Where to Eat, Stay and Play In and Around Lexington, Kentucky

4 min read

We’re fresh off the excitement of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. Thousands of well-dressed folks descended upon Churchill Downs to see their favorite horse and jockey duo go for the famed honor. While most people opt to spend their Derby weekend in Louisville, we want to put you on to the city of Lexington—which isn’t far from the action at all.

From world-class and family-owned distilleries to the very horse farms that breed, raise and train some of those prize-winning thoroughbreds, here’s our guide on where to eat, stay and play in and around Lexington, Kentucky.

Where to Stay

The Kentucky Castle. Image: Courtesy of The Kentucky Castle| Facebook.

The great thing about Lexington is that it’s not so big that you have to spend a lot of time on the road getting from point A to point B. If you’re looking for a hotel option that’s in proximity to the airport, then the Marriott Lexington Griffin Gate Golf Resort & Spa is where you’ll want to be. As the name suggests, the property not only features a full-service spa, but also an 18-hole golf course. There’s even a bourbon on tap machine, so you can sip your favorite expressions while you kick back and relax.

For a unique stay, check out The Kentucky Castle, which is literally a castle that eventually transformed into a hotel. Highlights at the royal property include: a farm-to-table dining experience, spa services as well as the annual lavender festival that takes place in late June.

Where to Eat

The churro latte from Genesis Coffee House. Image: Courtesy of Genesis Coffee House|Facebook.

The city is home to several Black-owned eateries that take pride in whipping up finger-licking dishes. Start with Genesis Coffee House for your morning caffeine boost. Offering an array of espresso drinks as well as breakfast foods, the shop recently underwent renovations and will soon re-open to the public.

For lunch or dinner, we suggest Mimi’s Southern Style Cooking which features all the soul food staples. Or, you can check out Wing KYing for, well, wings and Tossin Tha Sauce for burgers, fries, wings and more.

If you’re anything like us and have to satisfy your sweet tooth at some point during your trip, Never Too Much Creamery has an ice cream cone calling your name.

Where to Play

Jeptha Creed Distillery barrel room. Image: DeAnna Taylor.

You’re in Kentucky, so it’s only right that you visit a distillery or two. With over a dozen options to choose from in and around the city, you’ll always be just a short ride away from the popular spirit. Lexington is home to one of the most well-known bourbon distilleries in the world, Woodford Reserve. And, just a couple of minutes down the road, you’ll find a semi-newcomer to the game, Castle & Key. Take a full property tour or book a tasting for you and your crew. If you don’t mind driving a little outside the city, we suggest planning a trip to Jeptha Creed and opting for its barrel room tasting. All we’ll say is that leather recliners and bourbon straight from the barrel.

If you love horses, you’ll literally be in heaven. Deemed the horse capital of the world, Lexington is home to not only hundreds of thoroughbred farms, but also Churchill Down’s smaller sibling, Keeneland. If you really want a heartwarming experience, book a tour of Godolphin at Gainsborough Farm, where you can glimpse newborn horses—some being born as early as the day you visit. It’s mind-blowing to see a newborn horse come out as big as it does while walking.

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