I have been oscillating between periods of utter excitement and dejected paranoia about graduate school all year long, but this week has definitely been an “up” in the saga of my post-secondary manic depression. As I was driving around downtown Lexington this morning, looking for a shoe store (which I never found), I thought to myself “boy, I can’t wait to go somewhere where the downtown actually has shoe stores, where I don’t have to contend with Christmas traffic and drive twenty minutes just to buy a desperately needed pair of shoes.” It appears that that dream is going to come true.
I could go on for hours about the reasons why I’m ready to leave Lexington (anyone see last night’s basketball game?), but that wouldn’t do the city the justice it deserves. Seriously! I have ragged on Lexington before, but there is a lot to be said for this “Drinking Town with a Football Problem.” As a courtesy to my younger readers who may be looking at UK, I’ve come up with some reasons Lexington is worth it. Without further ado, here is my list of the Top Five Reasons to Love Lexington:
1. There are all kinds of “city secrets” to discover that no one talks about. From the Sushi Nazi’s amazing Japanese cuisine to old, hole-in-the-wall bookstores like the Black Swan, there are many places in Lexington that few talk about that are worth exploring.
2. Good sports–not just football and basketball. UK has a number of club teams that will allow pretty much anyone to play, including dodgeball and frisbee. The intramural system is also a very well run machine here. Rugby, including women’s rugby, is surprisingly big.
3. “Legacy draw” brings people to UK from all over. As anyone who lives here knows, a lot of people leave the state of Kentucky after graduation. At the same time, sports and cameraderie often constantly connect alumni back to UK, leading to a large percentage of out-of-state students who come here because their parents did.
4. The cost of living is dirt cheap. Rent for houses and apartments is dirt cheap here, as are groceries…learning how to cook has been a fun and money-saving experience for me here. And the grocery stores kick ass.
5. Good local music and bar scenes. Lexington’s The Dame (can’t leave out the “The”) is known nationwide as a place to hear great music. Although almost all the music halls are 21+ here, some all-ages options are beginning to appear. There is something for everyone near campus in terms of bars: to the north is the preppy, downtown scene, and to the south the more country-fried, hometown kind of stuff. I prefer the southern bars, personally.