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Lexington, KY (Population: 260,512)

Lexington is located in Fayette County in the heart of the Bluegrass Region. This second-largest city in Kentucky, with a population of 260,512 (2000), is known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” Lexington is home of the University of Kentucky, which is famous for its basketball team having won more games than any other team in college basketball history. The city is also home to the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland race course, and the Red Mile Harness Track. The 2010 World Equestrian Games are to be held in Lexington.

Lexington and the surrounding areas are characterized by beautiful rolling plateaus, fertile soil, superb pastureland, and of course the bluegrass that plays a major role in the area’s scenic beauty as well as the breeding of champion horses. The city itself has a vibrant downtown, complete with several skyscrapers, of which the Lexington Financial Center is currently the tallest. The city is also home to numerous historical sites and museums, the most popular being Ashland: the Henry Clay Estate, just east of downtown. Other important attractions include the Lexington History Center, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, the Headley-Whitney Museum, the Kentucky Theater, Lexington Cemetery, Martin Castle, and the Mary Todd Lincoln House, to name a few. For nature lovers, Lexington is also home to the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, a 734-acre nature preserve with hiking trails and educational programs throughout the year.

The Lexington calendar year is dotted with many exciting events. The Festival of the Bluegrass takes place in the first full weekend of June, and features three stages and a music camp for children. This is Kentucky’s oldest bluegrass music festival. Fourth of July activities extend for several days in downtown Lexington, featuring several concerts, a parade, food and vendors, fireworks, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Fourth of July is considered the biggest holiday in Lexington. Lexington ends its year with “Southern Lights: Spectacular Sights on Holiday Nights,” a three-mile drive through the Kentucky Horse Park showcasing many displays relating to Lexington history and the horse industry. Visitors and tourists can take this colorful ride from November 18th through December 31st.