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Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby Week Itinerary

More than just two minutes of horse racing. Find out about things to do in Louisville during Derby Week.

Kentucky Derby week may be the most exciting time to take a good look at Louisville. The world is watching and you can too! The Derby always held on the first Saturday in May. We will celebrate the 143rd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2017.

While, the May 6th race is the main event, the entire town turns into one giant festive party for about two weeks leading up to the race. Here's a look at the top events and things to do around the Derby!

Wednesday and Thursday

  • Experience Louisville as it comes alive during Derby Week. Start one of your mornings by exploring the 135 years of Derby history in the Kentucky Derby Museum, located right at Churchill Downs. Spend the afternoon at the Downs and practice your betting for the Oaks and Derby.
     
  • Get your Pegasus Pin and get in on the fun at one of the Kentucky Derby Festival events leading up to the Run for the Roses! At the Fest-a-Ville on the waterfront, indulge yourself with tasty carnival treats, other food and adult beverages as you take in some great live music. Cheer for Louisville’s own Belle at the whimsical Great Steamboat Race on Wednesday and view the spectacular Pegasus Parade on Thursday.
     
  • Just north of Churchill Downs, Old Louisville is a historic district where you can see gorgeous examples of Victorian-era homes. Take a historic home tour or simply wander through the area to take a step back in time. 

Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby

  • Friday’s running of the Oaks is steeped in history, tradition and is as old as the Kentucky Derby. Known as “Louisville’s Day at the Races” you’ll revel in the pomp and circumstance of the Oaks, but with a slightly smaller crowd that still dresses to the nines. The winning filly is draped with a blanket of lilies. So make sure to enjoy the official pink drink of the day – The Lilly.
     
  • On Derby Day, arrive at the track early to enjoy the sights, sounds and spectacular hats! Then, place your bets, sip your Mint Juleps, and watch the most exciting two minutes in sports! Click here for Oaks and Derby Day essential information.

Your Guide to The Kentucky Derby

For more information on things to do and how to plan your trip around the Kentucky Derby, check out our helpful guide to this once-in-a-lifetime event.