Churchill Downs picture
Louisville Images/Flickr

Key Info

700 Central Avenue

Details

Sports, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Just its name inspires romantic images of spectators dressed in their Sunday best sipping on mint juleps as thoroughbreds race past them. Recent travelers agreed  Churchill Downs, the racing facility that hosts the annual Kentucky Derby, is just as idyllic as you might have imagined. In fact, visitors said that if there's only time for one stop in Louisville, this Central Avenue racing complex is the place to go.

General admission costs $3 per person (except on Kentucky Oaks and Derby Days), and reserved seating costs $10 per person. Keep in mind: Ticket prices climb higher the more prestigious your perch (in spots like the Matt Winn Dining Room, Millionaires Row, Jockey Club Suites and the Stakes Room). Racing occurs in the spring, from the first Saturday in May to early July, and in the fall from late September to late November. Look here for the schedule. If you're interested in attending the famed Kentucky Derby, prepare to fork over some serious coin. Tickets are sold in two-day packages, with prices that range from $300 to $3,400 per ticket.

If you're not into the pomp and circumstance, visit Churchill Downs in the summer so you can tour the stables. There's no dress code for general admission, but the Downs' official website includes detailed instructions on race day attire and varying ticket prices. Also, be sure to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum (housed inside the Downs) to learn more about the history of the race and its famous traditions.

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Type
Time to Spend
#2 Muhammad Ali Center

Even if you're not a boxing fan, recent visitors said you should make time to see this impressive facility dedicated to legendary athlete and activist Muhammad Ali, who called Louisville his hometown. Along with memorabilia displays, historical footage and art and photo galleries, the center's permanent and temporary exhibits also touch on broader issues that were important to Ali, including race, gender equity and global citizenship.

Travelers described this as a must-see attraction in Louisville and said they walked away with a better understanding of Ali and his life beyond boxing. Visitors also praised the museum's knowledgeable staff and its easy-to-navigate layout, spread out across three floors.

Read more
Courtesy the Muhammad Ali Center
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