Shopping and travel have been a favorite combination for centuries. Remember Marco Polo? He made history by bringing home those spices and silks from the Orient. Your own goal may be more modest - a new outfit, an addition to a favorite collection; or an interesting gift or souvenir - but the fact remains that here in 21st century America, shopping is the #1 favorite pastime, at home or away.
Lexington definitely rises to the occasion in responding to this national passion.Whether you're a bonafide browsing junkie or just looking for a special souvenir, you'll find plenty of interesting shops full of fun and fascinating stuff. It isn't just your imagination that there are shopping centers on virtually every corner here: As the retail hub for a good portion of Kentucky, Lexington actually has a relatively high concentration of retailers for its size.
The variety is great, too - Lexington stores range from charming boutiques to mega centers; bargain-priced places to the totally upscale and the classic to the trendy. You can find your favorite national retailers and without looking too hard, are sure to discover locally owned shops that are pure Kentucky.
Here's an "insider's guide" to get you started . We've focused on making you aware of a variety of interesting local shops; showcasing the one-of-a-kind places you'll find only in Lexington; and directing you to the high-volume shopping areas.
Bluegrass Note: How about hours? Malls and large stores are open seven a days a week. Many specialty shops are closed Sundays and evenings. Hours may also vary seasonally, with extended shopping during the holiday season. Call to verify hours.
For many shoppers - and especially if there's a teenager in
your group - the essential shopping question is: "Where's the mall?"
Lexington has several indoor malls and large shopping areas that are a
good bet if you're looking for concentrated volume and variety.
The big one: The main mall in town is Fayette Mall , and it's a big one - more than 120 stores covering about 1.1 million square feet. It's the largest mall in Kentucky. Along with department stores Macy's, Dillard's, and J.C. Penney, you'll find many of the best-known specialty shop names in America - Banana Republic, The Gap, Victoria's Secret, J. Crew, The Disney Store, William & Sonoma, Abercrombie & Fitch, and many more - plus restaurants including P.F. Chang's, Cheesecake Factory and The Olive Garden. There's a large food court as well with more than 21 eateries. And if you have a non-shopper in the group, he or she can pass the time playing games at the arcade near the food court, or catch a movie at one of the sixteen theaters at Cinemark Fayette Mall.
Fayette Mall is located at 3401 Nicholasville Road, just south of New
Circle Road. This is the heart of a retail corridor. Several other
shopping centers and discount stores are nearby.
Books to briefcases to food and fashion: The
centerpiece of Lexington Green, just north of Fayette Mall, is
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, one of the region's largest independent
bookstores. A large, attractive store with CDs, gifts, and a good
restaurant as well as books, "Jo-Beth" is a favorite see-and-be-seen
spot for Central Kentuckians. Lexington Green is also home to Anthopologie, LOFT, Chico's, White House Black Market, Charming Charlie and more, plus the locally owned specialty store Artique.
Bluegrass Note: Lexington, like other cities across the United States, has become home to numerous megacenter shopping zones in recent years. Not malls, but sprawling collections of strip centers and discounters, these are a shopping phenomenon you either love or hate. Lexingtonians are split in feelings about Hamburg Place, located off Man o'War Blvd. near I-75. The entry and parking areas are mazelike, but shoppers brave them in droves to take in the array of shops ranging from big discounters Target, Meijer, and At Home to teen haven Old Navy to the immense pet-and-tack shop PetSmart.
Specialty clothing and gift shops create an upscale mood at The Shops at Lexington Center and The Square, two shopping areas connected by covered pedways in the heart of downtown Lexington.
The Shops at Lexington Center are located adjacent to the Rupp Arena/Heritage Hall convention center complex. Stop in for tasty chocolates at Old Kentucky Chocolates, or one of several shops offering UK logo wear and Kentucky souvenirs. Across Main Street at The Square, specialty shopping continues with a variety of gift and collectible shops, artist's studios plus the newly opened Urban Outfitters.
Take home a true Kentucky original from Savane Silver at the corner of Short and Broadway. Designer pieces include unique jewelry made from Kentucky agate. Agate, a form of quartz, is only found in six counties in Kentucky. Just a little further north on Broadway, you can find everything you need for your next black tie event at Miss Priss. There's a wide selection of formal wear including pageant and prom gowns.
Bluegrass Note: Headed to Louisville next? Or traveling to Lexington from Louisville? You'll want to be sure to stop at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass near Simpsonville on I-64. It's 366,750 square feet of retail heaven. (502) 722-5558
If you need a lesson on how to dress like a Lexington gentleman, head over to Howard & Miller at 400 Old Vine Street.
Other Fashionable Places
Women's clothing boutiques in Lexington suit a wide range of personal tastes - from furry to funky. Shop around a little, and you just may decide that Lexington should be called the "clothes-horse capital of the world."
If fur's your thing, be sure to visit embry's, 3361 Tates Creek Road. A
full-service furrier in business since 1904, embry's carries a
beautiful selection of fine furs, along with St. John knits and other
There's always something tempting on display in the windows of Bella Rose, 126 West Maxwell Street (between downtown and the University of Kentucky campus). This women's boutique offers fashions for all occasions, casual to formal, and carries such chic lines as Nicole Miller.
Hopscotch, on Clay Avenue, offers classic children's apparel
for newborns through preteens, plus a charming assortment of wooden toys
and stuffed animals.
Tucked away at 867 East High Street in Chevy Chase is AJ's Casuals, a little boutique that can drop some big names - like Trina Turk, Lafayette 148, Laundry, Laurie B and Kate Spade. Dazzling designs and friendly service are the shop's hallmarks.
Brand names like Sigred Olsen, Garfield &
Marks, Tommy Bahama, Central Falls and Hanky Panky - along with great
service that even includes an entertainment room for kids so mom can
shop - have won Cotton Patch a loyal following of local customers. The
boutique carries casual, career, and tennis wear, and is located in the
Lansdowne Shoppes shopping center at 3367 Tates Creek Road. If you are a fan of Monkee's, you'll be happy to discover that we have one in Lexington at 116 Clay Avenue. If your
tastes turn more to the fun-and-funkier end of the fashion spectrum,
check out The Pink Spider at 507 East High. Hip clothes and unique
accessories make for a colorful browsing experience.
Bluegrass Note: Gift stores at some of Lexington's favorite tourist attractions are worth a trip in themselves. The Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop, located in the park's Visitor Center, 4089 Iron Works Pike, has everything for the horse lover, from prints and original oils to jewelry and Kentucky souvenirs. Many items are Kentucky-made. Another haven for equine-themed items is The Keeneland Shop at Keeneland, which carries products ranging from jewelry to kidstuff. There's also a great selection of Keeneland shirts, hats, and jackets. Kentucky julep cups, watercolors, and regional cookbooks can be found at the Museum Shop at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, along with books and items relating to Henry Clay. A visit to Shaker Village (about 40-minutes from Lexington via US 68) isn't complete without browsing the lovely gift shop, with its handmade Shaker-style furniture and mirrors, Kentucky-made pottery; and handwoven textiles.
Several Lexington clothing stores specialize in high fashion at low prices. Gordman's, on Sir Barton Way out at Hamburg, and at Fayette Mall, offers tempting discounts clothing and accessories for the whole family. TJMaxx at Regency Center, 2311 Nicholasville Road, attracts shoppers on the prowl for designer clothing and shoes as well as houseware items. Other designer discounters include Stein Mart in the Woodhill Shopping Center, 1555 East New Circle Road; and two locations of Marshall's, one at Hamburg Place and one at 240 East Brannon Road.
Going to a consignment shop isn't just shopping; it's a treasure hunt.
Resale in Lexington goes far beyond Goodwill (although we've got that,
too, at 3101 Clays Mill Road; 1441 Leestown Road; and 3640 Boston Road).
An upscale consignment shop, Sassy Fox, 3101 Richmond Road, carries women's clothing casual and formal, including a fantastic selection of bridal dresses and veils. Apres Vous, 183 Moore Drive, offers a terrific selection of designer clothing for every occasion, including evening wear, furs, and jewelry. Stephen Lawrence, Ltd., 1200 South Broadway, features top label fashions for women, men, and children. This shop offers things for the abode as well as the bod, with a selection of beautiful furniture and home accessories. For teens, there is a Plato's Closet at 2220 Nicholasville Road.
As you might imagine, the Horse Capital of the World has a consignment shop for elegant equestrian apparel. It is located at the corner of High Street and Kentucky Avenue, near Woodland Park: Commotion Consignment Riding Apparel. (859) 552-5983.
Some shops are a little hard to categorize, but definitely worth exploring:
Could there be a more intriguing name than The Black Market? Don't worry; nothing illegal's going on, just a lot that's unusual. At this downtown shop at 516 East High Street, you'll find interesting sterling silver jewelry, candles, incense, bath products, even clothing items at great prices. There's a whole room devoted to shoes!
And don't overlook Third Street Stuff, 257 North Limestone near downtown. The focus is on the brightly painted artwork of shop owner Pat Gerhard. A Pittsburgh native and University of Kentucky graduate, she creates wooden postcards, clocks, and furniture. Her shop also sells wild-and-crazy stuff from all over, "gifts that remind us of the world's wonderful diversity," she says.
Bluegrass Note: Lexington's famous big blue horse, known as "Big Lex", is so popular, the Lexington Visitors Center stocks merchandise related to the legendary blue horse. And a variety of great Tshirts!
Peggy's Gifts & Accessories, 112
Clay Avenue, is packed with hand-picked goodies you won't find
elsewhere. Owner Peggy Queen picks fabulous sterling jewelry, special
baby and wedding gifts and unique home accessories.
Elegant, whimsical, practical, fun... it takes a lot of different words to describe what you'll find at Artique. From some serious jewelry and beautiful hand-blown glass to hilarious folk art "yardbirds," Artique carries handmade arts and crafts items made by artisans across the United States. Artique has three locations, at The Shops at Lexington Center in downtown Lexington, and two at Lexington Green.
The Gift Box, 3330 Partner Place, is packed full of candleberry candles, Boyd bears, Rowe pottey and pewter items. Sincerely Yours in Victorian Square, near the Lexington Visitors Center, has a delightful mixture of hard-to-categorize items that you just can't live without. If you like your UK logo wear emblazoned with rhinestones...this is the place!
Home and Garden
Dress your bed, bath and table at Linens Limited, 114 Clay
Avenue. They carry selections from finest hand-embroidered linens from
Portugal & Madeira, several lines of home fragrances, Juliska
ceramics and glass, Arte Italica pewter and several prestigious table
top and gift lines
More "table top couture" can be found at L.V. Harkness, 531 West Short
Street. This shop offers an intriguing mix of antiques, fine dinnerware
and crystal, and personal accessories. Shop owner Meg Jewett, who also
owns Walnut Hall horse farm, even commissioned Europe's oldest porcelain
manufacturer, Meissen, to create a place setting called "Bluegrass
Series." It costs $1,893 per five-piece place setting, but, hey, no
charge for looking. And tucked amid the pricey stuff are more
modestly-priced finds. The shop is next door to the Greentree Tea Room, a
lovely setting for a special lunch.
You could browse for hours at Carpenter's Dish Barn, 2019 Lexington
Road, Nicholasville. There are dishes and glassware galore, but it is
also a garden center. Patio furniture and planters may be more than you
want to tote, but there is also a delightful selection of smaller items
to add interest to your garden back home.
You just never know what you'll find at Scout, 935 Liberty Road. A constantly changing inventory includes furniture new and old. But the best things are the accessories; unique items in all price ranges.
Note: Lexington has oodles of antique shops.... so many that they
have their own feature story. Check with VisitLEX for additional information.
Bluegrass Note: Here's the ultimate souvenir- your very own race horse. Lexington's Keeneland holds major Thoroughbred sales in April, September, November, and January. It's not just for royalty: Prices range anywhere from the thousands to the millions. Of course, buying the horse is just the beginning. Then you have to feed it and train it!
Some Real Gems
Looking for some very special baubles? Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers, located in The Shops at Lexington Center, is a local favorite for top designer jewelry from around the world. Custom-design pieces are created by the store's own award-winning designers.For generations Farmer's Jewelry has provided Kentucky families with quality fine jewelry. The shop is at 821 Euclid Avenue, and if you find yourself in need of some jewelry repair while visiting Lexington, give them a call at (859) 266-6241. St. John and Myers at 400 Old Vine Street specializes in antique, period and estate jewelry as well as newly crafted items.
Into the Wild Blue Yonder
Lexington even has its own category of shops. Just call them "Blue-tiques." These are entire stores devoted to items emblazoned with University of Kentucky sports logos. Perhaps the premier Blue-tique is Kentucky Korner, with two locations, in The Shops at Lexington Center downtown, and at Fayette Mall. Here you'll find everything imaginable - T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, hats, keychains, even trash cans - all kinds of "True Blue" gear and gifts. Another great source is Wildcat Wearhouse, with four locations: 335 Southland Drive, 419 South Broadway, 2300 Sir Baron Way and in Fayette Mall.
Alumni Hall at The Square is a great stop if you find yourself headed to a basketball game without enough blue gear, as is Cat Couture in the Shops at Lexington Center. From dresses to pajamas, you'll find there is no need to wear any other color.
If you are a fan of Lexington's legendary blue horse, you can find popular "Big Lex" merchandise at the Lexington Visitors Center at The Square.
Well, there it is, enough shopping to keep you busy for days. In
Lexington, you're sure to find stores worth writing home about. When you
are at the visitors center at 401 West Main Street, be sure to pick up a
(free) unique postcard and do just that! It features Lexington's
famous "blue horse".
Written by Teresa Day, a freelance travel writer based in Lexington, KY
Updated April 2016
For more information, contact the Lexington Visitors Center at (800) 845-3959.
Top of Page