When people think of Kentucky they think of three things, Bourbon, Basketball, and Horse Racing. Lexington, Kentucky is no different, however as College Towns go it’s one of the oldest in the SEC. Lexington also has a very rich history and is defiantly one of the best food destinations in the Southeastern Conference, with things like Derby Pie and Hot Browns it’s so easy to see why people flock to Lexington for a wide variety of reasons.
Before we dive into the college town itself we first have to talk about the history of the city. Lexington, Kentucky was founded in 1775 by William McConnell and group of frontier explorers a mere seventeen years before the state of Kentucky became a state on June 1st, 1792.
Lexington is home to two Universities with only miles separating the two schools. Transylvania University was the first ever College to be founded in the Bluegrass state back in 1780. The second being the University of Kentucky, UK was founded back in 1865 by John Bryan Bowman.
Let’s take a look at two restaurants that anybody visiting Lexington should visit and enjoy.
The first being the brand new KSBar on South Broadway near the campus of Kentucky. This place is a must for any sports fan traveling to the city. Founded by Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones and his amazing staff. This place has some of the best food one can imagine in a Sports Bar typesetting, this place has hundreds of TVs and a lot of cool Kentucky memorabilia. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is beyond amazing, after a first-time visit this weekend it’s easy to see why fans flock to the KSBar. This place is a must for all sports loving people who love good food, great service, and a lot of sports! Matt Jones and his staff have done an outstanding job with the place and it will likely continue to be an icon for Kentucky fans to visit.
The second place has by far one of the best Kentucky Hot Brown’s that personally, I’ve ever had throughout the whole state of Kentucky. Before jumping into what a Kentucky Hot Brown is let’s first take a look at Stella’s Kentucky Diner on Jefferson St in the heart of Lexington. This place has been around for over 30 years and has local Kentucky food that is well known across the Bluegrass. This restaurant takes place in an old downtown home just seconds away from the steps of Rupp Arena. This place has a wide variety of Kentucky local foods and drinks to a lot of fan favorite sandwiches. They have Hot Brown’s, Derby Pie, and Kentucky Burgoo to only name a few. Stella’s Kentucky Diner is unique and has just about everything a Kentuckian could ever want with their reasonable prices and friendly attitudes I would recommend it for anybody looking for a local Kentucky flare.
A Kentucky Hot Brown is a heavenly creation that has bread, turkey, ham, bacon, and tomato smothered in a cheese type sauce served hot usually with chips or french fries. Pictured below, this creation is a Kentucky favorite across the entire state.
For the Kentucky Bourbon lovers, you will want to visit the BlueFire Bar & Grill inside the Hyatt Regency that connects to Rupp Arena. This place has just about every Bourbon that the everyday Bourbon lover could ever want, they even have an Ale8 and Makers Mark 46 slush that is a major hit with a lot of people.
Speaking of Bourbon, when you’re in the Bluegrass you might want to take one of many Distillery tours either in the Lexington area or off the Bluegrass Parkway. Two of my all-time favorites would be Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve. Tours range from $15- $30 included in that tour is a taste test, and a complete overhaul of the Bourbon making process. Bourbon lover or not these tours are a must when traveling to the Bluegrass state!
If you find yourself in the Lexington area in either April or October you must find the time to visit the Keeneland Race Track. Keeneland is Lexington’s home to world-class Horse Racing and overall amazing experience for those traveling to Lexington. Keeneland also offers year-round tours of the grounds, during race season they also offer an in-depth racing experience during the months of April and October.
Everybody knows Lexington, Kentucky as the home for one of the greatest College Basketball programs in the history of basketball, but as you can see Lexington has far more to offer than just basketball. This is a southern city deep in the heart of central Kentucky with a certain level of charm of a small town but with the big city swagger. Lexington is one of the top five college towns in the SEC. If you find yourself driving from Bowling Green to Lexington on the Bluegrass take your time and enjoy the beauty of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
No matter if you’re visiting Lexington, Kentucky for a Kentucky Wildcats game, or traveling to Lexington for business you’re bound to have fun in the Bluegrass.