Lexington Kentucky: Things to Do, What to Eat, Places to Stay

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Lexington Kentucky has plenty to offer outside its renowned Derby Day. Surrounded by rambling farms and rolling countryside, this Bluegrass city entertains its share of queens, sheiks, equestrians, and movie stars. Some tips below.

Where To Stay
Getting a comfortable bed in this town proves easy (the Tempur-Pedic mattress company houses its headquarters in Lexington and maintains a partnership with many hotels).

Gas fireplaces add to the cozy feel of rooms at the Crowne Plaza Lexington Campbell House. The hotel offers a babysitting service, barber shop, and same day dry-cleaning, or choose the Courtyard Lexington South by Marriott just off I-75 at the Man O’War exit (Exit 108).

What To Do
Keeneland Race Course, an iconic Lexington stop for equestrians, offers an inside look during its horse sales four times a year. Auctioneers sell foals and mares to the highest bidders as buyers and spectators watch from cushy seats in a theater-style pavilion.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill sits like a time capsule half an hour away. Worth the drive, this living-history museum showcases Shaker artwork and livelihood on nearly 3,000 acres of preserved farmland.

Shoppers love Lexington’s eclectic mix of trendy shops and homespun boutiques filled with holiday wares. At Magpie Yarn, knitters can take classes and browse its broad variety of natural fiber yarns, including bamboo, corn silk, soy, wool, cotton, and linen. Joseph-Beth Booksellers, a mammoth two-level store, often hosts Food Network authors and provides reads on subjects ranging from astronomy to architecture.

Artique Lexington Green features fine American crafts by a thousand U.S. artists with everything from jewelry to furniture to pottery to blown glass. They have another location in The Lexington Center. Natasha’s Bistro/Boutique offers eclectic clothing from around the world, imaginative international cuisine, and gourmet coffees and teas. The Black Market Boutique showcases a mix of vintage and contemporary style by designers such as Miss Me and Kensie Clothing.

Along Clay Avenue visit the distinctive shops such as Linens Limited, with its luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets, dreamy goose-down pillows, and designer duvets. Head to The Paperweight for personalized stationery and invitations as well as gift items.

From down-home to darn good, Lexington offers a surplus of meal choices where you can rub elbows with jockeys, trainers, and horse owners at Keeneland Track Kitchen.

Modeled after a traditional French bistro, Le Deauville serves escargot in garlic sauce to less exotic items such as lamb chops with rosemary scented au jus. Portofino is a fabulous choice and known for its bruschetta, beef tenderloin bathed in cognac, and house-made cheese-and-basil ravioli.

Natasha’s Bistro/Boutique is great for their Hungarian Goulash and Midnight Chicken Curry. On weekends watch entertainers at The Balagula Theatre, located on-site only a few feet from the dining area.

Photo: Manchester Farm

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