If you are thinking of getting away for the holidays this year, Lexington, Kentucky is an ideal destination. The city has so many things to see and do.
Lexington is ideal for horse racing fans. It is home to the Kentucky Horse Park which features the International Museum of the Horse, the Hall of Champions and various equine breeds.
But Lexington is not for horse lovers only. While there, you can also visit Ashland, the estate of 1800’s politician Henry Clay and the Lexington Cemetery which has an arboretum, lakes and a Romanesque gatehouse.
Any time of year is a great time of year to visit Lexington, but it really lights up for the Christmas season. Here are some things you can do when you’re in town.
Southern Lights takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park, and it is the largest light display in the state. It features tens of thousands of lights spanning four miles. Guests can drive along the route to check out indoor exhibits and entertainment. The event includes a petting zoo, hot chocolate and arts and crafts.
Lexington Christmas Parade
The Lexington Christmas Parade takes place on a Saturday in early December. Thousands of guests gather on Main Street to enjoy the marching bands, performers and parade floats. Santa will be making an appearance as well.
Ice Rink at Triangle Park
Ice skating is a terrific holiday activity. Lexington offers one located in the middle of its scenic Triangle Park. Guests can take a spin around the rink, eat snacks, enjoy hot chocolate and more.
Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop
The Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop is located in the Lansdowne Shoppes center just in front of The Fresh Market. It’s one of the biggest Christmas destinations in Lexington.
The owners are committed to celebrating the holiday with a spirit that is less about consumerism and more about family. The vibe really comes across in their shop, a great place to find Christmas trees, wreaths and other décor. While there, be sure to stop off for a visit with Santa and don’t miss out on the hot cider station, the petting zoo and the live nativity scene.
Christmas Brunch with Santa at Kentucky Castle
The Kentucky Castle is a boutique hotel in Versailles, just outside of Lexington. In addition to offering accommodations to guests, it also doubles as an event venue for weddings and other functions.
During the holiday season, the hotel restaurant hosts a Christmas Brunch with Santa every Sunday in December. Guests can come by to enjoy a meal that includes ham, cheese, spinach and tomato frittatas. Children can visit with Santa and leave with a holiday treat.
Christmas Tree Lighting in Triangle Park
The Tree Lighting event occurs in late November in Triangle Park. Santa and the mayor flick the switch on the majestic tree while guests can enjoy skating, music and children’s activities.
Holiday Lights at Buffalo Trace Distillery
The Buffalo Trace Distillery is located in Frankfort, a short distance outside of Lexington. The distillery has a lovely aesthetic and looks especially beautiful when it is lit up for the Christmas season. You can take a tour to see where the magic happens. They even have a private room disguised as a bookcase.
The lights are on nightly from early December to early January from dusk until 11 PM. Santa also visits one weekend in mid-December.
The Nutcracker at Lexington Opera House
For some people, it’s just not Christmas without a performance of The Nutcracker. A truly lovely rendition takes place at the Lexington Opera House as performed by the Lexington Ballet. Saturday matinee performances are followed by a Sugar Plum Tea.
The Bluegrass Scenic Railways Santa Claus Train
The Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museum provides 90-minute train rides to the Kentucky River on Saturdays. During the Christmas season, Santa and Mrs. Claus pay a visit. They hop on the train to join guests and Santa visits with every child. Conductors and car hosts provide ongoing entertainment while you wait and sing carols. Families can relax and watch the countryside during their trip. Each guest gets a candy cane before they leave.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is home to the Shakers, a group of people known for their architecture and skilled craftsmanship. It has been named by BBC News as a top hidden travel destination.
Guests can visit to purchase unique gifts. They can also go to Holiday Reed Stars to learn how to weave an intricate star pattern that can be replicated in a variety of sizes and materials. Each participant will be provided with all the necessary materials and will be able to take home two reeds.
Take a Carriage Ride Through the City
There are several vendors that offer carriage rides throughout the city. These provide an unforgettable holiday experience and they will get you well acquainted with the area.
Kentucky Christmas at the Henry Clay Estate
The Henry Clay Estate hosts a one-day event that takes place on a Saturday in early January. Guests can come by to see the illumination of the mansion. After the illumination, guided tours of the grounds are available.
Visit Harrodsburg Homes
The historic neighborhood of Harrodsburg will be opening six of its homes and its Mercer Church for the “Come Home to Christmas” holiday home tour. This is a unique chance to get a glimpse of the 19th and 20th century architecture decorated in its seasonal finest.
Lexington is a great destination to visit during the holiday season. There is so much to see and do. Which will you be getting to first when you come to town?