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14+ Great Things to Do in Lexington NC | BBQ, Wine & More

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Lexington is a small town in central North Carolina, about twenty miles south of Winston-Salem. Lexington was settled as early as 1775 and has had many claims to fame throughout its long history. 

Many came to Lexington throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as the furniture and textile industry made its hold on the town. Lexington preserves its history fondly, but a few new things bring visitors here today.

Today, in the 21st century, barbecue, wineries, and a NASCAR presence are a few noteworthy contributions from Lexington. Local events include those dedicated to barbecue, history, and the arts. 

Things to Do in Lexington NC

Although small, Lexington, NC, has fun activities, museums, shops, and plenty of outdoor excitement. If you are planning a weekend trip or are interested in visiting Lexington, this guide will greatly help! 

1. Davidson County Historical Museum

Address: 2 S Main Street, Lexington, NC 27292 

The Davidson County Historical Museum is the best place to learn about Lexington and its history. The building is in the heart of Lexington’s historic district downtown, inside the Old Davidson County Courthouse.

This courthouse is one of the few historic properties in the county that are open to the public. The museum is free to visit and has many rotating exhibits and a permanent collection of artifacts. 

Outside of the Davidson County Historical Museum

2. Finch Park

Address: 15 Paul Buck Road, Lexington, NC, 27292

Lexington has many parks, and Finch Park is a local favorite. There are two beautiful playgrounds, 1.25 miles of walking trails by the lake, three picnic shelters, softball fields, basketball courts, a theatre that hosts live music, and fishing access.

Finch Park is the location for two major town events, The Multi-Cultural Festival and the Fantastic Fourth of July Festival

Finch Park sign

3. Grimes Park

Address: 25 Hege Drive, Lexington, NC, 27292

Grimes Park is slightly smaller than Finch Park but has fun activities and a relaxing half-mile park stroll. There is a large open lawn area, great for picnics, a tennis court, a small playground, and a gazebo. This park is often less crowded than others, so if you want to enjoy a peaceful afternoon, consider Grimes Park. 

Grimes Park sign

4. The Bob Timberlake Gallery

Address: 1714 E Center St Ext, Lexington, NC 27292

Bob Timberlake was once an internationally acclaimed realist painter who made his home in Lexington, NC. Not only was his work featured in magazines and newspapers, but he even drew four stamps for the United States Postal Service

The gallery, located in Timberlake’s old home, invites guests to see the world of Bob Timberlake. Exhibits include lots of his original work, reproductions, and personal memorabilia. 

Things to do in Lexington NC include visiting the Bob Timberlake Gallery, pictured outside

5. Boone’s Cave Park

Address: 3552 Boones Cave Rd, Lexington, NC 27295

Boone’s Cave Park is a 110-acre park named after the American Pioneer Daniel Boone. Forty-six acres of the park are designated as a Natural Heritage Site and hold several wildflowers only found in the Appalachian Mountains. 

There is a lot of wildlife to be seen at this park, and it is a great place to spend the day or even the weekend. There are many hiking/walking trails, a disc golf course, fishing access, kayak/canoe launches, picnic shelters, a playground, and four primitive camping sites. 

6. Richard Childress Racing Museum & Gift Shop

Address: 425 Industrial Dr building #468, Welcome, NC 27295

Richard Childress is a former NASCAR driver who went on to start his own race team, Richard Childress Racing. The late great Dale Earnhardt started driving for RCR in the 1980s, and together, they had one of the most successful NASCAR teams in the history of the sport. His legacy in the NASCAR world has become a big part of Lexington.

Outside Richard Childress Racing

His museum is a collection of winning stock racing cars on a 52-acre vehicle manufacturing campus. The gift store has all kinds of apparel, hats, trinkets, and souvenirs. 

Outside Richard Childress Racing

7. Denton Farm Park

Address: 1072 Cranford Rd, Denton, NC 27239

Denton Farm Park is a privately owned, family-run park outside Lexington. There are 15 restored historic buildings, a full-sized train on a one-and-a-half-mile track, and a large campground with 500 campsites.

This place is popular for live music, small festivals, antique shows, and more. Check their website for a full calendar with all their events. 

8. Elevated Wake Park

Address: 220 Bryant Rd, Lexington, NC 27292

Elevated Wake Park is the first full-size cable park in the Piedmont Triad Area. For those who love wakeboarding or have never gone before and want to try, this is an excellent place for people at all levels. 

There is also a fun floating playground at the aqua park. You can sign up for lessons, take out rentals, have a birthday party, hang out at the bar & grill, and lots more! The whole family will have a blast. 

9. High Rock Lake

Address: Davidson/ Rowan Counties 

High Rock Lake is the northernmost lake of the Uwharrie Lakes and the second largest manmade lake in North Carolina. High Rock Lake is a full-service lake, meaning you can enjoy swimming, boating, paddling, water sports, and fishing.

The lake has everything from lakefront camping to cabins and a marina with boat rentals. 

High Rock Lake

10. The Candy Factory

Address: 15 N Main St, Lexington, NC 27292

The Candy Factory has been voted the #1 candy store in North Carolina and for a good reason! The selection is unlike any other, including all the classic nostalgic favorites and all the brand names you see today.

They also have novelty items, collectibles, and antiques for sale throughout the shop. Bring the family and enter into a world of nostalgia and mouthwatering memories. 

The Candy Factory outside

11. Conrad & Hinkle Food Market

Address: 6 N Main St, Lexington, NC 27292

Conrad & Hinkle has been the staple grocery store and meat market in town since 1919, and even with renovations, the original tin ceiling and concrete floors are still there today. Located right in downtown Lexington, it is your one-stop grocery shop. Visiting the store feels like a blast from the past, and you can’t visit without getting the famous pimento cheese. 

Conrad & Hinkle’s famous homemade pimento cheese is well-loved by the Lexington community. The recipe is still the same original family recipe and has brought in customers from all over the country. 

Conrad & Hinkle outside

12. The Smoke and Oak

Address: 127 W Center St, Lexington, NC 27292

The Smoke and Oak is a classic bourbon and cigar lounge, like the kind you rarely see anymore. It is a private lounge, costing just $5 for an annual membership. However, once a member, you can access a vast selection of premium cigars and bourbons. 

There are games, indoor/outdoor patios, TVs, and conversational pieces as a nod to Lexington’s history. The Smoke and Oak is a sophisticated lounge and a casual place to enjoy good drinks. 

Smoke & Oak Sign

13. Bull City Ciderworks

Address: 599 S Railroad St, Lexington, NC 27292

Bull City Ciderworks is an all-organic, 100% real fruit juice hard cider company with multiple locations across North Carolina. Located right off the main street of Lexington, this venue is quite large, with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. 

Outside at Bully City Cider

They have 16 ciders on tap, board games for the whole family, and yard games. Community events and live music frequently happen all year long. Dogs and kids are very welcome! You are also welcome to bring your food, but they provide a few light snacks and mocktails. 

mural at Bull City Cider

14. Goose and the Monkey Brew House

Address: 401 S Railroad St, Lexington, NC 27292 

Goose and the Monkey Brew House is a large and diverse brew house serving all kinds of unique handcrafted beer. They also have a great selection of locally crafted wines, champagnes, and a full coffee bar. This big warehouse-style brew house is the perfect place to bring the family, have a casual, relaxing evening, and try great drinks. 

On top of their extensive drink menu, they have created Pour Folk Provisions Co., a unique craft-dining experience inspired by their food truck. The menu is a fun selection of shareable plates, sandwiches, and signature flatbreads. 

Goose and the Monkey Sign

Lexington NC Wineries 

Lexington sits right at the southern section of Yadkin Valley, a valley highly renowned for being one of the best wine-growing regions on the East Coast. There are over 45 wineries in Yadkin Valley, and a handful are in and around Lexington. Let’s explore!

🍷 Southern Gateway Wine Trail

There are many wine trails/tours throughout Yadkin Valley, and this one is specific for the wineries based in Lexington. The Southern Gateway Wine Trail follows the 15 miles of serene wine country and the wineries within it. This trail also pairs beautifully with the Historic Barbecue Trail (see below).

🍷 Childress Vineyards
Address: 1000 Childress Vineyards Rd, Lexington, NC 27295

Childress Vineyards is owned and operated by Lexington’s finest, Richard Childress, of NASCAR fame. The winery and restaurant are gorgeous establishments with an art-deco style.

The outdoor lawn and patio area is something out of a fairytale, with green grasses, twinkling lights, and a fire pit. Tours are available, and you are highly encouraged to see the vineyard and how their fantastic wines are made. 

Flight at Childress Vineyards

🍷 Junius Lindsay Vineyard
Address: 385 Dr. Zimmerman Rd, Lexington, NC 27295

Junius Lindsay Vineyard is well-known in the area for being the only winery with an open-air tasting room so guests can enjoy their wine while fully soaking in the breathtaking views.

Their critically acclaimed wines are made with grapes native to the Rhone Valley of Southern France. The soil and growing conditions present here in the Yadkin Valley allow Junius Lindsay to successfully produce varietals from that area.

Junius Lindsay Sign

🍷 Weathervane Winery
Address: 1452 Welcome-Arcadia Rd, Lexington, NC 27295

If you are craving a fun and comfortable wine-tasting experience in Lexington, then you will be delighted with Weathervane Winery. Each staff member truly cares about the wine, and they are excited to share that passion. At Weathervane Winery, they hold lots of live events, and they also have a serene wedding/private party venue. 

Weathervane Winery sign

🍷 Native Vine Winery
Address: 1336- NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295

Native Vine Winery is a great place for casual wine tasting, but it is also a place of class and style. They have an extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff who happily guide you through your wine-tasting journey. This is also a great place for entertainment and events. They also have a beautiful space for weddings and private parties.

Outside Native Vines Wine

🍷 Curran Alexander Vineyards
Address: 1697 South, NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295

Since 2001, Curran Alexander Vineyards has been producing premium wine grapes on their gorgeous North Carolina property. The farm has been in the family for over 150 years, and the owners take pride in sharing their family history with the country. Guests are welcome to walk around the property at their leisure or book a tour for a more in-depth look at winemaking.  

Outdoor seating at Curran Alexander

Lexington, NC Barbeque 

Lexington, NC, considers itself the “barbecue capital of the world.” It all began in 1919 when Sid Weaver set up the first barbecue tent in town. Since then, the barbecue world has flourished. Lexington-style barbeque (also called Piedmont or Western style) focuses on pork shoulder with a red sauce or “dip” that typically has a vinegar base, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.

Today, more than 15 barbecue restaurants in Lexington alone all serve their own twist on exciting barbecue flavors. No one does barbecue quite like Lexington, and here are some of the best barbecue spots in town. 

🐷 Historic Barbecue Trail
Because there are so many special barbecue restaurants, the town has created the Historic Barbecue Trail, which takes those on a spectacular barbecue-tasting journey. The trail starts at the Skylight Inn and finishes at Herbs Pit Bar-B-Cue. There is no better way to get the whole Lexington barbecue experience! 

🐷 Lexington Barbecue
Address: 100 Smokehouse Ln, Lexington, NC 27295

Sign at Lexington BBQ

Lexington Barbecue has been a staple of the town since 1962. It is a family-run business that uses the same barbecue recipes today as they always have. Slow-cooked pork shoulder over oak and hickory coals is the classic Lexington Barbecue way. This towny diner has old-time family vibes and classic Southern food. 

Chopped BBQ Plate at Lexington BBQ
Rough Chopped BBQ Plate at Lexington BBQ

🐷 Barbecue Center
Address: 900 N Main St, Lexington, NC 27292 

Barbecue Center (or BAR-B-Q CENTER as their iconic sign is spelled) is the oldest barbecue establishment in downtown Lexington. This family-run diner has been featured in magazines and shows throughout the ages as a place you don’t want to miss. All the barbecue is made to order, so each customer gets exactly the kind of barbecue they desire. 

Bar-B-Q Center Sign

🐷 Speedy’s BBQ
Address: 408 Piedmont Dr, Lexington, NC 27295

Speedy’s is another Lexington classic, having been around since 1970. Always a family-owned and operated business, the Dunn family takes great pride in serving the community the best quality foods with amazing service. Whether you want to grab some quick curbside barbeque or you are looking to enjoy a hearty family dinner, Speedy’s will always provide. 

Speedy's BBQ Sign
Speedy’s BBQ old location

🐷 Smokey Joe’s Barbecue
Address: 1101 S Main St, Lexington, NC 27292 

For over 40 years, Smokey Joe’s has served North Carolina some of the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are well-known for having excellent ribs, affordable prices, and a friendly atmosphere. 

Smokey Joe's Barbecue outside

🐷 Speedy Lohr’s BBQ
Address: 3664 NC-8, Lexington, NC 27292

Speedy Lohr’s BBQ is a Lexington classic barbecue joint. If you are looking for somewhere to start in the barbecue world of Lexington, start with Speedy’s. Their food is simple. However, it’s cooked with perfection and gives visitors exactly what they want out of the perfect barbeque meal. 

Speedy Lohr's BBQ Sign

🐷 BackCountry Barbeque

Address: 4014 Linwood-Southmont Rd, Lexington, NC 27295

Ranked one of the best barbecue places in Lexington, BackCountry Barbeque may look like a simple cafeteria-style restaurant, but their flavors will blow you away.

All of their food is cooked over wood coals, mainly hickory (a classic Lexington flavor), which gives the barbecue that extra pop of flavor. Plus, barbecue isn’t the only thing they specialize in. They have a large menu with classic Southern-style dishes, seafood, and sides. 

🐷 Kerley’s Barbecue
Address: 5114 Old U.S Hwy 52, Lexington, NC 27295

Just outside downtown Lexington, Kerley’s Barbeque sits in an old brick building. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with great quality and great prices. You can’t beat their large servings and their daily specials. 

Kerley's Barbecue Sign

Annual Events in Lexington NC 

Lexington has a strong community, and with a strong community comes many annual events and festivals. 

Barbecue Festival
Address: Historic Uptown Lexington on Main Street, between 4th street and 5th avenue

Since the early 1980s, the Barbecue Festival has been the talk of the town and everyone’s favorite event of the year. It was named one of the “Top Ten Food Festivals in America” by Food & Leisure magazine. Over the years, it has been recorded that more than 200,000 people have shown up to celebrate barbecue, and more than 11,000 pounds of barbecue served. 

This festival celebrates Lexington’s history in the barbecue world so everyone can share their love for delicious barbecue together. The festival usually takes place at the end of October. This year, the 39th Barbecue Fest will take place on October 26, 2024.

There will be live music, a kid’s zone, dinosaur shows, k-9 trick shows, BMX stunt shows, many vendors, and, of course, some of the best Lexington-style barbecue you’ll ever try in your life. 

✅ The Multi-Cultural Festival
Address: Davidson County Fairgrounds, 400 Greensboro St Ext, Lexington, NC 

The Multi-Cultural Festival takes place at the beginning of May; dates have not been announced yet for 2024. This festival is a whole day for celebrating cultures from around the world with traditional food and clothing, live music, performances, exhibits, and more. 

The focus is on African-American, Asian, Latino, European, and Native American cultures. Stages around the fairgrounds will have different themes, playing live music and dancing. Kids can enjoy free activities, inflatables, and hands-on fun.

The purpose of this event is to teach everyone the importance of other cultures around the world in a fun and positive way! 

​​Where To Stay in Lexington NC

When choosing a place to stay during your visit to Lexington, you have a few attractive options! Lexington comprises large rural areas, suburban neighborhoods, the downtown district, and the lake (High Rock Lake). Staying downtown will provide you with easy access to the excitement, the restaurants, and the shops. 

If you want to be close but not too close, there are plenty of options outside town. Then, we have the breathtaking lakefront properties, great for large gatherings, family events, romantic getaways, or a relaxing retreat to the water. 

📍” Bear Cottage” in Lexington Historic Downtown District- Not only is this quaint little cottage perfect on a budget, but it is also only two blocks from uptown Lexington. This cottage has everything you’ll need to be comfortable, including a great outdoor patio and a fire pit. Being only a short walk from downtown is great for visitors looking to experience the shops, dine at the restaurants, and explore the heart of Lexington

📍Hampton Inn Lexington– You can’t go wrong staying at the Hampton Inn. Hampton Inn Lexington is clean, affordable, and easy. It is located outside Lexington, so you are close to all the excitement but not directly in it. Hampton Inn Lexington has accommodations like an outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and comfortable rooms. This is a perfect option for families. 

📍Luxury Lakefront Home– If you are planning a luxury family vacation, this gorgeous lakefront home is a perfect choice. This custom-built lakefront home sits directly on the lake, has a private pier, and has lots of room to run around. The house sleeps up to 10 guests and has four bathrooms, a great outdoor patio, and a fire pit. The home is clean, modern, and extremely comfortable. Paddle-board and kayaks are available for guests to rent. 

Lexington NC: FAQs

📌 What is Lexington, NC, famous for?
Lexington was once known for playing a significant role in the textile and furniture industry. Today, Lexington is known for being the “Barbecue Capital of the World”, having fantastic wineries, and being home to one of the most famous NASCAR teams. 

📌 What city is closest to Lexington, NC?
There are three large cities within sixty miles of Lexington. Winston-Salem is the closest at 25 miles away; Greensboro is second at 36 miles; Charlotte is third, fifty-nine miles away. 

Final Thoughts

Lexington may be unlike any other town you will ever visit. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere has its own kind of special feeling you can’t get anywhere else. Whether you’re stopping by to dine at the delicious barbecue joints, you came to take a lake vacation, or you are looking for a wine tour, Lexington has it all and more! 

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