Hey, we get it. Things are a little weird right now, and you might be wondering what all there is to do in Lexington…safely, of course. 

Here’s the good news. Lexington is the perfect place to get out and have some fun, all while respecting physical distancing guidelines. With our wide-open spaces, outdoor activities and patio-dining there are plenty of ways for you and your friends to get a true Lexington experience. 

Here are a few of the highlights. If you have questions, or need a little more guidance, the Lexington Visitor Center, located downtown in the historic courthouse, is here to help. Stop by and grab one of our visitor express kits and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. 

Get Outside

Climbing and Hiking at Red River Gorge

Climbing and Hiking at Red River Gorge


Few places are as beautiful as Central Kentucky. In fact, one of the best ways to experience all that beauty is to just get in the car and drive in any direction. But if you’re looking to get out and explore, a hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is a great place to start. For a more relaxed walk in the park, check out the Arboretum State Botanical Garden, near Kroger Field. But let’s say you want to kick it up a notch. The world-famous Red River Gorge and its endless hiking trails, breathtaking vistas and legendary climbing routes are less than an hour away. 

Maybe you’re more of a water bug. If so, check out Canoe Kentucky. They’ll hook you up with a kayak or a canoe and send you floating down the Elkhorn River. And for the adrenaline seekers, there’s always the world-class ziplining canopy tour at Boone Creek Outdoors, just a stone’s throw away from campus. 

Eat Up

Wallace Station Food

Patio Seating at Wallace Station


UK has some of the best campus dining options anywhere. But when you’re craving something a little different, or just want to explore some of the good eats Lexington has to offer, here are a few of our favorite COVID-friendly places with patio seating or curbside pickup. Just remember to always wear a mask unless you’re seated at a table. 

Let’s start with breakfast or brunch. You can’t go wrong with Doodles on North Limestone (try the biscuits and gravy). For lunch or a casual dinner, mix it up with a little West African cuisine from Sav’s Grill, right on Main Street. Or you can take a nice drive out to Wallace Station for some home cooked, picnic-table goodness. 

If you feel like dressing up a little, Carson’s Food & Drink is a great spot for some finer dining that won’t break the bank. Same goes for Epping’s on Eastside, an inventive, scratch-kitchen restaurant in Lexington’s Warehouse Block. 

Crank & Boom-Craft-Ice-Cream-Lounge

Crank & Boom Handcrafted Ice Cream


Room for dessert? Order curbside pickup from Crank & Boom for some of the best craft ice cream you’ve ever had. 

Have Some Fun 

Grab some friends, mask up and let loose. If you’ve never visited a horse farm, there’s no time like the present. Horse Country Tours will help you plan an equine outing you won’t soon forget. Meet a Kentucky Derby winner, feed carrots to foals, and see the iconic bluegrass pastureland that makes this place the Horse Capital of the World. 

A woman photographs her friend posing for a photo in front of a series of huge, vibrant murals.

The Lexington Mural Challenge


If exploring the city is more your speed, Lexington’s Mural Challenge might just be right up your alley. Fun fact: Lexington is home to more than 30 original murals. They can be found sprinkled all over the city. Go hunt them down and snap some pics…your Instagram followers will love it. 

Once the sun starts to set, check out some live music at The Burl, located in the historic Distillery District. They’ve gone above and beyond to keep this town groovin’ with an outdoor stage and plenty of socially distanced tabletop seating.

Do a Little Shopping

Olivia Rink Shopping

Shopping at Adelé


Nothing cures the COVID woes like a little retail therapy. Lexington is home to dozens of boutiques, like the ones found in the Chevy Chase and Woodland Avenue neighborhoods. Add a few pieces to your fall wardrobe from shops like Calypso, Black Market, Serendipity, Peplum, James C Boutique, and As You Go Boutique. For gift shop items, check out Adelé, Peggy’s or Keeneland Mercantile. Find some original art for your dorm room or apartment from High on Art and Coffee. Or bring home something green and potted from Forage. 

For bigger brands, however, a trip to The Summit at Fritz Farm is all you need. Shop retailers like Warby Parker, Bonobos, Anthropologie, Free People, Pottery Barn and plenty more. It’s also a great place to grab a bite on a patio, try a fun popsicle flavor from Steel City Pops, or pick up a few groceries from Whole Foods.

 

Wear a Mask 

 

Whatever you do, just remember to wear a mask – even when you’re riding in the car with friends. The sooner everyone wears a mask, the sooner you can get back to the college experience you’ve always imagined. It takes all of us. Stay safe out there!