University of Kentucky Parent Association

Visiting Campus and Lexington

The next few years will present a number of opportunities to visit the UK campus and Lexington community. Take advantage of these opportunities to explore, have fun, and get to know more about the Bluegrass!

Campus Map

For a map of the University of Kentucky campus, visit www.uky.edu/CampusGuide for an interactive map as well as printable maps.

Online Campus Tour

To familiarize yourself with campus without ever leaving your computer, visit www.uky.edu/CampusTour to see some of our best-known buildings and landmarks.

Noteworthy Campus Spots

On your next in-person visit to campus, take time to explore the following:

  • Of the four original campus buildings, the Main Building is the only one still standing.
  • Memorial Hall is the symbol of the University; its steeple is found between the U and the K on the University logo.
  • UK's first president, James K. Patterson, is memorialized with a statue next to Patterson Office Tower.
  • Maxwell Place is home to UK's presidents and first ladies.
  • The Johnson Student Recreation Center is a popular destination and is busy morning, noon, and night.
  • Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2008, W.T. Young Library is an impressive structure and offers numerous resources to UK students. It measures 365,000 sqaure feet and seats 4,000 people.
  • UK's campus is dotted with historical markers purchased with gifts made by graduating senior classes. They tell the stories of historic buildings and prominent campus figures.

UK Visitor Parking

Visit www.uky.edu/pts/parking-info_visitor-parking for more information.

Lexington's Streets and Roads

As part of its unique charm, Lexington's streets and roads are occasionally known to change names without warning or to be known by multiple names. For example, a main thoroughfare on the UK campus is South Limestone Street; however, as you drive away from downtown Lexington, South Limestone suddenly becomes Nicholasville Road at Cooper Drive (in the Commonwealth Stadium area). Additionally, Euclid Avenue is home to UK's North Campus residence halls, the Student Center, and Memorial Coliseum; it is also known as and often referred to as the Avenue of Champions. Fortunately, you'll find that UK's residents and Lexingtonians are very friendly and would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Colt Trolley

Looking for a convenient way to get around downtown Lexington and have easy access to great shopping, dining, and local attractions? Take advantage of Lexington's new Colt Trolley! Two routes run at lunchtimes and in the evenings and connect Lexington's universities and downtown. Even better, it's free! For route information, visit www.colttrolley.com.

Blue Grass Airport

Flying into Lexington is a unique experience since Blue Grass Airport is located among beautiful horse farms and historic Keeneland Race Course. The airport is approximately a 15-minute drive from campus. UK does not offer regular transportation to and from the airport, although special shuttles are offered prior to major campus breaks and holidays. Other major airports are located in Louisville and Cincinnati (each approximately a 90-minute drive from Lexington); UK does not offer transportation to either of these airports.

Lexington History and Population

Lexington was founded in 1775, 17 years before Kentucky became a state. By 1820, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains. So cultured was its lifestyle, Lexington gained the nickname "Athens of the West." The latest U.S. Census estimate for Lexington-Fayette County is 305,489 (2012).

Hotels

There are two excellent sources of information about local accommodations. The Lexington Visitors Bureau website has details on accommodations in a variety of price ranges and includes lists of amenities; visit www.visitlex.com/wheretostay to learn more.

Many local hotels offer UK discounts. Some may only offer them to UK business travelers, and some may offer them to anybody visiting UK; that decision is left to each individual hotel. Placing a call directly to the hotel is the best way to find out if they offer a UK discount; you can find a list of hotels catering to the UK business traveler at www.uky.edu/Travel/hotel.html. Families who are members of the UK Parent Association have access to the Member Discount Program which offers discounts at select hotels around the area.

Please keep in mind that hotel rates vary based on the time of year you are visiting. Promotional rates that may have been available over the summer may not be honored during busy times of year such as football and basketball season, Keeneland race meets, etc.

Restaurants

A number of unique restaurants can be found on the streets around UK's campus. Perennial favorites include the following:

  • Joe Bologna's, an Italian restaurant housed in an old Jewish synagogue and known for its delicious (but not carb-friendly) garlic breadsticks, is located on West Maxwell Street in walking distance of North Campus.
  • Pazzo's, a pizza pub popular with students in need of some relaxation, can be found on South Limestone Street.
  • Tolly Ho is a UK tradition since the 1970's, serving burgers, sandwiches, shakes, breakfast, and more 24 hours a day. Beware: if you let the staff know it is your first visit, you will loudly and publicly be welcomed as a "Ho Virgin." It is located on South Broadway within walking distance of North Campus.
  • Bangkok House is a UK favorite for Thai food. Located across the street from the Singletary Center for the Arts, it is busy at lunch with UK students, faculty, and staff.
  • Ramsey's Diner has multiple Lexington location serving Southern comfort food and delicious pie. The closest location to campus is off Nicholasville Road at Zandale Drive.
  • If you are in town for a UK basketball game at Rupp Arena, make time to eat at Sawyer's across from Triangle Park. They are known for their amazing burgers and fries. Get there early on game days because the line is long but moves fast.
  • East Euclid Avenue is a great place to explore some of Lexington's favorite restaurants! The following restaurants can be found here just a short drive (or a long walk) from campus...
  • A UK favorite for Mexican food is Rincon Mexicano. The white cheese dip is addictive!
  • Downstairs from Rincon is Charlie Brown's. You'll enjoy reasonably priced burgers and sandwiches while lounging on sofas. The lights are low, and the walls are lined with bookshelves full of interesting reads.
  • Located across the street from Rincon and Charlie Brown's is Bourbon n' Toulouse, a locally-owned Cajun joint.
  • Around the corner in Chevy Chase Place is Puccini's Smiling Teeth, known for its tasty pizza, pasta, and calzones.
  • Across the street at the corner of East High and Cochran sits Billy's Bar-B-Q, serving delicious barbecue for the last thirty years.
  • If you are looking to splurge a little more, Lexington has a number of popular options farther away from campus, including Malone's, Merrick Inn, and more.
  • There are many, many more options to choose from, so happy exploring and happy eating! When you find your favorites, e-mail the Parent Association at parents@lsv.uky.edu. We may use your recommendations in future publications.

Attractions

Exploring campus is a great way to spend your time while in Lexington, but if time allows, check out these fun and interesting attractions. More information on these and more is available at www.visitlex.com.

  • Downtown Lexington is home to shops, restaurants, historic homes, and a vibrant arts scene. Areas of note include Triangle Park with its beautiful fountains, Rupp Arena, Downtown Arts Center, historic Kentucky Theatre, Lexington History Museum, Lexington Opera House, and more.
  • Lexington has been home to a number of famous Americans, including 19th century statesman Henry Clay, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, and Civil War General John Hunt Morgan. Their homes are all open to visitors and are well worth a visit.
  • Lexington is known as the "Horse Capital of the World." You'll have a number of opportunities to get up close and personal with the four-legged residents that have made the area famous. The Bluegrass Driving Tour takes you past beautiful horse farms, some of which are available for tours. The Kentucky Horse Park is the only park in the world dedicated to horses and hosted the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. Held every four years, the games are comprised of the world championships for eight equestrian sports and had never been held outside of Europe. You can view live thoroughbred racing at Keeneland Race Course in October and April; this Lexington tradition should not be missed! Fans of harness racing will want to check out the Red Mile, one of the oldest harness tracks in the world. The Thoroughbred Center is a working training center where visitors can learn more about the day-to-day lives of these hard-working horses and their trainers.

Shopping

Shoppers will enjoy a variety of stores and boutiques in Lexington. Some of the most popular destinations include:

  • Fayette Mall, located approximately 10 - 15 minutes away from campus, is home to major retailers such as Macy's and Dillard's as well as popular stores including Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Dick's Sporting Goods, J. Crew, and more than 120 other stores. A variety of restaurant options are located both in the mall and in the surrounding area. A movie theater is also nearby.
  • Hamburg is a vast area of shops and restaurants located off Man o'War Boulevard near I-75, approximately 15 - 20 minutes from campus. Featuring major retailers such as Target, Meijer, Kohl's, Garden Ridge, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Marshall's, Wal-Mart, Off Broadway Shoes, and many, many more as well as smaller shops, there is truly something for everyone.
  • Victorian Square and the Shops at Lexington Center are two downtown shopping areas known for unique boutiques and specialty shops.
  • Clay Avenue and Chevy Chase Shops, located near campus, is also home to unique specialty shops, including Peggy's Gifts, The Morris Bookshop, MonTea, and Handpicked.
  • As well, Bluetique and The Black Market are just a few of the boutiques near campus that offer affordable and unique fashions.
  • Lexington Green located on Nicholasville Road near Fayette Mall is a popular shopping destination, especially for book lovers. Joseph-Beth Booksellers (known as Joe-Beth to its fans) is an independent bookstore that started in Lexington and has since spread to locations in other states. It is the perfect place to browse the shelves, enjoy a cup of coffee, and relax for hours.

Lexington Visitors Bureau

There is much more to see, eat, do, learn, and explore in Lexington. Contact the Lexington Visitors Bureau for more information, including a visitor planning guide and calendar of city events: www.visitlex.com.

A Note Regarding Tobacco Use

Lexington law prohibits smoking in buildings and workplaces open to the public, including restaurants. The entire University of Kentucky campus is tobacco-free. Smokers are asked to be aware of these laws and policies as they visit campus and the city of Lexington as a whole. Wildcat fans should note that smoking is prohibited in Commonwealth Stadium, Rupp Arena, and other UK Athletics' facilities.