The Horse Capital of the World
Before the Europeans settled in central Kentucky, the region was home to grazing herds of buffalo. The Iroquois Indians called the area the “meadow land” which became the origin of our state's name "Kentucky."
In the 19th century central Kentucky's meadow lands reminded some immigrants of their home in the British Isles - so many settled here and brought their love of horses with them. Soon thoroughbred breeding, trading and racing became a primary enterprise in the Lexington area. In the first Kentucky Legislative Assembly a bill was introduced by Daniel Boone for "improving the breed of horses" and eventually Lexington gained the reputation of being the “Horse Capital of the World.”
Equine Exhibition Centers
The Thoroughbred Center
Built in 1969, the Thoroughbred Center is located just outside the city limits of Lexington, on prime central Kentucky farmland.
Old Friends is “a Kentucky facility for retired thoroughbreds,” a place where equine champions can live out their remaining days with dignity.
Founded on October 15, 1936, Keeneland is a one of a kind Thoroughbred racetrack and an auction company.
Kentucky Horse Park
The Commonwealth of Kentucky purchased this property in 1972 and opened the Kentucky Horse Park to the public in 1978.
Horse Farm Tour Companies
Blue Grass Tours
Two tours daily at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday, and 1:30 on Sunday, including a stop at a local horse farm, Keeneland Race Course, and other points of interest.
Horse Farm Tours, Inc.
Tours are given daily at 8:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. seven days a week year-round, includes a drive by Calumet, two or three farms, plus Keeneland.
Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours
Experience why Kentucky is world famous! These tours take you through the heart and soul of Kentucky's beautiful Bluegrass Horse Country.
Unique Horse Farm Tours
Departing from Kentucky Horse Park, usually three times a day, giving a behind-the-scenes stories about the people and horses.
Fine Dining and Casual Fare
When many guests first make their reservations at Lyndon House they ask if there are wonderful restaurants nearby and would we make a reservation for them. Well, since they will be staying in downtown Lexington this is an easy request to honor. Most of Lexington's culinary talent practices downtown and the chefs offer a variety of cuisines, specialties, and artistic culinary expressions.
Price range: $ - $$$$
These are some of our favorite upscale restaurants within five or six blocks of the Lyndon House:
One of Lexington’s favorites, located in historic downtown and serving an award winning American Cuisine.
Nick Ryan's Saloon $$$
Serving Southern/American cuisine in a fashionable setting.
An innovative blend of Italian and American Cuisines, with a "nuovo-elegante" ambiance and sophisticated wine list.
Tony's of Lexington $$$$
A traditional steakhouse fare shares a table with innovative cuisine.
Many of our guests arrive with travel-fatigue and just want a comfortable place to have a relaxing dinner. The best remedy is one of the downtown bistros - small restaurants with a bar and a casual atmosphere. They serve a variety of comfort foods - including a burger and a beer. The following is a list of casual restaurants within walking distance of the Lyndon House:
Alfalfa Vegetarian Restaurant $$
Vegetarian fare with “Innovative and eclectic homemade eats.”
County Club $$
A Hip Bistro “exploring and expanding the KY tradition of smoking meats.”
Grey Goose Bistro $$
California style bistro serving “gourmet pizzas that rock.”
Stella’s Kentucky Deli $$
Serving healthy meals using locally grown products.
Smithtown Seafood $$
Home grown eats “emphasizes local foods and old-fashioned Kentucky recipes.”
Shakespeare & Co. $$
A cozy, chic ambiance reminiscent of Victorian elegance, with gourmet food, drinks and excellent service.
Saul Goods Pub $$
Weather it’s a salad, a burger or entree, “it’s Saul Good!”
Table Three Ten $$
A “showcases the finest local goods, with a farm-driven seasonal menu.”
Bourbon is an American whiskey that is barrel-aged and distilled mostly from corn. The invention of Bourbon is often credited to the frontier Baptist minister Elijah Craig. He was the first to age the distillation in charred oak casks which gives Bourbon its reddish color and distinct taste.
In 1964 Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson, with the support of the US Congress, declared Bourbon a "distinctive product of the United States."
As you explore Bourbon Country you will notice there are six historic working distilleries within 25 miles of downtown Lexington. These distilleries are listed below.
Bluegrass Regional Bourbon Distilleries:
Barrel House Distilling Company
This distilling is crafting its very own small batch Bourbon in the Old Pepper Distillery, with it's first distillation in the 2015.
Distilling a classic & bold small batch Bourbon from local and organic ingredients.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America, located in Frankfort, Kentucky, where the buffalo migration route crossed the Kentucky River.
Four Roses Distillery
It begins with a story of romance and roses, and turns into a passion for creating a truly American Whiskey.
Town Branch Distillery
Distinctly a Bluegrass enterprise, built in Lexington's Bourbon district, the Alltech Company brings the Bourbon Trail to downtown Lexington.
Wild Turkey Distillery
The originally distillery was founded by the Ripy family on what is now known as Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
Woodford Reserve Distillery
The distillery itself is the oldest and smallest working bourbon distillery and a National Historic Landmark. Henry Clay was a friend and patron.
Downtown Lexington Bourbon Bars
Belle’s Cocktail House
Belle has a stylish urban setting hosting around 80 bourbons as well as a variety of draft beers, including local craft brews.
The Bluegrass Tavern is a “must see” whenever you’re rolling through on the KY Bourbon Trail or just visiting, it has one of the biggest collections of bourbon in the USA.
Henry Clay's Public House
This Pub is dedicated to the Ladies and Gentlemen, who make drinking one of the pleasures in life - not one of its evils.
Lexington's Brewgrass Trail
The popularity of the craft breweries continues to grow in Kentucky's Bluegrass region. There are six micro breweries with in a mile of the Lyndon House and most of them are on Lexington's free trolley line. Most the breweries have a tap room where visitors can sample these amazing brews. Some have gathering spaces for social events. On the weekends the food trucks stop by to offer their culinary services. If it's to sample the brews or to make a night of it, join us, a good time will be had by all.
Lexington Craft Breweries
Blue Stallion Brewing
Brewing in the fine traditions of the German lagers and British Ales. The brewery also show casing Live music and hosts special events.
Chase Brewing Company
An old-school taproom offering stone-baked pizzas along with house-made brews.
Country Boy Brewing
The owners are three Country Boys who love good beer and all things Kentucky. One of the brews on tap is a Jalapeño Smoked Porter.
Ethereal Brewing Company
Our offerings will be quite broad, but our main focus will be on brewing delicious Belgian farmhouse and American craft beers.
Lexington Brewing Company
Distinctly a Bluegrass enterprise, built in Lexington's Bourbon district, the Alltech Company is brewing Kentucky Ale and Kentucky Bourbon Ale.
West Sixth Brewers
West Sixth Brewers are dedicated to brewing quality craft beers, using local products and working to protect the environment.
Other Downtown Tap Rooms
Lexington Beerworks carries over 100 different craft beers. Discover how easy it is to make your own, or learn to pair your brews with your favorite foods.
Woodwork-filled brew pub with a massive beer list, including 20 local brews, offers creative pub fare & brunch items.
In 1798 Jean-Jacques Dufour was sent to the new world by the Marquis de Lafayette to find land that would support his interest in viticulture. Upon arriving in central Kentucky he met several distinguished businessmen, including Henry Clay, who agreed to help finance his proposal. Dufour followed advice from Thomas Jefferson who suggested he look in central Kentucky for land and bought 600 acres on the Kentucky River just outside Lexington. The same year Dufour established the Kentucky Vineyard Society and built America’s first commercial winery - five years later he presented his first vintage to the public.
Since then Kentucky vineyards have survived several agricultural disasters, the Civil War, and Prohibition to grow into a main branch of Kentucky Agritourism.
The following is a list of vineyards and wineries around the Lexington area.
Bluegress Regional Vineyards
Located in Nicholasville, 18 miles south of Lyndon House, in the rolling hills of Hickman Creek Valley and a few miles from America’s first commercial vineyard, their wine-master makes wine from 100% Kentucky grown grapes.
Equus Run Vineyard is working the rich fertile Bluegrass soil to produce a fine Kentucky vintage. It is located in Midway, Kentucky (13 miles south of us).
Located in Winchester, Kentucky, this vineyard is truly a family affair -- they love the land, and they love working it and making it productive. Harness Edwards is 18 miles southeast of Lyndon House.
Jean Farris Winery & Bistro
Located in Fayette County (12 miles south of us), the fine products of the Jean Farris Winery are a culmination of education, tradition and love for the vine.
Talon's five-acre vineyards sits on 300 acres of rolling historic Fair View farm, just outside Lexington and 12 miles south of Lyndon House.
The name Wildside is reflective of the beautiful wild flowers that grow in the farmland’s rich soil. Located in Versailles, 17 miles east of us.
The First Vineyard is a restoration of the historic Dufour Vineyard and Winery - the birthplace of the American wine industry. It is 26 miles south of Lyndon House.
Lexington Downtown Wine Bars
“A chic gathering spot for people looking to sample a host of wines.”
Wines on Vine
European inspired wine bar and bistro.
Must-See Historic Places
The Bluegrass region was the first part of Kentucky to be settled. Early on Lexington functioned as the gateway to the western frontier and soon developed into a mecca for economic, intellectual, and political activity. As a result Lexington gained the reputation of being the "Athens of the West.” The historic buildings and homes that remain today have stories to tell about the influential and fascinating people who not only helped build the city, but our nation as well.
Ashland, Henry Clay's Estate
The Ashland Estate was built in 1806 in the Federal style. It was the home of Henry Clay, one of Lexington's favorite patriots: a horseman, attorney and statesman.
Aviation Museum of Kentucky
An fun educational site that focuses on aviation, safety and aerospace.
The Hunt-Morgan House, built in the Federal style, 1814, has many beautiful architectural features, including the Palladian window with fan and sidelights.
Mary Todd Lincoln House
The Mary Todd Lincoln House was built between 1803-06. This was family home of the Todd Family, and first lady and wife of the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.
The Pope Villa
The Pope Villa was built between 1810-11, for Senator John and Eliza Pope. The designer was architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the founder of the American School of Architecture.
Waveland State Historic Site
Antebellum house with three original outbuildings - slave quarters, smokehouse and ice house.
Historic Downtown Parks
Gratz Park is named for early Lexington businessman Benjamin Gratz, who in 1824 bought the home on the corner of Mill and New streets.
This 2.5 acre oasis offers a splendid retreat, as well as providing a unique history of the Thoroughbred.
The park plays host to a variety of activities year round. It's a great place to take a break, relax and enjoy Lexington's vibe.
The Legacy Trail
The Legacy Trail begins at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden in downtown Lexington and runs to the Kentucky Horse Park. This 12 mile walking and biking interpretive trail is also a public art venue.
Lexington Cemetery is a private, non-profit 170-acre (69 ha) cemetery and arboretum located at 833 W. Main Street. Within the cemetery are three places that are listed separately on the National Register of Historic Places: Confederate Soldier Monument, the Ladies' Confederate Memorial, and Lexington National Cemetery.
On Third Street, just east of Broadway, is a fantastic log cabin that dates to 1783. The cabin is considered to be one year older than the "oldest house in Lexington”
Walking Tours of Historic Lexington
Dr. Coleman's Lexington History Walks
Genteel Lexington has its dark side. Uncover why Lexington was called "the wicked city." Learn of the duelists, gamblers, and ladies-of-ill-repute who once walked these streets--many locals claim their spirits still do. Come see for yourself!
Historic Downtown Walking Tours
Learn about the history of downtown Lexington, Kentucky as reflected in its historic commercial buildings, churches, and homes.
Nightlife & The Arts
Lexington's Downtown Nightlife
In the evenings downtown Lexington has become a haven for both work-weary souls needing to recharge and for folks looking for a fun place to let loose. Whether you’re interest is live music, dance, or theatre, there's something for everybody in Lexington's vibrant downtown nightlife. The following are examples of what you will find as you go exploring.
This bar dedicated to locally sourced food, beer & Kentucky bourbon offers frequent live music.
Cheapside Bar & Grill
Cheapside Bar & Grill is one of Lexington's favorites serving a mix of rhythm & blues and rock & roll on the weekends.
Lexington Opera House
The Lexington Opera House is four block south of the Lyndon house and presents a variety of concerts, ballet and theatre productions year round.
Lexington Ballet Company
Central Kentucky's premier performing company for classical and contemporary ballet since 1973.
McCarthy's Irish Bar
Old-school pub featuring Irish beers on tap & daily drink specials in rustic, Gaelic-themed digs.
Speakeasy-style lounge offering creative cocktails & pub grub, plus music & theater performances.
Tee Dee's Lounge
Tee Dee Young, a Blues legend in his own time
The Kentucky Theater
The Kentucky Theater's marquee announces a variety of productions - foreign, independent, art and first-run films.
Thursday Night Live
A seasonal celebration at Fifth Third Pavilion at Cheapside Park from 4:30 - 8:00 p.m. Beverages, food from local restaurants, and of course, great music by live bands!
Well-appointed nightclub in a former bank with live bands & DJs, plus a pool table & bottle service.
WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour
Song writer-singer Michael Johnathon is the host of this live-audience radio show.