10 Things to Do in Lexington, KY for First Time Visitors


Lexington may be the horse capital of the world, but this city has far more attractions than hooves and racetracks. The second largest city in Kentucky is known for many things including being one of the cleanest cities in the nation, being the home of bluegrass in the region, and being the birthplace of one George Clooney. Of course, if you want to make the most out of your visit to Lexington, you’re going to need to spend time with the horses as well. Here are 10 other things that you should do in Lexington, especially if you’re visiting for the first time.

1. Kentucky Horse Par

First things first, you need to saddle up. This can both be terrifying and exciting, and if you’ve never been on a horse before, you’re in for a real treat. You can do a horseback trail and pony ride for an afternoon of fun, or you can turn it into a weekend-long event and camp out at the park’s campground.

2. Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd was the wife of the beloved former president Abraham Lincoln, and Todd happened to have been born in Lexington. Her Georgian brick home still stands to this day as a museum. You can enjoy the gardens and breathe in a little bit of American history from more than a century ago.

3. Festival of the Bluegrass

Since you’ll be at the home of bluegrass, you’ll definitely want to immerse in the bluegrass culture as much as you can. If you happen to be traveling in June or if you have the flexibility to plan when you travel, make sure you attend the Festival of the Bluegrass that happens once a year in the city. You’ll be sure to have the best time you could ever have in the city.

4. Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Interestingly enough, this particular airport is called the Blue Grass Airport. However, don’t expect to hear any honkytonk in this place. Instead, you’ll find over 20,000 feet of exhibition space that feature some of the most interesting aircrafts and various related artifacts.

5. Lexington Cemetery

There aren’t many travel lists out there that suggest cemeteries as go to places. The Lexington Cemetery, however, gives a little bit of history and a bit of curiosity in every single one of the more than 60,000 internments there. You’ll even find the founder of Lexington, Levi Todd, buried within its grounds.

6. Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

If you’re needing or wanting just a little bit of outdoor time and quiet time, the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is the best place for you to go. At Raven Run, you’ll hear the relaxing sounds of the running stream and the quiet noise of the trees as they stand so closely together right by the water.

7. Waveland State Historic Site

You can still experience what plantation living must have been like in Kentucky through the Waveland State Historic Site. You can enjoy the landscape that surrounds the grand mansion, which feature some pretty historic Doric columns and original brick walls. The inside is what will truly wow you though. The opulent décor inside is what takes it all to the next level.

8. University of Kentucky Art Museum

Not everything in Lexington is about history or horses; you can get a good dose of art in the city—contemporary or otherwise. The University of Kentucky Art Museum is one of the best in the areas, and it houses some pretty amazing artwork such as Lichtenstein and Dürer. The best part of it all is that it’s free to get in.

9. McConnell Springs

In the summer of 1775, history was in the making right at this small patch of land by the brooks in this part of Lexington. William McConnell and his group gathered here and learned about the start of the American Revolution. They then claimed settlement at the place where they stood and named it after the town in Massachusetts where the Revolution began: Lexington.

10. Keeneland

Of course, you can’t leave Lexington without experiencing a proper Kentucky horse race. The best place to do that is at Keeneland, a historic horseracing arena that’s one of the most popular destinations in Lexington. You can watch jockeys and horses prepare for the famous Kentucky Derby at this racecourse.

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