Lexington, Kentucky, United States, known as the "Horse Capital of the World," is located in the heart of the Bluegrass region. It is the second-largest city in Kentucky, after Louisville, Kentucky, and the 68th largest in the United States. On January 1, 1974 Lexington became the first municipality in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to form a consolidated city-county government by merging with Fayette County. In 2006, the population estimate given by the U.S. Census Bureau was 275,754
Lexington is home to the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland race course, the Red Mile race course, Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky (UK). UK's basketball program is immensely popular in the city and throughout the state. The University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team has won more games than any other team in college basketball history.
Lexington was founded in June 1775 in Virginia (17 years before Kentucky became a state). A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (today called Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street) at the location known today as McConnell Springs. Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, they named their campsite Lexington after Lexington, Massachusetts. Due to the danger of Indian attacks, permanent settlement was delayed for four years. In 1779, Colonel Robert Patterson and 25 companions came from Fort Harrod and erected a blockhouse. Cabins and a stockade were soon built, making the fort a place of importance. The town of Lexington was established on May 6, 1782, by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.
By 1820, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains. So cultured was its lifestyle, Lexington gained the nickname "Athens of the West." One early prominent citizen, John Wesley Hunt, became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. Slaves were widely held and used as laborers, field hands and domestic servants in Kentucky. In 1850, 1/5 of the state's population were slaves, and Lexington had the highest concentration of slaves in the state. However, the state attempted to remain neutral during the Civil War. Not only were both Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis born in Kentucky (less than one year and 100 miles (200 km) apart), but both had spent time in Lexington. Davis attended Transylvania University in 1823 and 1824. Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was born and raised in Lexington; the couple visited the city several times after their marriage in 1842.
Lexington hosted one of the first drug rehabilitation clinics, known as the "Addiction Research Center," which opened in 1935 . The first alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital in the United States of America was also know as "Narco" of Lexington, as well as the "Addiction Research Center". This was later converted into a federal prison.
Fayette County consists of 285.5 square miles (739.4 km²), mostly gently rolling plateau, in the center of the inner Bluegrass Region. The area is noted for its beauty, fertile soil, excellent pastureland, and horse and stock farms. Poa pratensis (bluegrass) thrives on the limestone beneath the soil's surface, playing a major role in the area's scenic beauty and in the development of champion horses. Numerous small creeks rise and flow into the Kentucky River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 739.5 km² (285.5 mi²). 736.9 km² (284.5 mi²) of it is land and 2.6 km² (1.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.35% water. 
Lexington features a diverse cityscape. From its vibrant downtown that features much-needed infill projects to its famed horse farms, the city prides itself in featuring an urban growth boundary that includes greenbelts and strict zoning definitions. This has been done to not only protect the Bluegrass landscape from further sprawling development, but to ensure that tourism, one of its leading industries, is not affected.
The city is home to several notable skyscrapers. The Lexington Financial Center is currently the tallest building, followed by Kincaid Towers, and then the World Trade Center complex. It is also home to many other notable structures, and to many new urban developments within two major districts. It also has many uncompleted projects, ranging from the 41 floor World Coal Center to an elevated park above Vine Street and the Harrison Avenue viaduct.
Since the early 1950s, Lexington's economy has increasingly become a manufacturing, technology-oriented, and university oriented economy. There are three public universities, five private colleges, and two theological seminaries located within the Lexington CSA. In addition, the city plays an integral part in the region as being the leading medical and commercial center.
As such, Lexington is home to several large corporations. There are two Fortune 500 companies located within the city: Affiliated Computer Services and Lexmark International, employing 1,200 and 3,450 respectively United Parcel Service, Trane and Amazon.com, Inc. have a large presence in the city, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is within the Lexington CSA in Georgetown. The city has a Jif peanut butter plant that produces more peanut butter than any other factory in the world.
The University of Kentucky employs 10,668. Not included in that tally is the College of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service, which has a staff of over 900. The University is the ninth largest economic company in the state of Kentucky, with an annual budget of $1.4 billion. The College of Medicine within the University is the 21st largest company in the state.
Other sizeable employers rest with the government of Lexington-Fayette County and its hospital facilities. This includes the Fayette County Public Schools, employing 4,651, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, employing 3,936. Central Baptist Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Hospital employ 6,206 total.
According to the United States Census, of Lexington's population over the age of twenty-five, 22.4% hold a bachelor's degree, 11.4% hold a master's degree, and 3.1% hold a professional degree. Just 2.6% hold a doctorate degree. Lexington was also ranked #10 in a list of America's most educated cities with a population of more than 250,000, ranked by percentage of bachelor's degrees among residents 25 and older.
The city is served by the Fayette County Public Schools. The system consists of seven high schools, 11 middle schools, and 33 elementary schools. Six private schools also serve Lexington.
The city also plays host to two traditional colleges, the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. Other institutions of higher learning include Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Sullivan University, Spencerian College, Strayer University, and a newly opened distance learning extension of Indiana Wesleyan University.
Lexington is home to many thriving arts organizations including a professional orchestra, two ballet companies, professional theatre, several museums including a basketball museum, several choral organizations and a highly respected opera program at the University of Kentucky. In addition, there are several events and fairs that draw people from throughout the Bluegrass.
Mayfest is a free outdoor festival that takes place annually over Mother's Day weekend. Held in Gratz park between the Carnegie Center and Transylvania University, the festival typically features up to 100 art and craft booths, live entertainment throughout the weekend, food, children's activities, adult activities and literary events, free carriage rides, a traditional Morris and Maypole dance and various demonstrations.
Taking part the first full weekend of June is the Festival of the Bluegrass, Kentucky's oldest bluegrass music festival. It includes three stages for music and a "music camp" that teaches the bluegrass music to school children. Also in June is the popular Broadway review presented by UK Opera Theatre, "It's A Grand Night for Singing!"
Lexingtonians gather downtown for the Fourth of July festivities which extend for several days. On July 3, the Gratz Park Historic District is transformed into an outdoor music hall when the Patriotic Music Concert is held on the steps of Morrison Hall at Transylvania University. The Lexington Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this event. On the Fourth, annual festivities include a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Old Courthouse, a waiter's race in Phoenix Park, a parade, a country music concert, and fireworks. Also, throughout the day street vendors sell their wares and food to the downtown visitors. The Fourth of July is considered to be the biggest holiday in Lexington.
"Southern Lights: Spectacular Sights on Holiday Nights",  taking place from November 18 to December 31, is held at the Kentucky Horse Park. It includes a three-mile (5 km) drive through the park, showcasing numerous displays, many in character with the horse industry and history of Lexington. The "Mini-Train Express", an indoor petting exotic animal petting zoo, the International Museum of the Horse, an exhibit showcasing the Bluegrass Railway Club's model train, and Santa Claus are other major highlights.
The Lexington Christmas Parade: Held usually the first Saturday in December, the parade route follows Main Street between Midland and Broadway. Festivities include a pre-parade "Santa's Sleigh" charity race, food, light entertainment, and post-show activities.
Other events and fairs include: