Enjoy the glitz, glamour & fun at these 30+ Kentucky Derby Week parties and events.
There is plenty to celebrate at the track during the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby with cheering on your favorite horse and sipping Mint Juleps, but the celebrating doesn’t stop there. In the days leading up to the races, show off your Derby finest at any of these upcoming parties, brunches & concerts happening around town that will get you in the Derby spirit.
April 28 | Kentucky Derby Museum Ball
Begin the evening with cocktails and appetizers at Churchill Downs’ exclusive Homestretch Club before heading to the Kentucky Derby Museum for a seated dinner on the Oaks Terrace. Then dance the night away to live music at the Backstretch Dance Party in the Great Hall along with a showing of the immersive film, The Greatest Race.
April 29 | The Kentucky Bourby
Sip bourbon samples from local distilleries, nosh on delicious appetizers, enjoy live music, participate in race raffles, and much more at Progress Park. NEAT Bourbon Bar & Bottle Shop will provide a vintage bourbon experience, History by the Pour, along with a Cigar Bar hosted J. Shepherd Cigars.
April 30 | Derby Week Kick-Off Day Party
Kick-off Derby Week on the rooftop of the Ice House in downtown Louisville with a day party like no other, filled with live entertainment and cocktails throughout the evening.
May 2-5 | Derby Diversity Week
Derby Diversity Week takes place each year during the week of the Kentucky Derby. A weeklong Derby Take Over. Where business and community intersect. Business by Day and Festival by Night! DDW is open to everyone! Below are the evening events taking place throughout the week:
May 3 | Biscuits & Bourbon
Jump start your day at the track with a southern-inspired brunch at the Kentucky Derby Museum with live music by Southern Sirens and a menu with mimosa , bourbon, and decadent breakfast goodies like a biscuit bar AND a french toast bar await you. After brunch, head next door to historic Churchill Downs to enjoy a day at the races.
May 3 | Louisville Urban League Derby Gala
Returning to the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center in West Louisville, the LUL Derby Gala is an official event of the Kentucky Derby Festival. The 2023 Gala’s theme of Love Renaissance will include performances by Joe, Stockley and Dru Hill.
May 3 | Smokes & Spirits Derby Soiree
Bourbons Bistro welcomes Cohiba Cigars Blender/Ambassador Sean Williams, and Bourbon Expert and Founder of Bourbon Blog Tom Fischer, for an evening of sips and smokes. Throughout the evening enjoy light appetizers, two special Cohiba cigars plus three tastings of Buzzard's Roost Sippin Whiskeys.
May 4 | Derby Soundstage
Hip hop legends T.I., Jeezy, Trina and DJ Drama are kicking off Derby Weekend with the hottest show in Louisville. The sounds of classic hits will fill historic Freedom Hall all night long during this Thursday night event.
May 4 | Taste of Derby
Held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, enjoy a night sampling wine and dishes from celebrity and award-winning chefs. This annual sell-out event showcases more than 60 local restaurants, bourbon distilleries and beverage companies.
May 4 | Kentucky Derby Sunset Social
Spend the evening at historic Hermitage Farm for an exclusive culinary event to start your Kentucky Derby. Before enjoying a three-course Southern meal, take a sunset tour of the horse farm and stop by the build-your-own Mint Julep bar to create your version of the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.
May 4 & 5 | Tasting Event at Rabbit Hole
Situated in the heart of the NULU neighborhood, Rabbit Hole Distillery invites visitors to stop by for their open house tasting event leading up to the Kentucky Derby. This one-hour experience includes a punch card allowing guests to sample the different Rabbit Hole spirits and a complementary Glencairn glass to take home. Plus access to the retail space, food trucks, cocktail bar, and entertainment happening during the event.
May 4, 5 & 6 | Derby Week Concert Series
Located in downtown Louisville, Fourth Street Live comes alive during Derby Week with nightly concerts by Internationally-known artists, as well as local artists.
May 4-7 | Golden Guide to Derby Week
Louisville's recently opened, House of Marigold, is celebrating Derby all weekend long beginning with breakfast and ending with a brunch to help cure any late-night revelry after a day at the track.
May 5 | Makers House 10th Annual Oaks Brunch
Mint Juleps, mimosas, and meeting Woodford Reserves Master Distiller (plus other special guests) await you at one of the most coveted brunches of the last decade at the Omni Hotel before heading to Churchill Downs to cheer on the fillies racing for the lilies.
May 5 | Second Annual Clayton & Crume and Maker’s Mark Oaks Day Brunch
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Oaks Day experience in NuLu at the Shelby Street Chapel for the Clayton & Crum and Maker’s Mark Second Annual Oaks Day Brunch. Sip a welcome cocktail before sitting down for a four-course meal by Mayan Café accompanied by handcrafted cocktails from Maker’s Mark. Guests will receive commemorative Derby keepsakes that include several gifts including hand-dipped Maker’s Mark glassware and an exclusive Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle signed by Rob and Bill Samuels.
May 5 | Fillies & Lilies
As the official kickoff party of the Kentucky Derby, the Fillies & Lilies Party takes over the Kentucky Derby Museum with live musical performances, gourmet food, and a private bourbon lounge making it the place to be start your Derby weekend.
May 5 | Unbridled Eve Gala
With all the Southern charm, grace, glamour, and hospitality on aplenty, the 8th Annual Unbridled Eve Gala takes place at the Galt House Hotel and is one of the most anticipated events of the Kentucky Derby weekend for locals, celebrities, and horse racing fanatics.
May 5 | A Stitzel-Weller Affair
Join Blade and Bow along with Garden & Gun at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery for the highly anticipated annual Stitzel-Weller Affair. Kicking off the evening before the Kentucky Derby, this special evening features signature bourbon cocktails, live music, and a toast with Blade & Bow 22-year. On-site shopping experiences this year include Brit & Blue Jackets and featured Derby 149 Milliner—Forme Millinery.
May 5 | American Lung Association Derby Eve Gala at the Seelbach Hotel
You will feel like you stepped back in time once you set foot inside the historic Seelbach Hotel for this Derby Eva Gala in the Medallion Ballroom. Help raise money for research the American Lung Association while enjoying a gourmet dinner, signature cocktails, and dancing the night away to live music.
May 5 | Fillies & Stallions
The Fillies & Stallions Ball is one of Louisville’s signature celebrity social events the night before the Kentucky Derby. You may share a cocktail with a movie star, enjoy an appetizer with a pro football player, or dance to live music next to a well-known musician—some surprises are in store.
May 5 | Rockin’ Derby Eve at Paristown
Rock the evening away at one of the newest Derby Eve parties like no other under the lights at Paristown with a performance by country music recording artist Dustin Lynch. Christy’s Garden at Paristown will be transformed into a turf club and garden party with cocktails and food for VIP ticket holders.
May 5 | Barnstable Brown Gala
Started by two Louisville twin sisters, who were the Doublemint Twins in commercials during the 1970s, the Barnstable Brown Gala on Derby Eve is the “premier” black-tie/star-studded bash that has been welcoming celebrities and VIP’s for over 30 years. With music from well-known artists, guests have a chance to rub shoulders with celebrities throughout the evening. (Tip: Can’t get a ticket to the event but want to see some celebrities? Join the locals who line the streets near the house in the Highlands to welcome the celebrities and VIP’s as they arrive.)
May 5 | Silks Bash Derby Eve
Walk the purple carpet and be treated to an open bar while savoring distinct cuisine options at historic Locust Grove. Take a break from the excitement and relax in the cigar lounge, or capture the moment in the 360 video booth. Dance the night away to the electrifying sounds of 'Your Generation in Concert' – a nationally renowned 12-piece live band.
May 5 | The Rabbit Room
Head to the modern and immersive Rabbit Hole Distillery in NuLu to enjoy this Kentucky Oaks afterparty. The Rabbit Room will present an intimate gathering with a multi-course chef-driven menu, and black-tie bartenders will fashion the finest Kentucky Derby cocktails with signature Rabbit Hole Bourbons and spirits as beau monde guests are greeted by vibrant live entertainment.
May 5 | Drag Circus at 21c
Held at the flagship 21c hotel in downtown Louisville, join founder Steve Wilson along with special guests Antoni Porowski and Bella Duballe for an epic event raising funds for the ACLU of Kentucky.
May 5 | Sherby
Started in 2009 as a porch party for a group of friends on Sherwood Avenue the night before the Kentucky Derby, Sherby has not only grown in attendance and added to the number of disco balls on display but has continued to give back to local non-profits each year. Derby Like a Local at this annual Derby-eve block party in the Highlands with cocktails by Old Forester, live music from local and regional musicians, and food provided by several local food trucks.
May 5 | Party Horses Derby Eve Party
Crypto-currency fans are able to purchase tickets to an exclusive Derby Eve party hosted by locally owned Party Horse with live music all night long.
May 5 & 6 | Club and Coterie
New for 2023 and held at the Omni Hotel, this event offers a private space with vibrant interiors, a professional mixologist, official track cocktails, live entertainment, and suspended screen broadcasting of Oaks and Derby race action. Purchase your tickets now to enjoy this private house lounge during Derby weekend if you need a spot to watch the races or a place to meet up with friends before heading to the track.
May 5 & 6 | Round 149 Pop-Up Restaurant at the Muhammad Ali Center
For two nights during Derby Week, the top floor of the Muhammad Ali Center turns into a pop-up restaurant with a five-course menu developed by Louisville’s own celebrity Chef Darnell Ferguson. Along with Chef Ferguson’s menu, local entrepreneur Joey Wagner and his team will incorporate décor and experiences throughout the space as a tribute to Louisville’s native son, Muhammad Ali, and the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby. For tickets, email the JWagner Group here.
May 6 | HB&B IV: Exclusive Derby Day Party
Finish your Derby experience at the Mellwood Art Center with an elegant evening hosted by the Louisville Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.., Find entertainment, cocktails, culinary goodies, and special activities throughout the night.
May 6 | Winner’s Party
After they have won the garland of roses at the Kentucky Derby, see the new Derby champion crowned at the Winner’s Party with appearances by the winning jockey, owner and trainer.
May 6 | 44th Annual Derby Breakfast
Begin your Derby Day on the right hoof at the 44th Annual Derby Breakfast presented by Blade & Bow and the Kentucky Historic Home Foundation at historic Farmington. Indulge in a Kentucky-proud brunch featuring locally sourced food, bourbon cocktails, and live music by Electria Strings. (Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln spent three weeks at Farmington as a guest of Joshua Speed, who was later appointed Attorney General by Lincoln).
May 6 | Derby Breakfast: A Southern Affair
Dressed in your Derby finest, enjoy breakfast at the beautiful and historic Oxmoor Farm Estate & Gardens before heading to the historic racetrack. Sip on Woodford Reserve Bourbon cocktails or Jackson Family fine wines while listening to live music as you stroll through the rose garden before enjoying a 4-course breakfast in the historic Oxmoor Farm library.
May 6 | Dapper After Derby
After spending the day at the races, celebrate in style at the Black Jockeys Lounge on South 4th Street. This year's party will feature National Recording artist Bashiri Asad, with an opening act by the incredibly talented Ariana Roshae.
May 6 | Super Drew Derby (Crestwood, KY)
The 3rd Annual Super Drew Derby is taking place on May 6 at 3rd Turn Oldham Gardens with family-friendly events, live music, food, and a silent auction filled with one-of-a-kind items and rare bourbons.
Planning to host your own Kentucky Derby soiree? Click here for party planning suggestions, from recipes and cocktails to fashion and picking your favorite horse.
To find more Derby & Derby Festival events taking place around town (including Thunder Over Louisville viewing parties), check out our event calendar.