Lexington is one of those rare historic American cities that is able to keep its colonial roots perfectly preserved, while honoring its more recent industry of horse farming. Coupled with major commercial ventures like banks, malls, telecom headquarters, and independent clothing stores, Lexington has a little bit of everything: Southern charm, Creole color, American history, and connection to the classic heartland.
The perfect setting to relax and wander through the spring-like fountains, this park is also a popular public venue, with summer movies and a winter ice skating rink.
Don't miss the chance to chow down on authentic gumbo, jambalaya, and other southern delicacies.
The American tradition of classic bourbon is alive and well in this city. Take your pick of tours at the Barrel House Distillery or Town Branch Distillery.
Kentucky is well known for its beautiful horse farms. Even if you have no equestrian ambitions, organize a tour of the private farms and spend some time on the ground with these gentle, majestic creatures.
Located right next to the University of Kentucky is this 100-acre botanical park. With its beautiful foliage and pleasant walkways, you can easily lose an entire afternoon here.
A working horse farm and theme park, the Kentucky Horse Park features the Parade of Breeds Show, that showcases a variety of international horse breeds, and the International Museum of the Horse, exhibiting a collection of memorabilia for horse history buffs. A walking barn tour also allows visitors to interact with police horses. The park is dotted with horse sculptures -- including a tribute to Man O' War -- and hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the High Hope Steeplechase, the National Pony Club Championships and the USEF Pony Finals among others.
The childhood home of Mary Todd, the future first lady, Lincoln House is a fourteen-room museum housing period furniture, portraits and relics from both the families of the president and his wife. The former slave plantation, built between 1803 and 1806, was the first historic landmark restored in honor of the First Lady. The enclosed early nineteenth century gardens feature trees, plants, herbs and shrubs from that period.
Located at the Blue Grass Airport, the Aviation Museum (home of the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame) features 12,000 square feet of exhibit space, a library and an aircraft restoration and repair workshop. The gallery showcases personal collections from members of the Kentucky Aviation History Roundtable and local aviation enthusiasts -- these include military and civilian airplanes, such as rebuilt barnstormers, vintage air carriers, notable warbirds and current aircraft.
A 734-acre nature preserve, Raven Run borders the Kentucky River and is a favorite among hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. The meadows, woodlands and streams still house historic vestiges of the early 19th-century pioneers. The sanctuary hosts the Raven 10K, a free yoga program and numerous hiking trails including the White Trails, which link the Red Trail with attractions such as the Overlook, Evan's Mill and Lime Kiln. Alternatively, there's the Freedom Trail, a paved trail for bike access.
The Arboretum, also known as the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, houses 100 acres of green space showcasing perennials, roses, trees and shrubs. The Kentucky Children's Garden includes a wading stream, a model train layout and a pioneer house. The Walk Across Kentucky is a two-mile trail that extends over 80 acres of regional landscapes, including tallgrass prairies, savannahs, glades and wetlands. The Arboretum Woods Walk features 60 species of ancient trees, grass, shrubs and wildflowers.
The best time to visit Lexington is the fall or summer seasons. Sunny days usually hit a high of 86, though the humidity can make it feel much warmer. Spring and summer are also great times to meet newly born foals at the horse farms.
Blue Grass Airport (LEX) is where major American carriers land. Use the Lextran bus to get from the airport to Lexington's downtown area.
The closest Amtrak station is Maysville, which is 1.5 hours from Lexington. Ticket prices vary but a one-way adult fare from Atlanta to Maysville costs $184 for a "Value" seat.
To get from Atlanta to Lexington, use the I-75 N.
The best way to travel is by Greyhound bus. Tickets vary based on city of origin and how far in advance you buy. From Atlanta to Lexington, for example, the fare can be between $30 - $50.
Historical and luxurious, accommodation at the Gratz Park Inn is sure to please. For a pleasant stay, book a room at the Clarion Hotel. Budget travelers will love their time at Baymont Inn & Suites.
Downtown Lexington - consisting of happening spots like Main Street, Broadway, or High Street, there are many shops, restaurants, and public parks in this area.
Gratz Park - this is the historic district. Located north of the downtown area, it consists of 16 historic buildings including the stunning Carnegie Library.
Ashland Park - a beautiful 20th-century neighborhood, Ashland Park is made up of stately and architecturally complex homes in Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles.
Public service in Lexington is run by Lextran. A single adult fare is $1 and you can also grab a monthly pass for $30.
Taxis in Lexington are plentiful but its hard to hail them on the street, unless you're accessing them from the designated stand at the airport. Consider booking in advance instead. Fares start with a flat rate of $2.50 and it's $1.93 per mile thereafter.
Companies like Enterprise, National, and Budget are present in Lexington. Fares vary by dealer but are generally around $75 per day, for a standard, four-door vehicle.
Depending on your tastes, there are several spots that are perfect for shopping. A few of the more well-known outlets include Maxwell/High Streets, for indie boutiques and restaurants, or the largest mall in the state, Fayette Mall.
A quart of milk is just $0.76 and a dozen eggs costs $2.55.
Lexington is the home of the most decadent culinary offerings, steeped in the history of the American South. These include local delicacies like Hot Brown, burgoo, beer cheese, and bourbon balls. For these and more, check out either Bourbon n' Toulouse, where mains are $6.50, Charlie Brown's Restaurant, or Gumbo Ya Ya, where "super-sized" mains are $8.50.