Horse Capital of the World
Home to a winning college basketball team and legendary thoroughbreds, Lexington, Kentucky, scores big in the sports world. But it’s more than hoops and horses. Fed by limestone-rich water, the fertile fields surrounding the city yield abundant crops and a majority of the world’s bourbon. It also boasts hoppin’ craft breweries, an array of dining options ranging from downhome to highbrow, and some seriously locavore chefs. It all combines to create a sure-bet culinary scene that’s giving its other appealing aspects a run for their money. Start in NoLi (North Limestone), an edge-of-downtown neighborhood that’s transformed from abandoned properties to an arts hub. Fuel up for a day of exploring at Doodles, a former gas station now serving Lex-sourced breakfast staples like cornmeal-crisped pancakes drizzled with sorghum molasses. Head to the historic James E. Pepper Distillery District and grab a cold one—an ice cream cone or a Kentucky craft beer—at Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge. When in the horse capital of the world, a stop by Keeneland is a winning choice. Hooves pound the historic track each April and October, but its idyllic green grounds and facilities are open for tours year round.