History

The heart of any thriving community is its downtown—and Lexington Center and the historic Rupp Arena are truly the heart of downtown Lexington and one of the most widely-recognized entertainment venues in North America. Lexington Center and Rupp Arena serve as the backdrop to Lexington’s most vibrant urban gathering space.

Located minutes from Bluegrass Airport, the University of Kentucky campus, and Lexington’s iconic Thoroughbred horse farms, Lexington Center and Rupp Arena opened in 1976 and are home to the National Champion University of Kentucky men’s basketball program. The 23,500-seat arena, affectionately referred to by some as “the Cathedral of College Basketball” is named for the legendary Adolph Rupp, head coach from 1930 to 1972 and one of the all-time winningest coaches in men’s college basketball. Few experiences in all of sports can match that of experiencing a U.K. men’s home basketball game at Rupp Arena.

During its storied history, Rupp Arena has also hosted professional ice hockey and indoor football. The annual popular Kentucky high school basketball championship has also called Rupp Arena home for 29 of the past 36 years. Lexington Center also includes state of the art convention facilities, the recently renovated 365-room Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Shops at Lexington Center, a charming and bustling three level boutique shopping mall. Over the years, Lexington Center and Rupp Arena have welcomed tens of millions of visitors through its doors.

Anchoring the West end of Lexington’s revitalized and lively downtown, the true soul of the Lexington Center and Rupp Arena experience is found inside. Lexington Center’s never-ending mission is to provide its own uniquely inviting patron experience. The friendly staff, professional management team, excellent sight lines from all seat locations, plenty of on-site parking, and convenient access come together to provide our guests with the ultimate fan experience. Lexington Center continuously measures itself against the world’s best. That’s the difference between a satisfactory experience and a sensational experience.

Each year, hundreds of thousands visitors from around the world and local and state residents flock to Lexington Center and Rupp Arena to gather together with friends and family to shop, to socialize, to attend high profile concerts, shows and community and sporting events, and to enjoy an entertainment experience that is unmatched.

Whether for a concert or a seated dinner on the main floor, Rupp Arena’s unique versatility has been frequently utilized by numerous event planners and promoters since its opening. Rupp Arena has been host to some of the greatest award-winning musicians and chart-topping artists in the world including U2, Elton John, Tina Turner, KISS, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, and many others.

Lexington Center didn’t invent the extraordinary patron experience, they simply perfected it. Here you will experience “Welcome” in its sincerest and highest form.

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