Feel all the booms and see all the zooms here's where to watch Thunder Over Louisville
Did you know that you don’t have to travel to a big city like New York or Los Angeles to enjoy the largest annual fireworks show in the nation? You only need to make a weekend trip to Louisville to experience Thunder Over Louisville—the kickoff for the two weeks of over 70 events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Even though fireworks have been a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival celebrations since the 1960s, it wasn’t until a daytime celebration in 1990 that an idea sparked the creation of an evening event. Nineteen ninety-one ushered in the first evening “Thunder” show along the shores of the Ohio River. Over the last 30 years, over 600,000+ people have lined the shores and rooftops to enjoy the all-day event with an airshow, food vendors at the Chow Wagon, family fun zone, and more with the day concluding with a 30-minute pyrotechnic spectacle after sunset.
We’ve curated a list of a few places where you can enjoy the festivities for the day from paid events with food and cocktails to free spots along the river.
Thunder Over Louisville VIP Rooftop Party | Waterside Parking Garage | 201 N. Brook Street
This exclusive VIP rooftop party is THE viewing party for Thunder Over Louisville. With one-of-a-kind views, your ticket includes frosty beverages, VIP Tent access, a parking pass (one for every four tickets), private restrooms (always a bonus during an all-day festival) and helps to fund this annual firework show.
Thunder Blast | Kentucky Science Center | 727 W. Main Street
With indoor exhibits to explore when the temperature outside gets too hot, exciting hands-on activities in the covered outdoor space, food trucks and so much more, everyone in your group will enjoy spending the day at the Kentucky Science Center’s largest annual family-friendly event Thunder Blast. There is even a VIP experience ticket option available that includes access to a seating area plus food and drink vouchers.
Thunder at the Center | Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts | 501 W. Main Street
Enjoy all the festivities of the day from the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts with three levels to watch the show or out on the Belvedere Lawn. Throughout the day there will be family-friendly activities, food, cocktails, and live entertainment by Redline Performing Arts and Juggernaut Jug Band.
Fireworks and Flyovers Louisville | Joe's Crab Shack | 131 River Road
Reserve your seats now for up-close to all the action at Joe’s Crab Shack where you’ll be close to all the action and excitement of the planes buzzing by and the dazzling nighttime show. Enjoy a prix fixe menu that includes delectable seafood options from crabs to shrimp samplers with desserts to share with your family and friends throughout the day.
Thunder Over Louisville Dockside | Belle of Louisville | 401 W. River Road
Feel the thundering booms of the multi-colored fireworks from your front-row seats aboard the historic Belle of Louisville for a dockside celebration. With exclusive admission to the steamboat throughout the day, you can recharge with beverages and a catered meal.
Thunder Over Louisville | Lynn Family Stadium | 350 Adams Street
The home of the Louisville City FC and the Racing FC soccer clubs is a great base camp for Thunder and provides spectacular views of the skyline ideal for the air show and the fireworks. As a special bonus, soccer fans can watch Louisville City FC’s away game against the Charleston Battery on the video screens at 7:30 pm. Then stick around after the fireworks to cheer on Racing Louisville FC’s game against Portland Thorns FC at 10:30 pm on the big screen.
Fun-Der | KFC Yum! Center | 1 Arena Plaza
You’ll “ohh and aww” as fireworks light up the night sky filling floor-to-ceiling windows. Throughout the day the top floor of the KFC Yum! Center will be bustling with family-friendly activities ranging from a magician and face painter to a DJ and balloon artist.
Thunder at Slugger | Louisville Bats & Louisville Slugger Field | 401 E. Main Street
Baseball + an Air Show + Fireworks sounds like a fun-filled day of excitement at Louisville Slugger Field. Cheer on the Louisville Bats as they take on the Iowa Cubs while the planes fly around overhead for the air show. After the game ends (with a win! 😉), enjoy a free live concert taking place from centerfield before the night sky lights up. Gates open at 12 pm. Game begins at 2:05 pm.
Bottle Under Thunder | 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen | 350 West Chestnut Street
Reserve one of the rooftop patio tables to enjoy Thunder Over Louisville as it illuminates the city’s skyline.
Thunder Rolls! Rooftop Thunder Viewing Party | Copper & Kings | 1121 E. Washington Street
The second annual Thunder Rolls returns to Copper & Kings. This rooftop viewing party kicks off with a spectacular sunset view of downtown Louisville’s skyline before the colorful fireworks display fills the night sky. Sip on craft cocktails and pass appetizers throughout the evening.
If you can't make it to one of the viewing parties, here's a list of parks where you can set up camp for the day.
*Free admission with a 2023 Pegasus Pin
Before heading downtown for the legendary fireworks show and all-day festival, be sure to check out these websites for helpful Thunder tips:
If you’re on the Southern Indiana side of the river, a handful of locations along or near the riverfront have fun Thunder parties planned such as Kingfish Restaurant/On the Rocks Bar, Upland Brewing Company-Jeffersonville, Clucker's-Jeffersonville, Union Restaurant & Gameyard, and Harry’s Taphouse & Kitchen.
You can also snag a prime spot at one of these places along the river -- Jeffersonville Riverfront, Van Dyke Park, Ashland Park, Riverstage Park, Fisherman's Wharf, or along the Ohio River Greenway.