creating one of America’s most beautiful air approaches. A Lyft into town is about $15-20. Flights can be expensive, however, so most people fly into Louisville International Airport (SDF) which is 70 miles away. A Lyft from the airport would run you around $100-140.
Lex is the heart of the state’s bluegrass region - meaning it has very fertile soil for growing crops & abundant wildlife. Originally part of Virginia, word spread that the colonists were victorious in the Battles of Lexington & Concord, so they named the site Lexington. It was referred to as the “Athens of the West.” The city became part of the new state of Kentucky 17 years later. The rich soil would bring in distillers & horse farmers, turning Lex into the town it is today.
Why Am I Here?
That question is easy - you’re here to fall in love! This charming city is thriving with Thursday Night Live (live entertainment April-October), Saturday Farmer’s Market, ice skating in the winter & water parks in the summer. There is something for everyone every day of the week. There are over 100 chef quality locally-owned restaurants, not to mention unique bars of every sort. That’s before you even start exploring the incredible distilleries! The horse country is breathtaking, so even if you’re not a fan, it’s easy to get caught up in the culture.
Lexington has four distinct seasons. Winters bring average highs in the 40s & lows in the 20s, so it can be pretty chilly. Summers are in the high 80s & humid. Spring & summer are slightly wetter than the other seasons, but winter can bring 13”+ of snow!
Lexington’s culinary scene is on fire. You’ve got to try the cheese grits, corn pudding, fried green tomatoes, & chicken ‘n dumplings. Kentucky is all about farm-to-table comfort food. Of course, bourbon everything is on the menu & must be sampled multiple times.
Most people want to take home these 2 items: a lucky horseshoe & anything bourbon, like bourbon balls, candies or bourbon itself. Other good ideas are books or music celebrating the amazing bluegrass music that was created here & is still prevalent. Legend says that there is a blue horse that roams the pastures, having turned blue from grazing on the bluegrass. You might see him - or just buy a mini from a souvenir shop.
Pretty much anything goes here. Jeans & boots are the norm if you’re going near the horse track. Otherwise, anything from casual to southern belle is what you’re after!
In early Spring, there is a hint of blue to the grass, prompting its regional nickname. As the birthplace of bourbon, it is home to many master distillers, but it’s also home to lots of master brewers. There’s 18+ breweries along the “Brewgrass Trail” alone! Lexington is home to the Kentucky Castle, a re-creation and homage to the famous Versailles in France - but here they say “ver-sales.”