When the redbuds start to bloom, the Kentucky Colonel Mint starts popping up and the bluegrass turns bluegreen once again, there are few places one would rather be than Lexington. Springtime means that the horses are ready to run in the official Horse Capital of the World®, and we’ve got some ideas for how you can be a part of it all.
Photo Credit: Horse Country Tours
Horse Country Tours
When adding a horse experience to your Kentucky trip, an intimate Horse Country tour is an absolute must! See firsthand how the real Lexington royalty live—the horses, that is! Horse Country offers tours of all things equine. From seeing the mares and foals frolicking in the fields to meeting iconic Thoroughbred stallions, Horse Country tours are sure to get you up close and personal with Lexington’s most elite athletes (don’t tell UK basketball fans we said that). Not sure where to start? Take Horse Country’s quiz to find the perfect experience for you!
Photo Credit: Horse Country Tours
Keeneland Race Track
Now that you’ve seen where the horses live, you’ve gotta watch ‘em run! One of the state’s most iconic destinations is waiting for you at Keeneland. With race meets in April and October, you’ve got to get it in while you can. Opening day of the Spring Race Meet is the first Friday in April with more than $2.5 million in purse money to be won throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the win-and-you’re-in Bluegrass Stakes race runs and three-year-old Thoroughbreds have their final shot of making it to the Kentucky Derby.
When you arrive at the track, make sure to pick up a racing form and grab a Keeneland Breeze at the bar to sip on while you watch this magnificent breed of horses do what they do best. After you hit it big on a longshot, we recommend you take your winnings to the Keeneland Shop, where you can buy luxury brands, home decor, race meet swag and more. And don’t miss an opportunity to eat your way around the track with their famous burgoo and Bourbon bread pudding as you take in the National Historic Landmark’s scenery. Make sure to dress appropriately, because April weather in Kentucky can be as unpredictable as the race results (and there is a dress code if you’re going to the Clubhouse).
Want even more horses? Check out the Kentucky Horse Park, where they offer attractions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on spring weekends such as the Parade of Breeds, Hall of Champions Show, and the Museum of the Horse. Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm is a beautiful setting for award winning horses to live out their golden years. Wanna see where Disney’s Secretariat was filmed? There’s an itinerary for that.
Photo Credit: Lexington Distillery District
Lexington’s Distillery District
After a day spent admiring the horses, take a trip to Lexington’s up-and-coming Distillery District. Located on the historic James E. Pepper Distillery grounds, the recently rejuvenated hotspot for food, drinks and entertainment awaits. You can do it all from shopping, deep tissue massages, axe throwing and bocce to live music and more. Get a jump on your Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® passport and make reservations to tour the revived James E. Pepper Distillery. Sample some of their delicious whiskeys and even take home the complimentary glass.
Photo Credit from Left to Right: James E. Pepper Distillery; The Elkhorn Tavern; Barrel House Distillery
Don’t miss Barrel House Distillery right next door—it’s small, but their award winning Rockcastle Bourbon is worth the price of admission! After your tour, choose from their extensive cocktail menu in the adjoining Elkhorn Tavern, and snack on pimento cheese, charcuterie board, cowboy caviar, or their burgoo (duh).
Photo Credit: The Campbell House
If you’re overwhelmed by all the fun things you can do in Lexington, we will make one thing easy for you—book your stay at the Campbell House. Just minutes from downtown and only four miles from Keeneland and the airport, the Campbell House seamlessly blends the classic elegance of Lexington’s rich cultural past with fresh and modern style. Refuel at the gorgeous Rackhouse Tavern with some beer cheese, Kentucky poutine, or perhaps the Campbell House hot brown. Choose from over 300 Bourbons, or sip on their Vintage Old Fashioned made with James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon—remember him?
Photo Credit: Lexington Tourism
Whether your fancy is Bourbon, horses, culinary, shopping, history, and beyond—Lexington has it all. With big-city amenities and a small town charm, Lex is a must for any trip to Kentucky. So this April, you know where to find us. We will see you at the track, Kentucky Bourbon in hand!