Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Lexington, KY

  • Published 2022/12/20

Lexington, Kentucky, is world-renowned for its excellent steed and riding parks, making it a great destination for those looking to enjoy the experience of getting on horseback.

The place is filled with many delightful sites, monuments, and activities.

From artistic locales to historical sites, you will not have a dull moment in Lexington, Kentucky.

The natural beauty of the place is also second to none.

It also has its share of delectable eateries, breweries, and museums, making this place perfect for a complete holiday package.

Interested to know more about this stunning place?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Lexington, Kentucky:

Visit Mary Todd Lincoln House

Exterior of Mary Todd Lincoln House

James R. Martin /

Situated in the heart of West Main Street downtown, this famous mansion dates back to the early 1800s.

It is constructed of mesmerizing Georgian brick and has quite a colorful history to it.

Mary Todd came to own this place only in 1932 when her father bought it.

This legendary site is now well maintained and preserved as a tribute to this famous character in the golden history of the United States.

Front view of Mary Todd Lincoln House

FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Horses at Kentucky Horse Park

Horses at Kentucky Horse Park

aceshot1 /

The Kentucky Horse Park is the perfect destination for equine lovers to have an immensely pleasurable experience.

This large horse farm rears the horses and goes beyond its brief with its outreach program to spread awareness for equine culture.

The Smithsonian International Museum of the Horse is located in the same facility and is a delight for equine history enthusiasts.

You will learn everything about horse-rearing and the role of horses in culture as it progresses through the ages.

Also, get a deep dive into the various horse breeds inhabiting our planet and the equally fascinating story of their evolution!

One of the star attractions at this place is the impressive Calumet Trophy Collection.

Horse-racing at Kentucky Horse Park

Anthony Delgado /

You will also spot a grand statue of Mon o’ War, one of the iconic breeds of this stable.

Other attractions around this park are the fun demonstrations of old-era trades, like wagoners and blacksmiths, laid out in various spots.

You can also attend one of the fantastic horse shows conducted by them.

You will have tremendous equine fun feasting your eyes on the finest steed.

The variety of breeds here is enormous. You can see workhorses of all types, and you will be surprised that so many exist.

Also, experience another exciting thrill when one of the gorgeous rare species parades out!

Finally, enjoy a royal carriage ride on a horse-driven wagon.

A stadium at Kentucky Horse Park

aceshot1 /

Revisit History at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Aircraft at Aviation Museum

Irina Mos /

From horseriders to aviators, we are moving fast on our Kentucky sojourn!

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is heaven for aviation enthusiasts and lovers.

You can gasp in awe at the fantastic aviation-related exhibits displayed here.

Relive the story of flight as it played out in the last century, as this place is packed with many artifacts, some of which narrate the minutest details about the rich history of aviation.

This museum spans a massive 20,000 square feet of space, and you can bask in aviation glory to your utmost contentment in its hallowed boundaries.

Interior of an aircraft at Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Irina Mos /

The famous aircraft on display include the legendary Bell Cobra, used extensively in the Vietnam War.

The F-4 Phantoms are a majestic sight to behold, and you cannot miss the sheer elegance of these crafts.

One of the fantastic things about this museum is that it stocks a healthy aircraft balance from all eras.

You can find fine vintage as well as the sleekest modern planes here.

Aircraft on the grounds of Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Irina Mos /

Pay a Visit to Hunt-Morgan House

Exterior of Hunt-Morgan House

FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Wesley Hunt enjoys the rare prestige of being the first-ever millionaire to the west of Alleghenies Mountain Range.

The Hunt Morgan House enjoys its share of stature by being the residence of this famous entrepreneur.

This mansion dates back to 1814, and its original name was Hopemont.

This place is reminiscent of a bygone era, and you can get a glimpse into the ways of that era here.

See the University of Kentucky

Aerial view of the University of Kentucky

Alexey Stiop /

The University of Kentucky was the Agricultural and Mechanical College when it first sprang to life in 1865 with the blessings of its founder, John Bowman.

It was renamed the University of Kentucky in 1916.

This university houses the Art Museum, a visual feast with many exquisite paintings, prints, and photographs on display.

There are also some gorgeous life-like sculptures in this museum.

A statue at the University of Kentucky

James Kirkikis /

The artworks span an extensive range of artistic styles and movements.

The collection is a delicate balance of classic and contemporary pieces.

You can also take an art workshop in this facility and fine-tune some of your artistic chops.

Stadium at the University of Kentucky

ehrlif /

Explore the Waveland State Historic Site

Exterior of Waveland State Site

ehrlif /

This Waveland State Historic Site will take you back into the plantation times.

This place is exceptionally maintained to preserve some remnants from that long-gone era.

The natural beauty around the area is exquisite.

The red bricks and Doric columns transport you to a different time with their old rustic charms.

You can get an idea about the luxury Lexington enjoyed during the plantation era by marveling at the elegance that these old ruins still carry.

Garden at Waveland State Historic Site

Irina Mos /

One of the finest examples of these riches is the magnificent antebellum mansion.

This is an architectural marvel still standing erect in indefatigable splendor.

Three smaller buildings surround the main mansion.

You can also find the dilapidated remnants of an old ice house and smokehouse nearby.

An old cabin at Waveland State Historic Site

Irina Mos /

Watch a Movie at Kentucky Theatre

Neon lights of Kentucky Theatre

Joseph Sohm /

The Kentucky Theatre graces downtown Kentucky with its century-old presence and runs some fantastic shows.

This theatre was active in the “talkies” period and has run some legendary performances. One of those was The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This theatre is not one of the most abundant, but the screenings are top-notch.

You can also feast on some of the indie films showcased here – you never know when any of these will turn out to be a dark horse and gives you immense viewing pleasure.

Besides, you might find its name being announced as one of the nominees at the Oscars.

See the Beautiful Greenery at River Run Sanctuary

The waters of River Run Sanctuary

Schwaltz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located toward the southern edge of Lexington, River Run Sanctuary spreads over 734 acres.

You can enjoy the rustling winds as you roam among its thick forests.

You can also hike on any of the 10 miles of trails.

On your hike, you will be treated to a sumptuous visual feast with the picturesque scenes around you.

The motivation behind establishing this nature sanctuary was to protect the rich natural greenery of the Kentucky River Palisades.

See a Horse Race at Keeneland

Horse-racing at Keeneland

Danita Delimont /

Keeneland is an impressive well-maintained racing course, and its stable is packed with the finest breed of steed you can ever find.

If you happen to visit this place, do it on one of the race days.

The excitement can reach crazy levels at these races!

Starting gates at Keeneland

ehrlif /

A stellar attraction at this place is their famous auction. It is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

You would sight some of the most graceful thoroughbreds getting new owners at this auction.

A participant at Keeneland

ehrlif /

Grab Some Beers at West Sixth Brewing

The West Sixth Brewing is a testament to the greatness of Kentucky’s world-famous breweries.

This place has a rugged hipster vibe to it. The drinks are fantastic and are served in typical Kentucky style.

The place is exquisitely designed, with some exotic design styles fused into creative beauty.

The homemade beer on offer is delicious and trendy.

Pay a Visit to Red Mile Harness Track

We are back to horses with the Red Mile Harness Track – there seem to be so many equine places in Kentucky!

This is a classical equine delight. The one-mile race track is a sheer delight.

The race track also carries some impressive history, with it being the second-oldest harness race track in the entire world!

You must attend one of the love races here.

See the McConnell Springs

Waters of McConnell Springs

RogerDownes /

McConnell Springs lies on the northern extremity of Lexington and is a beautiful place to visit.

You can spend all day here marveling at the pristine greenery.

The place takes its name after a famous frontiersman, William McConnell, who set his camp back in 1775.

Trail at McConnell Springs

FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They set up this place in the early years of the American Revolution and named it Lexington, after a town in Massachusetts of the same name.

There are some great trails that you can hike on. Ash trees and brooks dot this space to give it the perfect shire feel!

Fountain at McConnell Springs

FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Lush Land at Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

Flora at Lexington Arboretum

Ivelin Denev /

Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky is one of Lexington’s most famous tourist hotspots.

Spread over 100 acres of lush green land, Arboretum was established in 1991 to conserve the natural flora and fauna of Kentucky.

Other than having a peek at rare varieties of plants and animals.

You can participate in the many activities available here.

Trail lined with trees at Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

Alexey Stiop /

Explore the Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

Exterior of Henry Clay Estate

Irina Mos /

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate is another famous historical site in Lexington.

Designed in Italian style, this large building is built in the middle of vast green expanses.

You can connect the dots of the long history of Lexington by walking through the remnants of this place.

In 1811, a massive earthquake damaged this building.

It was refurbished, and the architects did it in the Greek Revivalist style this time.

You can spot the juxtaposition of these contrary design aesthetics as you observe this grand mansion closely.

Shop at Windy Corner Market

Exterior of Windy Corner Market

seesaw1 /

Situated in the middle of Bluegrass territory, you can treat your taste buds to delectable local recipes lovingly cooked in the homemade style.

If you love authentic food, then the Windy Corner Market is the place to visit.

Get ample varieties of baked items, inviting salads, chicken snacks, and juicy subs to enjoy a sumptuous culinary delight.

Discover the Best Places at Lexington Visitors Center

Exterior of Lexington Visitors Center

Chad Robertson Media /

The Lexington Visitors Center is an extensive tourist facility in central Lexington’s heart.

It is accessible from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, from Monday to Saturday.

At their welcoming Visitors Center, their knowledgeable tourist information professionals are ready to offer suggestions on activities to do and explore in Lexington and the surrounding Bluegrass Region.

You may discover exciting info about the Bluegrass Region on these interactive displays and scoop up helpful pamphlets and maps.

They provide tourist guides, resources, and gifts for you, your family, and your friends around Lexington.

Order a Beverage at Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Interior of Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Irina Mos /

Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., situated in the center of bourbon country, embraces time-honored customs and creative ideas.

Seven generations of Irish craft brewers, builders, and coopers have fashioned the family-owned brewing company and distillery’s tradition.

Their acclaimed brews and spirits are rooted in Kentucky’s passion, appeal, and history, where legends roam freely and with impunity.

People in Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Irina Mos /

For its exceptional quality, they use natural components with great care.

They are dedicated to providing a top-notch client experience, from trips to drops.

Bourbon in Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Irina Mos /

Explore and Relax at the Same Time at the 21c Museum Hotel

The 88-room 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington serves as a modern art museum, cultural hub, and location for Lockbox hotel restaurant.

21c, integrated into the character of historic Lexington, invites tourists and neighborhood members to take in carefully chosen displays and cultural events.

The guest rooms, which seem residential and provide a relaxing break from the exciting art and bustle that flood the museum galleries, have high ceilings and big, old windows.

Individual and group exhibit at the 21c Museum Hotel showcase the international scope of modern culture.

Their central Lexington modern art museum and luxury hotel are filled with specially made, site-specific pieces by many of the most intriguing artists.

Engage in the Old Kentucky Chocolates Tour and Delight in Sweet Treats

The Old Kentucky Chocolate factory, among the most recognizable producers of chocolate, allows guests to tour the industrial premises.

It originates from many different treats, like old Kentucky bourbon truffles, old Kentucky derby mints, and chocolate thoroughbreds.

Visitors can peek behind the curtains and see Old Kentucky’s baking, molding, and packaging procedures to make and sell its sweets during the tour.

People may receive an in-depth understanding of the craftsmanship and artistry that comes into manufacturing each of the numerous products featured on the site since the tour takes them directly to the tip of the table where things are being created.

Each tour is also conducted by an informed guide who gives background information and tells tales about Old Kentucky’s past.

Spend Your Day with Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours

Family-run Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours provides the most incredible guided tour.

Your unique experience and journey through the life and passion of Lexington, Kentucky’s stunning Bluegrass horse region will be made possible by their entertaining and educational horse country excursions.

Experience the reasons why Kentucky is so well-known by taking part in entertaining and educational excursions that last around 3 hours.

You will get a unique opportunity to enjoy the Kentucky Bluegrass with Thoroughbred Heritage Tours.

Every day from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, open tours are offered.

Final Thoughts

There are countless things to do in Lexington for visitors of all ages, making it a fantastic holiday destination.

Lexington, Kentucky, is well known worldwide for its top-notch horses and the riding areas where visitors create fun experiences and make lifelong memories.

Explore the popular parks, breweries, restaurants, natural wonders, and various tourist spots that will make your trip worthwhile.

Try something new and special to carry with you when you return from your unforgettable vacation to Lexington!

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