Tucked into the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region, Lexington offers gay travelers the chance to connect with a modern, mid-sized city that embraces the LGBT community with genuine warmth.
Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” this city of around 320,000 residents makes good use of the surrounding fertile landscape, which is said to be ideal for raising the thoroughbred racehorses that compete at popular racing events, including the Breeders Cup Championship races. As it’s located in lush Bourbon Country, Lexington offers plenty of chances to sample bourbon, an integral part of the culture here.
Lexington’s walkable downtown district plays host to a fun mix of theaters, restaurants, bars, museums, and parks, making it ideal for getting a snapshot of the city’s culture, cuisine, and architecture in a short amount of time.
Gay Scene in Lexington
It may surprise gay travelers to learn just how LGBT-friendly Lexington is. The city has one of the highest concentrations of LGBT couples compared to other American cities of the same size.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Kentucky since 2015, though the state is less progressive when it comes to gender identity and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT citizens. Still, it’s encouraging to see that the town had an openly gay mayor, Jim Gray, from 2011 to 2019. And Lexington even hosts a yearly Pride event, filled with music, food, and celebration.
Red State BBQ
Armed with multiple TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, this barbecue joint serves up tender meats drenched in finger-licking sauce, plus classic sides like mac and cheese and corn muffins.
Distilled at Gratz Park
Delight in farm-to-table Southern cuisine served at this upscale spot, which also offers a healthy list of wine, bourbon, and whiskey.
Sip on legendary margaritas while filling up on small plates, tacos, or main dishes infused with unique Mexican flavors.
Boasting a full calendar of events, plus eye candy like go-go boys and drag queens, this gay bar welcomes those from all walks of life into its welcoming space.
The Bar Complex
This giant lounge is a longstanding gay icon in Lexington’s nightlife scene. Come for drinking, dancing, and watching high-energy drag shows.
With two levels and an outdoor patio, gay-friendly Soundbar attracts those looking for a red-hot spot to dance and socialize.
Boasting Kentucky’s largest bourbon collection, this tavern gives you the opportunity to sample rare bourbons and bourbon-infused cocktails.