LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Lexington is full of things to do: the downtown scene, horse races, and bourbon, but maybe you get a rush from finding those hole-in-the-wall places it seems like nobody has been to.
LexArts is a cultural development, advocacy, and fundraising organization that provides events and services to promote cultural and artistic learning.
The event schedule rotates but stays packed. LexArts Gallery Hop, specialized art exhibits, and creative markets are some of the recurring events.
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The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky
The Arboretum is a year-round operated and maintained garden featuring both Kentucky native plants and plants from around the world.
“The gardens at The Arboretum are designed to stimulate your olfactory and visual senses — fragrances, colors, textures and forms abound — and are a contemplative place to observe the natural environment,” reads The Arboretum website.
The Arboretum also hosts events and trainings, which can be viewed on its calendar.
The Aviation Museum of Kentucky
Opened in 1995, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky began sharing the history of aviation with the world. According to the museum, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky has welcomed guests from all 50 states and over 140 foreign countries.
“An essential part of our mission is educating young people about aviation career potential. The industry has thousands of career jobs, such as pilots, mechanics, executives, secretaries, instructors, engineers, clerks, controllers, flight attendants, meteorologists, travel agents, freight handlers, and medevac professionals, and the list continues,” reads the museum website.
The museum maintains a display of helicopters, airplanes, and other parts of aviation history. Outside of the displays, it offers educational summer camps to help with the mission of teaching Kentucky children about aviation careers.
The Lexington Cemetery is not only a place to remember loved ones but also a place of beauty and history. The cemetery is a private, nonprofit historical landmark.
“It is a historical landmark that documents the social, political, military and environmental history of the community,” reads the cemetery website.
The cemetery is made up of 170 acres and holds over 74,000 interments, with room for more.
With daily visiting hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the cemetery is a great place for a quiet walk through history. The cemetery also offers special tours and services throughout the year, depending on the season.
Lexington Traditional Dance Association
The Lexington Traditional Dance Association offers workshops and weekly dances for those interested in learning some new or old moves. The association covers many types of dances, including swing, conga, and more.
Dances are usually held at Artworks at the Carver School, 522 Patterson St., from 8-10:30 p.m., with an optional beginning dancer workshop at 7:30 p.m.
Working out doesn’t have to be all treadmills and dumbbells. LEF Climbing offers a different kind of workout: bouldering and climbing.
Kentucky is full of mountains and hills, and those mountains make for great hiking. But why hike around the terrain when you could go over it? LEF Climbing is a gym where climbers and boulders hone their skills and learn to conquer mountains.
The gym offers a safe place to build basic skills and offers classes to help master them before you first climb.
The Legacy Trail is an 8-mile paved multipurpose nonmotorized trail that is perfect for biking or walking. The trail runs from Louden Avenue, near the Hope Center, to the Kentucky Horse Park.
The trail passes through green pastures and rolling hills. The goal of the trail is to bring central Kentucky’s horse country to everyone. “Gliding past lush green hills, cornfields, grazing horses, old barns, a serene lake filled with geese and herons, and over bridges, one easily forgets that they are near a city with half a million people,” according to Kentucky Tourism.
Parking is available at the trailheads near Horse Park Campground, Coldstream Park, and the YMCA. In 2022, the Town Branch Trail was connected to the Legacy Trail creating an option for a 5 1/2-mile loop in northern downtown, allowing pedestrian traffic to explore restaurants, distilleries, and Lexington’s historic monuments.
McConnell Springs is a small park located inside Lexington with a trail just over a half-mile long. It features a paved loop walking path and some water features as you walk.
The tiny park plays an important role in Kentucky history, giving that much more reason to explore this gem tucked away in Lexington.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is just outside of Lexington, with protected streams, meadows, and woodlands. The 734-acre nature sanctuary works to preserve the beauty of the Kentucky River Palisades and Kentucky’s early history and offers over 10 miles of hiking trails to explore.
“Numerous 19th century remnants of early settlers, as well as over 600 species of plants, allow visitors to become acquainted with and appreciate the natural world. Raven Run also accommodates over 200 species of birds throughout the year,” reads the sanctuary’s website.
Raven Run offers programs throughout the year that can be viewed online.
Valley View Ferry
A ferry might not be the fastest way to cross the Kentucky River, but it is memorable. To some Southerners, a ferry might sound like something out of a New York movie, but we have one right here in central Kentucky.
Taking a trip on the Valley View Ferry isn’t how most people might choose to get from one place to another, but that’s what makes it special and one of Lexington’s hidden gems.
The Valley View Ferry helps vehicles using Kentucky Route 169 travel the Kentucky River. The ferry service is free and is located between Fayette, Jessamine, and Madison counties on Tates Creek Road.
To check if the ferry is operating check out the Valley View Ferry webpage or its Facebook page.
West Sixth Brewing
Kentucky bourbon isn’t the only way to catch a buzz. Featured in Tripadvisor’s Lexington’s hidden gems, West Sixth Brewing is a Lexington-based brewery that you might recognize if you eat local in Lexington, Louisville, or Cincinnati.
The brewery crafts more than 30 brews that they can and bottle in Lexington to sell at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores in Kentucky.
“At West Sixth, we not only like to make good beer but the social impact we are able to make on our communities is a top priority. We support the direct work of non-profits through our Sixth for a Cause Foundation — powered by programs such as Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter, Sixth for a Cause, Wooden Nickel, Pedaling for a Purpose, and statewide sponsorships. We are environmentally conscious in everything that we do and we strive to be an awesome place to work,” reads the West Sixth Brewing website.
The most interesting brews, or at least the branding, are the 17 beers inspired by Kentucky counties, including Jefferson, Bell, and Nicholas counties. To find a taproom near you or learn more about what they have to offer visit the West Sixth Brewing website.