Festivals and Events Worth Traveling For in Lexington

Lexington festivals

Lexington, Kentucky, is a vibrant city that offers a plethora of festivals and events worth traveling for. Whether you’re a music enthusiast, a food lover, or someone who appreciates history and culture, Lexington has something special for you. From enchanting lantern festivals to lively music events, and from historical racecourses to unique shopping experiences, there’s always something happening in this charming city. Here are some of the key takeaways from the must-visit festivals and events in Lexington.

Key Takeaways

  • The Lexington Water Lantern Festival offers a magical evening by the water’s edge with family-friendly activities and music.
  • The Railbird Festival celebrates Appalachian music with performances from top artists and a variety of festival activities.
  • The Barbecue Festival in historic Uptown Lexington features must-try dishes and family-friendly activities.
  • Keeneland Racecourse provides a rich historical experience with exciting race days and visitor tips for the best experience.
  • The Singletary Center for the Arts showcases local talent with upcoming performances and affordable ticket prices.

Experience the Magic of the Lexington Water Lantern Festival

Event Highlights

Experience the enchantment of a magical evening at the Lexington Water Lantern Festival! Held on September 21, 2024, this event is perfect for families, kids, and anyone looking to enjoy a night of music, community, and outdoor recreation. Join us by the water’s edge to celebrate and light up the night with beautiful lanterns.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the festival range from $25 to $250, catering to different preferences and budgets. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Ticket TypePrice Range
General Admission$25 – $50
VIP Admission$50 – $100
Premium Packages$100 – $250

What to Expect

At the festival, you can expect a vibrant atmosphere filled with music, food, and a sense of community. The highlight of the evening is the moment when everyone releases their lanterns into the water, creating a mesmerizing display of lights. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the magic!

The Lexington Water Lantern Festival is more than just an event; it’s an unforgettable experience that brings people together in a beautiful and meaningful way.

Celebrate Music at the Railbird Festival

Railbird Festival Lexington

The Railbird Festival is a must-attend event for music lovers, taking place at the historic Red Mile. Mark your calendars for June 1-2, 2024, and get ready for an unforgettable experience filled with live performances, delicious food, and a vibrant atmosphere. This festival celebrates some of the best songwriters, crooners, and musicians in Appalachia, making it a unique cultural experience.

Featured Artists

The lineup for Railbird Festival 2024 is packed with talented artists from various genres. Whether you’re into rock, country, or indie music, there’s something for everyone. Stay tuned for the official announcement of the featured artists, and prepare to be blown away by their performances.

Festival Activities

Aside from the incredible music, Railbird offers a variety of activities to keep you entertained throughout the weekend. From food trucks serving up local delicacies to interactive art installations, there’s no shortage of things to do. Don’t forget to check out the retro arcade and other fun attractions scattered around the venue.

Getting There

Getting to the Railbird Festival is easy, with various transportation options available. Whether you prefer to drive, take public transit, or use a ride-sharing service, you’ll find convenient ways to reach the Red Mile. Be sure to plan your trip in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles and make the most of your festival experience.

Savor the Flavors at the Barbecue Festival

The Barbecue Festival in Lexington is a must-visit event for food lovers. Held annually, this festival is a celebration of all things barbecue, offering a mouth-watering array of dishes that will leave you craving for more. Don’t miss your chance to ride the train to the Barbecue Festival on October 28 from Charlotte, Raleigh & points in between. We’ll be rolling out the red carpet when you arrive!

Immerse Yourself in History at the Keeneland Racecourse

Race Day Experience

Keeneland Racecourse is Lexington’s premier horse race course. Between the race day attire, Keeneland Breezes, and potential to win big, the memories you’ll make at Keeneland are ones you won’t soon forget. Place your bets and feel the excitement as the horses thunder down the track. The atmosphere is electric, and the experience is truly unforgettable.

Historical Significance

Opened in 1936, Keeneland has a rich history that is deeply intertwined with Lexington’s equine culture. The racecourse is not just a venue for horse racing; it is a living museum that showcases the heritage of horse racing in Kentucky. The beautifully maintained grounds and historic grandstands offer a glimpse into the past, making it a must-visit for history buffs and horse racing enthusiasts alike.

Visitor Tips

  • Arrive early to find the best parking and seating options.
  • Dress in your best race day attire to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
  • Don’t forget to explore the Keeneland Shop for unique souvenirs.
  • Check the race schedule ahead of time to plan your visit accordingly.

Visiting Keeneland is more than just a day at the races; it’s a step back in time and a celebration of Lexington’s rich equine heritage.

Discover Local Talent at the Singletary Center for the Arts

Upcoming Performances

The Singletary Center for the Arts is a hub for the Lexington community, bringing students and local artists together to share the limelight. One of the most anticipated events is the ‘It’s a Grand Night for Singing!’ extravaganza, which returns every June. This show features a mix of musical performances that highlight the incredible talent in the area.

Venue Information

The Singletary Center boasts a variety of performance spaces, including a concert hall with reserved seating. The venue is designed to provide an intimate yet grand experience for all attendees. Whether you’re attending a musical, a play, or a concert, the acoustics and seating arrangements ensure a memorable experience.

Ticket Prices

Tickets for events at the Singletary Center are reasonably priced, making it accessible for everyone to enjoy high-quality performances. Prices vary depending on the event, but you can often find tickets for as low as $20. Be sure to check their website for the latest information on ticket availability and pricing.

The Singletary Center for the Arts is more than just a venue; it’s a cornerstone of cultural life in Lexington, offering a platform for both emerging and established artists to shine.

Explore the Bourbon Trail

Embark on a journey through Lexington’s craft brewery and distillery scene in Kentucky, where you can experience a vibrant blend of traditional and modern beverage production. Explore distinguished beers and spirits that boast rich history and community spirit.

Enjoy Live Music at The Burl

The Burl is a cornerstone of Lexington’s vibrant art scene, offering a unique blend of tasty drinks, a retro arcade, and some of the city’s best live music. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this venue promises an unforgettable experience with its eclectic mix of performances and lively atmosphere.

Shop Till You Drop at Lexington’s Unique Boutiques

Lexington offers a delightful shopping experience with its array of unique boutiques. Whether you’re looking for antiques, vintage clothing, or specialty gifts, there’s something for everyone in this charming city. Explore the best places to go shopping in Lexington and discover hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere else.

Top Shopping Spots

From the bustling Fayette Mall to the eclectic Lexington Peddlers Mall, you’ll find a variety of shopping destinations to suit your tastes. Don’t miss out on Trifecta: Glass – Art – Lounge, a unique spot that combines art and relaxation. For those who love antiques, Scout Antique & Modern is a must-visit.

Local Designers

Lexington is home to many talented local designers who offer one-of-a-kind pieces. Whether you’re looking for fashion, jewelry, or home decor, you’ll find something special created by the city’s artisans. Supporting local designers not only helps the community but also ensures you have a unique item that tells a story.

Shopping Tips

To make the most of your shopping experience, consider visiting during weekdays when the stores are less crowded. Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. And don’t forget to check out the specialty food shops for some delicious local treats.

Lexington’s shopping scene is a blend of the old and new, offering a unique experience that combines small-town charm with big-city vibes.

Relax and Unwind at Lexington’s Spas

Popular Spa Treatments

Lexington’s spas offer a variety of treatments designed to help you relax and rejuvenate. From soothing massages to invigorating facials, there’s something for everyone. One of the most popular treatments is the hot stone massage, which uses heated stones to melt away tension and stress. Other favorites include aromatherapy sessions and deep tissue massages.

Top-Rated Spas

When it comes to top-rated spas, Lexington has no shortage of options. Some of the most highly recommended include:

  • The Woodhouse Day Spa: Known for its luxurious ambiance and extensive menu of services.
  • Bellanova Medspa: Offers a range of medical-grade treatments in a serene setting.
  • Ziyan Salon & Spa: A favorite for its personalized service and relaxing atmosphere.

Booking Information

Booking a spa day in Lexington is easy and convenient. Most spas offer online booking options, allowing you to schedule your treatments in advance. It’s always a good idea to book early, especially during peak times like weekends and holidays. Don’t forget to check for any special packages or discounts that might be available.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, taking time to relax at one of Lexington’s spas is a must. The city’s bluegrass region offers scenic drives, farm-to-table dining, local art, music venues, outdoor adventures, and charming small towns. Rich in history, culture, and natural wonders, Lexington provides the perfect backdrop for a day of pampering and relaxation.

Get Outdoors with Lexington’s Golf Courses

Lexington festival

Lexington offers a variety of golf courses that cater to all skill levels, making it a perfect destination for golf enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, you’ll find a course that suits your needs.

Top Courses to Play

Lexington boasts some of the finest golf courses in the region. Kearney Hill Golf Links is a must-visit, known for its challenging layout and beautiful scenery. Another top pick is the University Club of Kentucky, which offers two 18-hole courses that are both fun and challenging. Don’t miss out on the Griffin Gate Golf Club, a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Golfing Tips

To make the most of your golfing experience in Lexington, consider these tips:

  1. Book your tee times in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  2. Take advantage of early morning or late afternoon slots for a more relaxed game.
  3. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, as the Kentucky sun can be quite strong.
  4. If you’re new to the area, consider hiring a local caddy for insider knowledge on the courses.

Booking Tee Times

Booking a tee time in Lexington is straightforward. Most courses offer online booking options, making it easy to secure your spot. For those who prefer a more personal touch, you can always call the clubhouse directly. Here are some quick links to get you started:

Golf CourseBooking Link
Kearney Hill Golf LinksBook Now
University Club of KentuckyBook Now
Griffin Gate Golf ClubBook Now

Lexington has become a regional hub known for its cuisine, shopping, and nightlife, but its golf courses are equally impressive. Enjoy a day on the greens and experience the best of what this city has to offer.

Take a Walking Tour of Lexington’s Historic Sites

Must-See Locations

Lexington is a city with a long and rich history, and it’s easy to learn all about it with our historical houses such as the childhood home of esteemed former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Other notable historical houses in the neighborhood include the Ashland Estate, which belonged to Henry Clay. You can also explore The African American Heritage Trail, a self-guided walking tour that highlights the rich history of African Americans in Lexington and their contributions to the city.

Tour Guides

For those who prefer a more structured experience, there are several organized tours available. These tours often include knowledgeable guides who can provide in-depth information about each site. Some popular options include:

Best Times to Visit

The best time to take a walking tour in Lexington is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the city’s natural beauty is at its peak. During these seasons, you can enjoy the vibrant colors of blooming flowers or the stunning fall foliage. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated during your tour.

Exploring downtown Lexington is the perfect mix of new and old, simultaneously having a small town feel and big city vibes. During the day there’s a plethora of shops, street art, restaurants, food tours, and sights to see, all within an easy-to-walk distance.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a leisurely stroll, Lexington’s historic walking tours offer something for everyone.


Lexington, Kentucky, is a treasure trove of festivals and events that cater to a wide range of interests and tastes. Whether you’re drawn to the enchanting Water Lantern Festival, the vibrant nightlife, or the rich cultural experiences at local music festivals, there’s always something happening in this lively city. From horse racing and bourbon tours to live music and family-friendly activities, Lexington offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity that makes it a must-visit destination. So pack your bags and get ready to create unforgettable memories at some of the best festivals and events Lexington has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Lexington Water Lantern Festival?

The Lexington Water Lantern Festival is scheduled for September 21, 2024.

What kind of activities can I expect at the Lexington Water Lantern Festival?

The festival features community activities suitable for families and kids, music, nightlife, and outdoor recreation.

How much do tickets for the Lexington Water Lantern Festival cost?

Ticket prices range from $25 to $250, depending on the package you choose.

What are some must-try dishes at the Barbecue Festival?

The Barbecue Festival features a variety of must-try dishes, including smoked ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and classic Southern sides like coleslaw and baked beans.

Who are some of the featured artists at the Railbird Festival?

The Railbird Festival celebrates some of the best songwriters, crooners, and musicians in Appalachia.

What are the top distilleries to visit on the Bourbon Trail?

Some top distilleries to visit on the Bourbon Trail include Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Maker’s Mark.

What kind of live performances can I expect at the Singletary Center for the Arts?

The Singletary Center for the Arts hosts a variety of performances, including orchestra, band, choral, jazz music, dance, comedy, opera, and theatre.

Where is the Barbecue Festival located?

The Barbecue Festival is located on Main Street and adjoining side streets between 4th Street and 5th Avenue in historic Uptown Lexington.

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