The Right Stuff: Shopping 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 — 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: Lexington has a high concentration of retailers for its size.
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, and 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 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 JC 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 and many more — plus restaurants including BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, The Cheesecake Factory and The Olive Garden. There’s a large food court as well with more than 25 eateries. And if you have a non-shopper in the group, he or she can pass the time by catching a movie at one of the 16 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.
The new one: And now for something completely different: The Summit at Fritz Farm. Just across from Fayette Mall, this new development is a vast collection of upscale shops and eateries and celebrates, by design, the rich heritage of Lexington. A sampling of tenants: Anthropologie, Arhaus, Ariat, Brooks Brothers, Frye, Fabletics, Draper James, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Pottery Barn, Scout & Molly's, BONOBOS.
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. Lexington Green is also home to LOFT, Chico's, EVEREVE, Logan’s, Total Wine and more.
Easy Access: Lexington, like other cities across the United States, has become home to numerous megacenter shopping zones in recent years. At Exit 108 off I-75 you’ll find an area the locals refer to as “Hamburg”. The entrances and parking areas are mazelike, but shoppers happily 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.
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. 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. If you need a lesson on how to dress like a Lexington gentleman, head over to Howard & Miller at 400 Old Vine Street. They’ll show you how to be trendy, classy and Southern all in one outfit.
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
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.”
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, Shoshanna and Milly.
Tucked away at 867 East High Street in Chevy Chase is AJ's, a little boutique that can drop some big names - like Trina Turk, DVF, Tori Burch and Tibi. Dazzling designs and friendly service are the shop's hallmarks.
Hopscotch, on Clay Avenue, offers classic children’s apparel for newborns through preteens, plus a charming assortment of wooden toys and stuffed animals.
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 Pink Spider at 507 East High. Hip clothes and unique accessories make for a colorful browsing experience. This is a "boutique with a bite."
Brand names like Gretchen Scott, Jude Connally and Mik +Zoe— 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.
Bluegrass Note: Gift shops at Lexington’s favorite tourist attractions are worth a trip in themselves. The Kentucky Horse Park has everything for the horse lover from artwork to jewelry.. Many items are Kentucky-made. Another haven for equine-themed items is The Keeneland Shop, with products ranging from jewelry to kidstuff. There’s a great selection of Keeneland Race Course shirts, hats, and jackets. Julep cups, watercolors, and regional cookbooks can be found at the Museum Shop at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, along with books relating to Henry Clay. A visit to Shaker Village (about 40-minutes from Lexington via US 68) isn’t complete without browsing their lovely gift shop, with handmade Shaker-style furniture and mirrors, Kentucky-made pottery, and handwoven textiles.
Several Lexington clothing stores specialize in high fashion at low prices. 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, with tempting discounts on clothes and accessories for the whole family, 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, six locations!)
An upscale consignment shop, Sassy Fox, 3101 Richmond Road, carries women’s clothing, both casual and formal, including a fantastic selection of bridal dresses and veils. Stephen Lawrence, Ltd., 1200 South Broadway, and 183 Moore Drive, features top label fashions for women, men, and children. For teens, there is a Plato’s Closet at 2220 Nicholasville Road.
As you might imagine, the region has a consignment shop for elegant equestrian apparel. It is located in the nearby town of Midway: Commotion! (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! Nearby, you’ll find Lucia’s World Emporium, on North Ashland. They search the world looking for ethical fair trade brands to bring you jewelry, clothing (including organic active wear), gifts, pottery, art work and home decor.
Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for in sQecial media. This little shop at the edge of the University of Kentucky campus has been in business for over 40 years. Oddities, tapestries, moonstones, grooming products for your beard, books and imaginative gifts abound. And don’t overlook Kentucky for Kentucky, 720 Bryan Avenue, near downtown. The focus is on promoting the people, places, and products of Kentucky. Never boring, you’ll find wild-and-crazy, often irreverent stuff to remind you of your Kentucky visit.
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.
Keeneland Mercantile, downtown at City Center, has a delightful mixture of hard-to-categorize items that you just can’t live without. Associated with Keeneland Race Course, it does, of course, cater to the horsey crowd.
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, at Fayette Mall, carries handmade arts and crafts made by artisans across the United States.
Home and Garden
Dress your bed, bath and table at Linens Limited, 114 Clay Avenue. They carry the finest hand-embroidered linens from Portugal & Madeira, Juliska ceramics and glass, Arte Italica pewter and several prestigious table top and gift lines. This is the only place in Kentucky to find candles by Cire Trudon, the oldest candle company in the world. More “table top couture” can be found at L.V. Harkness, 531 West Short Street. This shop offers an intriguing mix of 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 $1,894 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 Cowgirl Attic, 1535 Delaware Avenue, purveyor of reclaimed urban artifacts. You’ll find furniture, garden relics, antiques, lighting and beautiful things for your house. The outside area is full of garden planters, trellis, arches and sculpture for your garden back home.
You just never know what you’ll find at Scout Antique & Modern, 935 Liberty Road. A constantly changing inventory includes furniture and accessories new and old. There’s a mix of eclectic antiques and 20th century modern designs for your browsing, and buying, pleasure.
Bluegrass Note: Perhaps the most well-known antique shop in the region is found in the tiny community of Nonesuch. The term “shop” hardly describes Irish Acres (4205 Ford’s Mill Road; (859-873-7235). You’ll find everything from affordable whatnots to pricey museum-quality pieces on three floors in a 32,000 square foot former school building. Take the beautiful country drive Wednesdays through Saturdays, April through December. You’d better pack a lunch — or, even better, make reservations to have lunch in the on-site tearoom, The Glitz (859- 873-6956). You have to see it to believe it!
Oldies but Goodies
Antique shopping is definitely a main attraction in Lexington. In fact, you’ll find some great shops right on Main Street. On the East end, you can stop at Ann Greely Interiors and Antiques (497 East Main Street), a yellow mansion full of exquisite furniture, decorative items and paintings. The Thoroughbred Antique Gallery at 637 East Main Street brings together outstanding antiques, interiors, garden accessories and fine art. Inventory ranges from period 18th century pieces to mid-century modern.
At the opposite end of Main, as you head west the street’s name changes to Leestown Road. About a mile west of Rupp Arena, you’ll find Feather Your Nest Antiques, Collectibles & Accessories, A little further down you’ll see the Meadowthorpe Antique Mall (1455 Leestown Road), where about 50 dealers offer a little bit of everything. While downtown, browse through The Ugly Duckling Antiques at 575 East Maryland Avenue, specializing in vintage and antique furniture and art. Heritage Antiques (154 North Broadway) offers 18th, 19th and 20th-century furnishings and accessories.
Nearby, you can make a reservation for luncheon tea or afternoon tea and browse fine period furnishings and object d’art at the Green Tree Tea Room (521 West Short Street; 859-455-9660).
An option on the east end of town is Blue Horse Antiques at 930 Winchester Road. From antique furniture to paintings and accessories, this shop is a mixture of delightful and unusual furniture and art. While you are in the area stop in at Room Service (933 Liberty Road; 859-226-0423).
If it’s an old Kentucky long rifle you’re shooting for, try Antique and Modern Firearms (2263 Nicholasville Road.) Glover’s Bookery 862 South Broadway, is a house full of old books and prints, including many regional items.
At Another Man’s Treasure, they specialize in helping you find something unique. You’ll see a wide variety of new, used, custom and antique furniture at 2550 Regency Road.
In a quaint old church (1850!) on the Fayette/Jessamine county line, you’ll find ClaireBourne Antiques (4648 Nicholasville Road; 859-272-4648). The building houses some fine country pieces, quality furniture, mirrors and decorative items.
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 at The Summit at Fritz Farm, 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. Also at The Summit the Meg C Jewelry Gallery showcases their handmade, whimsical and contemporary jewelry. They can also custom design a piece to your specifications.
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 198 Moore Drive 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 coveted by fans of the University. Another great source is Wildcat Wearhouse, with four locations: 353 Southland Drive, 415 South Broadway, 2312 Sir Barton Way and in Fayette Mall.
Alumni Hall at The Square, The Summit or Fayette Mall is a great stop if you find yourself headed to a basketball game without enough blue gear. 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 in the beautifully restored historic courthouse at 215 West Main Street. Browse all sorts of Lexington swag from canvas tote bags to crystal decanters.
Written by Teresa Day, a freelance travel writer based in Lexington, KY
Updated February 2020
For more information, contact the Lexington Visitors Center at (800) 845-3959.
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