Reardon's bronze statue group of a horse race in
Thoroughbred Park is one of the most photographed
places in Lexington.
Ky. — Scenic drives have long been a local pastime in
the Lexington area, but the best way to experience the
beauty of the Bluegrass region is either on two feet or
by too fast and you miss the architectural detail of an
old house or the craftsmanship of a dry-laid stone fence,
either of which may be 200 years old. From a car window,
you can't fully appreciate a giant burr oak or blue ash
tree, which may be 400 years old. And you certainly can't
hear the birds in the branches.
downtown walking tour maps and guides are available at the
Lexington visitors' center, 401 W. Main Street. Some also
are online at Visitlex.com, or the Blue Grass Trust for
Historic Preservation's website, Bluegrasstrust.org. These
include neighborhood guides to historic homes and the
African American Heritage Trail.
option: Download the free LexWalk iPhone app, which has a
19-location tour with full multimedia.
without a map, app or agenda, Lexington's downtown and the
surrounding neighborhoods are easy, pleasant places to
walk, thanks to a wise decision decades ago to run
Interstates 75 and 64 around the city rather than through
Gratz Park Historic District, two blocks north of Main
Street between Broadway and Limestone, is one of my
favorite places to walk. There you will find beautiful
buildings that have sheltered some of Lexington's most
prominent citizens, including first lady Mary Todd
Lincoln, educator Horace Holley, artist Victor Hammer and
horseman John Gaines.
miss the recently restored fountain that writer James Lane
Allen left to the "children of Lexington" when
he died in 1925. It is in the park across Third Street
from the campus of Transylvania University, the oldest
college west of the Allegheny Mountains.
you have time for a tour, stop by the Hunt-Morgan House.
It was built in 1814 by millionaire businessman John
Wesley Hunt and was the birthplace of his great-grandson,
Thomas Hunt Morgan, the father of genetics and the first
Kentuckian to win a Nobel Prize (for medicine, 1933).
Hunt's grandson, Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan,
visited but never lived in the house.
there, head west on Short, Second or Third streets and
admire the eclectic mix of 1800s houses. When you reach
Jefferson Street, you will find plenty of places to take a
break: It is one of Lexington's hottest new restaurant
Park on the west end of downtown is another good place to
relax. On the east end of town, don't miss Thoroughbred
Park, with Gwen Reardon's life-size bronze sculptures of a
horse race. It may be Lexington's most-photographed place.
north of Main Street is surprisingly easy to bicycle
around, despite one-way street patterns that can seem
a bicycle, you also can cruise around the scenic Northside
neighborhood up to West Sixth Brewery at the end of
Jefferson Street, or up North Limestone Street to the
edgier, up-and-coming NoLi district of shops, restaurants
you prefer a walk in the country, drive out to Raven Run
Nature Sanctuary, 3885 Raven Run Way near the end of
Jack's Creek Pike. This 734-acre city park along the
Kentucky River Palisades has some great hiking trails.
rural bike rides, the Legacy Trail between downtown and
the Kentucky Horse Park is a good place to start. More
experienced cyclists, rural Fayette and surrounding
counties can be a road biker's paradise, if you know where
to go. Lexington's hub-and-spoke road system can make the
spokes dangerous places to ride. But between the spokes
are many beautiful, lightly traveled country roads.
tried-and-true routes are available on popular cycling
apps such as Ridewithgps.com and Mapmyride.com. If you
want company, visitors are welcome at Bluegrass Cycling
Club rides, which are scheduled frequently with a variety
of speeds and distances. See the ride calendar at: