Rolling hills and beautiful horse farms draw visitors to Lexington, and they stay for the variety of interesting attractions.
Downtown Lexington has had a growth spurt over the past decade and has developed a rich culinary scene. A wealth of locally owned and operated restaurants has taken root, listings of which can be found in the town’s new Beyond Grits guide. Windy Corner Market and Restaurant offers locally grown food at a venue fashioned after an old country store. It sits amidst horse farms north of Lexington and offers everything from po’boy sandwiches and steamed lobster to soft-serve ice cream.
A number of breweries have opened along the Brewgrass Trail, which highlights several venues that have joined the craft beer movement. Town Branch Distillery offers tours that introduce visitors to the bourbon-making process, as does Woodford Reserve, which also has some small meeting space.
“Bourbon tours are still popular with groups,” said Niki Heichelbeck, director of media services at VisitLex.
“If a group hasn’t been here for two or three years, it might be a totally different experience.”
Lexington is known as “the horse capital of the world.” The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm, state park, competition facility and home to several museums. The park has existed since 1978 and features breeds from around the globe in its “Horses of the World” presentation, as well as a “Hall of Champions” show in which visitors meet the racing legends themselves.
There are many ways to sample art in Lexington. The city has a gallery hop once a month, during which independent museums and galleries are open to the public. The Lexington Opera House hosts live Broadway series and numerous concerts. The Lexington Center, home to Rupp Arena and the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, offers rotating exhibits.
Self-guided driving tours in the surrounding countryside showcase world-class horse farms and other historic sites. The new Lexington Dinner Train takes visitors on a journey past Keeneland Race Course and other premier equine facilities while visitors eat lunch or dinner, or participate in a fun murder mystery event. Historic homes to see include Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, the Mary Todd Lincoln House and Waveland, home of the great-nephew of Daniel Boone.
Unusual venues for off-site events include Fasig-Tipton, a horse sales entity that offers elegant settings and high-tech video and sound systems, as well as catering. The Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland Race Course also have meeting space.
Spotlight on Lexington
Meeting Space: Lexington Center
Kentucky Horse Park, Alltech Arena, Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa
Hotel Rooms: 7,500