From Brand Names to Bargain Buys, Great Shopping Abounds in Lexington
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 youre a bonafide browsing junkie or just looking for a special souvenir, youll find plenty of interesting shops full of fun and fascinating stuff. It isnt 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.
Heres an "insiders guide" to get you started . Weve focused on making you aware of a variety of interesting local shops; showcasing the one-of-a-kind places youll find only in Lexington; and directing you to the high-volume shopping areas. Most of the shops listed are favorites of avid shoppers on the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau staff.
|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, Sears, 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, Abercrombie & Fitch — plus restaurants including P.F. Chang's 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: 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 also includes a variety of small specialty shops, including Leather, Inc., and the locally owned specialty women's clothing store World's Apart.
Specialty clothing and gift shops create an upscale mood at The Shops at Lexington Center and Victorian 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. From Lafayette Galleries, with its fine crystal, china, and silver items, to home grown products at the Kentucky Proud Market, the Center offers three levels of specialty shopping.
Across Main Street at Victorian Square, specialty shopping continues. You’ll find fine men’s clothing and accessories at Howard & Miller. Get ready for your next black tie event at Miss Priss. There’s a wide selection of formal wear including pageant and prom gowns. Victorian Square also features a variety of gift and collectible shops, artist's studios and full-service restaurants.
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.
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, 3363 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 quality items.
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.
Tucked away in a yellow cottage at 116 Clay Avenue, east of downtown, 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. Hopscotch, also on Clay Avenue, offers classic children’s apparel for newborns through preteens, plus a charming assortment of wooden toys and stuffed animals.
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 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.
Several Lexington clothing stores specialize in high fashion at low prices. The Talbots Surplus Store, on Sir Barton Way out at Hamburg, offers tempting discounts (about 50 to 70 percent) on Talbot’s classic-styled dresses, sportswear, and accessories. 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.
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.
|Blue Note: Lexington's famous big blue horse, known as "Big Lex", is so popular, an online store popped up to supply his adoring fans with "Big Lex" merchandise. Check it out at http://store.visitlex.com/|
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 Bluegrass Home Interiors, 471 Old Harrodsburg 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. Ask the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau for additional information.
Some Real Gems
Looking for some very special baubles? Shelia’s Fine Jewelry, 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. Miller and Woodward Jewelers, 2220 Nicholasville Road, Suite 152, specializes in antique 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.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 Georgetown, KY
Updated April 2013
For more information, contact the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-845-3959.