Churchill Downs picture
Louisville Images/Flickr

Key Info

700 Central Avenue

Details

Sports, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 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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Kentucky Derby Museum
Muhammad Ali Center
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 9
#2 Kentucky Derby Museum

To learn more about the "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports," a visit to this museum is a must. Spanning two floors, the museum uses interactive, kid-friendly exhibits to educate visitors on the horses, jockeys, well-dressed spectators and traditions of the Kentucky Derby, showcasing history that dates back to the race's inaugural running in 1875.

Recent visitors loved the memorabilia and family-friendly exhibits at the museum and also offered praise for the 30-minute historic walking tour included with admission. Reviewers were also pleased with the museum's ability to appeal to non-racing fans.

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