A Quick Introduction to Lexington
Lexington, "The Athens of the West", is the second-largest city in Kentucky, nestled right in the smack-dab-center of the Bluegrass region. Rich in history (Henry Clay, Lincoln, Bourbon), education (University of Kentucky & Transylvania University), farms fresh with fertile soils (almost-daily Lexington Farmers Market), and horses (Keeneland, The Red Mile, "Horse Capital of the World"), Lexington combines the charm and relaxed speed of the south with the educated wealth and uniqueness of the north; ultimately producing a place like no other that feels like the biggest-small-town in America.
For someone who has never been here, it might be challenging to get around. Here are some quick tips:
New Circle Road
New Circle Road acts as a wagon-wheel-shaped highway around the outskirts of the city. Downtown is right in the center and Main St. splits the circle in half, horizontally. If you drive 20 minutes in any direction, you're likely to find yourself out of the city and in the beautiful bluegrass countryside (we'd recommend heading out Manchester St./Old Frankfort Pike).
Other Major Roads
All of the main roads leading in and out of the city are named after their eventual destinations (Nicholasville Rd. will take you to Nicholasville, Richmond Rd. heads to Richmond, etc.
If you can't find something or need a recommendation, just ask someone! We're a friendly city and we had lots of questions too, when we first arrived. All knowledge is inherited.
Kentucky Proud Cuisine
(specializing in local ingredients, etc.)
Stella's Kentucky Deli - Quality food emphasizing flavors of fresh, local ingredients. All sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts are made by hand, in house (Try the Veggie Hot Brown!) 143 Jefferson St.
Smithtown Seafood - Locally raised fish and burgers. Price range $8-15. 501 W 6th St, Lexington, KY 40508
Sav’s Chill - Ice cream made in Winchester Kentucky. Price range $3-7. 289 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
Cuisine From Around The World
El Gran Tako - Mexican restaurant that specializes in Tortas. Price range under $10. 1801 Alexandria Dr., Lexington KY 40504
Old San Juan - Cuban cuisine. Price range $8-15. Vegetarian options available. 247 Surfside Dr, Lexington, KY 40503
Maria's Kitchen - Homemade Tortillas and delicious Tacos/Burritos/Gorditas/etc. (Try the Adobada Burrito!) 895 N Broadway, Lexington, KY 40508
Panda Garden/Panda Cuisine - Delicious Chinese food. Lots of regional dishes. Plenty of vegetarian options. Price range $11-30 2358 Nicholasville Rd., Lexington, KY 40503
Han Woo Ri - Korean cuisine. price range $10-20. 371 South Limestone # 110, Lexington, KY 40508
Tachibana - Best all-around authentic Japanese Restaurant with hibachi, sushi, ramen, and lots of other specialty items. 785 Newtown Ct, Lexington, KY 40511
Pho BC - Vietnamese cuisine. Price range $8-15. Vegetarian options available. Regency Center, 171 W Lowry Ln, Lexington, KY 40503
Curry House - Indian cuisine. Price Range $10-20. Zandale Shopping Center, 2220 Nicholasville Rd #160, Lexington, KY 40503
Sav’s Grill - West African cuisine. Peanut goat. Price range $8-15. Vegetarian options available. 304 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
Sahara - Mediterranean cuisine and international market. Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Price range $8-15. 3061 Fieldstone Way, Lexington, KY 40513
Bad Wolf Cafe - Best. Burgers. Ever. (and you can sub a veggie pattie for any burger) 1415 Leestown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511
Pucini's Smiling Teeth - Tasty pizza - lots of yummy veggie and meat options - some with orange marmalade. 833 Chevy Chase Place.
Grey Goose - Tasty thin crust pesto pizza and many others. 170 Jefferson St, Lexington, KY 40507
Goodfellas - Awesome pizza! And you can buy it by the slice. Price range $5-10. 110 North Mill Street, Lexington, KY
Good Foods Market & Cafe - Local cooperative grocery store and cafe. Price Range $5-15. Lots of vegan and vegetarian options. 455 Southland Dr, Lexington, KY 40503
Sam’s Hot Dog Stand - Hot dogs and milk shakes. Price Range $3-9. 105 North Limestone, Lexington, KY 40507
Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen - Build your own salad or try one of their specialty salads. Price range $8-15. Several vegan and vegetarian options. 1781 Sharkey Way #110, Lexington, KY 40511
Wagon Bones Grill - Great BBQ place that offers Western Kentucky style mutton. Price range $10-15. 591 W Short St, Lexington, KY 40507
Bourbon & Toulouse - Cajun style cuisine. Price range $8-12. Vegan and vegetarian friendly. 829 Euclid Ave, Lexington, KY 40502
Indi’s Fast Food Restaurant - Local fried chicken shop and soul food to go. Price range $5-10. 670 N Broadway, Lexington, KY 40508
Coffee & Tea
Third Street Stuff - Major hub for artists and activists and community do-gooders. 257 N Limestone #1, Lexington, KY 40507
A Cup of Commonwealth - Check out their “pay it forward board” 105 Eastern Ave, Lexington, KY 40508
North Lime Coffee & Donuts - Fresh roasted coffee and killer donuts made in-house. 575 N Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
Sunrise Bakery - Family owned bakery. Quite delicious, but they keep early hours (Thurs & Fri, 8 am to 2:30 pm) . Sat, 8 am to Noon. 111 W Main St, Lexington, KY 40507
sQecial media - Independent bookstore and gift shop currently in their 42nd year of business. 371 S Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
Lexington Peddlers Mall - A huge indoor flea market. Booths among booths of interesting stuff, some antiques, some kitsch, etc. 1205 E New Circle Rd, Lexington, KY 40505
Pops Resale - A clearinghouse for vinyl records, vintage and quirky clothing, old-school game systems, and a million other things you ain't never heard of. Leestown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511
The Album - Music store specializing in Hip Hop and vinyl. 371 S Limestone
The Central Library - Libraries don’t need an introduction; they’re just cool. The Lexington downtown library is especially cool because it houses the world’s largest ceiling clock, a five story Foucault pendulum and a frieze depicting the history of the horse in the Bluegrass.
Lexington Cemetery - Established in 1849, the Lexington Cemetery is a beautiful landmark. Free and open to the public 8am-5pm.
The Legacy trail - A 12 mile walking, biking, interpretive trail and public art venue. The Trail begins in the East End of downtown Lexington at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and runs to the Kentucky Horse Park. Over eight miles of the trail are off-street and are fully paved to accommodate every type of non-motorized user.
Shaker Village - The site of a Shaker religious community that was active from 1805 to 1910. Following a preservationist effort that began in 1961, the site, now a National Historic Landmark, has become a popular tourist destination.
Red River Gorge - Located mostly inside of the Daniel Boone National forest, The Red River Gorge is a canyon system on the Red River in east-central Kentucky. It’s a great place to hike and camp and is only about 45 minutes from Lexington.
The University of Kentucky Arboretum - The Arboretum showcases Kentucky landscapes and serves as a resource center for environmental and horticultural education, research and conservation. Free and open to the public.
The Carnegie Center - Situated in a beautiful historic building, the Carnegie Center is a non-profit family learning center devoted to helping all citizens improve their quality of life. Our open-door policy invites people young and old to learn something new. We offer seasonal classes in Writing, Computer Literacy, graphic design, and Language; tutoring for students grades K-12; vibrant youth and family programs and exhibits, readings, and other arts-related events designed to encourage among Central Kentuckians an appreciation for all art forms and for learning in general.
The Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center - Between 1948 and 1963, the Lyric Theatre was a thriving entertainment centerpiece for Lexington’s African-American families. Originally built as a movie house, the Lyric opened at the corner of Third and Deweese Street (now Elm Tree Lane) in Lexington. And it quickly became a cultural icon.Before closing in 1963, the theatre returned to its roots as a movie theatre, featuring horror films and black cowboy movies plus Saturday morning cartoons. It was restored and re-opened in 2010
The Kentucky Theatre - The Kentucky Theatre is more than just a movie house. The Kentucky Theatre is a familiar Landmark to generations of Lexingtonians. It’s richly ornamented walls and glowing stained glass fixtures have hosted gala events and entertained overflowing crowds. They have also endured hard times and disasters, both natural and manmade. And so it stands today, a true palace of memories, a hall full of comedy, tragedy, drama, adventure, and just plain fun.
The Bourbon Trail - launched in 1999, the Bourbon Trail is a program of the Kentucky Distillers' Association (KDA) to promote the bourbon industry in Kentucky. To do the entire trail and visit all nine of its distilleries, it can take up to three days.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary - Raven Run is a unique, 734-acre nature sanctuary dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the Kentucky River Palisades and early Kentucky history. Over 10 miles of hiking trails provide access to streams, meadows and woodlands characteristic of the area. Numerous 19th century remnants of early settlers, as well as over 600 species of plants, allow visitors to become acquainted with and appreciate the natural world. Raven Run also accommodates over 200 species of birds throughout the year. Open daily from 9am - 5pm. Free.
University of Kentucky Art Museum - Permanent collection and photography exhibitions: FREE for everyone
Special exhibitions: $8 / $5. HOURS: Tues. - Sun.: noon to 5 pm Fri.: noon to 8 pm Closed Mondays & University Holidays
Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden - The Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden (IMMAG) is a community collaboration aimed at commemorating the lives, stories and contributions of African-American horse industry members from Lexington’s East End neighborhood.
UK Zine Archive - opened October 19, 2006. The collection's focus includes zines produced in or discussing issues related to the Southern United States or those with an environmental slant (global warming, bikes, veganism, sustainable communities, etc.) The collection is non-circulating, but the reading room is open to the public. It is housed in the University Archives at the Special Collection Research Center located in King Building North.
Lexington Ice Center - Ice skating and bible-themed miniature golf. 560 Eureka Springs Lexington, KY 40517
Champs Entertainment Complex - Roller skating and laser tag. 297 Ruccio Way, Lexington, KY 40503
West Sixth Brewery - Local brewery. 501 W 6th St, Lexington, KY 40508
Blue Stallion Brewing Co. - Local brewery. 610 W 3rd St, Lexington, KY 40508
Side Bar Grill - Delicious bar food, especially the sweet potato fries. 147 North Limestone, Lexington, KY 40507
Al's Bar - Great food, lots of local music. 601 North Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
Arcadium - Fun bar with tons of old school arcade games. 574 N Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
The Green Lantern - Punk/dive bar. W 3rd St, Lexington, KY 40508
Soundbar - Queer friendly dance club. 208 S Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
The Bar Complex - LGBTIQ bar and dance club featuring drag shows Thursday-Saturdays