U.S. News ranks Lexington and Louisville among the top 150 places to live

By Lilli Dubler, Building Kentucky

Photo by Amy Wallot, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

Both Lexington and Louisville made the 2023 U.S. News list of the Top 150 “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” Lexington is ranked No. 34, with Louisville ranked No. 75.

Lexington scored an overall rating of 6.5 out of 10, based on the city’s quality of life and job market, as well as value and the desirability of the city.

According to U.S. News, Lexington “blends influences from the South and Midwest to create a cultural identity all its own.” Lexingtonians enjoy locally sourced cuisine, bourbon and outdoor recreation throughout the city.

The Horse Capital of the World offers a diverse job market and stable economy while still having a relatively low cost of living. The main economic driver in Lexington is the equine industry, which doubles as an integral piece of the city’s identity.

Lexington is also home to the University of Kentucky, which is the city’s largest school and employer. Many residents are fans of the Wildcats and take pride in being part of “The Greatest Tradition” in college basketball.

Louisville scored a 6.3 on the same scale, with U.S. News describing the city as “a modern metropolitan area steeped in tradition.”

The Kentucky Derby, and the events that surround it, are at the core of Louisville’s identity. The Kentucky Derby Festival, held each year during the two weeks preceding the first Saturday in May, attracts visitors from around the world and increases tourism to the city.

Beyond horse racing, Louisvillians also have a passion for supporting locally owned, independent businesses, which has led the city to become a culinary destination. Many restaurants and coffee shops in the city serve Kentucky Proud products, including bourbon, produce, meat and dairy products.

The Derby City deeply appreciates creativity, resulting in an incredibly active art scene. One of the most prominent art events in Louisville is the First Friday Hop, where many Downtown art galleries, shops, boutiques, restaurants and entertainment spots stay open for extended hours on the first Friday of each month.

Between the unique culture and individual identities of each city, both Lexington and Louisville have rightfully earned their spots on the U.S. News Top 150 “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list this year. Whether it’s spending the day at the racetrack, grabbing dinner and drinks from a local restaurant, or appreciating — and maybe encouraging — the healthy rivalry between the Cats and the Cards, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Kentucky’s two largest cities.

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