21 Things You Need To Know About Lexington Before you Move ThereThe perfect mix of old-fashioned Southern charm and urban excitement, Lexington won't just be your horse's new favorite city.
1. Don't Be Confused By All The NamesSource: Wikimedia Commons
When you move to Lexington, you’re moving to the second largest metro area in Kentucky, that actually includes five counties. Don’t get confused: Lexington is the city itself, but the entire metro area is called Lexington-Fayette because it’s in Fayette County. Make sense? Good.
2. The Real "Horse Capital of the World"Source: Flickr User Heather Moreton (Heather Moreton-Abounader Photography)
Sorry Floridians, Lexington wins this one. Not only does the area have more than 400 horse farms, but Lexington was the first city in the US to host the World Equestrian Games, is home to the 1,200 acre Kentucky Horse Park and the #1 Thoroughbred Racetrack in North America, the Keeneland Race Course. The list goes on and on.
3. Everyone Belongs To The Big Blue NationSource: University of Kentucky via Facebook
You will be a Wildcats fan here, whether you’re into football, basketball, soccer or even cheerleading…you’ll wear blue and bleed blue. The Big Blue Nation is fiercely loyal (and fiercely critical) of their Wildcats. The sea of blue you’ll see at games is not only made up of clothing, but wigs, body paint and flags. Go Wildcats!
4. You’ll Want To Bring Your BikeSource: The Living Arts and Science Center via Facebook
Don’t forget your bike when you move here. Sure, the city has 24 miles of shared use trails, 28 miles of bike lanes, an additional six miles of bike routes, and the Bluegrass Cycling Club is a great way to meet new people and stay in shape, but those aren’t the only reasons to bring your bike. Two Words: Bike. Prom. Glam up, ride through downtown and then play fun games like spin-the-bottle.
5. The Farmer’s Markets are AwesomesauceSource: Lexington Farmers Market Facebook
Between the Bluegrass Farmer’s Market and the Lexington Farmer’s Market, you’re completely covered when it comes to fresh, local food and local arts and artisan wares. Each one has multiple locations open multiple days a week. So there’s no excuse not to get those veggies.
6. Lexington Is The Brains Of KentuckySource: University of Kentucky via Facebook
Lexington is full of smarties. Who knew? The city was named on a list of the top 10 smartest cities, based on data by U.S. News & World Report. Almost 40 percent of residents earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, and they don’t just go to the University of Kentucky or Transylvania University, either. More than 18 colleges call Lexington and central Kentucky home.
7. This Place Loves Beer Almost As Much As BourbonSource: Kentucky Ale via Facebook
You thought Kentucky was just about the bourbon? The Fest of Ales in downtown Lexington will set you straight, with dozens of breweries offering delicious samples. There are more craft breweries popping up all over Lexington than we can even name, and plenty of festivals and events that give you the chance to try it all.
8. And Wait, There’s Wine Too?!Source: Black Barn Winery via Facebook
You bet. Who doesn’t want to just take a day off sometimes and go drink wine? Well, in Lexington it’s not all bourbon and beer, you can also indulge your love of the grape at local wineries. The top two to check out? Black Barn Winery and Castle Hill Winery are the top choices. Call ahead.
9. You Must Try Stella’s Kentucky DeliSource: Stella’s Kentucky Deli via Facebook
Whether you want a delicious brunch or a locally-inspired dinner, Stella’s will be your go-to place in Lexington. Their fried green tomatoes make everything better (try ‘em on the BLT, nomnomnom), and their hot brown reigns supreme. Don’t forget to try the Mary Porter Pie.
10. Lexington Loves Being Green Almost As Much As Being BlueBoth ‘Keep Lexington Beautiful’ and ‘Live Green Lexington’ are doing wonders for the city by getting people to clean up and green up, from picking up trash and planting gardens, to beautifying their communities. If you’re going to move here, do your part.
11. The Fourth of July Is The Biggest HolidaySource: Flickr User keithreed01
July 4 isn’t an ordinary one-day event here - it lasts for several days with street vendors, games, concerts, contests, fireworks, and a parade, to the Declaration of Independence being read on the steps of the Old Courthouse. Everyone comes out and celebrates for days. This year you can celebrate the fourth on the second, third and fourth.
12. Good Foods Market & Cafe Will Blow Your Whole Foods AwaySource: Good Foods Market & Cafe via Facebook
Forget Whole Foods Market and check out central Kentucky’s only food cooperative, Good Foods Market. They focus on local, natural, organic, non-GMO foods and support more than 250 Kentucky farmers and local businesses. Seriously, how does it get better than that? Join the coop and get discounts, that’s how.
13. You Do Not Want To Miss The Kentucky Crawfish FestivalKentuckians come out by the thousands for The Kentucky Crawfish Festival. An entire truckload of crawfish makes its way from Louisiana to Lexington the night before the festival, but even if you don’t like the little buggers, come for the jambalaya, fried catfish and alligator, and to dance the night away to cajun-jazz music.
14. A Cup Of Common Wealth Is The Best Cup O’ JoeSource: A Cup of Common Wealth via Facebook
Not only does Common Wealth have the best coffee, but everyone who works there is truly a hoot. These folks need their own reality TV show: they’re all fun, hilarious and make getting your morning cup of coffee the best part of your day. They also like to surprise customers with free local donuts and random free coffee, so make sure to stop by often.
15. Lexington Takes Its Music With A TwangIf you love bluegrass then you are in just the right city. The Festival of the Bluegrass is one of the longest standing bluegrass festivals in the state, and is always a rockin’ good time in every way - just remember they don’t sell alcohol, so make sure to bring your own bourbon. Or beer. Or wine.
16. There’s Plenty Of Fun For Snobbier Types TooSource: Lexington Ballet via Facebook
Prefer art shows and museums to bluegrass? Would you rather hear an opera over jazz? Never fear, this Southern city has you covered. Try a garden tour, see a theater performance or even a ballet. Lexington has all sorts of highbrow culture for you to explore and enjoy.
17. The Kentucky Horse Park Events Are The BestSource: The Kentucky Horse Park via Facebook
Naturally, the Kentucky Horse Park has just about every kind of event centered around horses you could imagine. Horseback riding, pony rides, a twice daily Parade of Breeds, and the International Museum of the Horse. But the venue also houses the Rolex Stadium and the Alltech Arena, making it a great place to see dog shows, concerts, antique car shows, sporting events like wrestling and basketball, festivals, and more. You’ll spend a lot of time here.
18. You Should Probably Keep Your Running Shoes With YouSource: I Love Raven Run Nature Sanctuary via Facebook
If you’re a hiker, just head to the 734-acre sanctuary, Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, or hop on the Appalachian Trail. If you’re looking for smaller hikes, check out Frankfort Pike or McConnell Springs. You can also meander through the 100-acre Arboretum by the University of Kentucky.
19. A Sanctuary In The Middle Of DowntownSource: Flickr User Louis Zoellar Bickett II (louisbickett)
Need a little respite from downtown? The Gratz Park Historic District is comprised of a city park and several large residences. It’s beautiful, charming, tranquil and a nice little oasis right in downtown. When you’re family and friends visit, tell them to stay at the Gratz Park Inn. Make sure to try out Jonathan’s at Gratz Park, too - the food is amazing.
20. Southern Lights Is MagicalEveryone looks forward to the holiday season in Lexington and not just because of the presents. Southern Lights is a favorite holiday tradition, with more than four miles of twinkling lights. This year is the 20th anniversary, and be sure to look for the new Wizard of Oz light display. Afterwards, hang out at the park and see the live reindeer!
21. Lexington Is Simply A Gorgeous Place To LiveSource: Flickr User Ulrich Burkhalter
This part of the country is spectacular with incredible scenery, rolling hills and rambling fences. There’s plenty of places to unplug and escape to peace, quiet and serene beauty. What you love about living in Lexington? Tell us in the comments below!