Outdoor Concert at The Burl
For starters there’s the Railbird Music Festival, which is Lexington’s own summertime music festival hosted at the Keeneland racetrack. In years past this music festival has hosted talents such as the Dave Matthews Band, Hozier, My Morning Jacket, and a bevy of local talent. The Burl is another opportunity to enjoy some local talent. The Burl is a live music venue that also has a full feature 1980’s arcade, and you can oftentimes find a food truck there.
Greyline Station was once a bus station, and has since been renovated into a unique shopping experience. Filled with cafes, boutique shops, and even a live market, there’s nowhere else in the city quite like it. Lexington is also the perfect place for vintage shopping for both furniture and clothes. Stores like RELIC and Street Scene Vintage are a must visit.
Food and Drink
The Grove - Harvey's Bar and Beer Garden
Enjoy the best of both worlds at Harvey’s Bar & Beer Garden, which has signature cocktails, hand-picked wines, and local brews on tap. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and a truly unique ambiance. There’s also Bear & The Butcher, a two-story, open-air popular hotspot that serves local sausages, street tacos, and more.
At the same time, having a good time doesn’t need to break the bank. Lexington is full of affordable and free things to do, and here are just a few of them.
The Loudoun House
Lexington is home to a thriving art scene and a variety of museums and galleries, many of which are completely free to the public. 21C for instance, is entirely free to the public and features some of the best modern art in the world. The Loudoun House is home to the Lexington Art League, as well as a number of galleries, studios, and classrooms. The building in of itself is a piece of art, seeing as it is one of Kentucky’s finest examples of Gothic Revival Architecture. There’s also The University of Kentucky Art Museum, which features a rotating selection of installations and pieces, and is entirely free to the public, not only students.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Ale-8-One is Kentucky’s signature soft drink, and has been bottled in Winchester since 1926. Tour the plant completely free of charge any Thursday or Friday. If you’re a fan of more adult drinking, there’s also free tours of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Bourbon is a staple in Kentucky’s culture, and Buffalo Trace Distillery is a perfect representative of that, with a tour that is both informative and delicious--just be sure to make your reservations beforehand. You might get hungry after all that, which is the perfect excuse to venture over to Boone Creek Creamery. They are one of the last artisan cheese facilities in the entire country, and they offer tours and tastings completely free of charge.
Bluegrass Country Driving Tour
The Lexington Visitors Center offers a free Bluegrass Country Driving Tour, which will highlight some of the gorgeous views of the Kentucky countryside. There’s also the (very affordable) option to admire the countryside by taking the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad. It’ll give you a unique look at the Kentucky River, tobacco farms, and there’s also a museum where you can learn more.The Lexington Visitors Center offers a free Bluegrass Country Driving Tour, which will highlight some of the gorgeous views of the Kentucky countryside. There’s also the (very affordable) option to admire the countryside by taking the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad. It’ll give you a unique look at the Kentucky River, tobacco farms, and there’s also a museum where you can learn more.
Raven Run is a stunning and vast nature preserve found just outside of downtown Lexington. It is the perfect place to exercise, stroll, or just admire the beautiful local flora and fauna that call the bluegrass region home. Similar to Raven Run, there is also the 100 acre Jim Beam nature preserve, which gives you yet another opportunity to get up close to Kentucky’s wildflowers and wildlife. For a more structured experience there’s The University of Kentucky which has a gorgeous arboretum on campus that features an impressive collection of plants, and is free of charge to visit.