Lexington-Fayette, KY

Population: 311,529

Key findings

  • Lexington-Fayette has a Livability Score of 77/100, which is considered exceptional
  • Lexington-Fayette crime rates are 56% higher than the Kentucky average
  • Cost of living in Lexington-Fayette is 6% higher than the Kentucky average
  • Lexington-Fayette real estate prices are 35% higher than the Kentucky average
  • Rental prices in Lexington-Fayette are 15% higher than the Kentucky average

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      Lexington-Fayette, KY

      At the heart of the beautiful Bluegrass Region of central Kentucky lies the vibrant city of Lexington. Its superb location at the intersection of I-64 and I-75 situates it within a one-day drive from two-thirds of the rest of the country. Merged with Fayette County in 1974, Lexington-Fayette County has a thriving population of over 320,000. With a crime rate below the national average and generally temperate weather, visitors are welcome to procure their own little piece of “the horse capital of the world.”

      A trip to the nearby Kentucky Horse Park, Calumet Farm or Keeneland Race Course gives a glimpse of why residents love Lexington’s equine history. Encircling the city are gentle slopes where thoroughbreds graze in brilliant, green paddocks. Stone walls guide nearly 3 million wanderers a year toward a downtown buzzing with a booming food industry, interesting architecture and intoxicating Distillery District.

      One unique aspect of living in Lexington is its dynamic and diverse college population. With 15 colleges and universities in the region, anchored by the University of Kentucky at the heart of the city, it is one of the most educated large cities in America. Recently ranking eighth for percentage of population with an advanced degree, Lexington has also become one of the smartest cities in the world.

      A relatively low cost of living is bolstered by a diverse housing market. The student population has created a high demand for rentals, while industry attracts new suburban neighborhoods. However, one of the city’s charms is its old, majestic neighborhoods, which reflect its Southern roots.

      Recognized nationally as one of the best cities for online businesses and high-tech startups, Lexington attracts entrepreneurs from a variety of sectors. Organizations like The Business and Education Network seek to make the connection between workers and industry. Bridging the gap between education and jobs, Lexington is committed to developing a skilled workforce for the future.

      The health care industry is growing statewide for Kentucky and Lexington is a large market. There are several major medical centers, including the UK Medical Center with its own vast system of hospitals, clinics and colleges. People come from all over the state and beyond to receive state-of-the-art medical care.

      From the sports enthusiast attending a UK basketball game at Rupp Arena to the bookworm attending a literary event at one of its numerous bookstores, Lexington, Kentucky, is a city on the move. A LexTran public bus, taxi, Uber or Lyft provides transportation to all it has to offer. Ranking high on national lists for best places to live, work and retire, Lexington offers an excellent quality of life. While many come for business, some come for its beauty. Those who stay become its people.

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      Lexington-Fayette Reviews

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      Review Lexington-Fayette
      Overall rating Rollover stars and click to rate
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      Attractions0/10
      Community0/10
      Nightlife0/10
      Dining0/10
      Shopping0/10
      Pretty good but has its problems

      Attractions10/10
      Community10/10
      Nightlife10/10
      Dining10/10
      Shopping10/10
      Great for a visitor, local amenities are great, nightlife and recreation and touristy things are authentic and, well... awesome. However, living here, some things can be a pain. Particularly traffic. Driving in Lexington is terrible for a city its size. Since there's no major interstate that loops the city like 264 and 265 do for Louisville, everyone is on the same roads, and it makes driving miserable. Also there's a huge amount of construction that causes even more headaches. A lot of this could be credited to the population and economic boom. However, all told, the atmosphere is great, the people are friendly, and for a major city (expectations by default would be pretty low), it's pretty safe, and has good public services. The culture is pretty neat too. It's an up-and-coming city, and will probably improve as time goes on.
      • 4 -1
      Not a bad place to live, but far from my favorite

      Attractions5/10
      Community8/10
      Nightlife6/10
      Dining6/10
      Shopping8/10
      Lexington has some really good qualities, but it also has several things that are borderline intolerable. First the CONS ..... because from my perspective they can change your image of this community far faster than the good. 1. TRAFFIC for a city of 300k is easily one of the worst places ive ever lived. Reason from what ive heard is because all the neighboring horse farms prohibit expansion. It can take easily over an hour on several major roads to get 2 or 3 miles between 7-9am and 3-7 pm. THIS CAN BE INTOLERABLE!!! many of the best neighborhoods Hamburg etc are absolute TRAFFIC NIGHTMARES. Many people live in nearby Jessamine county due to Fayette Co extremely high tax rates and THEY SUFFER ENDLESSLY WITH TRAFFIC. 2. PANHANDLERS AND HOMELESSNESS..... to credit the mayor he's desperately tried to fix this and it has improved some but its still a REAL PROBLEM. I live near UK and you can't walk 20 feet without being approached by several panhandlers. Homelessness is also a huge problem. Its really sad, i go to work early in the morning and daily see numerous people sleeping in the street. Every year people die from sleeping out in the brutal winter temps. The mayor and city council again have tried to help as much as possible, but I think its Kentucky's troublesome drug epidemic that mainly contributes to issue. 3. CRIME..... This has gotten much worse over the years.... When I first moved to Lex, i thought it was pretty safe. I don't feel that way anymore. Certain Neighborhoods like Hamburg and a few others are still really safe though. 4. WEATHER.... The winters are very cold here and even though this is technically the south, the climate feels more like neighboring Ohio or the midwest. IT SNOWS IN APRIL AND FROSTS IN MAY, THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN THE SOUTH. 5. LANDLOCKED STATE WITH NOT A LOT TO DO... UK sporting events and horse racing are the local selling points but that gets old really fast. NO BEACH OR MOUNTAINS NEARBY... if you count west virginia as mountains then enjoy them otherwise its pretty lame. Cincy and Louisville are close.... YEAH! ( sarcasm) Nashville is 3 hours though and its fun. NOW THE POSITIVE. 1. Hamburg area of Lex is a really nice place to live with tons of shops and great neighborhoods. The new Summit area is also nice. 2. If you can tolerate the winter, the summer is nice. 3. Kentucky is a pretty place and is very green but as I learned............. Green comes with a serious price of many days of grey skies, rain and near constant gloom. I never realized seasonal affective disorder was a thing but its real and it can be near year round here. 4. BIG POSITIVE... VERY LOW COST OF LIVING. 5. PEOPLE ARE PRETTY FRIENDLY, but after going to many UK sporting events, they can be really nasty as well. I enjoy sports and have been to many venues across the country and rate UK fans as one of the worst ( I rate LSU and 2nd TENNESSEE as the worst but thats a different story) . Of course this isn't everyone, but theres enough bad eggs to make the event non enjoyable.. even if your pulling for UK.. NO CLUE ABOUT SCHOOLS HERE... I HEAR SOME GOOD SOME BAD.. IN SUMMARY, I liked living in Lexington but its not somewhere id want to live forever. The bad just seem to be getting worse but the good are pretty appealing to sort of off set.
      • 6 -4
      It's very dead to say the least

      Attractions1/10
      Community2/10
      Nightlife1/10
      Dining1/10
      Shopping4/10
      I've lived here all my life I do love lexington the only thing I can say is that they get rid of nearly every historical significant building or park they have no maps from the ages of the 1800s. I Can say without out a doubt the monuments of the confederate statues in downtown lexington was the only half interesting place they don't have anything enjoyable they have an overfished park too. They are all in all a boring place to be.
      • 1 -7
      Stay Far Far Away!

      Attractions6/10
      Community5/10
      Nightlife8/10
      Dining8/10
      Shopping8/10
      I lived in Lexington, KY for three years (from 2010-2013) and I have to say never have I seen more extremes between rich and poor. Lexington is one giant circle with downtown being in the middle and somewhat rough neighborhoods on the outside and New Circle surrounding the entire city. This city revolves around University of Kentucky Men's Basketball team: everyone you go you will see merchandise for this school and it's literally all around you. If the team loses, there will be rioting in the streets as well as couches burned and property damaged. I lived in downtown Lexington which was a huge mistake: in the three years I lived there my car was broken into and vandalized 3 times, crack heads broke into the house next door and burned it down to the ground in the middle of the night. Lexington is strange because you have your rich elitist (Horse racing) crowd that likes to flash around their money along with the Rich UK kids that don't have to work, then you have everyone else, so there's pretty much no middle class. The need for possessions and the sense of being very materialistic runs rapid The nicer car you have, and the more fancy clothing you own the better you are. If you're from out of state or even from another city in Kentucky prepare to feel ostracized immediately. If you're not a UK student and if you're not part of the horse racing scene you will instantly feel out of place. If you drive a normal car that's not worth $50,000 prepare to feel out of place. The people here are very out of touch with reality and value money above all else. The teenagers have basically taken over downtown and will harass you in the streets. Men constantly harassed me while walking downtown from point A to point B. I met unstable people left and right, and drunken brawls in the streets, I felt unsafe walking home from places all the time. This city was basically built around University of Kentucky Men's basketball team and horse racing, if those things don't interest you then try nearby cities instead. Real estate is through the roof here, middle class single family homes are impossible to find, and when you do find them they're in the hood. I noticed that the types of housing were as follows : University friendly apartments, old broken down victorian homes in the hood, or multi million dollar mansions for the horse people. I would never move back in a million years because of the crime and the UK obsession, definitely not for middle class families at all.
      • 0 -3
      Not impressed

      Attractions3/10
      Community5/10
      Nightlife6/10
      Dining6/10
      Shopping6/10
      My wife and I moved to Lexington three years ago for work-related purposes, and we've been less than impressed to put it mildly. Although we have met many wonderful people, the traffic, unpredictable weather, lack of recreational activities, geography, cost of housing, and quality of the parks have all prompted us to search for other places to raise our family (outside of Kentucky). It's been very difficult (even after heeding the advice of locals) to find activities that don't center around horses, basketball, or bourbon. We are very outdoors-oriented people, but there don't seem to be a lot of resources in the nearby area (unless you count Red River Gorge) that cater to that demographic (again, though, this is a question of geography). My other complaint stems from the weather symptomatic of the region in general. "Schizophrenic" would be putting it mildly, and it's frustrating to go from one extreme to another within a few days' time. I hope my comments won't be taken as a sign of disrespect or ingratitude, but the central Kentucky region has simply not impressed us.
      • 1 -1
      Questionable Establishments, Great place to grow up

      Attractions10/10
      Community10/10
      Nightlife10/10
      Dining10/10
      Shopping10/10
      I came here for a specific reason and that is to express concern for the direction this city, Lexington- KY, is taking. One of the things I love about Lexington is its beautiful mix of urban and rural areas. Unfortunately shopping establishments are developing at a very rapid pace and the beautiful countrysides seem to be slipping away.

      Personally I couldn't ask for more restaurants or shopping centers because we have such a good variety already.

      I also don't like the concern for materialism and notoriety that comes with the enhancement of downtown/ University life. Specifically it seems that the desire to be 'cool' and/or on the forefront of entertainment and sporting event comes at a cost to the rest of the city.

      I've been hearing on the radio that we are opening up a new barber shop next to the Hooter's in town. It is advertised as 'not your daddy's' barbershop and claims to have the hottest hairdressers in town and caters to 'men's needs.' This irritates me.

      SO basically , if you're thinking about moving to Lexington do it quickly AND if you're thinking of visiting Lexington take your time because soon we will have EVEN MORE to offer you! ;)
      • 0 -1
      4.5 Years In Lexington-Fayette, KY

      Attractions8/10
      Community7/10
      Nightlife10/10
      Dining10/10
      Shopping10/10
      Lexington is a beautiful town that flourishes in opportunity. The jobs available are typically well paying as well as secured. The opportunities for education and career growth are second to none, centered around the University of Kentucky campus. There are several organizations and places you can be involved in for free. The sense of community is incredible in such a large city.

      At first, the thought of handling traffic in Lexington was quite scary and nerve wracking. It can be one of the most negative things about the city. Once you've learned how to handle yourself on roads like Man O War Boulevard and New Circle Road, it becomes a lot easier.

      Most Lexington natives can bond on their mutual love for Kentucky Wildcats basketball or as we call it "The Big Blue Nation". Make sure if you are visiting during the March Madness season, you stay away from campus and State Street for they are known for the crazy riots and couch burning after basketball tournaments. Also, very horse centric, Lexington natives often spend the Springtime months at Keeneland, watching horse races.

      There are several places to dine in Lexington. Whether you want Kentucky's finest, Malone's to enjoy a top of the line steak, a delicious Mexican meal at Chuy's or some classic Italian at Bella Notte, there are plenty of places to satisfy any craving you may have. The cleanliness, service and productivity within those restaurants are wonderful and ideal.

      I would recommend anyone who is looking for a new start and an all around comfortable, warm, sophisticated environment, look no further than Lexington, Kentucky.
      • 0 0
      Awful Place to Live

      Attractions3/10
      Community3/10
      Nightlife3/10
      Dining3/10
      Shopping5/10
      I lived in Lexington 15 years and living here gets worse every year. The mayor would rather spend money to renovate rupp arena, which does not need renovating, instead of on programs for Rape Victims, Homeless and other programs. The roads are horrible. High Street is like many other streets in Lexington that have needed re-paving since 2004. Another problem with the roads are that they all lead downtown, and then you have New Circle Road. Basically it's like a wagon wheel and creates traffic problems everyday. Man O'War was supposed to have been built to provide access from Versailles Rd to the Interstate with not much being built on it, but this road is also very congested.

      If you live, breathe and die Kentucky men's basketball then this place is for you. That is the only thing people care about and they're so bitter against other teams. Definitely not sports fans, but UK fanatics.

      Fayette Mall is the only mall in Lexington, and it is so hard to get in and out of. There is also Hamburg, which has housing, and businesses and is very congested also. That's the only places to shop in Lexington.

      Crime is another story in Lexington also. Every day there is some kind of violent crime in Lexington, and that is also getting worse. If you live on the north end of town, then you can forget about calling 911 and expecting to get help soon. I know cops who have actually said they take there time responding to calls on the north end of town.

      Lexington may be a nice place to visit, but if you want to live in a corrupt town that only cares about UK men's basketball then this place is for you. If not, then Louisville or Cincinnati would be a much better option. I'm glad I got out of this awful town.
      • 0 -2
      Hate this place.

      Attractions3/10
      Community3/10
      Nightlife4/10
      Dining4/10
      Shopping8/10
      I've been here for 4 years, way too long. If you don't like horses or basketball, don't waste your time here. I'm only living here while I'm in school but the people here are horrible. I will admit I like the diversity because there are a lot of different cultures, but so many of the people are just stuck up and horrible. And don't get me started on how bad the drivers are.

      The only reason I gave it 2 stars is because of all the shops and restaurants around. At least there are some places to go otherwise I couldn't stand it. Luckily I am getting out of here soon and never looking back.

      Also I'm sure a lot of people may disagree with my review, but it all depends on your interests. As I said if you like horses and basketball, places to shop, or you are old, you will probably like it here. There are a few decent bars, but as far as activities there isn't much I enjoy doing here. I wish there was a bigger art community. I thought there would be but it's not like I expected. I get bored a lot. Shopping is only interesting for so long...
      • 1 -1
      Lexington, KY Sings Me a Sweet Tune

      Attractions9/10
      Community9/10
      Nightlife4/10
      Dining4/10
      Shopping8/10
      I traveled to the city of Lexington, Kentucky to attend the Festival of the Bluegrass. I can honestly say that my visit was truly a pleasure. I stayed at the Residence Inn Hotel for my stay, and enjoyed the benefits of nice staff and a very nice and neat room. Most of the great dining areas were found on Main Street, which had clean sidewalks and beautiful storefronts. My favorite dining experience had to be Alfalfa Restaurant, which makes excellent quesadillas and nachos. Nights were not as exciting for me, as not very many of the bars in the area offered food for its patrons. However, many different types of drinks were offered at very reasonable prices and there were several bars were areas outside for people to sit down in the nice summer air.

      If you find yourself with nothing to do, there are several landmarks people can visit such as Mary Todd Lincoln's House and the Lexington History Museum. Both locations have lots of fun facts about one of our most remembered presidents, Abraham Lincoln. The Fayette Mall is the only shopping option a person needs as it has various clothing, jewelry, and a food court you can use to take a break.

      The best time to go to Lexington is during its Festival of the Bluegrass in June. One can enjoy a nice summer's night listening to the sweet tunes of some of the best Bluegrass artists of our time with a group of people who were very passionate about the music and put a lot of time and effort into organizing a great event. Lexington, Kentucky really is a great city that should be greatly appreciated by our nation.
      • 0 0
      Lexington's Hidden Treasures

      Attractions7/10
      Community9/10
      Nightlife8/10
      Dining8/10
      Shopping8/10
      The only other review I see here is from a resident of six years. Perhaps after they've lived here awhile they will find more of the delightful places to see and explore. Let's start with art galleries. In addition to the Ann Tower Gallery, the University of Kentucky Art Museum contains some world renowned pieces, and features new exhibits several times a year. Two art events, Gallery Hop, and Fourth Friday, attract thousands of art lovers to see new art and enjoy some food and drink. More than 30 galleries participate in the downtown Hop, and The Lexington Art League sponsors Fourth Fridays in the Loudoun House Mansion. The Gallery hop is free, and Fourth Friday is less than $11 last time I checked. The Headley-Whitney Museum on Old Frankfort Pike is like no other in the world. Artifacts, sculptures, and bibelots made from the world's finest jewels and precious stones are on display here. A few miles away in Frankfort is the Salato Wildlife Center, a zoological and botanical garden of Kentucky wildlife. You can spend an entire day here if you take in all that's to be experienced.

      With two universities located here, a host of entertainment, lectures and sporting events can keep you busy. The majority are free, or at lower cost compared to commercial markets. For example, first run movies at UK's Worsham Theatre are open to the public and cost $2.50. The Kentucky Horse Park is not just a bunch of pretty fields with horses romping through them, it has a visitors' center, and a world-class Museum of the Horse, with pieces from all over the globe, from ancient times to present. The park has the largest collection of different horse breeds in the world, and events are scheduled almost daily from Spring to Fall. Even if you don't like horses (which begs the question, why do you live here?), you have to admit a facility of this class is something to be admired.

      Food, entertainment and sports abound in the town center year round. Lexington Children's Theatre is a nationally known organization, respected and admired for its training and instruction facilities, not to mention the wonderful productions staged at their theatre on Short Street. Across from Children's is the Lexington Opera House which features every type of entertainment from Broadway to Ballet, comedy to classical music. Some of it is not expensive. The rest is worth the extra you pay. The Civic Center and Rupp Arena stay busy year round. Many shows and expos are free and open to the public. A few block away, Michael Jonathon's "Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour" is recorded every Monday night before a live audience. Guess what? Tickets are free, but they go fast. You can bask in the glory of a 70-year-old restored theatre, and enjoy some of the best folk music artists to be seen and heard. The historic Kentucky Theatre also shows first-run movies, with a prelude of Wurlitzer Organ favorites played before every feature. Downtown is also home to several music venues of the popular genre. Al's Bar at Sixth and Limestone offers Bluegrass, Folk, and Alternative five nights a week. The historic Two Keys on the other end of Limestone near the UK campus caters to the college crowd. Everything else, from the avant-garde chic (Natasha's), the DJ (Odessa), to big name band entertainment (Buster's) can be found within the confines of historic old downtown Lexington.
      • 0 0
      Lexington - An Emerging Cultural Hub

      Attractions3/10
      Community8/10
      Nightlife4/10
      Dining4/10
      Shopping5/10
      I have lived in Lexington, KY for roughly 6 years. Lexington is known as one of the greatest cities in Kentucky and will be hosting the 2010 World Equestrian Games, which is a great honor. However, in many ways, I wonder if Lexington is worthy of that honor.

      Sure, Lexington has some nice spots to hang out, a lovely public library, some beautiful neighborhoods, a couple great restaurants, some worthy attractions and dozen or so pretty parks. Unfortunately, as a whole, I find Lexington to be somewhat bland. Not bland in the sense of community, as Lexington has an excellent diversity of different people. But I do feel as if there are very few attractions. The Ann Tower Art Gallery is nice, as is the public library, but besides that, there's not really much to see and only a few things to do in Lexington.

      Fortunately, in preparation for the World Equestrian Games, Lexington has taken some steps to improve the city and I can only hope that these changes will make Lexington a bit more interesting for its residents.
      • 0 0
      Reason for reporting
      Source: The Lexington-Fayette, KY data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).