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Bet on a good time: Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville

Kentucky Derby Church Hill Downs

The Kentucky Derby consistently makes the list of some of the best bucket-list sporting events in the world, and for good reason. The “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” boasts some serious excitement, plenty of fanfare, and all the fashion statements that go with it. It’s also an investment and one not everyone is willing to make.

The good news? You don’t have to have a ticket to Churchill Downs to have a memorable Derby weekend in Louisville and our seasonal nonstop service from Minneapolis/St. Paul starts May 2 – just in time for the race. Here are just a few of the traditions you can still take part in, fancy hats optional:

Visit the Kentucky Derby Museum

The Kentucky Derby Museum tells the story of the Derby from its inception in 1875. Visitors can enjoy the opportunity to call a race, play trivia, or learn more about what it takes to become a jockey. Tours of Churchill Downs are included in admission, making it a great way to see the historic track.

Important note: The Derby Museum is located at Churchill Downs and is closed on Friday and Saturday of Derby weekend. Plan your visit for Thursday or take advantage of their early opening hours and Day After Derby Sale on Sunday.

Take a bite out of some Kentucky classics

When in Kentucky, eat as the locals do. Try a Hot Brown – a popular local dish with an open-faced turkey sandwich, complete with bacon, Mornay sauce, and crispy bread. The Brown Hotel is the official birthplace of the delicacy and still one of the best places to try it. For those with a sweet tooth, the chocolate and walnut filling of a Derby Pie is a must and is available at plenty of bakeries and restaurants throughout the city.

Cheers with classic Kentuckian cocktails

For those over the age of 21, Mint Juleps and bourbon tastings are Kentucky Derby staples. If you’re not a fan of the harsher flavors that come with either of those options, try the Lily – the official cocktail of the Kentucky Oaks (the race the day before the Derby). This one serves up a much fruitier flavor pallet of vodka, cranberry juice, and fresh blackberries.

Attend a Kentucky Derby party

There are plenty of celebrations  in and around Louisville on Derby weekend. Check out  the official and annual Derby Experience events, or find something a little more low-key around town. We suggest keeping an eye on the calendar on Louisville’s tourism website for the most up-to-date info.


Ready to bet on a good time in Louisville? We’ve got you.


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