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Featured Events


Bluegrass Classic Dog Show

Five days of all-breed conformation, obedience & rally competition. ... more

Bluegrass Farmers' Market, Inc.

The Bluegrass Farmers' Market is the largest 100% homegrown/produced farmers' market... more

Moontower Music Festival

Eighteen bands, 2 stages, 2 beer gardens featuring 5 different craft beers and Old 502... more

The Red Mile 2015 Standardbred Meet

The First part of the racing meet features the Kentucky Sire Stakes racing series... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Alma Gitana!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your friends... more

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  The Jarflies!  Enjoy traditional Bluegrass and Bluegrass Gospel... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Mercy Men!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music by... more

7th Annual Lexington Fest-of-Ales

The 7th Annual Lexington Fest of Ales will feature 200 craft beers from around the US and... more

Free Friday Night Concert Series "Summer

Enjoy CoraLee & the Townies!  Grab those lawn chairs and come enjoy the music... more

Bluegrass Archery Tournament

Yourth 10 + and adults are invited to compete in the inaugural Bluegrass Archery... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  D Jay Rice!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your friends... more

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Joe LaMay & Sherri Reese & Friends  Enjoy traditional... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Big Black Cadillac!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more

Kentucky Cork & Tap

Featuring Kentucky wineries and vineyards, local beers from Lexington's own breweries,... more

Lexington Roots & Heritage Festival

Honoring the Past.  Celebrating the Present.  Embracing the future.  Enjoy... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Gene Watson!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more


Enjoy an astromomy presentation and view the night sky through a variety of... more

The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky

Wayne Koestenbaum:  Unfamiliar Grammer, Paintings from 2010-2015.  Bottoms... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Jeff Barnes Duo!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more

Keeneland September Yearling Sales

This sale attracts buyers from all over the world.  Spectators welcome!... more

Jefferson Street Soiree

The Jefferson Street Soiree is back after the success of its inaugural year and is sure... more

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Alex Smith!  Enjoy traditional Bluegrass and Bluegrass Gospel with... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Girls Guns & Glory!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and... more

Festival Latino de Lexington

Friday night is tropical night and will include authentic Latino foods, fireworks... more

Jim Belushi & the Board of Comedy

An alumnus of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s famed Second City, Jim Belushi... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guests, Joey and Rory!  Enjoy great classic country,... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Beyond Apple!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Mountain Music Ambassadors!  Enjoy traditional Bluegrass and... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring The Barrows!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music by... more

Anderson County Burgoo Festival

Lots of burgoo, music, entertainment and vendors of all kinds.    Held in... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Mickey Gilley!  Enjoy great classic country,... more

Troubadour Concert Series - Exile in The

Enjoy Kentucky's legendary rock and country heroes, EXILE, for a full concert inside the... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  The Habit!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your friends... more

The Red Mile 2015 Grand Circuit

The Grand Circuit is the elite in Standardbred Racing such as the Kentucky Futurity,... more

35th Annual Festival of the Horse

Exhibits, concessions, parades, carnival, arts and crafts and 5K run. ... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Five Below Band!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music... more

A Night Celebrating The Lyric

Help celebrate the 5th Anniversary of The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center!... more

Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing

No racing on Mondays or Tuesdays. See live Thoroughbred racing at the most elegant race... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Jimmy Fortune!  Enjoy great classic country,... more

Perryville Battlefield Commemoration

Battle re-enactments, living history, parade, food and crafts.... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Bobby Bare!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more

The Bourbon Social/Bourbon Brunch

Located in the heart of downtown Lexington at the Bodley Bullock House, enjoy a Kentucky... more

The Raven 10K Trail Run

Join the Friends of Raven Run and Lexington Park and Recreation for the inaugural 10 K... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Midlife Harmony!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more

The Bourbon Social/VIP Progressive Dinner

This exclusive dinner will only support 50 guests.  Five groups of ten, start times... more

The Bourbon Social/Beer, Bourbon & Bacon

Enjoy an eclectic menu and pairing in the historic gardens and lawns of Ashland, The... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Blind Corn Liquor Pickets!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Will Reynolds!  Enjoy great classic country,... more

The Bourbon Social/Keeneland Tailgate

Enjoy the traditional Keeneland Tailgate in a format unlike any other.  In a private... more

The Bourbon Social/VIP Pre Event & Cocktail

The Celebrity Guest Chef Ed Lee will create Kentucky Proud hors d'oeuvres alongside a... more

Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen Fall Fair

The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen’s Fall Fair is an event you cannot... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Marty Stuart & Connie Smith!  Enjoy great... more

The Bourbon Social/Main Event

The 2015 Main Event is an event not to miss!  The celebration will host the best of... more

The Bourbon Social/Seminar Series

The 2015 seminar series will host 6 classes teaching, tasting and talking all things... more

The Bourbon Social/Distillery Brunch

Located in the heart of the Jim Beam Distillery, guests will enjoy a Kentucky themed menu... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Keeton Zane Hilton!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more

Parson Dance Company

Exuberant. Virtuosic. Sensual. These words barely begin to describe the Parsons Dance... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring The Twiggenbury's!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more

Liberty Hall - Our Beloved Ghost Tour

Liberty Hall is famous for its Gray Lady and other ghosts said to haunt the house and... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, IIIrd Tyme Out!  Enjoy great classic country,... more

The Bourbon Chase

An overnight relay adventure.  Teams of runners cover 200 miles of scenic byways... more

The Camp Nelson Ghost Hunting Experience

This fundraising event will lead you on an actual ghost hunt on the Camp Nelson Civil War... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Ronnie Dailey & Vincent!  Enjoy great classic... more

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  The Twiggenburys.  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Tony and the Tanlines!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more

7th Annual Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show

Featuring Celebrity Chef Carla Hall.  Now in its seventh year, the Incredible Food... more

Breeders’ Cup Festival Week

Come experience a multi-venue festival spotlighting live music, art, food and other... more

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Tanya Tucker!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more

Alltech National Horse Show

The National Horse Show is America’s oldest indoor horse show, firmly established... more

CP National Horse Show

A week-long championship event held indoors at the Alltech Arena, Featuring... more


Join Transylvania University for their 5th Annual event as they light hundreds of jack... more

Horses and Dogs

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES, HORSES Things have gone to the dogs this week at the Kentucky Horse Park. Of course there are still plenty of horses of various breeds to see (don't missthe Breeds Barn show),but just now ...


Camp Nelson

by Stuart, History Blogger

One of Kentucky's most unique--and important--Civil War sites is located just south of Lexington in Jessamine County.

Camp Nelson, established in 1863 on the Kentucky River, was founded as a supply ...


Western Dreamer

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES HORSES Standardbred pacer Western Dreamer is one of a special group of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Bay gelding--barn name Dreamer--is one of theretired champions in the Horse Park's ...


Lots of Ponies

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES, HORSES Ponies are taking plenty of jumps this week atthe Kentucky Horse Park. They and their riders are participatingin the U.S. Equestrian Federation Pony Finals Championships.

Pony Finals ...


Activist Laura Clay

by Stuart, History Blogger

Among the many innovators, reformers, and activists buried in the Lexington Cemetery is Laura Clay, a noted suffragist who spent her life vigorously fighting for women's rights.

Clay was born on ...


Downtown Lexington

Check out The LexWalk Audio Tour iPhone App!

Enjoy Sightseeing, Dining, Shopping and Entertainment in the "City in the Park"

Unless otherwise noted, phone numbers are in the 859 area code.

Lexington has been called "the city in the park" because of its location at the center of hundreds of beautiful, park-like horse farms. But the nickname also seems an apt description of the cosmopolitan yet casual atmosphere of the downtown area. 

PDF BoxLexington offers a charming blend of big-city amenities and small-town friendliness. Before, after and between meeting sessions at the modern Lexington Center convention complex, you'll find plenty to see and do. Beautiful historic office buildings, churches, and homes; many of Lexington's finest restaurants, specialty shops and galleries; and major performance and sports arenas are within easy and safe walking distance.

A variety of excellent accommodations are convenient to the convention center and downtown attractions, including the Hilton Lexington/Downtown (369 W. Vine St., 231-9000) and Hyatt Regency Lexington (401 West High St., 253-1234); the elegant and historic Gratz Park Inn (120 W. 2nd St., 231-1777); and The Lyndon House (507 N. Broadway, 420-2683).

For a street map of the central downtown district in PDF file format click here.

Bluegrass Note: One of the best ways to tour the historic downtown area is by horse-drawn carriage. The Lexington Livery Company offers tours nightly, weather permitting. Call 259-0000 for reservations or catch a carriage at the corner of Broadway and Main after 7:30 p.m. Charge for a one hour tour is $100 for four people.

Attractions Old and New

Looking at downtown Lexington today, it's hard to imagine a town of log blockhouses and cabins, or the sight of horses racing down Main Street, but both were part of the city's early history. Lexington was Kentucky's first big city - a bustling commercial, education and cultural center by 1800. Take a walk in the historic neighborhoods near Lexington Center, or along Main Street, and you'll find architecture spanning over 200 years. A few attractions of special note:

  • The Mary Todd Lincoln House, adjacent to Lexington Center at 578 W. Main St. was a girlhood home of the First Lady, a member of a prominent early Lexington family. Guided tours are given Monday through Saturday, mid-March through November. Admission charged. 233-9999.
  • The Hunt-Morgan House, northeast of the convention center complex at 201 North Mill St., was built in 1814 by Kentucky's first millionaire, John Wesley Hunt. The house includes the Alexander T. Hunt Civil War Museum with items relating to Hunt's grandson Confederate General John Morgan. Guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday, April through mid-December. Admission charged (253-0362). While in the historic Gratz Park neighborhood you might also want to stroll the campus of the oldest college west of the Alleghenies, Transylvania University, Third and Broadway. At 178 N. Mill St. you'll pass the 19th century law office of Henry Clay, the famous U.S. Senator and one of early Lexington's prominent citizens.
  • If you brought your family along (or are just a kid at heart), a must-see attraction is the Explorium of Lexington (Lexington Children's Museum), located in The Square, a complex of 16 restored 19th century commercial buildings at Main and Broadway. The 14,000-square foot museum features a variety of hands-on activities, from an "archaeological dig" to giant soap bubbles. Open Tuesday through Sunday year round. Closed on Mondays during the school year. Admission charged. 258-3253.
  • That 30-story glass office building towering over Main Street is Lexington Financial Center ("Big Blue" to locals) and the city's tallest building.

downtown-lexington-kyFor self-guided downtown walking tour options, contact the Lexington Visitors Center, 401 W. Main St. 233-7299. For an entertaining guided walk, contact Lexington Walking Tours at 825-8702. Ask about their "Creepy Crawl." Caroline Hackworth operates Historic Downtown Walking Tours with guided walking tours of downtown Lexington by appointment. Learn about the history of downtown as reflected in historic commercial buildings, churches and homes. 321-5897. Yvonne Giles leads walking tours of the East End that depart from the historic Lyric Theatre. 280-2218. For weekend culinary walking tours, April through October, check out Bleu Plate Tours. (800) 979-3370.

Bluegrass Note: Getting to and from downtown Lexington is easy. Blue Grass Airport is about a 10-minute drive away (as are those famous horse farms, golf courses and major attractions such as the Kentucky Horse Park).


Whether looking for decorative accessories, artwork, fine jewelry or distinctly Lexington souvenirs, you'll find a variety of stores at The Square and The Shops at Lexington Center. Connected by covered ped-way, these two complexes make a great rainy (or sunny) day destination!

At The Shops at Lexington Center, check out Cat Couture, fashion for the ultimate UK fan, or simply those who really love blue! You'll also find exclusively Lexington shops such as Old Kentucky Chocolates candy store; Artique, a gallery of quality handmade jewelry and gift items.; and Kentucky Korner, with just about everything emblazoned with Kentucky symbols or the University of Kentucky logo.  

Duck in to Sincerely Yours, a charming little boutique in The Square. The newest stores to open in The Square are Urban Outfitters and Alumni Hall. Artists Attic, on the fourth floor features the studios of more than 30 area artisans. Most shops are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Bluegrass Note: Spring through fall, local farmers sell vegetables, fruits, flowers and more at the Farmer's Market (Saturdays in the Pavilion at Cheapside Park and Tuesdays and Thursdays on Maxwell at Broadway). To find out about other special downtown activities, call the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau at 233-7299.

If hunting for treasures from the past is your passion, visit LaFayette Galleries in The Shops at Lexington Center or Heritage Antiques located in the big white church three blocks away. (2154 N. Broadway 253-1035). Down Main Street, browse through Ann Greely Interiors and Antiques (497 East Main Street; 367-0200).

If fashion is your passion, you won't be disappointed at Lexington's own Bella Rose. Locals have headed to the corner of Maxwell and Upper for over 30 years to find out what is hip and chique this season. 255-2565.

For a street map of the central downtown district in PDF file format click here.

Bluegrass Note: An interesting used bookstore is located in the basement of the Lexington Public Library, 140 E. Main St. The library also offers an art gallery, computers with Internet access and a good view of downtown from the upper floors. 231-5500.

Dining Out

Downtown is home to many of Lexington's most popular and creative restaurants. In addition to the excellent hotel restaurants, Triangle Grille at the Hilton Lexington/Downtown, The Blue Fire Grill at the Hyatt Regency or Distilled's at the Gratz Park Inn, you can walk to a variety of delicious experiences, as fancy or informal as you desire. From the more than 90 places to eat in downtown Lexington, here are a few suggestions:

If you want to grab something fast, visit the Food Court at The Shops at Lexington Center. In The Square, Tony's offeres elegant fine dining, Pies and Pints offers tasty pizzas and lots of beer options, and the new lunch hot spot Vinaigarette is hugely popular for their salads. Saul Good occupies the corner space at Broadway and Short making it the perfect place to grab a cocktail or a meal before a show at the Lexington Opera House.

For hearty burgers and other "bar food," try Sawyer's Bar and Grill at the corner of Main and Broadway. For sophisticated Italian dining with a California attitude, try Portofino's (249 East Main; 253-9300). Sublime traditional, Sicilian and specialty pizzas are found at Joe Bologna's, 120 W. Maxwell St. This local favorite also serves pasta and awesome breadsticks drenched in garlic butter.

Bluegrass Note: Early Risers? A variety of gourmet coffees and pastries are served at the downtown Starbucks on the corner of Main and Broadway. They open at 5:30 a.m.

At the corner of Main and Esplanade, drop in at the new Natasha's Bistro & Bar for international cuisine. There's live music in the evenings.

A number of small bistros and fine dining establishments have opened across from Lexington's beautiful courthouses (no, you're not seeing double!) Dine at the very, very French, Le Deauville just up the street. 246-0999. At 159 North Limestone St. is an old favorite, a la lucie. A popular "special occasion" restaurant for Lexingtonians, lucie's features a romantic atmosphere and inventive Continental menu. 252-5277. The next block up, enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at Atomic Cafe, famous for its conch fritters, jerk chicken and sweet potato chips. There's also live music. Dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday. 254-1969.

At Short and Market is another top Lexington restaurant, Dudley's. Located in the historic Northern Bank Building built in 1889, this elegant spot features seafood and Continental specialties, with an excellent wine list and Sunday brunch. Also on Short: the elegant and chic Table 310 and Lexington's gastro pub, the Village Idiot, as well as Shakespeare and Co., a restaurant with great food and eccentric decor.

Jefferson Street is Lexington's newest burgeoning restaurant district. There you will find Stella's Deli, Nick Ryan's, West Sixth Brewing Company, County Club, Grey Goose, Blue Heron and more!

Bluegrass Note: Weather permitting, dine outdoors on the patio at Grey Goose or Cheapside Bar and Grill. Many downtown restaurants have sidewalk seating as well.


Lexington's hottest nightspots are in the downtown area, offering a wide variety of entertainment and ambiance. In addition to those mentioned under restaurants, here are some other current favorites. Many clubs close at 1 a.m. but some remain open until 2:30 a.m. Legal drinking age is 21.

Cheapside Bar & Grill on Mill Street offers great food in a casual atmosphere, inside or on the patio, and is the place to be at Happy Hour (254-0046). Make a night of it: stay on for the live music and party till 2:30 a.m.

Facing Cheapside Park, Bluegrass Tavern is a great place to find your favorite Bourbon from among 187 labels. 389-6664. On the top floor of the tall building to the left, you will find Sky Bar. 368-7900.

Parlay Social at the corner of Market and Short, is a speakeasy-style lounge offering cocktails and pub grub, plus live music. 244-1932. Belle's Cocktail House at 156 Market Street is run by the publishers of the Bourbon Review. Call first: 389-6777. For a true Irish Pub go to McCarthy's Irish Bar (258-2181) at 117 S. Upper, or Molly Brooke's (420-5792) at 109 North Limestone.

Keep an eye on an exciting new area of development downtown: the Distillery District. It is home to coffee shops, artist studios, restaurants and bars, plus a brewery and a distillery. Head out Manchester Street to explore this area blossoming around the old James E. Pepper distillery.

If you are a pool shark in search of billiard tables, head to Yesterday's at The Shops at Lexington Center. 231-8889.

For a street map of the central downtown district in PDF file format click here.

Bluegrass Note: Pamper yourself with deep tissue and other massages available at The Massage Center, 380 Mill in Dudley Square, 231-1782. If it's a workout you prefer, contact L.A. Fitness, 230 W. Main St. The club has racquetball and squash courts, a running track, sauna and weight rooms, with special day rates for visitors. 281-5110.

For Sports Fans

Lexington's passion for basketball is legendary, and Rupp Arena in Lexington Center is home court to one of the top programs in college basketball, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Tickets are difficult to obtain but you may call the UK ticket office at 257-1818 to check availability. Hard-core fans make a point to take a peek at Rupp Arena through a viewing window outside the Lexington Center offices. 233-4567.

Basketball isn't the only game in town though. The Lexington Legends, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, play at Lexington's new state-of-the-art baseball stadium on North Broadway. Tickets are usually available at the box office on game day. 422-7867.

Bluegrass Note: Lexington is also a city with parks. Try these relaxing urban greenspaces for an impromptu picnic or restful break: Just across Main Street from Lexington Center is Triangle Park, beautiful day and night with its stepped, lighted fountains. Gratz Park, 3rd at Mill, is located in a lovely historic residential neighborhood. After viewing the statues on the grounds of the Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street, pause at Cheapside Park, historically the site of slave auctions, abolitionists' speeches and "Court Days" trading. Phoenix Park is next to Lexington Public Library on Main Street. At the east end of downtown is Thoroughbred Park, where life-size bronze horses "race" and "graze." (On a walking or jogging regimen? From Triangle Park to Thoroughbred Park and back along Main Street is about 1 1/2 miles.)

Cultural Attractions

Today, as historically, downtown is the center of cultural life in Lexington. Touring professional theater, some Lexington Philharmonic concerts and other arts performances are on the bill at the restored 1887 Lexington Opera House, Broadway and Short streets; call 233-3565 for ticket information.

The Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main Street, is a restored 1920s movie house that shows classics, foreign and some first-run films, with occasional concerts. 231-6997. The recently renovated Lyric Theatre, historially the entertainment centerpiece for Lexington's African-American families, hosts a broad range of programming and is home to "WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour," an internationally syndicated live radio show. 252-8888.

ArtsPlace, 161 N. Mill St., is headquarters to several Lexington arts groups. A gallery features changing exhibits and Red Barn Radio tapes live Bluegrass shows in the summer. 233-1469.

There are frequent musical and theatrical performances at the Downtown Arts Center on Main Street. Local and regional theatre groups often perform in the Black Box Theatre on the first floor.

Throughout downtown you can discover more than 30 galleries and artist studios. Contact LexArts for more information. 255-2951.

Bluegrass Note: Art can be found in unexpected places. If you are a fan of street art, here is a link to most of Lexington's wall art and mural projects. 

Places of Worship

Visitors to Lexington often remark on the many steeples in the downtown area. The beautiful sanctuaries in downtown house some of the area's oldest congregations. For example, Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, 540 W. Maxwell St., was founded in 1790 and is the fourth oldest African-American Baptist church in America. 254-7387. Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 205 E. Short St., traces its roots to the first Christian church in America, founded at nearby Cane Ridge. 233-1551. The Episcopal Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, 166 Market St., congregation dates to 1795; a plaque marks Henry Clay's pew. 254-4497.

Other churches near Lexington Center include:
Calvary Baptist Church, 150 E. High St. 254-3491.
First Baptist Church, 548 W. Short St. (across from Lexington Center). 252-4808.
First Presbyterian Church, 171 Market St. 252-1919.
First United Methodist, 200 W. High St. 233-0545.
Historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 251 N. Upper St. 255-7945.
St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 501 W. Short St. 252-0738.

Additional Information
Barber shop - Ginger's Barber Shop, 212 W. Maxwell St. 254-4464.
Copies, digital photo printing, signs, banners- Fed Ex Office, 333 E. Main St. 253-1360.
Jewelry repair - Corbett-Frame Jeweler's at the Hilton, 254-1963.
Nail repair, hair dresser - Clip Art at 310 Maxwell Street. 255-3030.
Mini-markets - Shorty's, 163 W Short St.; 309-3813, Town Branch Market, 233 E Main St.; 280-2122.
Post Office - 210 E High St., 254-6156.
Racing forms - Fayette Cigar Store, 137 E. Main St. 252-6267.
Taxi services - Yellow Cab and Wildcat Cab at 231-8294. (Cabs must be phoned to schedule pickup; you cannot hail them on the street. On Friday and Saturday nights there is a taxi queue by the Old Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street.)

For a street map of the central downtown district in PDF file format click here.

For more information contact the Lexington Visitors Center at (859) 233-7299 or (800) 845-3959 or the Downtown Lexington Corporation at (859) 425-2590.

By Teresa Day, a freelance travel writer based in Georgetown, KY
Updated April 2015