Charles Kuralt once said that “the descent into the Lexington airport is the most beautiful in America.” Given its beautiful blue grass, rolling hills and grazing horses, I would have to agree. If you’re traveling to Lexington for business or considering hosting a meeting here, the thoroughbred capital of the world provides many outstanding business as well as leisure opportunities.
From history to horses to hooch, Lexington offers a diverse range of amenities that will make meetings memorable in an atmosphere embraced by small town charm. Lexington is also on the way to becoming a foodie town, too, serving up everything from Southern-style cuisine to Cuban and Mediterranean.
Let’s not also forget that Lexington is also home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and you’re sure to think it rains royal blue down here.
Hotels in Lexington, KY
Gratz Park Inn is a small boutique hotel with southern hospitality, and just walking distance to the downtown area. It’s a warm and welcoming historic venue offers a rich combination that celebrates the past while offering today’s most desired amenities. The new Distilled Restaurant and Bourbon Bar, the latest endeavor from the popular Heirloom Restaurant Chef Mark Wombles, recently opened in the hotel. This upscale dining venue specializes in farm-to-table fare, with an artful approach to Southern cuisine.
You can also check out the Hyatt Regency Lexington and Hilton Lexington — both connected to the Lexington Convention Center:
- Hyatt Regency Lexington has 366 guest rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Amenities include a full-service restaurant, food courts and shopping within the complex, as well as two lounges, an indoor pool, fitness center and a business center.
- The Hilton Lexington has 366 guest rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Amenities include a restaurant, a lounge, a gift shop, an indoor pool, fitness room and a business center.
Event Venues in Lexington, KY
From the Lexington Convention Center to Keeneland Race Track to Buffalo Trace Distillery, Lexington has plenty of ideas to make your next business meeting a historic success. For city-wide events, Lexington can host up to:
- Max. # of guest rooms in Lexington: 7,605
- Max. # of committable guest rooms for citywide conventions: 3,756
- Max. # of committable guest rooms in convention and meeting hotels: 2,432
The Lexington Convention Center is a beautiful and versatile multi-purpose event facility, designed for public expos, meetings, banquets, trade shows and conventions. It offers more than 66,000 square feet of dedicated exhibit space with 40,000 square feet of elegant meeting spaces, mall and food court.
This national historic landmark is one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world. Thrilling thoroughbred racing takes place in April and October, but the facility is open year-round. Keeneland offers a range of venues, ideal for corporate meetings and events between 200 – 300 people. The First Clubhouse allows viewing the races or watching while the horses work out at the track.
Kentucky Horse Park
Lexington’s premiere attraction, the Kentucky Horse Park is a showcase of museums, galleries, theatres and exhibits dedicated to all breeds of horse. A variety of facilities can be rented for special events from 450 – 1,200.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
One of America’s oldest continuously operating distilleries, Buffalo Trace Distillery offers several meeting spaces. Take a tour of the distillery, home of the flagship bourbon Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and enjoy bourbon tasting as well. www.buffalotracedistillery.com
Things to Do in Lexington, Kentucky
Tour a craft brewery
Lexington has taken off as a home for local breweries, where you’ll find many different artisans crafting their own brand of beer. At West Sixth Brewing Company, their taproom features fresh brews like Lemongrass American Wheat and Cocoa Porter. Take a tour and see how it’s made. What you’ll find really interesting is that while none of the breweries serve food, they all have food trucks in their parking lot, which change on a rotating basis.
Visit Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate and Mary Todd Lincoln House
Learn more about the history of Lexington at the home of 19th century statesman Henry Clay. Clay, known as the “Great Compromiser,” served his country for almost 50 years as a as a Representative, Senator and Secretary of State, becoming one of the most important political figures of his era. Take a step back in time at this 20-acre wooded estate and its English gardens. History buffs will also appreciate the Mary Todd Lincoln House, which includes artifacts from the Todd and Lincoln families.
Explore a Horse Farm
There are more than 450 horse farms in the area where you can get up close and personal with the horses. See how the mares are bred, and learn more about the horseracing industry.
At Darby Dan Farm, visitors can see the Kentucky Derby trophy, Preakness trophy, a Belmont Stakes platter and more. At Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours, your tour also includes a stop at Keeneland Park.
Discover Shaker Village
Just outside of Lexington in Harrodsburg is Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, an authentic Shaker community and National Historic Landmark with 34 restored 19th century buildings. The Shakers were a religious sect from England who showed their devotion through dancing and singing. Learn more about their simple, sustainable life as you see textile, wood-working and broom-making demonstrations. Watch music and dance performances, go horseback riding or walk the beautiful trails. Browse through the furniture exhibits and grab some homemade goodies in the gift shop. Enjoy a hearty meal in the Trustee’s Office dining room. You may want to consider their overnight accommodations, too.
Where to Take Clients
Shakespeare and Company is an eclectic eatery, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll spend a lot of time looking at the whimsical surroundings of the ornate Victorian sofas and old world riches. Once you get to the menu, the food is wonderful: comfort foods with a Mediterranean influence like za’atar and grilled halloumi. With big screen TVs, it’s a great place to cheer on the Wildcats, too!
At Azur Restaurant and Patio, Chef Jeremy Ashby has taken organic, sustainable and local ingredients to new heights in a European café. Don’t miss the truffle fries and oyster po boy. Their signature Bourbon cocktails will make you remember that you’re in Lexington.
Cole’s 735 Main is one Lexington’s busiest, most popular restaurants. You’ll enjoy inspired cuisine with a global touch, all set in a historic landmark building. Try the shrimp with grits and the panko fried avocado. Steak are out of this world, too.
Lexington, Kentucky Logistics
Lexington, Kentucky is located at the crossroads of interstates 64 and 75 in Fayette County, Kentucky. Blue Grass Airport (LEX) is accessible by air with around 100 direct and nonstop flights and located 10 minutes from downtown.
- Horses at Danby Farms © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Learn about oxen at Shaker Village © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Henry Clay Estate Home This is a living testimony to the contributions of statesman Henry Clay. © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Horse Racing at Keenland Park © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Shaker Village Courtesy image
- Buffalo Trace Distillery Learn how bourbon is made. © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Artisan Craft Beer at West Sixth Brewing Company © 2014 Mira Temkin / RH Communications, Inc.
- Hyatt Regency Lexington
- Lexington Convention Center Exterior Attached to both the Hilton and Hyatt Regency hotels, the Lexington Convention Center offers 66,000 square feet of exhibition space and 40,000 square feet of meeting space. The complex includes a 17,000 square foot ballroom, the 23,000 seat Rupp Arena (home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and also houses concerts), the 900 seat Lexington Opera House, The Shops at Lexington Center and more. Photo courtesy of VisitLex
- Hilton Downtown Lexington at Night Connected to Lexington Convention Center and Rupp Arena, Hilton Lexington/Downtown can accommodate corporate meetings and events for up to 1,000 people. Hilton Lexington has 20,000 square feet of meeting space, 13 meeting rooms, two boardrooms, three ballrooms, WiFi and onsite audio visual support and more. Photo courtesy of VisitLex