Not a typical first visit destination in the US, but Lexington Kentucky is a pleasant place to visit for a relaxed week or so, with things to do other than horse racing and bourbon tours.

The city is Kentucky’s second city and has a large student population with colleges including the University of Kentucky which is Kentucky’s largest university. While maybe not as splendid as universities such as England’s Cambridge colleges, you can book on campus tours of the university if you are interested in its development since its founding in 1865.

The university is situated to the south of downtown Lexington and has some good bars, restaurants and shops of interest to students in the area.

Downtown Lexington is not as high rise as some of the larger US cities, but it has a pleasant feel, and I enjoyed walking the sidewalks looking for things to photograph. Fall is a good time to visit with the leafy suburbs looking beautiful in that season with squirrels popping up quite regularly from the trees and scampering around the streets.

If you are interested in horse racing – Keeneland to the west of the city is one of the main racing tracks and has been open since the 1930’s. It’s fun to spend an afternoon here with some low wagers, trying not to blow all your holiday dollars. Thoroughbreds have been bred here since the 1800’s and you will be watching some fine looking horses racing.

Outside the city there are quite a few other attractions worth checking out.

We did a loop south visiting Mammoth Cave, Daniel Boone forest, Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge. You can see rock arches, the huge cave system at Mammoth Cave and do some great hiking around these parks.

To the east lies Cave Run Lake with it’s many camping areas. The Twin Knobs recreation area is good for some outdoor time. Here you can camp, RV, cycle, climb, fish, hike, horse ride – many outdoor pursuits among the forest.

Louisville lies to the west of Lexington and you may wish to include this in your trip as a two city tour. It has a different range of attractions including a number of festivals and a lively independent art and music scene.

You can reach Lexington’s relaxed Blue Grass Airport through connecting flights from many of the hubs around the area. Two I used were Chicago and Atlanta and you may want to do a stop over at these to see a bit more of the States while you are there.

Main image (cc) Antony, Flickr

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