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What to Do in Lexington, Kentucky

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Today I am sharing a guide of what to do in Lexington, Kentucky!

My friend Jenny and I just spend two nights in Lexington and in that time we managed to visit seven restaurants, three distilleries, one bar, one race track, and a street festival. There are so many things to do in Lexington – and I already have a list of things I want to see on my next visit.

What to do in Lexington | Distilleries to Visit

What to do in Lexington

What to do in Lexington | James E Pepper Distillery

Bourbon Trail

There are several distilleries on the bourbon trail that are a short drive from Lexington. Buffalo Trace, Castle and Key, and Woodford Reserve are all and in Woodford County and within 45 minutes of Lexington. If you ask a local what to do in Lexington visiting a distillery will likely be the first thing they suggest.

What to do in Lexington | Distillery District

The Distillery District

This bustling section of Lexington is home to the James E Pepper Distillery and Barrel House Distilling Co, and it gets its name since historically the area has been home to distilleries. Today you can find more than distilleries here, the Distillery District is home to Ethereal Brewing, Goodfellas, Middlefork Kitchen and Bar, and Crank & Boom. It’s a can’t miss section of Lexington, and a place where locals spend time.

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Lexington is the “Horse Capital of the World” and a trip to Lexington isn’t complete until you visit the Keeneland Race Track. Keeneland is a National Historic Landmark and the grounds are open year round. The race track hosts thoroughbred races in April and October. Tours are available all year, and special behind-the-scenes racing tours are available in April and October when the races taking place. This is a can’t miss destination – make sure you put Keeneland on the top of your list when you are planning out what to do in Lexington!

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Admire that Art at the  21c Museum Hotel

The first two floors of this hotel in downtown Lexington are a museum! The collection rotates, and several people recommended that we go to the bar at Lockbox for a cocktail and then walk around seeing the art. The current exhibition features contemporary art.

Calumet Farm

The farm closes for the annual Yearling Sale – so we couldn’t visit during our trip, but it was highly recommended. The farm is nearly 100 years old and today it is a thoroughbred breeding and training farm. The farm is just beside Keeneland and there are tours available that take visitors to both Calument Farm and Keeneland.

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Admire the Murals

Downtown Lexington is filled with street art! It seemed like nearly every block had a mural. You can find over 25 murals in Lexington – and the number keeps growing.

Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

This large estate in downtown Lexington was home to Henry Clay, a lawyer and planter who served in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The estate was the site of Lexington’s largest Civil War engagement and today the mansion and grounds are open to tours.

The Mary Todd Lincoln House

The girlhood home of the First Lady is in downtown Lexington. This year there are special tours and events to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Todd Lincoln’s birth.

Where to Eat and Drink in Lexington

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Middlefork Kitchen Bar

This restaurant is right in the heart of the Distillery District, a section of Lexington that is perfect for a half day of exploring. We had dinner at Middlefork Bar and Kitchen and we loved it. The menu creatively blends global inspirations resulting in menu items like Cacio e Pepe Spätzle and Scallion and Cheddar Pancakes. We loved it, I highly recommend this restaurant.

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Corto Lima

If you like Mexican and Latin food, you will love Corto Lima. After visits to two distilleries, Jenny and I needed to eat. We feasted on queso, guacamole stuffed arepas, tacos, and elotes at Corto Lima. We loved every bite and I am wishing they had a Chicago location.

Belle’s Cocktail House

We didn’t have time to make it to Belle’s Cocktail House, but it was recommend a few times so I wanted to let you know about it. They are known for their cocktails and their rooftop with views of downtown Lexington.

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Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge

Crank & Boom is the place to get ice cream. The scoop shop is located in the Distillery District beside Middlefork Kitchen Bar and James E Pepper. They offer a variety of composed sundaes and ice cream flights! And they take inspiration from their location and make bourbon ice cream! Jenny got a sundae with bourbon ice cream and I had a flight for 4 different ice creams. My favorite was the honey and bourbon.


Stella’s was serving up the local specialty, burgoo, at the Jefferson Street Soiree and of course we had to taste it! I hadn’t heard of burgoo before, and it seems to be one of the foods that everyone makes a bit differently. Burgoo is a soup that is usually it is made with with beef and lots of vegetables and it is thick like a stew. We loved it – it would be delicious on a cold day.

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Keeneland Track Kitchen

This cafeteria at the race track has seriously good Southern food. I feasted on grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and a biscuit! Get there early so that after breakfast you can go watch the Thoroughbred’s morning workout – it’s a Lexington tradition!

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Bluegrass Tavern

This low key bar has been repeatedly named one of the best bourbon bars in the South! We stopped in for a round of Old Fashions. Bluegrass Tavern is known as a place to try some hard to find bourbons.

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Lockbox is the place to go for brunch. This restaurant within the 21c Museum Hotel serves up brunch with a Southern twist. I got baked eggs with cheesy grits and one of the best biscuits I have ever tasted. The breakfast potatoes are outstanding too.

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The Village Idiot

I received several recommendations for this gastropub via Instagram. Jenny and I snacked on spicy fried cauliflower and beers before we went to the Jefferson Street Soiree.

Henry Clay’s Public House

We didn’t have time to make it here, but a trusted source recommended it. This pub is located in the Downtown Courthouse Entertainment District. The pub is named after Henry Clay, the statesman who helped to develop the Mint Julep and had it entered into congressional record as Kentucky’s official drink.

Annual Events in Lexington

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Keeneland Races

Keeneland hosts thoroughbred races in April and October.

Jefferson Street Soiree

We were lucky to be in town for this one night event where restaurants and live music take over Jefferson Street.

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Keeneland Yearling Sale

This annual event is where you can buy a thoroughbred. These colts and fillies cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a couple million!

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Have you been to Lexington? I would love to hear about your recommendations for what to do in Lexington in the comments!

Travel Guide: What to do in Lexington, Kentucky #travel #lexington #kentucky

Read more about what to do in Lexington:

Lexington and the Bourbon Trail

This post was sponsored by Visit Lex. The opinions expressed are my own.

Amber Lyon Ferguson

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Thanks so much for sharing at TFT! I am featuring you at today's party. GO CATS!

Jann Olson

Monday 8th of October 2018

I've never been there, but it looks like a great place to visit. Glad you had fun!! Thanks for sharing with SYC. hugs, Jann


Tuesday 9th of October 2018

It's such a wonderful city! I hope you get to visit!

Judi Graber

Sunday 7th of October 2018

I organized a family reunion (over 60 attended) at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa. Beautiful place with good food, golf on-site and a playground for the kids.I had a beautiful suite on the 11th floor (I think) where we gathered for family time. Great place for a reunion...Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday as I can recommend this city too.


Sunday 7th of October 2018

That must have been so much fun!!!!

wrae Sanders

Friday 5th of October 2018

This is pretty cool. I live in Louisville, and have been to some of the places you mentioned. Maybe next time I go I'll have to hit the others. :)


Friday 5th of October 2018

I might need to go to Louisville next! I loved Lexington and I want to see more of Kentucky!

Curious as a Cathy

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

Lexington, Kentucky isn't far from Knoxville. We hope to make a run this fall to the Bluegrass state. Some of these places might find their way onto our agenda, especially the ice cream shoppe! You left off one thing, do they have any good donut shops? lol That's what DH looks for every single time we plan a day trip to anywhere. It's nice meeting you via Inspire Me Monday hop!


Friday 5th of October 2018

Hi Cathy! I wish that I could answer your question about doughnut shops! I am sure they have some great ones, but we didn't fit them into our itinerary. The food in Lex was wonderful! Try to get to Corto Lima too!!

Green Bean and Tomato Salad Story Zucchini and Corn Fritters Story Green Onion and Cheddar Biscuits Story Quick and Easy Healthy Recipes Story Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken Story