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The Insider’s Guide to Lexington, KY

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Lexington, Kentucky, known affectionately as the “Horse Capital of the World,” is a city where history gallops through the streets and culture blossoms in every corner. Lexington’s deep-rooted equestrian heritage goes beyond the famed bluegrass pastures and legendary racetracks. It’s a place where the legacy of thoroughbreds and the spirit of Southern hospitality merge, creating a unique tapestry of tradition and excitement. From the echoes of hoofbeats at Keeneland to the bustling downtown arts scene, Lexington stands as a testament to the beauty of blending the past with the present. Join Storage Sense as we delve into the essence of what makes Lexington cherished destination for residents and visitors alike.

Table of Contents

I. Lexington History & Horses

II. Life in the City

III. Popular Attractions & Restaurants

Dive Into the History of Lexington, Kentucky

A Historical Overview of our Fayette County City

In the heart of the Bluegrass region, Lexington, boasts a rich and varied history that dates back to its founding in 1775. Named in honor of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, this city quickly grew as a hub for frontier expansion and development in the late 18th century. By the early 19th century, Lexington had earned the nickname “Athens of the West” for its vibrant culture and emphasis on education and intellectual pursuits. The city played a crucial role during the Civil War, with its location making it a strategic point of interest for both Union and Confederate forces. Lexington’s architectural heritage is a testament to its historical significance, with beautifully preserved structures ranging from Greek Revival to Victorian styles. The city’s dedication to preserving its past is evident in the numerous historic districts and landmarks that dot its landscape.

The Horse Capital of the World

Lexington’s equestrian legacy is unparalleled, earning it the title of “Horse Capital of the World.” This illustrious reputation is rooted in the region’s fertile soil, which grows the nutritious bluegrass that is ideal for raising strong, healthy horses. The tradition of horse breeding and racing in Lexington dates back to the late 18th century, with the establishment of numerous thoroughbred farms and racetracks.

The city is home to the renowned Keeneland Race Course, a National Historic Landmark, where the tradition of horse racing continues to thrive. The annual Keeneland sales are a focal point for the global thoroughbred industry, attracting buyers and enthusiasts from around the world. Lexington also hosts the Kentucky Horse Park, a unique equestrian facility that serves as a working horse farm, educational theme park, and competition venue. This park is a celebration of the horse and its role in Kentucky’s history and culture, offering visitors an immersive experience into the world of equestrian sports and equine management. Through these venues and the ongoing commitment of the local community, Lexington’s equestrian heritage continues to flourish, reinforcing its status as the epicenter of the horse industry.

Experience Life in Lexington

Studying at Our Premier Institutions

Education in Lexington is a top priority, with a strong network of public and private schools catering to K-12 students. Fayette County Public Schools, the city’s public school district, is known for its focus on academic excellence and innovative learning programs. As for higher education, the University of Kentucky, located right in the heart of Lexington, is the state’s flagship institution, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. The students bring a high energy to the city on their own, but they take on an especially eclectic spirit during football and basketball seasons. Transylvania University, another prominent institution, is one of the oldest universities in the United States and offers a liberal arts education. Together, these universities welcome a diverse set of students to call Lexington home.

Working in a Major Regional Industry

Lexington’s economy is diverse, with strong sectors in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. The presence of the University of Kentucky as a major research institution contributes significantly to the healthcare and technology sectors. Additionally, the city’s location in the Bluegrass Region makes it a center for agriculture, particularly in the equine industry, though this extends beyond the well-known horse parks and racetracks. The city also boasts a growing presence in advanced manufacturing, with numerous companies choosing Lexington for its skilled workforce and strategic location.

Getting Involved in the Community

Lexington’s community spirit shines through its array of annual events that cater to just about any interest.

  1. Festival of the Bluegrass: A traditional Bluegrass music festival that takes place annually at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. This family-oriented event features some of the best bluegrass bands in the country and offers music workshops, camping, and crafts.
  2. Keeneland Horse Races: Held in April and October, these world-renowned horse racing events at Keeneland Racecourse are a staple of Lexington’s equestrian culture. They attract horse enthusiasts and socialites from all over for exciting races and elegant tailgating.
  3. Woodland Art Fair: Hosted by the Lexington Art League in August at Woodland Park, this fair showcases works from hundreds of artists, offering live entertainment, food, and activities for kids. It’s a great event to appreciate and purchase fine art.
  4. Crave Lexington Food + Music Festival: A two-day festival held in late summer that celebrates Lexington’s culinary scene. The event features local restaurants, food trucks, craft beer, and live music, making it a highly anticipated event for foodies.
  5. Mayfest Arts Fair: Held in May at Gratz Park, this art fair includes a variety of visual and performing arts, with more than 100 artists’ booths, live performances, and activities for children, making it a family-friendly event.
  6. Fourth of July: Lexington’s Independence Day celebration is a multi-day event featuring a parade, live music, street vendors, and a spectacular fireworks display.
  7. Roots and Heritage Festival: Celebrating African American culture and heritage, this September festival includes a parade, live music, educational exhibits, ethnic food vendors, and a street market.
  8. Southern Lights Holiday Festival: From late November to December, the Kentucky Horse Park transforms into a winter wonderland with a drive-through light display, holiday attractions, and activities for the entire family.

Exploring Popular Attractions

Beyond the equestrian attractions, Lexington has plenty to offer. The city’s detailed history can be explored at sites like the Mary Todd Lincoln House, which offers an intriguing look into the family life of America’s 16th President’s wife, and the Lexington History Museum. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Lexington Art League or the University of Kentucky Art Museum, both of which showcase a diverse range of artworks, from contemporary pieces by local artists to classic works from around the globe. The city’s commitment to the arts is also evident in its mural scene, with stunning street art adorning various buildings, adding color and character to Lexington’s urban landscape.

Nature lovers aren’t left out in Lexington. The city and its surrounding areas are home to numerous parks and natural reserves, each offering its unique charm and opportunities to connect with the outdoors. For example, the McConnell Springs Nature Park, located within the city, is a hidden gem with its beautiful springs and historic significance as the birthplace of Lexington. This park provides a peaceful escape with its walking trails and educational programs. The Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is another scenic destination with more than 734 acres of wilderness and over 10 miles of trails that offer breathtaking views of the Kentucky River. It’s a perfect spot for hiking, bird watching, or simply enjoying a quiet afternoon amidst nature.

Another notable spot to visit is the Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, located on the University of Kentucky campus. This 100-acre botanical garden is not only a visual treat with its themed gardens and walking paths but also serves as an educational resource on local plant species and sustainable horticulture practices. For those seeking a more adventurous outdoor experience, the Legacy Trail offers a 12-mile scenic route for biking and walking, connecting downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park. This trail provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy Kentucky’s picturesque landscapes while indulging in some physical activity. These diverse natural spaces in and around Lexington offer residents and visitors alike the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, whether they’re looking for a leisurely stroll, a rigorous hike, or a chance to learn about local ecosystems.

Good Eats & Fine Drinks

The city’s culinary scene is another highlight, with Lexington boasting an array of dining options that feature time-honored Southern cuisine and contemporary fusion dishes. A must-visit for traditional Southern fare is Dudley’s on Short, renowned for its upscale take on classic dishes, set in a charming, historic building. BBQ enthusiasts flock to Blue Door Smokehouse, a local favorite known for its authentic, slow-cooked meats and down-home side dishes. For a taste of Lexington’s international flavors, Sahara Mediterranean Cuisine stands out with its array of Middle Eastern delicacies, capturing the essence of the region’s traditional recipes. The city also prides itself on its farm-to-table establishments, like Honeywood, which showcases the best of Kentucky’s local produce in every dish. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, a casual bite, or an elegant dining experience, Lexington’s culinary scene caters to all, making it a true haven for food lovers.

Lastly, no visit to Lexington would be complete without exploring its distilleries. Lexington serves as a gateway to the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail, an immersive journey through the heart of America’s bourbon country. This iconic trail leads enthusiasts to some of the most storied distilleries in the nation, several of which are nestled in and around Lexington. A highlight is the Buffalo Trace Distillery, America’s oldest continuously operating distillery, where visitors can experience rich history and exceptional bourbon. Nearby, the Woodford Reserve Distillery offers a picturesque setting alongside traditional bourbon-making methods, providing a perfect blend of scenic beauty and deep-rooted craftsmanship. For those seeking a modern twist on the classic bourbon experience, Town Branch Distillery brings innovative techniques and a contemporary flair to its spirits. Exploring these distilleries provides not just a taste of some of the finest bourbons but also a deep dive into the rich heritage and culture that define Kentucky’s bourbon legacy.

Storage Sense – Your Temperature-Controlled Storage Solution in Lexington

As you prepare for your move to the Lexington area, leave your worries behind. Let Storage Sense assist you as you have to relocate and settle in your belongings to a new home. For those occasions when you could use a little extra storage space, look to self storage as an easy and affordable solution. See how our storage facility on Ruccio Way can support you through this new transition!

From browsing available storage units to renting space, you can handle your entire storage rental online. Check out resources like our storage calculator and expert tips to guide you through the process and help you find the ideal size to rent for your anticipated load. Finding self storage online has never been easier! And as always, if you have questions or concerns along the way, we are available to assist by email, phone, and in person in our office. Take a look at the storage units we have available to find the perfect space for you!

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Katie Mest

Katie Mest

About the Author: Katie Mest is a Content Marketing Specialist at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She specializes in writing about the self storage industry, including storage tips and helpful resources. Outside of work, Katie enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors and snuggling in with a crochet project and her cat, Billie.