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Summer events happening around Lexington

Make the most of the warm weather with this list of the best local summer events and activities.

A group of people sitting in lawn chairs at a concert.

Kick back + relax with some live outdoor music at Summer Nights in Suburbia. | Photo provided by Lexington Parks & Recreation

Summer’s almost here and Lexington is so ready. From live music and Memorial Day celebrations to hiking and festivals, summer is when the Horse Capital of the World comes alive.

Get ready to get outside with this guide featuring 28 summer events — including ideas for the Fourth of July — happening between May and August.

A lit-up sign that says Railbird

Nothing says summer like music festival season. | Photo by LEXtoday

Concerts and live music

Tahlsound Concert Series, Last Sunday of every month, April-September, Oleika Temple Great Lawn
End those warm summer weekends with live music from regional musicians, food + drink vendors, and community-focused good vibes at this monthly series.

Chamber Music Festival, May 11, Centenary United Methodist Church
Witness the talents of world-renowned musicians from New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center + two educational lectures.

Big Band & Jazz, Every Tuesday, May 14 -Aug. 13, Moondance Amphitheare + Ecton Park
What could be better than a free concert? A free concert in the park with your neighbors. Grab a chair, pack a picnic, and let the sweet sounds of jazz take you away.

Railbird Music Festival, June 1-2, The Infield at Red Mile
From internationally recognized acts like Noah Kahan to local icons like Abby Hamilton, you can expect a wide range of country + folk-centric music during this festival. Plus, find local breweries and eateries on-site to really make it a true Lexington experience.

Eastside Evenings, Every second Saturday, July-Sept., Charles Young Park
Taking over for the former Northside Nights, this monthly series is bringing live funk, soul, and R&B music to the East End. Performances will be held on the showmobile stage, so grab a blanket, some chairs + get ready to boogie down.

Picnic with the POPs, Aug. 10, Keeneland
Enjoy a lively performance from the Lexington Philharmonic + a special guest artist. Go big by booking a table with a catered meal or BYO picnic and blanket for this annual local favorite.

EXPANSION Psychedelic Music Festival, Aug. 22-24, Various locations
It may feel like you’re being transported to a different universe, but the fun at EXPANSION happens right here at home. The weekend consists of special movie screenings at the Kentucky Theatre and immersive musical experiences at Al’s Bar + The Burl.

Young ballerinas with pink feathers in their hair perform a dance.

Nothing says a peaceful summer evening like ballet under the stars. | Photo courtesy of @lexkyparks

Family-friendly

Lexington Legends, April-September, Legends Field
Take the kids out to the ball game this summer + check out our guide for nightly deals. Pro Tip: On Sundays, Kids Club members can attend games for free, enjoy discounts at the team store, then run the bases after the game.

Friday Flicks, June 7-June 28, Jacobson Park
Families are invited to bring their own picnic setup, check out local food and drink vendors, then kick back + relax while watching a kid-friendly movie.

Summer Nights in Suburbia, Fridays until Sept. 13, Moondance Amphitheater
The concert series runs the musical gamut + brings a surprise to each show featuring indie rock, blues, folk artists, and more. Gates open as early as 5:30 p.m.

Ballet Under the Stars, July 31-Aug. 4, Woodland Park
Celebrate the art of dance under the moonlight with the Kentucky Ballet Theatre. This year’s pre-show is A Tribute to Taylor Swift, then professional dancers take to the stage at 9 p.m.

A sculpture of the CRAVE logo which features the letter C with teeth.

Come hungry, leave happy. | Photo courtesy of CRAVE Food + Music Festival

Foodies

Bluegrass BBQ Festival, May 17-18, Moondance Amphitheatre
You’ll likely get a whiff of the area’s best smoked meats and eats even before arriving at Moondance. Get fired up by hitting up spots like My Hammy Vice and Kentucky Q for all your grilled goods, and stay for the live music and vendors.

FEAST for FoodChain, May 22, Fasig-Tipton
A truly delectable experience, this culinary event features a diverse lineup of chefs to benefit FoodChain. Tickets include access to live demonstrations, food samplings from local + nationally recognized female chefs, and more, all in the name of food equity.

Black Restaurant Week, June 17-23, Various locations
Black-owned restaurants will feature one-of-a-kind, off-menu entrees for $12. Previous options included Trinidadian nachos from Jack’s Sandbar and Grill.

Fresh Food Adventure: A Step Back in Time, June 29, Shaker Village
Venture out to historic Harrodsburg for a multi-course dining experience celebrating the legacy of Elizabeth Kremer — Director of Dining for The Trustees’ Table.

Lexington Burger Week, July 8-14, Various locations
Sink your teeth into a $7 specialty burger at one of several participating restaurants. Burgers from the past included a tater tot-covered patty from Charlie Brown’s + sweet treats, like the boozy burger cupcake from Inebriated Baker.

Lexington Restaurant Week, July 18-28, Various locations
Dozens of participating restaurants will curate multi-course menus — ranging from $19 to $30 specials — giving you the perfect opportunity to explore local menus more thoroughly.

CRAVE Food Festival, July 27-28, Masterson Station Park
Come hungry, because ~40 vendors will be there serving up dishes across the spectrum. From fine dining to fried chicken, think of this event like a culinary tour de Lexington. Plus, take time to make more room by checking out the live music, a children’s zone with inflatables, and cooking demonstrations.

A panel of speakers on stage with a sign that says "SoulFeast Week."

Lexington has countless ways to commemorate Juneteenth this year. | Photo courtesy of SoulFeast Week

Holidays

Soulteenth Fest, June 15, Moondance Amphitheatre
Commemorate Juneteenth with an all-day festival that highlights Black culture through music, vendors, art, and food. Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat or to dance the night away, there’s something for everyone.

Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration, June 19, Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center
Celebrate Black culture with a showcase of artistic performances ranging anywhere from hip-hop to opera.

Bluegrass 10,000 and Fun Run, July 4, Downtown Lexington
This annual race is a tradition in the Horse Capital of the World. Get motivated as fellow Lexingtonians cheer you on from the sidelines as you run or walk through downtown. Then, reward yourself with the Fourth of July festivities.

Fourth of July Celebration, July 1-5, Various locations
From live concerts to ice cream socials, Lexington knows how to turn up the fun during the week surrounding the Fourth of July. Shop around at the market and festival on Thursday, July 4, then keep the good vibes going with a concert from local blues legend Tee Dee Young on Friday, July 5.

Yellow flowers in the foreground with people walking through tents + vendors

A picture perfect weekend awaits at the Woodland Art Fair. | Photo courtesy of @shessosingle

Summer festivals

Mayfest Arts Fair, May 11-12, Gratz Park
This casual, family-friendly weekend brings strolling performers, musical acts, and hundreds of artisans.

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, May 18-19, Masterson Station Park
Tactile enthusiasts can explore the arts and crafts by perusing 100+ vendors, watching live demonstrations, and attending workshops where you learn how to make your own goods from different fibers.

Strawberry Festival, May 18-19, Eckert’s Orchard, Versailles
Pick fresh strawberries, then let the kids enjoy the massive playground, meet some farm friends, and hop on the wagon train for even more adventure.

The Bluegrass Fair, June 6-16, Masterson Station Park
Embrace total summer vibes at this classic event, where you + the family can enjoy famous fair foods (funnel cake, anyone?), drinks, rides, games, and even live demonstrations from escape artists.

Woodland Art Fair, Aug. 17-18, Woodland Park
Spanning throughout the whole park, you’ll find food and drinks + art in all forms including metalwork, woodwork, photography, performances, and ceramics at this beloved annual tradition.

Lexington Pride Festival, June 29, Central Bank Center
Don your rainbow and head into town for our Pride Festival featuring dozens of vendors highlighting LGBTQ+-owned businesses and nonprofits, as well as live music and drag performances.

Seasonal essentials

  • Tired of losing your sunglasses in the water? These floating sunglasses provide optimal clarity and comfort for all your summer adventures.
  • Shield yourself from the sun while adding a touch of flair to your outfit with one of our hats.
  • This iceless cooler keeps your drinks cold for 7 hours.
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