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Here's Where to Watch Thunder Over Louisville in 2022

Feel all the booms & see all the zooms at these great Thunder viewing locations.

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? Book a trip to Louisville on April 23 to experience Thunder Over Louisville—the kickoff extravaganza for the two weeks of celebration leading up to the annual Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

Even though fireworks have been part of the Kentucky Derby Festival's repertoire since the 1960s, it was a daytime celebration in 1990 that sparked the idea to create an evening event. The first evening “Thunder” show took place the following year. Over the past 30 years, up to 600,000+ people annually line the banks of the Ohio River and rooftops of downtown Louisville to enjoy the all-day event which features a day-long airshow and concludes with a 30-minute pyrotechnic spectacle after sunset.

Curated below are a list of some of the places where you can enjoy the festivities for the day - from indoor viewing party locations to free spots to snag along the river.

Kentucky Derby Festival 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, 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 ThunderBlast. There is even a VIP experience ticket option available that includes access to a seating area plus food and drink vouchers.

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 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. Don’t forget your Pegasus Pin to gain access to the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Meijer Family Fun zone that is also located on the Belvedere.

Thunder at Lynn Family Stadium | 350 Adams Street
The home of the Louisville City FC and the Racing FC soccer clubs provides spectacular views of the skyline ideal for the air show and the fireworks, and this year Lynn Family Stadium is celebrating Thunder Over Louisville for the first time. Tickets include access to the parking (perfect for setting up base camp for the day) and admission into the stadium so you can enjoy all the food and drink vendors throughout the venue. As a special bonus, soccer fans can watch the Louisville City FC’s away game against the Charleston Battery on the video boards.

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 at this waterfront venue. 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.

Booms & Blooms – Waterfront Botanical Gardens | 1435 Frankfort Avenue
Waterfront Botanical Gardens invites its members to enjoy all the booms among the blooms for a one-of-a-kind Thunder Over Louisville experience. The elevated location of the gardens makes for a spectacular viewing location for the air show and the fireworks.

Thunder Over Louisville Rooftop Party – Copper & Kings | 1121 E. Washington Street
Beat the traffic and take in the show happening above the city skyline from the rooftop of Copper & Kings Distillery in Butchertown where guests will enjoy craft cocktails, passed appetizers and private barrel picks from Master Distiller Brandon O’Daniel.

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 2022 Pegasus Pin

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.

Before heading downtown for the legendary fireworks show and all-day festival, be sure to check out these websites for helpful Thunder tips:

Thunder Over Louisville Riverboat Dinner Cruise | Louisville Waterfront

The kick-off for the Kentucky Derby Festival is Thunder Over Louisville, an incredible fireworks and light extravaganza. Enjoy the show but miss the crowds aboard a chartered riverboat to view the celebration from a special vantage point on the Ohio River. A delightful evening begins with a cruise up and down the Ohio River for a couple of hours before anchoring in downtown Louisville to view the Fireworks Extravaganza from the top deck of the riverboat.

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