This summer during our adventures, we spent a few days in Lexington, KY. My sister lives just about 30 minutes away, so I was excited about getting the cousins together for some family time. Thanks to our host, Visit Lex, we were all set for some summer fun in Lexington.
WHERE TO STAY
We've driven through Lexington many times during our travels around Kentucky, but have never stayed the night. Visit Lex hosted our stay at Hilton Downtown Lexington, located in beautiful downtown Lexington.
The hotel is connected to Rupp Arena with convenient skywalk access to shopping, dining and attractions.
We had a room with two double queens and overlooked Triangle Park.
The Hilton Downtown Lexington offers two restaurants, a pool, fitness center, a convenience store, and so much more.
For families with little ones, they offer children's menus, cribs, children's video rentals, high chairs, and family package specials.
WHAT TO DO
Jacobson Park: We love free parks and Lexington has plenty to choose from, including Jacobson Park. It was ridiculously hot while we were in Lexington, so the splash pad at Jacobson Park was perfect for our little ones!
There are bathrooms, paddle boat rentals, a concession stand, and a huge playground to make a for a fun day. You could easily spend several hours here.
Thursday Night Live: Every Thursday, April 5 – October 11, head to the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion at Cheapside Park for live music, local food and beverage vendors, and a good time with friends! The event starts at 5pm rain or shine, with live music from 5:30pm – 8:00pm!
Lexington Public Library – Central: The library is just about a block from Cheapside Park. We were looking for something to do for an hour or so indoors before dinner. This library is probably one of the coolest I've seen and packed with activities for kids of every age!
Young children can enjoy the play houses, building blocks, magnets, wooden trains, and so much more! Be sure to check their calendar for free family events!
Kentucky Horse Park: Owen and I had visited the Kentucky Horse Park last year, but I was super excited to go back with both boys and bring along my sister and niece! Children 5 and under are free. This time, we really had a great time! The kids loved exploring the Kid's Barn, watching the Parade of Breeds, and checking out the Mounted Police Barn.
We made sure to take a horse drawn trolley ride, which is included with admission!
Of course, the kids really loved the pony rides! We opted to spend the extra $5 per kid to ride a pony (tickets available at the visitors center). While it says the pony rides are for ages 2 through 12 (up to 90 lbs), it's probably not really for those over age 10. I was super impressed with length of the pony rides and feel it's a great value!
The Aviation Museum of Kentucky: With little ones, I'd say this stop will take you about an hour. The museum is located right next to the airport. Kids 5 and under are free!
The kids really enjoyed checking out all of the planes and even being able to hop in one and pretend to fly!
Kids Place Adventure Playground: With little ones, we always need to find things they can do to get that energy out! Kids Place Adventure Playground was the perfect way for us to spend an evening after dinner at The Barn (less than 5 minutes away).
I found a great deal on Groupon, but even without the deal – this place is a great value for family fun! Not only do they have a HUGE play area for the kids to climb and run, but there is a game area to spend a few bucks, and a great little cafe to pick up food and snacks.
Lexington Farmers Market: On Saturdays, the Lexington Farmers Market is downtown at Cheapside Park! We found fresh produce, hot food, tasty drinks, and even some fun activities for the kids provided by The Power of Produce (POP) Club.
Boone Creek Creamery: Looking for something free to check out in Lexington? The Boone Creek Creamery is a cool little cheese factory tour. We stopped in on a Saturday and they're not actually making cheese on Saturdays, so that's important to note. Groups of 6 or less do not need a reservation for the tour. The tour consists of watching a video, walking into the aging room, peeking into the cheese making room, and learning a bit more about the process.
Because their cheese is aged in vacuum bags, you can actually enter the cheese aging room, which is super cool (pun intended).
You can become an honorary Cheese Minion by climbing into the original cheese making pot and snapping a picture!
Fort Boonesborough: Fort Boonesborough isn't quite in Lexington, but it's very close in nearby Richmond, KY. The Fort is open Wednesday through Sunday, April – October. Children under 6 are free! With our little ones, we were here about 2 hours.
The kids (and adults) had a great time learning all about the past from the re-enactors. We saw candles being made, watched a blacksmith, and compared how families lived to our homes now.
Oh, and I got to throw a tomahawk! (The boys could hold it.)
WHERE TO EAT
The Local Taco: After playing at the library, we walked to dinner at The Local Taco. Yum! Seriously, everything we had was delicious here – tacos, chips + salsa, queso dip, Cuban corn, and fajita quesadillas. And they have kids meals that are under $5 with a side.
I love a place like this that is loud enough where I don't mind if the kids aren't perfectly quiet (because when are they?).
Triangle Grille: Located inside Hilton Downtown Lexington, Triangle Grille is great place for breakfast before heading out for the day to explore Lexington. The kids menu served up a nice sized meal for the little ones and the price wasn't bad on them at all. I went for the Broken Yoke Sandwich, which sounds high at $12, but it's really large enough to feed two people and includes juice/coffee.
Along with their à la carte menu, there is also a full breakfast buffet for $18. Food was tasty and it is super convenient right in the hotel, but anyone has access – not just hotel guests. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner.
The Barn: Head just outside of downtown to Summit at Fritz Farm. If you're looking for something different, check out Kentucky’s first food hall, The Barn. Inside this food hall (think super cool cafeteria), there are several all-local, all-independent eateries. Everything from fried chicken and Greek street food to Japanese ramen and craft ice cream is available!
There is a neat little kids menu that lists the kids options from all of the restaurants.
What I really like about this place is that we were able to eat several different types of food for one single meal. The kids ate from different places (Smithtown Seafood and Athenian Grill) and I had my first gyro from Athenian Grill. I also grabbed fried pickles for everyone to share from Pasture by Marksbury Farm.
Of course, we had to end dinner with some amazing craft ice cream from Crank & Boom!
Lexington Farmers Market: I know I already mentioned Lexington Farmers Market as something to do, but I wanted to touch on it for where to eat. Obviously you can find fresh fruits and veggies at a farmers market, but… you can also get food here that counts as a meal, that's ready to eat while you shop!
The boys had some yummy Honnah-Lee gourmet pops.
I grabbed a delicious peach muffin from a vendor and then we all had hot biscuits and jam from Quarles Farm.
Frisch's Big Boy: We went to Frisch's Big Boy for a quick and easy dinner in Winchester before hitting the road. I love their soup + salad bar and the kids meals are great!
There are so many amazing things that we did not get to see, do, and eat while in Lexington this time. I cannot wait to return! If you’re planning a trip to Lexington, I’d love to hear what you’re planning!