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Your Guide to Lexington

From our team of local experts, here's where to spend your time in Horse Country

Trip to Lexington booked – check! Suitcase packed – check! Travel itinerary… not quite done yet? We got you and we can’t wait to share our amazing city with you! We’ve put together a list highlighting our favorite activities, events and experiences throughout the city to help ease all of your planning woes. Here’s our guide to the Lexington community for your upcoming visit…

First, here’s what to do right here. 

You don’t have to go far to explore, indulge and recharge when you stay at 21c Lexington. As you walk through our doors, you’ll find yourself immediately immersed in our current exhibition Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Artsite-specific installations, and our Elevate exhibits, which feature local artists and are located on each floor of the hotel. When it’s time to eat, enjoy freshest seasonal offerings prepared by the team at Lockbox.

Louis Armstrong by Odeith located at Corner of Elm Tree Lane and Corral Streets.

Ready to see the city?

Take a five-minute walk through the downtown neighborhood to Institute 193 contemporary art gallery, which features local and regional artists. Looking for an outdoor adventure? Grab your bike and hit the Legacy Trail, which connects downtown Lexington with area neighborhoods, parks and historic sites on a northward course to the Kentucky Horse Park. Or stay close and discover Lexington’s vibrant street art scene with commissioned works by street artists from all over the world. Take things to the next level and tackle Visit Lexington’s Mural Challenge.

In need of a little retail therapy? The Summit at Fritz Farm is your one-stop for the region’s best shopping. Take home a little piece of our city with a locally made print or crafted barware from Keeneland Mercantile. Shop clothes that feel like they were made for you at Peplum. Find “big city fashion with small town charm” at Lexington shopping staple, Bella Rose. Located just 3 blocks away is an indoor shopping area called The Square, along with shops and restaurants, you’ll also find Main Cross Gallery, featuring one-of-a-kind artworks by local artists and Explorium of Lexington, a children’s museum with dynamic hands-on activities to help inspire imagination and curiosity in your little ones. On the lookout for a new statement furniture piece or just interested in perusing one-of-a-kind vintage finds? Scout Antique & Modern is the place for you.

Where to eat and drink. 

There is no shortage of good food in this city. Start your day the right way with a coffee and donut to-go from North Lime. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of the best treats you will ever eat at Magees. Grab a made-to-order bagel from Great Bagel & Bakery. Get your midday caffeine fix from Manchester Coffee Co. or try a coffee or tea infused cocktail from Lussi Brown. Missed your morning wake-up call? Don’t stress… breakfast is served all day at Josie’s!

Get sneaky good deli sandwiches and spreads at Dad’s Favorites. Visiting on a Friday? Be sure to order their BBQ and Beer Cheese Mac & Cheese special! Find some of the best fare in the city by Kentucky restaurateur legend, Ouita Michel, at Wallace Station. Surprise your palate at Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites where Sri Lankan cuisine meets Southern eats.

Grab a table at Lexington-favorite Coles 735 Main. Indulge in Latin-inspired cuisine and margaritas from Corta Lima. Head to Graze for some of the best comfort food in the city. Eat cured in-house meats from Epping’s on Eastside. Feed your soul and belly with some of the best BBQ and smoked meats around at County Club. Treat yourself to a bottle of wine and cheese from Wine+Market. Dine in an urban oasis at Kentucky Native Café, located in Mitchler’s garden & greenhouse. Or, if you prefer to eat outdoors, grab to-go and enjoy a picnic at the University of Kentucky Arboretum, Kentucky’s 100-acre state botanical garden.

Visiting on a warm summer day? Cool down with a cold beer from one of our favorite local craft breweries. Take a short bike ride to West Sixth, which shares space with another Chef Ouita restaurant, Smithtown Seafood. Pro-tip: don’t skip on the Fried Banana Pepper Rings. Find German lagers and British ales at Blue Stallion. Pair your brew with a brick oven pizza from Mirror Twin Brewing. Or try an experimental micro-brew at Ethereal Brewery in Distillery District. Wind down at night with a cocktail just a few blocks away at a cozy bar called Ona.

Now, how about some bourbon? 

Now, how about some bourbon? After all, you are in Kentucky. Explore the countryside and visit distilleries like Castle & KeyBuffalo TraceWoodford Distillery and Wild Turkey for a guided tour. Some distilleries are still in the process of reopening their doors to the public – stay up-to-date on re-openings with this resource from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, chances are Lockbox has it. Just head down to the bar for a flight!

Looking to take a bottle home with you? Visit Justin’s House of Bourbon and find wall-to-wall selections, including some old and rare finds, or take home a bottle of our exclusive private barrel 21c Selects, which are bottled in limited quantities, from our gift shop.

Venture a little further out of Lexington and hit the trails. 

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is located just outside the city and has some great hikes, all year long. The 734-acre park borders the Kentucky River and historic remnants from 19th century settlers can be found throughout the park.

Have time for a day trip? Travel a little further (about an hour outside the city) and visit Kentucky’s trails and sandstone cliffs at the Red River Gorge located in Daniel Boone National Forest. While you’re out there, be sure to visit Natural Bridge, a 2.5 mile loop leading to amazing views of the park below from… you guessed it… a Natural Bridge! Want more trails? Here are some of our favorites.

Our teammates are experts on our community so give us a call at 859.899.6800 if you have any questions when planning your stay!

For more updates on local city-wide events, go to VisitLex.

Find yourself not ready to leave? See current offers and extend your stay!

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