My friends and I are looking into planning a trip to the 2012 Derby. Does anyone have any advice on the best places to buy tickets? A reasonably priced place to stay? Things we MUST do while we're there?
Any and all help is appreciated!
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
-- William Shakespeare
My only recommendation is to not buy cheap tickets! The higher up you are the better. We went to the Oaks last year and had seats by the track and it was awful. Just bleacher seats with no back, so very uncomfortable and we were surrounded by very trashy loud drunk people. They all stood on the bleacher seats during the races so it was impossible to see anything unless we also stood on the stands, really irritating.
There are multiple places to park and get bused over which is what we did and it was very easy, so look into that for sure. Other then that I don't know much about Louisville so I am afraid I can't be very helpful!
Do NOT buy infield tickets (well, unless you don't want to see any actual horses and would prefer to be surrounded by drunken idiots ). I would say that box tickets are the way to go, but I have no idea how hard those are to get.
As far as places to stay, I'm sure things get booked way far in advance, but nice places are downtown and on the East End of town (St. Matthews, Prospect, anywhere along I-64 heading towards Frankfort/Lexington) and the Indiana side is nice too. I would avoid the West End and some of the South. If you have a place in mind, PM me and I will be glad to tell you if it's in a nice area or not.
Fourth Street downtown has lots of nightlife and good restaurants, as does the East End. There are also some good malls and tack shops in St. Matthews.
If you're in Louisville and want to do Louisville things, go to the Brown Hotel and get a Hot Brown or Lynn's Paradise Cafe for breakfast. There are plenty of good museums downtown, including the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Muhammad Ali Center, and Frazier Arms Museum, as well as the bars on 4th Street. Go to the Chow Wagon on the riverfront. The Bourbon Trail is fun and allows you to see some of the pretty countryside. You can always do farm tours in Lexington or go to the Horse Park.
If you can come early then you can do all of the fun Derby Festival things like the Great Steamboat Race and the Derby Festival parade. The fun thing is the excitement in the air in Louisville during the Derby Festival, which starts 2-3 weeks before the Derby. I grew up in Louisville and even though I'm just in Lexington at UK for school, I get homesick every April because I miss the sense of community that immediately comes around after Thunder over Louisville, the big fireworks show that starts off the Festival.
My BF and I did the 2011 Derby+Oaks through Premiere Sports Travel (sportstravel.com). Advantages to this tour:
* hotel room in Lexington, breakfasts and a few lunches
* Breakfast at Keenland racetrack
* Farm tours - including the 1 day a year tour at Three Chimneys
* Old Friends tour
* Kentucky Horse Park visit
* Bourbon Brewery tour
* Transportation to and from Louisville Friday and Saturday
Spend the extra bucks to buy elevatedand covered seats. We had the same seats as D2O for both Oaks and Derby with the same experience. We actually watched both races on the monitors under the stands.
I was reluctant to go on the tour, thinking we would do more by ourselves. But was very happy as this group has worked on maintaining relationships with the farms and such so it made for a unique trip. Especially when we were able the only tour given permission to visit one particular farm.
PM me if you have any questions.
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim