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Going to the Kentucky Derby is a bucket list item for many people because of this unique twist on sports and fun. Even if you’ve been to other major sporting events, such as a Super Bowl or World Series game, there’s nothing quite like a good horse race. There’s much more to this event than just watching horses run around a track though, because of all the pomp and circumstance, impressive outfits, nostalgic cocktails, and don’t forget about the hats! The atmosphere of the Kentucky Derby is festive and fueled by adrenaline, offering some of the best people-watching opportunities you’ll ever have. So, as you plan your trip to Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby weekend, here are some top-notch places to stay.
Another option for your trip to the Kentucky Derby is to stay at the Omni Louisville Hotel. This is a downtown Louisville hotel that also makes it easy to get to the popular distilleries and Main Street. It’s a historic hotel with modern comforts and 612 guest rooms and suites available. Amenities at this hotel include a 24-hour fitness center, luxury spa and salon, rooftop pool, Wi-Fi, and six onsite dining options. There are some special rate options available for romantic couples, longer stays, and advance bookings.
When you stay at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, you’ll be close to the Kentucky Derby and in the heart of downtown. The hotel is connected by a skywalk to the Kentucky International Convention Center too. Porch Kitchen & Bar offers comfort food, and there are plenty of opportunities to experience bourbon culture at the nearby distilleries. Churchill Downs is just a short drive away, and then you can come back to your room with plush bedding and a 55-inch, flat-screen TV. Other perks of staying here are the 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, and lobby bar where you can sample local bourbon.
A stay at the Hotel Distil will put you close to the Kentucky Derby and right at the famous Whiskey Row. The hotel has boutique guest rooms and an oak-fired steakhouse onsite called Repeal. Here you can find some of the rarest bourbons and also internally renowned wine. This is a travel destination for luxury connoisseurs and adventurous travelers who crave new experiences in an authentic setting. A unique upgrade to take advantage of here is the in-room bourbon cart that puts 10 premium spirits into your fingertips while you stay in one of the hotel’s Connoisseur Suites.
The Brown Hotel is also a top choice for attendees of the Kentucky Derby and a glamorous place for group gatherings. When it’s Derby time, Brown Hotel guests enjoy luxurious accommodations, a welcome gift, Sunday brunch, and of course mint juleps to celebrate the race traditions. Overall, this is a landmark hotel in Louisville that is the perfect mix of old-world elegance and modern comforts. The elegant J. Graham’s Café is onsite and offers delicious cuisine, including the “hot brown,” which is a legendary local dish. Package deals are offered that include breakfast for two, bourbon flights, valet parking, keepsake souvenirs, and romantic roses.
One very highly recommended hotel for the Kentucky Derby is the Galt House Hotel, which actually offers Kentucky Derby hotel packages. This hotel dates back to the early 1800s when it was a residence owned by Dr. W.C. Galt. It is the official host hotel of the Derby and offer local and authentic accommodations for your three-night stay. The package includes a call to the post party on Thursday, an in-room Derby amenity, overnight covered parking for a vehicle, fitness center access, and complimentary Wi-Fi. On site you’ll find six restaurants and lounges and also shops to pick out a new hat for the event. When you stay here, you’ll also be close to Whiskey Row, have lovely waterfront views, and be in a good location to explore Louisville highlights at nearby Museum Row.
We also love the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville for a fun place to stay during the Kentucky Derby. This hotel has offered a Derby After Dusk event that celebrates Louisville culture and a big party after the race. Located on West Main Street on Museum Row, this hotel is also a museum and home to the Proof on Main restaurant by Executive Chef Mike Wajda. The museum here is free and open to the public every day of the year. This hotel also has a fitness center and offers spa treatments with 24-hour advance notice.
The Grady Hotel dates back to 1883 and is located in the downtown Market District. This is near Churchill Downs for your Kentucky Derby trip and a place with warm hospitality around every corner. This hotel offers an intimate setting with 51 guest rooms. It’s also a pet-friendly option for dogs under 40 pounds when you pay extra fees. Guests receive artisanal continental breakfasts and can enjoy the dramatic lobby fireplace and concierge services. This is a great location to enjoy generous pours of bourbon and learn about Kentucky spirits.
For boutique comforts near the Kentucky Derby, stay at the Aloft Louisville Downtown for your getaway. This hotel is on Whiskey Row and puts you right by 4th Street Live and the convention center. The spacious rooms are modern and come with mini-fridges and ergonomic workstations. The onsite bar called Corner offers over 80 Kentucky bourbons and has both an indoor dining space and patio that overlooks Whiskey Row. At Aloft, you can also find nitro brew on tap, a 24/7 grab-and-go pantry, and event space.
When you want to be near the action of the Kentucky Derby, the Hyatt Regency Louisville is a good option too. This hotel exudes urban flair and southern hospitality in a way to make travelers comfortable and part of the local community. Located on West Jefferson Street in Louisville, the hotel has approximately 393 rooms and is next to 4th Street Live. It’s easy to walk to Louisville attractions here, such as the Louisville Slugger Museum and the distilleries. Guests can also use the indoor pool and fitness center on the property.
Moxy Louisville Downtown is a Churchill Downs-area hotel on historic Whiskey Row and close to all the hot downtown hot spots. The rooms here have free Wi-Fi and LED TVs, while the Bar Moxy is a great place to grab a drink. Zombie Taco is the food-truck-inspired taco spot onsite that serves up tasty all-day and late-night food. You can also enjoy happy hour on the outdoor patio at Moxy and have some fun with the vintage video games and also table and card games.
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville also offers a wonderful Kentucky Derby experience to enjoy the nostalgia of the Derby in style. This hotel’s Derby package starts at $4,600 plus tax and includes a room or suite for three evenings and brunch for two people each day in the Oakroom. When you stay here, you’ll be just a few minutes from Churchill Downs and also in the heart of Downtown Louisville. Guests who choose this package will also enjoy complimentary airport transportation and being right next door to the 4th Street Live Entertainment Complex. Onsite dining and drinking options include Gatsby’s on Fourth for all meals, the extensive bourbon collection at the Old Seelbach Bar, and in-room dining to relax and unwind.
For a bit of southern hospitality and a great location near Churchill Downs, add the Louisville Marriott East to your list of potential hotels. This hotel has bourbon-inspired rooms, flat-screen TVs, and room service available. There’s a 24-hour fitness center, 17 event rooms, an indoor pool, and an onsite restaurant that serves bourbon and Kentucky-style cuisine. The hotel also has a gift shop, convenience store, and dry cleaning service available. Complimentary onsite parking is available, while daily valet parking is $10.
For a comfortable stay and special perks to make you feel right at home, some travelers choose the Drury Inn & Suites Louisville North for their Kentucky Derby trips. This hotel is situated at I-165 and Bronsboro Road, which is about 13 miles from downtown. From the hotel, Churchill Downs is 16 miles away. Although it is a little further away from all the action, it is a great economical pick because of the free hot breakfast and free hot food plus cold drinks at the 5:30 Kickback event. Parking is free at the Drury Inn, and each room comes with free Wi-Fi, a fridge, microwave, hairdryer, and iron with an ironing board. There are meeting and event rooms that you can rent here, and also special rates for certain population groups and extended stays.
The Louisville Bourbon Inn is near the Kentucky Derby and place where you can experience comfort, elegance, and of course…bourbon! This is a bed and breakfast on the Bourbon Trail and a mansion that was built in the 1800s. There are eight rooms here that are all unique and charming in their own ways. The B&B can set you up with all-day bourbon experiences in addition to the time you’ll spend at the Derby. The breakfasts are prepared by a professionally trained chef, and there are some great shared spaces where you can play board games, watch TV, and sip bourbon. To take your stay here to the next level, you can also arrange for a romantic package, celebration package, historic tour, or ghost tour.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites Louisville Downtown is also close to the Kentucky Derby and a convenient place to stay when you’re in town. Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum are about six miles away. The hotel has easy access to both I-64 and I-65 and is just steps away from lots of downtown attractions, such as the KFC Yum! Center and 4th Street Live. Fairfield offers free Wi-Fi, flat-panel televisions, a 24-hour fitness center, and free breakfast. There’s also an indoor pool here, and parking ranges from $10 to $19 per day.
Louisville’s Inn at Woodhaven is also a wonderful place to stay for the Kentucky Derby, and there’s even a Derby-themed room on the first floor with a whimsical theme filled with horses, chickens, and bees in the décor. This room is even pet-friendly if you bring your pup along. The inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and has eight guest rooms in a bed and breakfast setting. Enjoy the look of antiques in the inn, complimentary coffee and after-dinner liquors with desserts on the porch, and the inn’s central location on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The breakfasts here are deliciously made with fresh and organic ingredients, and package deals are offered that include bourbon and chocolate, girls’ getaway perks, whirlpool baths, and picnics to go.
For a luxurious and historical stay near the Kentucky Derby, consider booking a room at the DuPont Mansion bed & breakfast. The Dupont Mansion is only a little over two miles from Churchill Downs. This B&B is also just steps away from Louisville’s central commerce and perfect for a weekend. Free off-street parking is available, as well as whirlpool tubs, free Wi-Fi, and delicious daily breakfasts. Special offers include the Kentucky Bourbon Tour, romantic getaway packages, and the Louisville Ghost Tour.
This hotel is a good choice when you want to attend the Kentucky Derby and be close to the airport. There is a complimentary shuttle service available to get you to and from the airport here. In addition to Churchill Downs, the hotel is also close to the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Louisville Mega Cavern. It’s easy to save money while staying here too, because the hotel offers free parking and Wi-Fi. The Crowne Plaza also has a fitness center, indoor/outdoor pool, and an American restaurant onsite.