How well do you know Lexington?

ROCK is proud to be featured in this Lexington travel guide by Hip Green Scene.  Take a peek and find out all the wonderful things our hometown has to offer!


The rolling green hills and rambling black fences of Lexington, Kentucky horse country are legendary. While we heartily recommend whiling away an afternoon at Keeneland placing bets on your favorite filly, there’s more to Lex than equines. The NoLi Night Market, for instance, draws urbanites from nearby neighborhoods and downtown with its food truck parade, handmade goods by local makers, and live music under the stars (plus a few strings of twinkly lights). You might be lured by all the action downtown, and we don’t blame you, but be sure to scope out the surrounding areas like the Historic Western Suburb, Woodland Triangle, and North Lime. There’s plenty we love in the Coolavin Park area too, not the least of which are pick-up games of bike polo across from County Club and West Sixth Brewery. Of particular note, the once gritty Distillery District is coming into its own. You won’t want to miss the beloved dessertery Crank & Boom’s first brick and mortar in one of the district’s restored warehouses. Some cities just need a little coaxing to reveal their sweet spots–stick with us–and if someone asks you if you bleed blue, just say yes.

Historic Distillery District

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Ethereal Brewing  Irish Espresso Stout, P.B.& J. Porter, Cascadian Cream Ale, Ethereal Strength Bitter–these guys are delivering plenty of reasons for you to venture out to the Old Pepper Distillery. Enjoy a flight of their creative brews including a few solid Saisons and their signature IPA, Wanderlust. They keep ten rotating guest taps as well. Ethereal has darts in the tank room, the best food trucks in town on the regular, and a mighty fine looking taproom to sweeten the pot. 1224 Manchester St. (E)

Middle Fork Kitchen Bar  Mark Jensen, whose popular mobile galley Fork in the Road won your hearts, now brings his globally-inspired street cuisine to a earthy-urban sit down venue right next door to Ethereal Brewing. You can expect good views to all the action in the kitchen, including a chef’s counter and communal tables. Middle Fork is making good use of the outdoor space as well, overlooking the meandering Town Branch River. Go see what Mark and his team put together. 1224 Manchester St. (E)

Crank and Boom’s Dessert Cafe and Lounge is another long-awaited project from Lex’s favorite craft ice creamery. TheBoom is bringing their small batch velvety goodness to the Distillery District this spring. Bourbon & Honey, SuperfudgeKentucky Blackberry & Buttermilk, plus much more. No word yet on the dessert menu, but we’re hoping for Affogatos! 1210 Manchester St. (E)

Barrel House Distilling Co. is an official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, but we won’t blame you if you head straight down to Manchester St. Their Oak Rum is aged in charred oak bourbon barrels, and naturally you can’t leave Kentucky without tasting shine. We heartily recommend you start with the good stuff–Barrel House’s Devil John Moonshine No. 9. The small batch Pure Blue Vodka is a hit with the Big Blue Nation. At Barrel House, they’re patiently waiting for the bourbon to be “ready,” but you can check out the groovy copper pot still while it ages. Tours and tastings are offered Wednesday through Sunday. 1200 Manchester St. (D)

Break Room at the Pepper  Hang out at Town Branch with your friends, sit on the patio and soak up some sun, play cornhole, watch the game, have some drinkswhat’s not to like about this place? If your chill friend’s river house was actually a bar, it would be the Break Room. 1178 Manchester St. (E)

Lussi Brown Coffee is planning to add its talents to the James E. Pepper Distillery in the fall. Lussi Brown brings to Lex the  harmonious marriage of excellent coffee and craft cocktails. Expect the Pig and Pepper Baking Company’s pies, live music shows, and some expert pours. Lussi Brown will offer cuppings on the first Saturday of the month. The cocktail list already looks amazing:  RumChata Undertow, S’mores Cocktail, Hazelnut Vanilla Spiked Latte, Buzzed Grasshopper, Strawberry Green Tea Mojito and more.  James Pepper Distillery, Manchester St. (E)

M.S. Rezny Studio and Gallery  Gorgeous natural light floods Mary Rezny’s  gallery featuring “contemporary, professional, experimental, and innovative artists.” You’ll find a wide range of photography, mixed media, collage, fiber arts, and paintings here. Stop by during third Friday’s Gallery Hop (every other month) or during gallery hours Tuesday through Saturday.  903 Manchester St. (S)

PRHBTN  Those really cool street art murals around town are brought to you by the folks at PRHBTN. Check out their gallery events or their annual PRHBTN Festival each year when they invite artists from all over the world to share their art with Lexington. PRHBTN “showcases local, regional, and national artists, musicians, and businesses intrinsic to urban culture.” Keep up to date with their latest endeavors here. 899 Manchester St. (D)

Made KY is most definitely one of our favorite stops in Lexington. Owner and artist Stacey Chinn has culled a wondrous selection of handcrafted items from Kentucky artisans including ceramic vessels, hand-stamped cards, one-of-a-kind jewelry, wearable art, and more. Made Ky offers Summer smART Camps for children and has a bona fide tee-pee smack in the center of their engaging Kids Korner.  903 Manchester St. #180 (S)

Kre8now Makerspace  3-D printers, Build-a-Drone workshops, wood routers–you name it, Kre8now probably has it. Their new 12,000 foot space is meant to be a community creative hive. Makers and inventors unite. 903 Manchester St. #120 (D)

Town Branch Distillery is the oldest craft distillery in Lexington. Take a tour to bolster your beer and bourbon I.Q. Town Branch Distillery and Alltech Lexington Brewing produce Kentucky Ales including their flagship Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Town Branch Bourbon, Bluegrass Sundown liqueur, as well as “the first malt whiskey produced in Kentucky since the Prohibition,” Pearse Lyons Reserve. 401 Cross St. (E)

Pop’s Resale  Visit this “clearinghouse for vinyl records, vintage and quirky clothing, old-school game systems, and a million other things you ain’t never heard of,” and pick up what Pop’s is dropping. Go by and gab with Dan Shorr (Pop) and add to your vinyl collection. 1423 Leestown Rd. (S)

Historic Western Suburb

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Stella’s Kentucky Deli  It’s the little things that please us the most about Stella’s farm-sourced food.  For instance, you can add a fried green tomato to any burger or salad on the menu.  They make their own jalapeno syrup and use it in their clever tequila gimlet. Anything with Weisenburger cheese grits is a good call, and don’t forget a slice of Mary Porter pie, to go if necessary.  Stella’s has a sweet little side patio. But be warned, this popular little yellow house is jumping during lunch and seating is tight. 143 Jefferson St.(E)

Nick Ryan’s Saloon  It’s hard to resist a Southern double porch. Nick Ryan’s food matches the appeal of its architecture. Try the Braised Beef Short Ribs or another house favorite, the Shrimp & Grits made with Weisenberger Mill’s stone ground white grits, smoked Gouda, and andouille sausage. Join them for Saturday brunch and enjoy their Bloody Mary bar ($5 each for your spicy Saturday wake-up). 157 Jefferson St. (E)

This past year marked the first Jefferson Street Soiree, but we anticipate it becoming a yearly event. In celebration of Keeneland’s Yearling Sale, the evening soiree gathers folks all the way down the Jefferson Street corridor, from Short to Second.  We’re talkin’ some serious food, libations, and musical entertainment–all on one of our favorite destinations in Lex, Jefferson Street. (D)

Grey Goose Bar  Those stable doors just draw us right in. Order up one of their hand-tossed New York style pizzas; the specials are always a good way to go here, and sit back soaking in the dimly lit atmosphere. It is where all the cool kids hang out. 170 Jefferson St. (E)

Enoteca  Welcome to the Emerald City of tapas. Enoteca is the perfect place to explore a few new varietals from their extensive wine collection while noshing on some savory small plates.  We particularly dig the well-rounded whiskey list–you are in Kentucky, after all. 191 Jefferson St. (E)

Wine + Market  We never resist dropping in Wine + Market when in Lexington–great sandwiches on crusty bread, a kickin’ cheese case, gourmet goodies and plenty of white subway tile and mirror to draw in the light. We’re feeling their European vibe. Offering free tastings in the adjoining wine room on Fridays from 5-8, this is the perfect place to pull together an impromptu picnic for your honey. 486 W. 2nd St. (S)

The Green Lantern Bar  If you mention that you live or travel through Lexington, people are inevitably going to ask if you’ve been to The Green Lantern (yes, it is that famous). This little neighborhood dive bar features an eclectic mix of live music and is considered a staple of the local rock scene. 497 W. 3rd St. (E)

Blue Stallion Brewing specializes in German lagers and British ales. Head over on Test Batch Tuesdays for limited edition brews and pick up a little dinner from the Gastro Gnome truck. Trivia is on Thursday for you competitive types, and you can cue up at Lyles BBQ for additional brain fuel. 610 W. 3rd St. (E)

Coolavin Park

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Bike Polo is way cool, and it is happening in Coolavin Park. Did you know that Lexington has its very own bike polo court?  Fact. Find out more about bike polo and roller hockey on Lex’s Bicycle Polo League website.  Coolavin Park, 550 W. 6th St.(D)

County Club  Hardwood-smoked low and slow, County Club utilizes “responsibly raised Kentucky cow, hog, sheep, goat, and chicken while applying flavor traditions from around the world.”  The smoked brisket with Cornichon and poutine of the day are local favorites, and their house-made vinegar bbq sauce made with West Sixth IPA was spotlighted by Garden & Gun magazine. Be sure to order the daily salad–it is always amazing.  555 Jefferson St. (E)

Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop is a volunteer-run organization that wants “better bicycles for all people” and to help you help yourself when it comes to bike upkeep. They offer bike mechanics classes and fully stocked workstations.  “AtBroke Spoke you can buy used bikes and parts. You can rent workstand time. You can ask one of our mechanics if you are doing something right. And, if you can’t afford to pay, you can volunteer your time for $8/hour, otherwise known as sweat equity.” Righteous. 501 W. Sixth St. (S)

West Sixth Brewing recently announced the release of its first County Series beer–Washington, fermented in a gently-used red wine barrel. This limited edition ale is described as “tart, crisp, and funky, with high effervescence created during the bottle conditioning.” Their Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter, besides being delicious, generates 50 cents a six pack for worthy charities in the town where it is sold. If you’re looking for yet another reason to love West Sixth, show up with your mat on Wednesday (6-7 p.m.) for Community Yoga. 501 W. Sixth St. (E)

Smithtown Seafood is located right inside West Sixth in the Bread Box building. Who couldn’t do with a basket of Crispy Seafood Pups alongside a refreshing West Sixth brew? Even though the vibe is casual (pick up window and brewery seating), Smithtown is dead serious about serving up deliciously prepared seafood that is sustainably raised or responsibly farmed. You can even take advantage of Chef Michel’s expert fishmonger by purchasing fresh fish to go. Every tilapia special sends $8 to FoodChain’s urban farm and helps educate the community about sustainable agriculture and food production.501 W. Sixth St. (E)

Rollergirls of Central Kentucky practice sessions are held at The Bread Box warehouse behind West Sixth Brewing.This Flat Track Roller Derby League hosts home bouts during the season at the Lexington Ice Center and the Lexington Convention Center. They are often looking for emergency medical personnel to oversee the matches, if that tells you anything. 581 W. Sixth (D)

North Lime

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Lexington Art League is vital to the Lexington arts community. Don’t wait until the Gallery Hop to view some engaging art. The Lexington Art League brings the work of regional, national, and international artists to Lexington through the Artist Residency Program. The LAL also has a vibrant education program including classes for youth and teens. Their Community Supported Art (CSA) is “at the forefront of national trends to promote grass-roots art buying and collecting and was recently featured in the New York Times.”   Join the CSA by buying a share and reaping this season’s crop of art. 209 Castlewood Dr.(D)

Noli Night Market  On the corner of Limestone and Loudon, look for a neighborly ruckus going on the first Friday of every month May through December. This groovy pop-up street festival features inventive goods by local vendors, handmade art, tasty food trucks and beer, naturally. Bring cash. 804 N. Limestone (D)

Minton’s at 760  If you don’t feel like chasing down their food truck, whisk over to the corner of Luigart Street and Limestone for lunch or brunch. Minton’s is open Tuesday through Saturday 11-3 serving the kicked up Southern dishes you adore. The Little Brother, Brunch on a Bun (you know bacon jam is our kryptonite)–it is all so good, Southern Living is includingMinton’s at 760 in their newest cookbook. Call to order one of their amazing cakes for your next fete; it is certain Nick’s Birthday Cake made with banana cake and caramel sauce or the Mascarpone Cheesecake topped with amaretto soaked pecans will clench your party-hero status. 760 N. Limestone (E)

Al’s Bar and Beer Garden  Kentucky has its fair share of dive bars, and Lexington is no exception. While  Al’s might merit the “dive” label, it is far more. Consider it more of a Limestone street institution. “Local burgers highlight a diverse menu along with a large bourbon selection, draft beer, and a neighborhood personality.”  While you’ll vacillating between the Bison Burger with chipotle bourbon mayo and the Willie’s Bluegrass Burger crowned with beer cheese, bacon, onion rings and bbq sauce, you can enjoy live music most nights. Don’t miss the Cult Film Series on the first Wednesday of every month–free.Al’s Bar also hosts the Holler Poet Series on last Wednesdays to nourish your literary yearnings. 601 N. Limestone (E)

North Lime Coffee and Donuts serves Nate’s coffee all the ways you like it, including specialty drinks like Cortados andEspresso Con Panna (two shots of espresso layered with homemade whipped cream).  While life might be unpredictable, you can depend on North Lime’s Plain Glazed,Chocolate Iced, Cinnamon & Sugar, Cinnamonkey, and Funnel Cake donuts to be there for you day in and day out. Check their twitter @northlimelex to see what kooky flavors of the day they’re serving (like Dublin Stout, Bourbon Caramel, or Key Lime Long Johns). 575 N. Limestone St. (E)

Arcadium  With twenty taps of craft beer and a cozy Edison bulb-lit full bar, Arcadium is a must.  Did we mention games–all the old-school arcade games you need to fuel those high score dreams. 574 N. Limestone St. (E)

Homegrown Press is John Lackey’s studio and gallery. If you pop in sometime after lunch, you might find him in the studio. We love his linoleum block prints. 569 N. Limestone St. (S)

Fox House Vintage  This killer boutique on 6th carries men’s and women’s vintage apparel. Every week get sick style at a bargain on Tiiiight Tuesday. Fox House carries Shine jewelry and accessories. Swing by on Saturdays and scout to your heart’s content with a mimosa in hand. The best. 123 W. 6th St. (S)

Gratz Park

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Morlan Gallery Transylvania University is located in the Mitchell Fine Art Center on campus. It features contemporary art that “represents Western and non-Western viewpoints, gives voice to the marginalized, and encourages experimental installation, performance, and digital artworks.” The gallery is open daily (during the exhibition season from May-September) from noon-5 p.m. 300 N. Broadway (D)

Wander through the idyllic Gratz Park gazing at the 19th Century townhouses, or cop a squat near the Fountain of Youthbronze sculpture. It couldn’t hurt, right? (D)

Doodles Breakfast & Lunch serves local and organic food–“comfort food with a conscience.”  The beignets are where it’s at. We can’t get enough of the hearty Oatmeal Brulee either, Weisenberger Mill steel cut oats topped with a crackling raw sugar shell. Or, if we need something savory, Tara’s Tasty Hash squares us away for the morning. Don’t be afraid of the crowds, just take our advice and have a cup of joe first (to stave off the “hangry”). 262 N. Limestone (E)

Third Street Stuff and Coffee  Artist Pat Gerhard’s exuberant Third Street Stuff has been a neighborhood staple for more than a decade. Pick up a gift, grab a bite to eat, or a Frozen Monkey mocha to liven up your afternoon. Their coffee has been voted Best in Lexington numerous times by Ace Weekly, and last year was named best coffee shop in the state by Business Insider. We don’t know if it is Gerhard’s funky, folky art energizing her patrons or the Dirty Chai Lattes. Either way, you’re likely to leave with a little more pep in your step. Happy hour comes everyday from 5-7 p.m. when you can get your coffee or tea for half off. 257 N. Limestone (E)

Mulberry & Lime  We adore ambling through the historic 1813 Colonial and all the goodies owner Mary  Ginocchio has assembled there. Mulberry & Lime features lovely gifts, furnishings, and home accents. Pine Cone Hill bedding, Dash and Albert rugs, and Bowron New Zealand lambskin, linens, tabletop, and all manner of beautiful accoutrements to feather your nest. 216 N. Limestone (S)

Lexington Beerworks has twelve rotating taps of your favorite craft brews to fill your growler, over 100  microbrews by the bottle or can, and a fully-stocked homebrew shop. Cocktails and wine is also available. If you’re peckish, they serve apps and artisan pizzas. Or just skip to dessert and order the Chocolate Milk Stout Beer Float. The best seat in the house is on the back deck with a view to the skyline at dusk.  213 N. Limestone (S)

Le Deauville  Their Borducan (orange liquor) cocktail is the exilir of the gods. We like to visit this quaint French bistro while the sun is still streaming in onto the crisp white tablecloths. During the week, appetizers are half price from 5:00-6:30; it’s an opportune time to sample the excellent Pate Maison or delicate Beef Carpaccio. Monday nights are all-you-can-eat sweet or savory crepes, and Tuesdays we suggest you make a standing date with Mussels night. 199 N. Limestone (E)

Institute 193 “collaborates with artists, musicians, and writers to produce exhibitions, publications, and projects that document the cultural landscape of the modern South.” Check it out. 193 N. Limestone (D)

Downtown/West Short Design District

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

A La Lucie  There’s no place we’d rather eat a Lobster Corndog. 159 N. Limestone (E)

Sidebar Grill is the place to hang like a local. If you’re looking to score some lunch, you might have to arm wrestle a few suits eating burgers or daydrinkers. But it’s worth it. Velvet Johnny Cash will keep you company. Sidebar has friendly folks, good grub, and zero pretense. 147 N. Limestone (E)

Limestone Blue  No matter which tasty sandwich you order at Limestone Blue, be sure to try their famed  Avocado fries.They’ve got Cruxial Hot Sauce too–splash a little pumpkin habanero on your Brunch eggs. Limestone Blue has a lock on interesting macaroni flavors including Buffalo Chicken and Beer Cheese. Though you can’t get more “Kentucky” than crumbling BBQ Grippos on your mac & cheese (unless you consume an Ale 8 alongside). Order a local brew on tap for good measure. 133 N. Limestone (E)

The Clock Shop  That traditional German Cuckoo clock you’ve secretly always wanted is inside, along with a mind bending array of magician’s supplies. Yes, if ever there was a moment to set your inner child free, this is it. 154 W. Short St. (S)

Shorty’s Urban Market and Tap Room  Enjoy the simple pleasure of strolling through Shorty’s downtown market browsing locally-sourced gourmet foods at a snail’s pace, perhaps nursing a craft beer in one hand from Shorty’s Tap Room and balancing a half-full market bag in the other. Don’t feel like cooking? Pick up something from the deli or order the nightly blue plate special. No Corkage (fees) Wednesdays will get you through Hump Day as you share a lovely bottle with your friends in Shorty’s Tap Room. 163 W. Short (S)

Parlay Social  The best time to visit Parlay Social is when the bands are heating up the stage. Live music (Rock, Soul, Funk, Retro, Country, or Blues) begins most nights by 9:30. When you need a little nosh, their thin crust specialty pizzas or the plentiful meat and cheese boards make perfect accompaniments to the night’s libations. Bourbon flights are available. Or if tonight’s really your night, Parlay Social has bottles of the elusive Pappy Van Winkle, aged from 12-25 years. Join Parlay Social on Tannic Tuesdays for weekly wine bottle specials. 257 W. Short (E)

Dudley’s on Short  This elegant eatery on Short has garnered many fans in the last 34 years. Whichever  entree you choose, follow it in the good ole Southern tradition with Pawpaw Pie. While Dudley’s fabulous rooftop patio seems somehow to have escaped popular notice, it is a quintessential Lexington experience. 259 W. Short St. (E)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

The Village Idiot  While their Idiot Burger topped with Tillamook cheddar, fried onion ring, and pulled pork gets a lot of play, this gastropub serves a mighty tasty Korean Fried Chicken Biscuit. We don’t even need to know what gochujang sauce is–we’re on board. However, we are curious to know who decided to throw candied jalapenos on the infamous Duck & Wafflesbecause that was a baller move. The Village Idiot has twenty rotating taps of craft beer, a solid selection of microbrews and wine, plus a number of creative house cocktails. 307 W. Short St. (E)

Belle’s Cocktail House is owned in part by the gentlemen of The Bourbon Review, so you can expect a healthy selection of Kentucky’s spirit of choice. Belle’s also features craft beers, wine, and as the name suggests, house cocktails named after famous Lexingtonians. We suggest you head upstairs to enjoy your libation amongst the bricks, taxidermy, and tufted leather.156 Market St. (E)

Table Three Ten  Any mention of stopping in Table Three Ten makes us deliriously happy; it is that good. From the moment the brown bread and smoked bourbon salt atop a slab of chilled butter hits the table,  Table Three Ten has us enthralled with every tasty morsel placed before us. Choose from three or four entrees or smaller plates options, all scrawled on the massive chalkboard up front. The P.E.I. mussels and  the Burrata is a lovely start to your meal. Arguably one of the best craft cocktails we’ve ever tasted was rustled up for us at Table Three Ten. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste pastry chef Becca’s desserts. 310 W. Short St. (E)

Circa Home  This well-appointed small showroom has furnishings and accessories that are both refined and on trend. VisitCirca Home when you’re strolling Short St. and pick up something beautiful to enliven your space.  Kimbrel Birkman offers design services out of this downtown spot. 351 W. Short St. (S)

Lexington Opera House  Go see something–anything–at the Lexington Opera House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1887 jewel should be seen and enjoyed. See their event calendar here. 401 W. Short St. (D)

Clawdaddy’s  Oh my! Lobster, Jonah crab and shrimp directly from Maine heaped high on a freshly-baked brioche roll. Heaven. Don’t forget a slice of Danielle’s blueberry pie. We can’t resist bundling up a Whoopie pie for later. 128 N. Broadway St. (E)

Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen  You’ll be craving these salads in no time. Honestly. The Meyer Lemon & Rosemary, BlackberryGinger and Fresh Basil Lemonades (to name a few) are just as addicting…in a good way. 113 N. Broadway or 1781 Sharkey Way #110 (E)

While the fountain in Triangle Park is lovely, the area is even more magical in the winter months when you can ice-skate in the middle of the city. We’ll be watching for you to land that next triple axel. (D)

Meg C Jewelry Gallery  Meg C. rocks. She created the award-winning gold-plated KFC chicken bone necklace that caused a media fervor last year (spotlighted by Food & Wine). We’re kind of in love with her Wishbone necklace, too. Check out Meg C. Jewelry to snag some amazing custom pieces from Meg and other regional designers. If you’re a native, you really need her Kentucky necklace.119 N. Mill St. (S)

Cheapside Park Pavillion  Farmer’s Market are in full swing on Saturdays 7-2, or in winter from 8-1 p.m.

Skybar is your sushi lounge in the sky. Go for the great views of downtown and enjoy a “Makin’ Whoopie” moment (Michelle Pfeiffer as piano-slithering lounge singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys movie–look it up). 269 W. Main #900 (E)

Lexington Diner  Chef Ranada Riley offers the diner experience downtown. Angus beef burgers, house-made fries and kettle chips, boss Overstuffed Omelets, and decadent French Toast options keep ’em coming back for more. 124 N. Upper St. (E)

South Broadway/UK/Historic South Hill

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Country Boy Brewing  Jalapeno Smoked Porter, Cougar Bait Blonde, Ghost Gose–how we love you! Country Boy brews with the freshest ingredients they can find and minimal processing. Those “Country Boys” know how to do it right with a nice patio, relaxed taproom, and friendly folk serving great beer. On special release days, like for the Barreled Black Gold Porteraged in Kentucky rum barrels, expect a line. 436 Chair Ave. (E)

Tolly Ho  Open 24 hours a day for you to get your Ho-burgers; and no, we are not making that up. 606 S. Broadway (E)

Ello’s on Broadway  We’re salivating like Pavlov’s dog just thinking about Ello’s tacos. Order the famed Ribeye Steak taco, or the equally tasty tamales, or bulging burritos. So good. Look for Ello’s Taco Cart around town. 406 S. Broadway (E)

Lexington Farmers Market Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-4 p.m. May through November S. Broadway and Maxwell (S)

Sabio is equally noted for their Wok Charred Green Beans as for their Grilled Lamb Chops with caramelized leek and goat cheese bread pudding. That is a good sign. Pay the proper respect to Sabio’s lovely patio by ordering the Sweet Biscuit served with Fresh Strawberries, Balsamic Syrup, Whipped Cream, & Orange Custard. Happy Hour, from 3-6 daily, is the perfect time to wind down in the Detention Bar with a little protein snack like Sabio’s Chicken Lollipops (half price!) and your libation of choice. 380 S. Mill St. at Dudley Square (E)

Want to find your favorite food truck around Lexington? Follow That Food Truck is a new app with a real time map.

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Pedal Power was recently named one of America’s Best Bike Shops. Pedal Power has everything you need to prepare for your commute or recreational ride–in-store clinics, thorough fitting services, and accessories to outfit your wheels right. They have a great selection of bikes in every category and a knowledgeable staff to help you build to the next level. From racing gear to children’s bikes, they’ve got it. Pedal Power initiated the non-profit Shifting Gears which donates bikes to refugees new to the area. They also sponsor the yearly Bike Lexington event. 401 S. Upper St. (S)

CD Central is smack dab in the middle of UK territory, which is a good thing in terms of longevity. They “specialize in indie rock, alternative, R&B, metal, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and musical alternatives of all kinds. CD Central has an extensive selection of new, used and collectible LPs and carries turntables and accessories to help you get the most out of your vinyl collection.” Go out and support your local music store. 377 S. Limestone (S)

Han Woo Ri  is a small Korean food joint that packs a whallop of flavor. Get your Beef Bulogi fix here. The  Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop, a traditional meal of rice and veggies topped with an egg and crunchy strips of fried seaweed, is a good call…and the dumplings. One must always order dumplings when given the chance. 371 S. Limestone (E)

Sqecial Media has been supplying Lexington with books, gifts and oddities since 1972. We love their arthouse and special interest mags. Plus they’ve got some pretty sweet t-shirts to flaunt your literary prowess. 371 S. Limestone (S)

Soundbar is for dancing ’til you can’t dance, dance, dance no mo’. 208 S. Limestone (D)

East Main/Martin Luther King

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Kentucky Theatre  When UK Wildcats are playing, Kentucky Theatre broadcasts the games on the big screen.  Otherwise, you can catch an arthouse film, a smart documentary, a concert, or a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Good times. 214 E. Main St. (D)

Ann Tower Gallery is housed on the second floor of the Downtown Arts Center. Representing over forty artists with Kentucky ties, Ann Tower Gallery showcases dynamic contemporary and folk art. Take a break from the bustle and peruse some great art in this well-curated downtown gallery.  While you’re there make plans to spend an evening in the DAC’s Black Box Theatre which features a wide array of cultural happenings including productions from the area’s newest professional theatre group, Athens West. 141 E. Main St. (D)

Balagula Theatre features culturally-relevant, emotionally-charged, intelligent plays. Balagula’s season mixes modern classics with new works. Performances are held in the Farish Theatre inside Lexington Downtown Public Library. For details about the season, click here. 140 E. Main St., Farish Theatre (D)

Natasha’s Bistro and Bar was voted the best place to see live music at the Lexington Music Awards. You can easily catch some great jazz, acoustic sets, hip-hop, funk, bluegrass, comedy and more. On occasion, you’ll find Tinderbox Circus Sideshow on the schedule performing late night Burlesque. Hungry? Chef Mike Vannarsdall has whipped up a full menu of globally inspired dishes from Borscht to Szechaun Satay. 112 Esplanade Alley (D)

Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center  The beloved Lyric Theatre has a storied past including epic performances by Count Basie, B.B. King and Ray Charles. Today the venue hosts an in-house art gallery, lectures, community events, The Troubadour Concert Series, programs for youth, and free movies during the Lyric Picture Show each summer.  In addition, every Monday, Lyric Theatre is home to the live broadcast of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Support the Lyric and keep this iconic theatre alive. 300 E. Third St. (D)

A Cup of Commonwealth  We regard genuine warmth as a hot commodity, and A Cup of Commonwealth has it in spades. Friendly baristas, great coffee, and a real sense of community pervades this little corner of the Eastern Ave. Naturally, we adored the pay-it-forward coffee wall here. Pour-overs, steamers, cold brew–they’ve got it (and more). Go in, get caffeinated, and do your brother a solid. 105 Eastern Ave. (E)

Eastside

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Spalding’s Bakery accepts cash only for your little bundles of glazed joy. 760 Winchester Rd. (E)

National Provisions  If there is one place you absolutely need to go, it is National Provisions. It is the George Clooney of dining establishments–so great looking, confident, and well-traveled–it can afford to be friendly, even surprisingly down to earth. Rest assured, pretty is as pretty does; and National Provisions proves it has substance. Enjoy lunch in the Beer Hall from 11-3. Apertifs start at 4, dinner service at 5 in their Bluegrass Brasserie. Pop into National’s Boulangerie + Patisseriefor a gorgeous macaron or coffee. We can’t wait to go back for another savory Bacon & Gruyere muffin (which perfectly encases the hard-boiled egg hiding inside)–mind blown. Brunch is served on the weekends from 11-4. Owners Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims’ next expansion will be an artisanal market. 710 National Ave. (E)

Blue Door Smokehouse  Best. Brisket. Ever. 226 Walton Ave. (E)

The Breakout Games  It’s Sherlock Holmes meets The Amazing Race as The Breakout Games offers Lexington an entirely new group game experience. You and your team have exactly one hour to complete your mission and “breakout” of a carefully-designed caper room. Select from four scenarios which will require your wits, moxie, and teamwork:  The Kidnapping; The Derby Heist; The Island Escape; or Casino Royale. 306 N. Ashland Ave. (D)

Scout Antique and Modern  You’ll find a wide range of antiques from an Italian gilt pendant lamp to a Mid-Century Modern writing desk. This is a great place to scout for repurposed industrial items as well. 935 Liberty Rd. (S)

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Cowgirl Attic Reclaimed Urban Artifacts  Architectural salvage, quirky yard art, clawfoot tubs, and antique signage are just a few of the treasures you’ll find in this massive repository of odds and ends. Come armed with your patience and a visionary eye. 1535 Delaware Ave. (S)

Lexington Pasta  Reinaldo and Lesme are hard at work on their next venture Pasta Garage Italian Cafe scheduled to open in spring. In the meanwhile, there’s plenty of fresh pasta to stock your fridge; or sign up for a class from everyone’s favorite Lexington pasta gurus. 962 Delaware Ave. (E)

Coles 735  Set aside any qualms you might have about the traditional setting, Coles 735’s flavor profiles just might surprise you. While this upscale eatery serves the elegant Filet Mignon you might be expecting, they also offer a delicately-spicedMoroccan Butternut Squash Stew with pesto and toasted almonds. If you’d rather nibble on something a bit more casual,Coles has a terrific Bar Bites menu including Weisenberger Grit Fries, Crispy Pork Belly Tacos, and Big Eye Tuna Sashimi. 735 E. Main St. (E)

Woodland Triangle

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While Shine sadly closed its brick and mortar shop, you can still catch their pop-ups and trunk shows around town. Follow them on social media, @shineonvine, to find deets and drool over their gorgeous handmade jewelry and unique accessories.

Common Grounds Coffee House roasts its own coffee weekly. If you thought beer aged in bourbon barrels was pretty nifty,you’ll be stoked about Common Grounds’ newest collaboration with Willett Distillery–bourbon barrel coffee. You can grab lunch or a breakfast sandwich along with your favorite brew. We are partial to the High St. location with its maze of rooms and cozy nooks to work in, but you’ll find multiple Common Grounds spreading the coffee gospel around Lexington.  343 E. High St. (E)

The Weekly Juicery  Go pure this week! Check out The Weekly Juicery’s raw, cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies. They offer twice-weekly delivery to your home or office and can assist you with a guided detox anytime. 436 Old Vine St. (E)

Black Swan Books is the place to go for rare or antique books. You’ll find a large representation of state and military history books, as well as a unique collection of Wendell Berry works. 505 E. Maxwell St. (S)

The Black Market Boutique  Put this adorable “vintage style boutique” in heavy rotation. Seychelles wedge heels, fetching dresses, Esley tanks, and retro print tees to give your wardrobe a punch of sass. Be sure to check out the jewelry case to score some baubles and bangles by local artisans. The Black Market carries a sweet collection of gifts and accessories too. 516 E. High St. (S)

FOOD TRUCK WATCH:  THE GASTRO GNOMES; CRANK AND BOOM; THE TIN CAN; THE ROLLING PIZZA OVEN; BRADFORD BBQ; J RENDERS BBQ; LYLES BBQ; LITTLE BROTHER BY MINTON’S; FORK IN THE ROAD; THAI AND MIGHTY; ELLOS; EL HABENERO LOKO; WAFFLE E GO

Chevy Chase/Ashland Park

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World’s Apart  This eclectic Chevy Chase boutique is a prime place to shop for gifts. Their Voluspa candles, hand-hooked Kentucky pillows, fun trinkets for kids and decorative home goods are sure to please. 850 E. High St. (S)

Morris Book Shop is a lovely book shop on High St. with all the things that lead you to buy local in the first place–a community-minded ethos, a knowledgeable and helpful staff, and an a great inventory selected by people who know you and what you want. Morris Book Shop hosts frequent readings by authors with ties to the community, book launch parties, and a Young Adult Literature Book Club. 882 E. High St. (S)

High Street Fly knows the best way to sport some local pride. Say it on a soft-comfy tee. Bourbon State, Ale-8, West Sixth Brewing, and more emblazoned across your chest lets your friends know you’re a baller.  887 E. High St. (S)

Tribeca Trunk  When you see the ghostly painted trunk out front, you’ve reached one of our favorite spots in Lex.  WhileTribeca functions as a boutique, it is also a trunk fashion show and art venue featuring “unique contemporary works by acclaimed designers and artists.” We took an immediate shine to their boss rings. 116 Old Lafayette Ave. (S)

Omar + Elsie  This fetching women’s fashion boutique has just the right quotient of elegance and sass. Omar + Elsie has those strappy sandals, leather booties, and designer flats to set off your look, too. 114 Old Lafayette Ave. (S)

Morton James  This airy and sophisticated Chevy Chase boutique carries the kind of pieces that not only last, but have the touch of urban flair that lends a bit of “bad-ass” tude to your wardrobe. Morton James carries both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. 836 Euclid Ave. (S)

Bourbon n’ Toulousse serves heaping portions of spicy Cajun stews over rice on the cheap. Enjoy a local craft brew and sample one of the dozens of hot sauces on your Creole dish. 829 Euclid Ave. (E)

 

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

The Beer Trappe rated a “world class” ranking on Beer Advocate. They’re stocked with over 500 specialty beers on the shelves, with hundreds chilled and ready for you to enjoy at your leisure. Go to a Beer School session held by a National BJCP judge and certified Cicerone. It’s only ten bucks. The Beer Trappe features eight rotating taps of interesting craft brews should you decide to sit a spell. 811 Euclid Ave. (S)

Athenian Grill  Oh, we’d travel a long way for a top-notch gyro. Thankfully, you Lexingtonians don’t need to. We’re even excited about the Avgolemono soup, and Athenian Grill’s traditional Greek dips like Taramosalata, and Htipiti served with warm pita. Save yourself the trouble of deciding between them, just order the Meze Platter to sample four. 313 S. Ashland Ave. (E)

Adelé offers “interior design & stylish finds for the home, gift, baby, and you.” Drop by for a little aesthetic therapy and breathe in all the pretty. 445 S. Ashland Ave. (S)

Josie’s Restaurant  Lexington loves to spend its mornings in Josie’s. When in doubt, the cheese grit casserole–always. If you’re not in the mood for breakfast fare, try the Grouper Fingers. 821 Chevy Chase Place (E)

Southland/Zandale

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Gumbo Ya Ya  Craving some Creole? Gumbo Ya Ya is serving heaping portions of Maque Choux, E’touffee, Gumbo and more delish dishes. Make it your go-to for a fast and tasty cajun fix. 1080 S. Broadway Suite 107 (E)

Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling  Lexington is fortunate to have two bike shops named in America’s Best Bike Shops this past year. Scheller’s was one.That clearly speaks to the health of the cycling community in Lex. Scheller’s is helping to sponsor this year’s Tour De Lou bike race held as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. Though it started as a family-owned bike shop, Scheller’s began carrying fitness equipment in the eighties. They are also a full-service bike shop with a terrific inventory of bikes, parts, and accessories. Scheller’s sponsors a racing team and holds free clinics on riding and maintenance. Check out the Scheller University tab on their website for a plethora of cycling related info. including buying, training, and advocacy issues. 1987 Harroldsburg Rd. (S)

Dad’s Favorites is a deli which features Dad’s own incredible cheese spreads on its sandwiches. If you’ve never been, and even if you have, a “tasting” is essential. You’ll hear all about Dad’s cheese spreads and be further flummoxed about which to take home (because they are all that good). As for your lunch, should the Asiago Pot Roast sandwich miraculously still be available, order that. Dad recommends the Friday special too, Mac & Cheese smothered in Dad’s Stampin’ Ground Cheddar(beer cheese made with Country Boy’s Stout Porter) along with their Dry Rubbed BBQ topped with Chipotle Cheddar and a side of Honey Lime Coleslaw. 820 Lane Allen Rd. (E)

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Brasabana Cuban Cuisine  Have you tried Brunchabana? We’ll eat Brasabana’s amazing Cuban food anytime of the day, but we’re developing a soft spot for their festive brunch. Mojo chicken over a Monterey Jack biscuit topped with perfectly poached egg, crispy bacon, and cilantro achiote gravy– say hello to the Brasabana Benedict.  841 Lane Allen Rd. (E)

Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez  We’ve read numerous accounts swearing by Nate Silver’s Burrito Bracket (made famous on his FiveThirtyEight blog). Nate and his team rigorously evaluated 67,391 burrito joints around the country to hail the best burrito in America. Tortilleria Y Taqueria’s Carne Asada wound up number three. We kid you not. The Al Pastor and theCarnitas tacos are worthy contenders too. 1425 Alexandria Dr. (E)

Marikka’s Restaurant and Bier Stube  Lexington’s only authentic German restaurant definitely has a sports bar vibe, and it’s not just the wall of German beers we’re talking about. They even have their own volleyball league with courts in the back. But even if we have to duck a few elbows on our way, we’ll do what is necessary to get Marikka’s Mettwurst Dinner with sauerkraut, Spatzle, or Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes with applesauce). 411 Southland Dr. (E)

Good Foods Market and Cafe  They say you shouldn’t shop hungry. So grab The Big Italian sandwich from their deli or maybe a slice of pie from the case. The Hot Bar is epic for brunch. Give it a go. 455 Southland Dr. (E)

Ramsey’s Diner is beloved for its good ole Southern cooking. This is the kind of place you can order Chicken Livers or Pan-Fried Blackened Catfish with your Pinto Beans and Stewed Tomatoes. Their Cold Meatloaf Sandwich might give you flashbacks of late-night fridge raids in your footy pajamas. Just be sure to save room for Missy’s Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. 151 W. Zandale Dr.; multiple locations (E)

El Rancho Tapatio Restaurant features a live Mariachi band on Fridays, a long list of authentic Mexican dishes, and Margarita Monday specials. Go for the Flan…nom nom nom. 144 Burt Rd. (E)

Fable + Flame  James Snowden’s blog “The New Victorian Ruralist” was written up in Elle, The London Telegraph, andRiseArt in the last few years; and Snowden’s home design and lifestyle boutique, Fable + Flame, has garnered the attention of the New York Times and Victoria Magazine. So naturally, we couldn’t wait to check it out. We adore the play of elements-wood, iron, glass, and neutral textiles throughout the shop. Roost’s beaded cuff caught our eye, as did Ann Lightfoot’s unique pieces in the jewelry case up front. 11-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday 125 Burt Rd. (S)

Old San Juan Cuban Cuisine  We can’t get enough of Old San Juan’s plantains. We’ve never been know to turn down their Empanadas, either. Stop in for a pressed sandwich, or the Ropa Vieja with a side of black beans and rice. 247 Surfside Dr. (E)

J & H Lanmark Store carries all the necessities for outdoor fun including camping supplies and sports equipment to get you climbing, backpacking, paddling, and adventure seeking. 189 Moore Dr. (S)

Joseph Beth Booksellers The scale of this massive book emporium and community space might be a little shocking at first (think anchor department store). They have a first rate in-store restaurant, Bronte Bistro, which serves fresh and flavorful fare to fuel your book search. With frequent appearances by acclaimed authors and lecturers as well as Kid’s Storytimeprograms, Joseph Beth has solidified its status as local treasure. 161 Lexington Green Circle Suite B1 (S)

Bella Notte  Relax with some beautiful pasta dishes, wood-grilled meats or seafood and a fine glass of wine. Bella Nottehas a nice cocktail menu too, for those times you want to take it up a notch. 3715 Nicholasville Rd. (E)

Outside New Circle

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Bluegrass Baking Company  Owner and Baker Jim Betts has said, “Bread is life well-lived.”  We’re with you, Jim!  Particularly when he’s serving up loaves like Bohemian Beer Bread, the Urban/Herb’n Cheese Bread, Raisin Pecan Levain,and crusty French Baguettes. While you’re there, the pastries are pretty kickin’ too. Just saying. 3101 Clays Mill Rd. (E)

School Restaurant is the place to go for sushi. The last Wednesday of every month, School offers their Conveyor Belt special–$25 per person for all you can eat sushi plates (from the conveyor line) and 2 for 1 decanters of hot sake. Count us in. 162 Old Todds Rd. #110 (E)

Crust  Don’t be afraid of a little char–you aren’t living until you’ve had pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. Oh, the Burrata of prosciutto, fig jam and crostini! The popular Stufato is a ricotta stuffed crust topped with artichokes, roasted peppers, garlic, and capers. The Dante pie is a fiendishly good pairing of arrabiata, sausage, fior di latte, garlic, parmesan, and balsamic honey. Drop in Thursdays for Wine Nights when bottles are half-price. 2573 Richmond Rd. (E)

Yamaguchi’s Sake and Tapas  Sake! Sake! This is an experience. Each plate of exquisite tapas is delivered in a progression of cold to warm dishes and timed to be served to your table at the ideal temperature. Go on a Tuesday and their mind-blowing array of Japanese Sake is half-off. 125 Codell Dr. Suite 128 (E)

Cooper Brothers Gourmet Meats is Lex’s premier butchery offering fresh seafood and farm raised meats. Their Japanese Waygu and Registered Black Angus come directly from Cane Ridge Cattle Company in neighboring Paris, Ky. You can also shop for other fine Kentucky products like Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries and Cruxial Hot Sauce. 4379 Old Harrodsburg Rd. (S)

OBC Kitchen  Bacon in a glass? Yeah, we’re down with that. Crispy Fried Oysters? Hells yeah. In fact, all OBC’s small plates are so good, we could be happy with that…until we saw that Bacon ‘N Egg salad on frissee or those Chicken and Waffles and that Cola Braised Short Rib.  Now we have a problem. 3373 Tates Creek Rd. (E)

Windy Corners  It is just unthinkable to visit Lexington without getting out into horse country, and Windy Corners is your perfect solution. You can nosh on one of their famous Po Boys while surrounded by majestic thoroughbreds grazing over rolling green hills. Don’t be taunted by the massive Kentucky Boy–BBQ pulled pork slathered with beer cheese, fried pickles and WC special sauce. You can handle it. They make a mean Shrimp Po Boy, too. Before you go, have the fine folks pack up a few Sorghum Cookies from Midway School Bakery–sugar and spice perfection. 4595 Bryan’s Station Rd. (E)

Local Products:  Mousetrap Pimento Cheese; Ale 8 One; Cruxial Hot Sauce

Events

Keeneland  Go to the races; put some money down; have a good time. If you arrive early, you can see the horses led about the grounds. It’s the only way to convince your buddies that betting windfall was actually a result of your finely-honed horse assessing skills.

Crave Lexington Food + Music Festival is Lex’s favorite late summer bash. As the name implies, this is foodie paradise. Get out and see what the area’s best chefs are cooking up while getting your groove on. Find out deets about this year’s event here.

AFB Woodland Art Fair  Lexington’s favorite art festival is in its 40th year. Amble the stalls of over 200 artists in charming Woodland Park. AFB Woodland Art Fair was voted a top ten event by the Southeast Tourism Society. Learn more here.

The Bread Box Holiday Market is “a curated art market showcasing unique, handmade art & goods.”  This market showcases Bread Box studio artists as well as local and regional talent.

The Bourbon Social  When you’re famous for two things, you better get ’em right.  Kentucky is here to show you how bourbon is done. The Bourbon Social is “a celebration of Bourbon craft and culture, and the great people who share a love of America’s native spirit. Mix in a little Kentucky hospitality and the tasty foods we’re known for, and you’ve got one helluva party.”  You’ve got 11 days and a multitude of events to pay proper homage. Check out more here.

Out of Doors

Shakertown  Did you realize Shaker Village Preserve has 40 miles of trails for walking,hiking, running, cycling, and horseback riding? The trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Learn more here.

Red River Gorge  Don’t miss the stunning rock formations, secret waterfalls, and caves of Red River Gorge. If you love rock climbing, this is your place. Red River Gorge has ziplines, miles of trails, camping, cabin rentals and the sandstoneNatural Bridge. Plan your next trip here.

Legacy Trail is “a 12-mile walking, biking, interpretative trail and public art venue.” You can pick it up at the Issac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, East 3rd St., and take it all the way to the Kentucky Horse Park.

© 2015