Between enjoying a race day at Keeneland, touring horse farms, and exploring the many fine distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, some of Lexington’s best activities involve horses or bourbon.

However, when it comes to things to do here, that’s just scratching the surface. Lexington has become a regional hub known for its cuisine, shopping, and nightlife. Below are 13 things to do to make the most of your time in Lexington:

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Where To Get A Drink

Three people enjoy a flight of beers from Ethereal Brewing.

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1. Soak Up the Boozy History of the Distillery District

Once abandoned, this recently revitalized historic area is brimming with new businesses and entertainment. From the historic James E. Pepper Distillery, to the deliciously inventive and occasionally boozy Crank and Boom, there’s plenty of fun here to partake in.

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2. Follow Your Tastebuds to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Lexington is home to and near America’s top bourbon distilleries, including favorites like Woodford Reserve and Four Roses, and other newer, small distilleries in beautiful historic settings. They may all serve bourbon, but each has its own unique flavor and experience worth checking out for yourself.

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3. Stir Things Up With Lexington’s Best Cocktails

Lexington’s thriving and diverse cocktail scene is only continuing to grow, with craft mixologists jumping at the chance to experiment with locally-made spirits. Modern cocktail bars like Ona, whose efforts have earned them national recognition, have ambitions that extend far beyond bourbon.

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Where To Shop

A woman in a teal dress looks through a rack of brightly colored clothing at a shop.

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4. Shop Local and Nationally-Known Brands

The Summit at Fritz Farm combines the beauty and leisure of a public park with the convenience and commerce of an outdoor mall. Here you’ll find delicious food and shops you won’t find anywhere else in Lexington, or in some cases, the region! 

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5. Shop, Eat, and Be Merry

What was once an abandoned bus station, is now a thriving market. Greyline Station has a cool yet relaxed atmosphere, which includes a number of eateries, boutiques, and thrift shops.

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Where To Grab A Bite

Food - Things to do

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6. Enjoy Farm-to-Table Fresh Cuisine

Lexington has something for everyone’s tastes, from down right delicious Southern fare to the freshest haute cuisine. Some local favorites include barbecue from County Club, and the indulgent flavors of Dudley’s on Short.

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Explore Horse Country

A woman smiles while petting her horse in a field.

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7. Place Your Bets at Keeneland Race Course

Keeneland Race Course is Lexington’s premier horse race course. Between the race day attire, Keeneland Breezes, and potential to win big, the memories you’ll make at Keeneland are ones you won’t soon forget.

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8. Trot on Over to the Kentucky Horse Park

The Kentucky Horse Park is the perfect place for the whole family to learn about horses and this region’s rich equine history. This fun, all-inclusive destination includes guided horse and pony rides, museums, galleries, barn tours, and memorials to former champions.

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9. Get Up Close and Personal at a Horse Farm

Few things in life are as special as the bond between people and animals. When you visit one of Kentucky’s many horse farms, such as Mill Ridge Farm, you have the opportunity to get a firsthand look at the beautiful creatures which this city has become famous for. Check out Horse Country to make planning your horse farm visit easy.

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Unique Activities

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10. Step Back in Time at Shaker Village

You’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere as scenic as The Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. This unique destination preserves the unique, pastoral way of life of Kentucky’s bygone Shaker community, and is home to beautiful historic buildings and active farmland.

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11. Listen to Live Music

The Burl, is home to tasty drinks, a retro arcade, and some of Lexington’s best live music. Lexington even has its very own live music festival, Railbird Festival, which celebrates some of the best songwriters, crooners, and musicians in Appalachia. It’s held annually at Keeneland Race Course.

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12. Tour Lexington’s Historic Houses

Lexington is a city with a long and rich history, and it’s easy to learn all about it with our historical houses such as the childhood home of esteemed former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Other notable historical houses in the neighborhood include the Ashland Estate, which belonged to Henry Clay.

 

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13. Explore Downtown Lexington

Downtown Lexington is the perfect mix of new and old, simultaneously having a small town feel and big city vibes. During the day there’s a plethora of shops, restaurants, and sights to see, all within an easy-to-walk distance. And if nightlife is more your speed, there’s bars, clubs, and plenty of spots that’d make the perfect date night.

Check out this guide from our friends over at Trip Savvy for additional ideas.