By Ashley Alt
Sticking around for the 4th this year? Excellent choice. You’re beating holiday traffic, sidestepping the dreaded car-packing chore and saving money.
And just because you’re staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t emulate that lust-worthy, feet-in-the-sand feeling you get while in vacation mode.
So, how are you going to celebrate America’s birthday if you aren’t straying from the nest?
We have compiled a hard list of fun activities for you to enjoy right here in the Bluegrass, and we’ve categorized them by neighborhood and most coveted pockets central to Lexington.
Whether you’re partying with your friends or spending much needed quality time with your family (or both), Lexington’s unique local offerings will instill that carefree, relax-and-revive mode that vacations bring out in us.
Enjoy the Lexington 4th of July Parade.
Don’t Miss Out on the Downtown Fourth of July Festival
This is definitely the highlight of the staycation ideas, as the highly anticipated Fourth of July Festival is jam-packed with fun ways to explore what Lexington is all about.
Nothing screams summer more than a good street festival, and when that street festival includes a Great American Pie contest, a 10K marathon and a parade, we’re pretty confident locals and tourists alike will have nothing short of a fantastic time during this two-day celebration.
Bringing the Lexington community together to celebrate Independence Day are the town favorite’s (very tasty) food vendors, talented musicians, fitness enthusiasts and long-time Lexingtonians excited to support the downtown area in honor of letting freedom ring.
It all kicks off on July 3 at the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion at Cheapside Park with the Great American Pie Contest and Ice Cream Social, followed by a patriotic music concert that evening at Morrison Lawn, Transylvania University.
And the main event, happening on the fourth (same location), sets the tone right away as runners gather to race in the Bluegrass 10K, ending with fireworks launched from the Lexington Financial Center.
Side note: If you are interested in participating in the Bluegrass 10,000 (including the 10K race, a one-mile fun run and other options), registration is available until July 2nd. All other street fest entertainment (including a parade at 2 pm) simply requires you show up in your fourth of July best.
Food Crawl at The Summit at Fritz Farm
The Summit can perhaps best be described as a mini city within a city. With upscale shopping, excellent dining options and turf areas for the little ones to run around, it aligns perfectly with that staycation spirit.
Create your own day of vacay at the Summit by initiating a bar/food crawl with your fourth of July crew, starting with Babalu tacos and margaritas, stopping at Cru Wine Bar for a flight of delightful rose and charcuterie board, and ending with dessert at Steel City Pops.
Head on Out to the Outskirts
Do you want to actually put your feet in the sand? Go to Proud Mary’s BBQ. It has a beach! This mellow riverfront mainstay offering Southern seafood dishes and classic BBQ fare is perfect if you’re looking to remove yourself from commercialization.
With an outdoor bar, live music and a spacious sand area, it doesn’t get much closer to a not-a-worry-in-my-head, cold-beer-in-my-hand kind of mentality than that.
Hang Out at the Distillery District
If the Summit is a mini city within a city, the Distillery District could be best defined as an intimate island of (the best) bourbon and beer. Steal the Summit bar/food crawl idea in this industrial area, or set up shop at a picnic table.
Home to locals’ favorite bars and eateries including Goodfellas and Middle Fork Kitchen Bar, this rustic spot is the ultimate way to chill out and let the good times roll.
If you’re looking for a waterfront view to truly mirror that vacation feel, get yourself to Palmer’s at the Lexington Green.
Sit by the Water at The Lexington Green
Palmer’s Fresh Grill is referred to as “a getaway for your senses,” and we can clearly see why.
Offering fresh seafood, delicious rum cocktails and an endearing atmosphere, this place does one heck of a job of providing guests with a good time.
If you’re looking for a waterfront view to truly mirror that vacation feel, get yourself to Palmer’s at the Lexington Green. Grab a seat outside, stimmy up to the bar and you’ll forget (and be thankful later) that you will be sleeping at your house, not a hotel, when it’s time to go home.Take advantage of the summer weather by checking the Legacy Bike Trail off your summertime in Lex bucket list.
Bike your way into Vacation Mode
Feeling like getting your body moving? With all of those great holiday meals we are all about to revel in, you should. Take advantage of the summer weather by checking the Legacy Bike Trail off your summertime in Lex bucket list.
Beginning at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden downtown and running to the Kentucky Horse Park, this 12 mile biking (or walking) interpretive trail also doubles as a public art venue. This experience will tune you in with nature as over 8.5 miles are conducted off-street.
Take a look at this site for more information on the Legacy Trail along with other great biking and cycling options around town to kick off or conclude your 2018 fourth of July staycation.