As the “Horse Capital of the World,” the Bluegrass Region has no shortage of horse-related activities – from horse farm tours to a day at the races to elegant equestrian events. One place you won’t want to miss is historic Keeneland Race Course, which offers Thoroughbred racing in April and October, and horse sales throughout the year.
In northern Fayette County, you’ll find the Kentucky Horse Park, which is home to the International Museum of the Horse, American Saddlebred Museum, and annually hosts the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and the National Horse Show. Closer to downtown Lexington is Red Mile Gaming & Racing, which is the second-oldest harness track in the world, and features simulcasting, horse sales, and instant racing.
Even if you aren’t into horses, there are plenty of other things to do in and around the region that are fun and won’t break your budget – from visiting a winery or perhaps taking a tour of a historic site like Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, local candy shop, or one of the area’s many historic homes, such as the Henry Clay Estate. The Railbird Festival came back in 2023 with a new location at the infield at Red Mile. There are also some unique ways to see the area through a variety of tour companies that offer custom-built experiences that showcase Central Kentucky.
If you’re into spectator sports, there are plenty of college and professional options in the area. The most popular outings include University of Kentucky basketball and football, as well as the Lexington Counter Clocks (formerly Legends), who play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Although Kentucky’s Bourbon heritage dates back many years, recently it has seen quite the “revival” in terms of the economic impact on the state. Distilleries around the Commonwealth continue to welcome growing numbers of visitors. To enjoy tours and tastings along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, contact a specific distillery or visit www.kybourbon.com. Craft breweries have also become popular destinations in the region, with 24 included on VisitLEX’s Brewgrass Trail.
If you’ve got time to shop, then the Bluegrass is ready with all you can handle in the way of diverse shopping opportunities. Whether you enjoy indoor malls, unique shopping areas, quaint family-owned stores and gift shops, farmers’ markets, or downtown shops, the variety of shopping environments is certainly overwhelming. People come from miles around to see what the Bluegrass has to offer.
Lexington is home to one of the state’s largest malls, Fayette Mall (Nicholasville Road), and downtown on West Main Street is The Square, which features an original mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, bars, and even a theater and museum for the kids. A little further out Nicholasville Road just into Jessamine County is a shopping and dining area called Brannon Crossing. Other area malls and shopping areas to hit include The Mall at Lexington Green (Nicholasville Road), the Lansdowne Shoppes (Tates Creek Road), Hamburg Pavilion (I-75 & Man O’War), and The Summit at Fritz Farm (corner of Nicholasville Road & Man O’War Boulevard.
Also in Lexington, you’ll find unique shopping areas (similar to districts), such as Clay Avenue, Chevy Chase Village, the Greentree section of Short Street, North Limestone, Old Vine Street, Southland Drive, as well as South Limestone near the University of Kentucky campus. You’ll also want to check out the Julietta Market, a year-round multi-vendor public market in the historic Southeast Greyhound Building. Nestled right in the heart of Central Kentucky’s historic and thriving agricultural community, the Blue Grass Stockyards Regional Marketplace includes community-minded dining, retail and education spaces. If you’re looking to shop in the Bluegrass, come with a lot of energy and plenty of space in your vehicle, because you certainly won’t leave empty-handed.
When people are finished shopping in and around Lexington, they can take a break at one of over 600 area eating and drinking establishments. From local favorites to chain restaurants, residents and visitors alike enjoy local traditions such as Derby Pie, hot browns and burgoo, as well as a wonderful mix of choices from seafood to Japanese to Italian, Mexican, and many more. Whether you’re looking for in-person dining, carryout or delivery options, you’ll find a ton of local restaurants listed on-line at https://web.commercelexington.com/ Restaurants-Food-Beverages.