Spring is just around the corner, and with the warm weather comes another exciting event that hundreds of thousands look forward to this time of year—the Kentucky Derby.
Tickets for the Derby are on sale now, and with only around two months left until the week of the race, it’s time to start planning your trip.
Check out our recommendations for getting the most out of your visit to Louisville this year.
Secure Your Stay
Start by planning your accommodations. Lodging can get expensive and it’s usually in short supply around the time of the derby, even more so if you wait until the last minute. Make sure to include a plan for your transportation back and forth from the track, too.
Next, get your Kentucky Derby tickets for the race and festivities. If you’re unfamiliar with the celebrations, you should know that the Derby isn’t just about the race. In fact there are dozens other exciting happenings going on in and around Churchill Downs throughout the week. Visitors can enjoy a vary of culinary creations at the Taste of Derby celebration, participate in charitable auctions at The Derby Eve Gala, and dance the night away at the Barnstable Brown Gala (an event frequented by celebrities), among many others. Book your tickets early for the best deals.
Do Your Research Before Placing Bets
If you want to take part in the wagers on or before the day of the race, don’t throw away your money by betting on the ponies blindly. You’ll want to get a little practice in beforehand, and you can do so soon with the upcoming Cheltenham Festival being held in the U.K. While it may be difficult to attend the event in person—depending on where you live, of course—you can keep up with everything by following the festival coverage here. The analysts at Betfair can teach you what to look for at one of the world’s biggest horses race around by showing newcomers such as yourself how to focus on the details. Learn about the different horses, their jockeys, and their heath and skills; stay updated on track conditions; and even monitor expected weather for up-to-date changes in race day scenarios. With a little practice, you’ll know how to best place your bets on the day of the Derby.
Or you can just bet on the one with the funniest name. At least, that’s what I usually do.
Plan Your Fashion
This time of year all the stores are coming out with their most impressive lines for spring, and the season’s colors and patterns are always the popular choice for derby attire. Southern Living writer Jennifer Beeler wrote a piece to help every Derby-goer look their best on race day. While the dress, shoes, and jewelry are all important, a Derby day hat is crucial.
Official millinery designer for the Kentucky Derby Museum and fashion expert Sheila Nobles told Beeler that if you don’t wear a hat on Derby day, “you’ll feel like the woman who wears jeans to a little black dress party.”
It can be simple or ornate, just make sure you’ve got one on your head. No baseball caps, though, ladies.
Join the revelers at the end of April and enjoy all the Derby has to offer. Taking in all the sights, sounds, tastes, and yes, even smells, for a trip you won’t soon forget.