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Thanks to our friends at opens in a new windowVisitLEX and Patti Nickell, travel writer for the Lexington Herald Leader, for the insider tips!

We know the primary reason Show-me-Staters are coming to the Bluegrass October 7th is to watch the Tigers collide with the Wildcats on the gridiron. But there’s no reason they can’t take advantage of what else our beautiful city has to offer.

Lexington skyline at duskJeff Rogers, courtesy VisitLEX

Let’s start with horses as this is the Horse Capital of the World. Book a tour through Horse Country, and you’ll be able to visit a number of the 450 Thoroughbred farms that surround Lexington.

The 1,200-acre Kentucky Horse Park is the only park in the world dedicated exclusively to the horse. Watch a parade of breeds – from the stately Arabian to the stalwart Appaloosa; visit retired equine superstars in the Hall of Champions, or learn all about these magnificent creatures at the International Museum of the Horse.

horses and riders at Keeneland fall meetKeeneland Fall Meet, courtesy Cornett

You’ll be here during the fall race meet at Keeneland Race Course, often described as America’s most beautiful race track. If you’re lucky enough to score tickets, and you can work it in, dress up in your finest, order a mint julep and learn the difference between an exacta, a trifecta and a superfecta.

exterior of Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, KYPaul Atkinson, courtesy VisitLEX

Okay, a history lesson may not top your “to-do” list for the weekend, but just in case it was your favorite subject in college, take time to visit one (or all) of the four historic homes in the city: Mary Todd Lincoln House (the 16th president’s wife was a Lexington native); Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate (pictured); John Hunt Morgan House and Waveland, a plantation built by a descendent of Daniel Boone who, as you already know, has a Missouri connection.

Feeling a bit dry after all that history? Wanting to celebrate your victory or drown your sorrows after a defeat? That brings us to the “hooch” part. This is not just Horse Country; it’s also Bourbon Country.

There is no shortage of places to sample the commonwealth’s native spirit. Town Branch Tavern in downtown Lexington offers tours and tastings, or take a short drive through rolling horse country to Woodford Reserve Distillery. Situated on the banks of picturesque Glenn’s Creek, this National Historic Landmark is the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky.

5 women sitting in visitors center lounge at Woodford ReserveSarah Jane Sanders, courtesy VisitLEX

Savvy a sample, but don’t have time for a tour? Check out one of the bars in Lexington’s Distillery District; head to the rooftop bar at Belle’s Cocktail House, or indulge in a few of the 200 bourbons (bet you didn’t know there were that many) at Bluegrass Tavern, named one of the 10 Best Bourbon Bars in America by Men’s Journal Magazine.

One more tip: If you have time before or after the game, you can wander over to the Arboretum, located just across from the football stadium. Kentucky’s state botanical garden is a 100-acre paradise offering year-round color.

Finally, while we won’t welcome a Tiger victory, we will happily welcome all Tiger fans.

thoroughbred farm with three horses running, autumn treesBrett Hait, courtesy VisitLEX

For help with planning your trip, go to