Lexington, Kentucky is known not just regionally but nationally for being a gorgeous mid-sized city, whether you’re a longtime resident, a newcomer, or just stopping by. Combining historic sites with creative, more recent local attractions– as well as incorporating the natural beauty of central Kentucky into its landscape, especially for those who travel to its beautiful countryside filled with greenery and thoroughbred horses. No matter what you love, Lexington’s got it. Here are some of the best sights the heart of the Bluegrass has to offer.
The Big Blue Building
Although this iconic Lexington landmark is almost referred to by its various nicknames by residents, it’s officially called the Lexington Financial Center. Standing at over four hundred feet tall and boasting thirty-one floors, a running joke in the community involves calling Lexington’s biggest skyscraper the world’s tallest building. As its most affectionate nickname would suggest, the bright blue reflective exterior of this towering structure is all too appropriate for the hometown of the Kentucky Wildcats.
Architect Gideon Shryock, famous for bringing Greek revival architecture to the commonwealth, is the mind behind this historic structure erected in 1833. Located on the campus of Transylvania University and across from beautiful Gratz Park, Old Morrison stands as the centerpiece of the campus’ academic side. It houses various administrative offices– as well as the tomb of Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (well, sort of. It’s complicated.)
Raven Run’s Kentucky River Overlook
The prize for taking a day hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary– besides getting some fresh air surrounded by trees and greenery– is a stunning view. There are a number of ways to reach the overlook, which stands high above a picturesque stretch of the Kentucky River. There’s nothing like taking a breather at the overlook after a quiet morning hike, whether you’re going it solo or sharing the view with a loved one.
James E. Pepper Distillery
Though this enormous distillery sat abandoned for several decades, its history dates back to the nineteenth century and it’s since been restored as a working distillery. You can take a tour of the building on its own– which is already well worth it for the fascinating history and great bourbon– or you can give it a visit as part of a larger tour of Lexington and its various distilleries. While you’re there, you may want to give Goodfellas Pizzeria and Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream a try, or check out the various other restaurants, taverns, and shops in the Distillery District.
Though this may seem an obvious stop for college basketball fans, Rupp Arena hosts a wide variety of entertainment from concerts, comedy shows, and other major events. The stadium is approaching its fiftieth birthday in the next few years, and for all its uses over the years there’s nothing quite like the view of Rupp during a Cats game, where you’ll find yourself in a cheerful (and very dedicated) blue and white sea. Just don’t wear any Louisville Cardinals merch, and you’re sure to have a blast.
Photo courtesy of Transylvania University (https://www.transy.edu)