Make some history this weekend.

Don Sniegowski

For a day trip a long weekend or for a full week, Lexington, Kentucky, means wonderful shopping, horses, bourbon, great food and of course American history!

Battlefields and historic sites are more than monuments—they are places to enjoy the outdoors and indoors, spend time with friends and family, and immerse yourself in history. Best of all, Kentucky is teeming with history from the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond so, it’s easy to construct a great weekend from central Kentucky or any part of the state. Start with an itinerary below.

Historic Happenings

Don Sniegowski

From Presidential connections to sacred acres, this day plan is built for those who want to jump right into history.     

  • Print or download your tour map.
  • Start your day in a restored gas station for a great breakfast at Doodles.
  • Get your blood flowing while learning about Lexington by walking the trails at McConnell Springs.  You’ll learn that there’s more than just horses, bourbon and Civil War in Lexington’s past.  If you have time, drop by the Hunt-Morgan House to learn about Lexington’s personal Civil War connections.
  • Richmond Battlefield is closest to Lexington and interprets one of the Confederacy's greatest victories.
  • If you are headed there, eat your way into the past at Boone Tavern.
  • On your way back, consider a relaxing meal at Hall's on the (Kentucky) River.
  • There is so much history within a drive that you can’t do it all so see whether you have enough time for:
    • The major Union supply depot at Camp Nelson was recently made a National Monument and was the third largest recruiting base for African-American soldiers in the United States, with more than ten thousand black soldiers recruited there.
    • The Perryville Battlefield saw the largest battle ever fought in Kentucky and is a pristine, beautiful battlefield today. Well worth the drive!
    • If you have an extra day to spend, Mill Springs was fought on January 19, 1862, was the first significant victory for the Union in the Civil War, while the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace preserves the early years of Lincoln's life with the enshrinement of a "symbolic" cabin in a neo-classic Memorial Building on the site where he was born
  • Dinner and drinks at J. Render’s Southern Table will round out any Lexington day.
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just two monkeys hangin’

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Family Fun

Heather Moreton (CC-BY-2.0)

Enhance your historical experience with fun and family-friendly activities all weekend long!

  • Print or download your tour map 
  • Kick off the day with breakfast at Alfalfa or Magee’s Bakery.
  • Parents and kids alike will love seeing dozens of different horse breeds as well as related activities, riding, art, shows and more at the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • Grab some food at the park or head back for pizza at the super-tasty Goodfellas.
  • Keep the kids active and engaged with a visit to:
    • The Aviation Museum of Kentucky.
    • The Mary Todd Lincoln House where First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln resided between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one. Abraham Lincoln was also a guest here following their marriage. 
    • Waveland State Historic Site where you can explore the history of African-Americans in Lexington at the beautiful antebellum house with restored slave quarters and more. There are also wayside exhibits throughout the city that explore the many aspects of African American history in Lexington. 
  • Stop off for ice cream at Crank and Boom where there are lots of options for kid and grownup alike.
  • If you have enough time to get out of town Perryville was the largest battle ever fought in Kentucky and is a pristine, beautiful battlefield today. Miles to walking trail make it well worth the drive!
  • Ease into evening with delicious food at Minglewood or for those who lean even more vegetarian, try the café at Michler’s.

Retail Therapy

From antiques and art to clothing and cocktails, we’ve pulled together a plan for historical fun and lasting memories.

  • Print or download your tour map.
  • Start your day with great coffee drinks and breakfast at Great Bagel.
  • There is too much retail goodness to cover it all but here are some:
  • Clear your head with a refreshing walk on the grounds of and inside Ashland the home of the famed orator and Senator Henry Clay, and scene of a small battle in 1862!
  • Check out the live music schedule and explore the numerous food options nearby.

Romantic Lexington

Daniel Kirchner

Lexington is teeming with recreation, history and activities perfect for connecting with your better half.

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Before you go

We’ve got some tips and advice for prepping for a visit to Lexington and surrounding areas, including hours, weather, accommodations, and directions – everything you need to make your visit a comfortable and memorable one!     

  • Check the weather so you know how to pack and what to wear   
  • Learn more about the Battles of Richmond, Perryville and Mill Springs, and also about Abraham Lincoln.
  • Find a place to stay that makes it easy to see as much as possible. Downtown, we like the Hyatt Regency or the Hilton. A little further out, try the Campbell House or the Staybridge—great for families!
  • Visit Lexington is a great resource to help you plan the details of your trip.