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1. Distilled at Gratz Park Inn

A stroll through the historic Gratz Park neighbourhood, past the grand Federal-style homes that line North Mill Street, will help you work up an appetite for chef Mark Wombles’ warm niblet-studded cornbread and buttermilk biscuits. Sip on a pint of local Country Boy Cougar Bait blond ale, which pairs well with the Caramelized Cauliflower, a sweet and tangy medley of farro, roasted almonds, cauliflower purée, raisins and arugula.

120 W. Second St., 859-255-0002,

2. Keeneland Race Course

Take a spot in the stands at this 81-year-old track where Triple Crown winner American Pharoah galloped his way into the record books at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. This month’s spring meet sees thoroughbreds and jockeys congregate for a chance to win the purse (the racing runs from April 7 to 28), so place your bets, grab a cup of Kentucky burgoo (a meat stew) and cheer them on as they thunder down the home stretch.

4201 Versailles Rd., 859-254-3412,

3. Belle’s Cocktail House

This Market Street cocktail lounge, co-owned by the team behind The Bourbon Review, is named after Belle Brezing, a famous Lexington madam who’s believed to be the inspiration for Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind. The backlit shelves lined with more than 100 bottles is the second clue that these guys know their bourbon. A sip of the Smoked Peach Old Fashioned – house-smoked peaches muddled with simple syrup, orange and Maker’s 46 – confirms it.

156 Market St., 859-389-6777

21c Museum Hotel

Photo: courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

4. 21c Museum Hotel

After passing Pieke Bergmans’ intertwined steel and blown-glass lampposts outside of this 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum, don’t be surprised to then find a toddler-size penguin in your room’s large glass shower. Twenty-five blue penguin sculptures, in a permanent exhibit by the Cracking Art Group, are located throughout the beaux-arts former bank building. Feast on more contemporary art – and chef Jonathan Searle’s blackened Kentucky silver carp – downstairs at Lockbox, where Tomorrow’s Weather (acrylic orbs in hues that change from dreamy blue to yellow to pink, depending on the next day’s forecast) dangles from the ceiling.

167 W. Main St., 859-899-6800,

5. Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour

On Monday nights, join host Michael Johnathon and emerging Appalachian artists at the Lyric Theatre for Lexington’s version of the Grand Ole Opry, performed in front of a live audience and broadcast worldwide. Once local judge Ray Corns has warmed up the crowd with a few knock-knock jokes, the unique musical acts begin, like the Harp Twins, identical sisters who rip “Stairway to Heaven” on a pair of two-metre acoustic grand harps./p>

300 E. Third St., 859-252-8888,

Man o’ War statue

3 More spots to horse around

Tip your hat to the bronze statue of Man o’ War, said to be the greatest racehorse ever, at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 1,224-acre educational theme park and working farm.

4089 Iron Works Pkwy., 859-233-4303,


Tour the state-of-the-art stables and breeding barn of Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs and meet prize-winning sires like Canadian-born Awesome Again.

701 Cane Ridge Rd., Paris, 859-987-1798,


Book a guided tour of Ashland, the 18-room mansion of the famed statesman Henry Clay, who was key in establishing Kentucky as a thoroughbred breeding hub.

120 Sycamore Rd., 859-266-8581,



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