Lexington, Kentucky facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
From top, left to right: Lexington skyline, Rupp Arena/Central Bank Center, Keeneland Race Course, Donamire Farm, Kroger Field, University of Kentucky Arboretum, Old Fayette County Courthouse, NTRA headquarters
Athens of the West, Horse Capital of the World
Location in the Commonwealth of Kentucky
|• Consolidated city-county||285.54 sq mi (739.54 km2)|
|• Land||283.64 sq mi (734.62 km2)|
|• Water||1.90 sq mi (4.92 km2)|
|• Urban||87.5 sq mi (226.7 km2)|
|Elevation||978 ft (298 m)|
|• Consolidated city-county||322,570|
|• Rank||US: 60th
|• Density||1,137.26/sq mi (439.10/km2)|
|• Metro||517,056 (US: 109th)|
|• CSA||745,033 (US: 70th)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
40502–40517, 40522–40524, 40526, 40533, 40536, 40544, 40546, 40550, 40555, 40574–40583, 40588, 40591, 40598
|Airport||Blue Grass Airport
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the county seat of Fayette County. By population, it is the 57th-largest city in the United States, and by land area, is the country's 28th-largest city. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World", it is the hearts of the state's Bluegrass region. Notable locations in the city include the Kentucky Horse Park, The Red Mile and Keeneland race courses, Rupp Arena, Central Bank Center, Transylvania University, the University of Kentucky, and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
As of the 2020 census the population was 322,570, anchoring a metropolitan area of 516,811 people and a combined statistical area of 747,919 people. Lexington is consolidated entirely within Fayette County, and vice versa. It has a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government, with 12 council districts and three members elected at large, with the highest vote-getter designated vice mayor.
- Parks and outdoor attractions
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This area of fertile soil and abundant wildlife was long occupied by varying tribes of Native Americans. European explorers began to trade with them but settlers did not come in force until the late 18th century.
Lexington was founded by European Americans in June 1775, in what was then considered Fincastle County, Virginia, 17 years before Kentucky became a state. A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (now known as Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street) at the site of the present-day McConnell Springs. Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, they named their campsite Lexington. It was the first of what would be many American places to be named after the Massachusetts town. The risk of Indian attacks delayed permanent settlement for four years.
In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, Col. Robert Patterson and 25 companions came from Fort Harrod and erected a blockhouse. They built cabins and a stockade, establishing a settlement known as Bryan Station. In 1780, Lexington was made the seat of Virginia's newly organized Fayette County. Colonists defended it against a British and allied Shawnee attack in 1782, during the last part of the American Revolutionary War.
The town was chartered on May 6, 1782, by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. The First African Baptist Church was founded c. 1790 by Peter Durrett, a Baptist preacher and slave held by Joseph Craig. Durrett helped guide "The Travelling Church", a group migration of several hundred pioneers led by the preacher Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis from Orange County, Virginia to Kentucky in 1781. It is the oldest black Baptist congregation in Kentucky and the third oldest in the United States.
In 1806, Lexington was a rising city of the vast territory to the west of the Appalachian Mountains; poet Josiah Espy described it in the following letter:
Lexington is the largest and most wealthy town in Kentucky, or indeed west of the Allegheny Mountains; the main street of Lexington has all the appearance of Market Street in Philadelphia on a busy day ... I would suppose it contains about five hundred dwelling houses [it was closer to three hundred], many of them elegant and three stories high. About thirty brick buildings were then raising, and I have little doubt but that in a few years it will rival, not only in wealth, but in population, the most populous inland town of the United States ... The country around Lexington for many miles in every direction, is equal in beauty and fertility to anything the imagination can paint and is already in a high state of cultivation.
Residents have fondly continued to refer to Lexington as "The Athens of the West" since Espy's poem dedicated to the city.
In the early 19th century, planter John Wesley Hunt became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. The growing town was devastated by a cholera epidemic in 1833, which had spread throughout the waterways of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys: 500 of 7,000 Lexington residents died within two months, including nearly one-third of the congregation of Christ Church Episcopal. London Ferrill, second preacher of First African Baptist, was one of three clergy who stayed in the city to serve the suffering victims. Additional cholera outbreaks occurred in 1848–49 and the early 1850s. Cholera was spread by people using contaminated water supplies, but its transmission was not understood in those years. Often the wealthier people would flee town for outlying areas to try to avoid the spread of disease.
Planters held slaves for use as field hands, laborers, artisans, and domestic servants. In the city, slaves worked primarily as domestic servants and artisans, although they also worked with merchants, shippers, and in a wide variety of trades. Plantations raised commodity crops of tobacco and hemp, and thoroughbred horse breeding and racing became established in this part of the state. In 1850, one-fifth of the state's population were slaves, and Lexington had the highest concentration of slaves in the entire state. It also had a significant population of free blacks, who were usually of mixed race. By 1850, First African Baptist Church, led by London Ferrill, a free black from Virginia, had a congregation of 1,820 persons, the largest of any, black or white, in the entire state.
Many of 19th-century America's leading political and military figures spent part of their lives in the city, including U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis (who attended Transylvania University in 1823 and 1824); Confederate general John Hunt Morgan; U.S. Senator and Vice President John C. Breckinridge; and Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Henry Clay, who had a plantation nearby. Lincoln's wife Mary Todd Lincoln was born and raised in Lexington, and the couple visited the city several times after their marriage in 1842.
During the 19th century, migrants moved from central Kentucky to Tennessee and Missouri. They established their traditional crops and livestock in Middle Tennessee and an area of Missouri along the Missouri River. While Kentucky stayed in the Union during the American Civil War, the residents of different regions of the state had divided loyalties.
20th century to present
Lexington has continued as the center of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing in Kentucky, with major racing and sales facilities, as well as a museum of horses and the sport.
Lexington, which includes all Fayette County, consists of 285.5 square miles (739.4 km2), mostly gently rolling plateau, in the center of the inner Bluegrass Region. The area is noted for its fertile soil, excellent pastureland, and horse and stock farms. Poa pratensis (bluegrass) thrives on the limestone beneath the soil's surface, playing a major role in the development of champion horses; it is associated with the area's beauty of landscape. Numerous small creeks rise and flow into the Kentucky River.
The Lexington-Fayette Metro area includes five counties: Clark, Jessamine, Bourbon, Woodford, and Scott. This is the second-largest metro area in Kentucky after that of Louisville. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 285.5 square miles (739 km2). 284.5 square miles (737 km2) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.
Lexington features a diverse cityscape. Forbes has ranked Lexington as one of the world's seventeen cleanest cities.
Lexington must manage a rapidly growing population while working to maintain the character of the surrounding horse farms that give the region its identity. In 1958 Lexington enacted the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, restricting new development to an Urban Service Area. It set a strict minimum area requirement, currently 40 acres (160,000 m2), to maintain open space for landholdings in the Rural Service Area. In 1967, the Urban Service Area was decreased in area; various zoning regulations were also amended from the original 1958 issue. Several years later, in 1973, the first Lexington Comprehensive Plan was completed.
In 1980, the Comprehensive Plan was updated: the Urban Service Area was modified to include Urban Activity Centers and Rural Activity Centers. The Urban Activity Centers were commercial and light-industrial districts in urbanized areas, while Rural Activity Centers were retail trade and light-industrial centers clustered around the Interstate 64/Interstate 75 interchanges. In 1996, the Urban Service Area was expanded when 5,300 acres (21 km2) of the Rural Service Area was acquired through the Expansion Area Master Plan. This was controversial: this first major update to the Comprehensive Plan in over a decade was accompanied by arguments among residents about the future of Lexington and the thoroughbred farms.
The Expansion Area Master Plan included new concepts of impact fees, assessment districts, neighborhood design concepts, design overlays, mandatory greenways, major roadway improvements, stormwater management, and open space mitigation for the first time. It also included a draft of the Rural Land Management Plan, which included large-lot zoning and traffic impact controls. A pre-zoning of the entire expansion area was refuted in the Plan. A 50-acre (200,000 m2) minimum proposal was defeated. Discussion of this proposal appeared to stimulate the development of numerous 10-acre (40,000 m2) subdivisions in the Rural Service Areas.
Three years after the expansion was initiated, the Rural Service Area Land Management Plan was adopted, which increased the minimum lot size in the agricultural rural zones to 40-acre (160,000 m2) minimums. In 2000, a Purchase of Development Rights plan was adopted, granting the city the power to purchase the development rights of existing farms; in 2001, $40 million was allocated to the plan from a $25 million local, $15 million state grant. An Infill and Redevelopment study was also initiated during that time, along with design guidelines for the areas surrounding the new Fayette County courthouses.
Lexington is in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot, humid summers, and cool winters with occasional mild periods; it falls in USDA hardiness zone 6b. The city and the surrounding Bluegrass region have four distinct seasons that include cool plateau breezes, moderate nights in the summer, and no prolonged periods of heat, cold, rain, wind, or snow. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 32.9 °F (0.5 °C) in January to 76.2 °F (24.6 °C) in July, while the annual mean temperature is 55.5 °F (13.1 °C). On average, there are 23 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually and 19 days per winter where the high fails to rise above freezing. Annual precipitation is 45.1 inches (1,150 mm), with the late spring and summer months being slightly wetter; snowfall averages 13.0 inches (33 cm) per season. Extreme temperatures range from −21 °F (−29 °C) on January 24, 1963, up to 108 °F (42 °C) on July 10 and 15, 1936.
Lexington is recognized as a high allergy area by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The results for the spring of 2008 rank Lexington as first among high-allergy cities.
|Climate data for Lexington, Kentucky (Blue Grass Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1872–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||80
|Average high °F (°C)||40.9
|Average low °F (°C)||24.8
|Record low °F (°C)||−21
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.20
|Snowfall inches (cm)||4.0
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||12.1||11.1||12.4||12.1||12.5||10.9||10.4||8.7||7.8||8.7||10.7||12.4||129.8|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||4.8||3.7||1.4||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.5||2.7||13.3|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The Lexington-Fayette-Frankfort-Richmond, KY Combined Statistical Area had a population of 747,919 in 2020. This includes the metro area and an additional seven counties.
As of the 2020 census, there were 322,570 people, 129,784 households, and 74,761 families within the city. The population density was 1,137.3 people per square mile (439.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.7% non-Hispanic White, 15.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 7.4% of the population.
The most common spoken language in Lexington is English, but there are approximately 196 languages from all parts of the world spoken in Lexington. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish followed by Swahili. Other more common non-English languages in the city are Arabic, Nepali, Japanese, French, Mandarin, Kinyarwanda, Korean and Portuguese. Local estimates drawn from English Language Learner enrollment in Fayette County Public Schools estimates that approximately 23% of the total Lexington population are foreign language speakers.
Of the 131,929 households reported in the 2019 American Community Survey, 52% were married couples living together, 15% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27% were non-families. 28.4% of households were home to children under the age of 18. The average household size was 2.37, and the average family size was 2.99. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
In 2019 the population was distributed with 20.9% of residents under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,291 in 2019, slightly below the national average of $62,843. and for a family was $53,264. Males living alone had a median income of $36,268 versus $30,811 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,442. About 8.7% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under the age of 18 and 9.4% of those ages 65 and older.
The table below illustrates the population growth of Fayette County since the first U.S. Census in 1790. Lexington city limits became coterminous with Fayette County in 1974.
- 1790 to 1960 census:
- 1970 census:
- 1980 census:
- 1990 census:
- 2000 to 2005 census:
- 2006 census:
Annual cultural events and fairs
Lexington is home to many thriving arts organizations including a professional orchestra, two ballet companies, professional theatre, several museums, several choral organizations, and a highly respected opera program at the University of Kentucky. In addition, several annual events and fairs draw people as attendees from throughout the Bluegrass region.
Mayfest Arts Fair is a free outdoor festival that takes place annually over Mother's Day weekend. Held in Gratz Park between the Carnegie Center and Transylvania University, the festival typically features up to 100 art and craft booths, live entertainment throughout the weekend, food, children's activities, adult activities and literary events, free carriage rides, a traditional Morris and Maypole dance and various demonstrations.
June has two popular music festivals: bluegrass and Broadway. The Festival of the Bluegrass, Kentucky's oldest bluegrass music festival, is in early June; it includes three stages for music and a "bluegrass music camp" for school children. For more than two decades, during the 2nd and 3rd weekends, UK Opera Theatre presents a Broadway medley "It's A Grand Night for Singing!"
Later in June, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization hosts the Lexington Pride Festival, which celebrates pride in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and welcomes allies. The festival offers live music, crafts, food, and informational booths from diverse service organizations. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, elected in 2010 and openly gay, proclaimed June 29, 2013 as Pride Day. Lexington has one of the highest concentrations of gay and lesbian couples in the United States for a city its size.
Area residents gather downtown for the Fourth of July festivities which extend for several days. On July 3, the Gratz Park Historic District is transformed into an outdoor music hall when the Patriotic Music Concert is held on the steps of Morrison Hall at Transylvania University. The Lexington Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this event. On the Fourth, events include a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Old Courthouse, a waiters' race in Phoenix Park, a parade, a country music concert, street vendors for wares and food, and fireworks. The Fourth of July may be the biggest holiday in Lexington.
The Woodland Arts Fair, almost four decades old, is held in mid-August by The Lexington Art League. It features many local and national artists working in a variety of media; vendors also sell refreshments.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Festival Latino de Lexington, the biggest fiesta in September, has been the city's main event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. During the festival, thousands of people, Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike, gather in downtown Lexington to enjoy the cultural displays, dancing presentations, live music, and a variety of food from different regions of Latin America.
Also in September, the Roots & Heritage Festival includes art exhibits, literary readings, film presentations, the Festival Ball and the ever-popular two-day street festival featuring live musical performances from internationally renowned artists.
"Southern Lights: Spectacular Sights on Holiday Nights", taking place from November 18 to December 31, is held at the Kentucky Horse Park. It includes a three-mile (5 km) drive through the park, showcasing numerous displays, many in character with the horse industry and history of Lexington. The "Mini-Train Express", an indoor petting zoo featuring exotic animals, the International Museum of the Horse, an exhibit showcasing the Bluegrass Railway Club's model train, and Santa Claus are other major highlights.
In 2002, Lexington became the first city to launch a "Thriller video" reenactment as a Halloween festivity. The video's storyline and dance sequences are faithfully recreated in a parade beginning outside the historic Kentucky Theatre. The hundreds of zombies faithfully rehearse at the nearby Mecca Live Studio in the weeks leading up to the parade.
The Lexington Christmas Parade is held usually the day after Thanksgiving. The parade route follows Main Street between Midland and Broadway. Festivities include a Holiday Market with over 25 arts and craft vendors, a stage with entertainment, food, and the annual tree lighting ceremony, which occur in Triangle Park.
Other events and fairs include:
- The Artists Market: A small display of arts and craft booths which is set up concurrently with the Farmer's Market each Saturday from the first weekend in June through the last weekend in August. Located in Cheapside Park adjacent to the Lexington Farmer's Market.
- Thursday Night Live: An annual summer series of free, public concerts held in Cheapside Park every Thursday evening from 4:30pm – 7:30pm in from May – October.
- A Midsummer Night's Run: A 5K race in early August.
- The North Limestone (NoLi) Night Market
- The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra presents several annual concerts.
- The Kentucky Women Writers Conference, which has hosted dozens of the nations foremost women writers.
- Gallery Hop: a seasonal event where the city's art galleries are open to the public on the third Friday of February, April, June, September and November.
- Beaux Arts Ball: A masquerade ball hosted by students of the University of Kentucky's College of Design (formerly College of Architecture).
- Tournament of Champions: One of three national high school debate championship tournaments featuring policy debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. The best teams in the nation meet after qualifying during the regular season on the first weekend in May annually, hosted by the University of Kentucky Debate Team.
Historical structures and museums
Lexington is home to numerous museums and historical structures. One of the most famous is Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate along Richmond Road east of downtown. This two-story museum is a National Historic Landmark and was the former home of statesman Henry Clay.
Since the late 20th century, Lexington has demolished hundreds of historic structures to make way for hotels, banks and parking structures. The Lexington Public Library was constructed where the historic Phoenix Hotel once stood. An historic 1880s block located on Main Street was demolished. This lot is still vacant.
The Pope Villa, built in 1811, is one of the best surviving domestic designs by the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. It is being restored by the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, which also maintains and administers the Hunt-Morgan House.
Additional historic sites are the following:
- Aviation Museum of Kentucky
- First African Baptist Church
- Hunt-Morgan House
- Kentucky Theatre
- Lexington Cemetery
- Martin Castle Also known as Castle Post
- Mary Todd Lincoln House
- Old Morrison, on the Transylvania University campus
- Rupp Arena
- Waveland State Historic Site
The University of Kentucky Art Museum is the premier art museum for Lexington and the only accredited museum in the region. Its collection of over 4000 objects ranges from Old Masters to Contemporary. It regularly hosts special exhibitions.
The world's largest ceiling clock and a five-story Foucault pendulum are located inside the Lexington Public Library on East Main St. The Central Library is also home to an art gallery and the 138-seat Farish Theater. The city library has five branches located throughout the city: Beaumont (off Harrodsburg Rd.), Eastside (off Man o' War Blvd.), Northside (Russell Cave Rd.), Tates Creek (off Tates Creek Rd.), and Village (Versailles Rd.). Lexington Public Library offers a variety of programs and services to the citizens of Fayette County and circulates 3,000,000 items per year.
The local Woolworth's building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as a site of civil rights protests against segregation during the 1960s. Activists conducted sit-ins to gain integrated lunch service, full access to facilities, and more employment. The building was demolished by its owner in 2004 and the area paved for use as a parking lot until further development.
Parks and outdoor attractions
City parks and facilities
Lexington has over 100 parks ranging in size from the 8,719-square-foot (810.0 m2) Smith Street Park to the 659-acre (2.7 km2) Masterson Station Park. Among those parks are:
- six public golf courses at Avon, Kearney Links, Lakeside, Meadowbrook, Tates Creek and Picadome
- five dog parks at Jacobson, Masterson Station, Coldstream, Pleasant Ridge and Wellington.
- three public 18-hole disc golf courses at Shillito Park, Jacobson Park, and at Veterans Park
- a public skate park at Woodland Park, featuring 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of "ramps, platforms, bowls, and pipes".
For the Kentucky Horse Park, see Sporting Events below.
The city is home to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, a 734-acre (3.0 km2) nature preserve along the Kentucky River Palisades. There are 11 miles (18 km) of back-country hiking trails that range from wheelchair-accessible paved trails to difficult single-track trails. It is common to run across hopeful Appalachian Trail backpackers. The city has recently purchased land adjacent to the park which will make Raven Run the largest park in the city. Raven Run is home to over 56 species of trees, 600 species of plants, 200 species of birds, and other wildlife. Remains of a grist mill, homestead and limekiln remain. The preserve also has a nature center and various educational programs throughout the year. Such programs include seasonal wildflower walks, stargazing during the warmer months, evening insect tours, and historical walks and presentations.
The Arboretum is a 100-acre (0.40 km2) preserve adjacent to the University of Kentucky. It features the Arboretum Woods, a small, 16-acre (65,000 m2) Bluegrass Woodland patch that is home to eighteen native Kentucky tree species, and more than 50 native Kentucky grasses and herbs. It also has 1,500 varieties of roses in the Rose Garden, a Home Demonstration Garden, and numerous paved paths and trails.
The city also plays host to the historic McConnell Springs, a 26-acre (110,000 m2) park within the industrial confines off of Old Frankfort Pike. There are two miles (3 km) of trails that surround the namesake springs, historic dry-laid stone fences, and historical structures.
Interstate 75 runs north–south on the edge of Lexington. Interstate 64 runs east–west on the northern edge of the city. Lexington itself is at the confluence of US Route 25, US Route 27, US Route 60, US Route 68 and US Route 421.
Lexington suffers considerable traffic congestion for a city of its size due to the lack of freeways, the proximity of the University of Kentucky to downtown, and the substantial number of commuters from outlying towns. For traffic relief on northern New Circle Road, Citation Boulevard is planned.
The Southern Railway, well into the 1960s, ran passenger trains through its Lexington station on a Cincinnati-Florida route: the Ponce de Leon and the Royal Palm, as well as the railroad's Carolina Special to various points in North and South Carolina. The last remnant of the Royal Palm left Lexington in 1970. Union Station, open from 1907 and demolished in March 1960, hosted the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and the Louisville and Nashville. The C&O's Louisville-Ashland connector train to the company's George Washington ran until 1970.
The Blue Grass Airport is on the west side of Lexington on US Route 60. It has passenger flights by four carriers: Allegiant, American, Delta and United.
In 2019, 79.3% of working Lexingtonians commuted by driving alone, 9.3% carpooled, 2.0% used public transportation, and 3.0% walked. 1.9% of commuters used all other forms of transportation, including taxi, bicycle, and motorcycle. About 4.4% worked from home.
In 2015, 7.2 percent of city of Lexington households were without a car, which increased slightly to 7.4 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Lexington averaged 1.7 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household.
- Deauville, Calvados, Normandy, France since 1957
- County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland since 1984
- Newmarket, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom since 2003
- Shinhidaka, Japan since 2006
- Shinhidaka was formed by a 2006 local government merger. One of the entities involved in the merger was Shizunai, which established a sister city relationship with Lexington in 1988.
All four are, like Lexington, major centers of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in their respective countries.
Lexington has one of the nation's most stable economies. Lexington describes itself as having "a fortified economy, strong in manufacturing, technology, and entrepreneurial support, benefiting from a diverse, balanced business base". The Lexington Metro Area had an unemployment rate of 3.7% in August 2015, lower than many cities of similar size.
The city is home to several large corporations. Sizable employment is generated by four Fortune 500 companies: Xerox (which acquired Affiliated Computer Services), Lexmark International, Lockheed-Martin, and IBM, employing 3,000, 2,800, 1,705, and 552, respectively. United Parcel Service, Trane, and Amazon.com, Inc. have large operations in the city, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is within the Lexington CSA, located in adjoining Georgetown. A Jif peanut butter plant located here produces more peanut butter than any other factory in the world.
Notable corporate headquarters include Lexmark International, a manufacturer of printers and enterprise software; Link-Belt Construction Equipment, a designer and manufacturer of telescopic and lattice boom cranes; Big Ass Fans, a manufacturer of large ceiling fans and lighting fixtures for industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential use; A&W Restaurants, a restaurant chain known for root beer; and Fazoli's, an Italian-American fast-food chain.
The city's largest employer, the University of Kentucky, employed 16,743 as of 2020.
Other sizable employers include the Lexington-Fayette County government and other hospital facilities. The Fayette County Public Schools employ 5,374, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government employs 2,699. Central Baptist Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East, and the Veterans Administration Hospital employ 7,000 persons in total.
The Kentucky Wildcats, the athletic program of the University of Kentucky, is Lexington's most popular sports entity. The school fields 22 varsity sports teams, most of which compete in the Southeastern Conference as a founding member. The men's basketball team is one of the winningest programs in NCAA history, having won eight national championships. The basketball program was also the first to reach 2000 wins.
Lexington is home to the Lexington Legends and Wild Health Genomes, members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent MLB Partner league. Both minor league teams play home games at Wild Health Field, formerly known as Whitaker Bank Ballpark. In 2020, the Legends were one of the minor league teams that lost MLB affiliation under a new plan by the MLB.
The city also hosts Lexington SC of third-division professional soccer league USL League One. The club was founded in 2021 and is set to play its inaugural season in 2023 at University of Kentucky's Bell Soccer Complex. In early 2022, Lexington SC submitted a proposal to secure permissions for the construction of a downtown soccer-specific stadium near Rupp Arena and Central Bank Center. The stadium would provide approximately 6,000+ seats and is expected to open in 2024.
Former professional sport teams based in Lexington were the Kentucky Thoroughblades, Lexington Men O' War, Lexington Bluegrass Bandits, Kentucky Horsemen, Bluegrass Warhorses, Bluegrass Stallions, and Lexington Colts.
Horse racing and equestrian events
The city is home to two horse-racing tracks, Keeneland and The Red Mile harness track. Keeneland, sporting live races in April and October, is steeped in tradition; little has changed since the track's opening in 1936. Keeneland hosted the 2015 Breeders' Cup, with the event's signature race, the Breeders' Cup Classic, won by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. This track also has the world's largest Thoroughbred auction house; 19 Kentucky Derby winners, 21 Preakness Stakes winners, and 18 Belmont Stakes winners were purchased at Keeneland sales. Its most notable race is the Blue Grass Stakes, which is considered an important preparation for the Kentucky Derby. The Red Mile is the oldest horse racing track in the city and the second-oldest in the nation. It runs live harness races, in which horses pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies. The two tracks announced a partnership in 2014.
The Kentucky Horse Park, located along scenic Iron Works Pike in northern Fayette County, is a comparative latecomer to Lexington, opening in 1978. Although commonly known as a tourist attraction and museum, it is also a working horse farm with a farrier and famous retired horses such as 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. Since its opening in April 1978, the Kentucky Horse Park has hosted the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, which is one of the top-three annual equestrian eventing competitions in the world and is held immediately before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In September and October 2010, Lexington was the first city outside of Europe to host the World Equestrian Games.
Lexington is home to Roller Derby of Central Kentucky and Lexington Bike Polo League. In 2017, Lexington hosted the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship, the most competitive bike polo tournament in the world, at facilities in Coolavin Park. Two years prior the city hosted the North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship for teams from across Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
According to the United States Census, of Lexington's population over the age of 25, 22.4% hold a bachelor's degree, 11.4% hold a master's degree, 3.1% hold a professional degree, and 2.6% hold a doctoral degree.
The city is served by the Fayette County Public Schools. The system currently consists of six district high schools, along with multiple smaller multidistrict high schools, 12 middle schools, one combined middle/high school, and 37 elementary schools, and is supplemented with many private schools. FCPS opened two new elementary schools in August 2016, and opened a new high school in August 2017.
The two traditional colleges are the University of Kentucky, which is the state's flagship public university, and Transylvania University, which is the state's oldest four-year university and the first university west of the Alleghenies.
Images for kids
Overlooking the Kentucky River at Raven Run
In Spanish: Lexington (Kentucky) para niños
Lexington, Kentucky Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.