Visiting Lexington, KY

Will be traveling through Lexington in June. Don’t have a ton of time but plan to use it as a mini-break/birthday celebration. Dogs and non-horsey husband in tow.

I’ve visited the KHP once as a kid (a Pony Clubber!)but am interested in going again if it’s worth it. Also interested in Keeneland, other horsey activities, or great restaurants.

Any and all recommendations welcome!

we did a tour of private TB farms that was excellent. Also there is a vet hospital you can tour but sign up early they book quickly.

We went to KHP too because my daughter had never been plus there was a horse show going on.


Another vote for KHP. The morning workouts at Keeneland. Thoroughbred Park is cool - life size sculptures of racing horses.

For non-horse things to do there are several historic houses - Ashland (Henry Clay estate), Mary Todd Lincoln house, Waveland.

Town Branch Distillery in Lex, plus many other Bourbon distillery tours within about an hour’s drive of Lex.

Several area TB farms offer daily tours (or at least they did pre-Covid) - Three Chimneys, Claiborne, etc.

Columbia’s steak house is a good place to eat.


If you’re into show jumping history or hunter/jumpers and go to the KHP on a weekday during the USHJA office hours, you can visit the Wheeler Museum (which features tons of way cool historic hunter/jumper items on display - current exhibit I believe is still horse show photography themed and features really cool photos through the decades including a section of Budd Photos that I don’t think have been seen a lot) it’s a small museum, and the hours are funky (weekdays only, though in the past I think they’ve sometimes had special hours around events like LRK3DE/Rolex and so on) b/c it’s in the USHJA’s offices but if you’re there on a weekday between about 9 and 5 stop in and check it out. I’ve always thought it was a bit of a hidden gem. Also, all the show jumping HoF plaques are displayed in the area below the bleachers for Rolex Stadium and that’s worth at least a walk-through.

I’d also second the TB Farm tours if those are still an option, there’s a lot of buses and stuff you can coordinate with a KHP visit, and if you can, also, while at the KHP check out the Hall of Champions - you’ll get to see the famous horses in residence at the park including Funny Cide.

Personally, the International Museum of the Horse is great for like, a one-time visit to say you’ve seen it, but I think it’s a tad overrated, they don’t really change up the displays or anything.

Keeneland - this just reminds me someday I’d like to get to Keeneland again, I’ve been once and it was fun but I went on a day they were running a G3 stakes so it was pretty busy and I felt like I didn’t have as much fun as I might’ve on a more low-key day. (I like to take pictures of the races and watch from right on the rail when I can, so.)

Sorry, no recs on places to eat, every time I’m in Lexington I either get food in Indiana (live in Indiana, approx. 2 1/2 hours from Lexington) on the way home, or I seem to inevitably wind up at the nearest Cracker Barrel.

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If you’re into TBs, the farm tours are fun as is touring Keeneland.

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If they’re open to visits, KESMARC is so cool. When I was younger I wanted to work there as an adult despserately.

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There may be some horses based in Keeneland working in June but most will be at Churchill Downs (which races April 24 - June 26). Having said that, Keeneland is one of my favorite tracks… it is in such a pretty setting.

I second taking a tour of some of the farms. I took a half day tour one of the times I was in Lexington and got to see a few breeding farms, a ‘shed’ (interesting to see what one actually looked like) and the reason I chose the tour company I did was to see Calumet’s cemetery. I know they are ‘just’ horses but that was standing among racing royalty and something I’ll not forget.

Nothing to do with 4 legged horsepower but I also enjoyed the tour through the Toyota manufacturing plant in Georgetown (really just the north side of Lexington). Watching a car start as rolls of sheet metal through to being driven off the end of the line was fascinating.

If you have time, maybe check out Churchill Downs (IIRC just over an hour west of Lexington).

If you are in to arranging your own ‘tour’ contact the bigger farms… Calumet, WinStar, Coolmore, Spendthrift, Three Chimneys, Claiborne (in no particular order); contact them and see if you can visit. Often, in June their breeding operation will be slowing down significantly, they will have farm tours to show off the facility and their stallions.

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I might have to try to specifically find a different farm tour sometime when I’m down there - I don’t recall the one I took, circa 2011 (also, yikes, when was that 10 years ago!? That does not feel like 10 years ago.), but we got to see Shadwell. The cemeteries sound cool - I’ve kind of meant to someday think of seeing if there’s a farm tour that goes to Darby Dan as my first horse was an OTTB and his grandsire was Meadowlake who I believe is buried at Darby Dan where he stood at stud.

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Very cool. Maybe also contact Darby Dan directly and see if you can set up a tour.

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Spaulding Donuts and Crank and Boom ice cream. And Wallace Station in Midway. I tend to eat my way around Lexington!


Windy Corner is great too, with a lovely drive through the countryside. Old Kentucky Chocolates is a good place to stop as well.

Spy Coast is a pretty incredible facility if you are interested in sport horse breeding, training, and rehab. The folks at WinStar and Ashford Stud are really fantastic, I always enjoy going to visit with them.

If you are interested in a distillery, I’d recommend Buffalo Trace because it’s free, although tours can fill up quickly in the summer. Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Wild Turkey all have beautiful locations as well.


Yeah, maybe someday, no idea when I’ll be in Lexington again.

I’m going to second Crank & Boom ice cream, it was delicious. Wild Eggs was a great place for breakfast. There are some good restaurants & a craft beer shop with beer on tap by the UK campus last time I was in that area. I found a lot of good local restaurants using Yelp.

If you are going to tour farms, the visitors center downtown has a driving farm tour map that includes Keeneland. My SO liked it & he’s not into horses either. It’s a really pretty drive through all the farms.

I’m not into whiskey but the Buffalo Trace tour was nice.

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The tour we did and gets great reviews was Unique Horse Farms Tours with Shaun Washington.

He will let you know everything about visiting other places. I was told to go have breakfast at Keeneland and watch the exercise riders while you eat.

Hagyard Equine Medical is the place that offeres tours of the vet facility


@SadieRidingHorses There are lots of horses training at Keeneland year round. All of the Rice Road barns stay in full swing pretty much constantly. Plenty to see work in the morning and the track kitchen down on the backside is delicious and worth the stop!

Lots of farm tours as well. And for the non-horsey side the distillery tours are all within a drivable distance. Crank and Boom icecream is near downtown with a few delicious resturants and fun bars right along side. If youre a pizza lover, Goodfellas is right next door and is DELICIOUS and a super cool converted distillery that is now the pizza shop and a bar . There are some fancier places right there too.

I also help with the polo club here and we will be playing by June so I have to selfishly plug our club! We play wed and fri evenings and club matches on Sunday. We play right at the horse park and spectating is free with park admission! We do lessons too if you guys want to give it a try, even your non-horsey husband is welcome. We have VERY good ponies.

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Just want to thank everyone for their suggestions! We had a lovely stopover in Lexington (bit of a whirlwind). For anyone interested in traveling here in the future, we loved the morning workout tour at Keenelands (great to be right on the rail, and fabulous, educated tour guide). We also did the stallion tour at Claiborne and really enjoyed it. Good meals at Lockbox, GREAT drinks at West Main Craft Cocktails, and fantastic lunch at Windy Corner Market. Again, thanks to everyone!