Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs showing horseriding and land animals as well as a small group of people
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Find more than mint juleps to enjoy at this iconic racetrack, best known as the annual host of the Kentucky Derby.

Every May, Churchill Downs comes alive, packed with people and horses celebrating the races and excitement of the Kentucky Derby. The crowds have descended on the racetrack every year since 1875, making the Kentucky Derby the longest-running sporting event in United States history.

Take some time out of your packed Louisville schedule to come see the track’s distinctive spires and explore this indelible part of American sporting history. You’ll have lots to see and do year-round.

As you wait for one of the hourly tours to begin, stop in the Kentucky Derby Museum, which explains the history of the track, the jockeys and the horses. Settle in for a wild ride while watching the 360-degree film, The Greatest Race, which has stools that rotate as the immersive video screen shows all the action.

You may not want to leave, but follow your tour guide outside as he or she gives you a lively historical tour of the grounds and the track.

Visit the paddocks to glimpse a few of the magnificent animals in training for races. Walk around the track, imagining when horses such as Secretariat, who still holds the Derby record, thunder down it.

Take refuge from the heat in the clubhouse with a mint julep, which comes with a keepsake glass and offers an excellent opportunity to linger in front of the 36-foot (11-meter) mural of all of the jockeys who have won the race.

Be part of history by placing a bet and putting your feet up, watching the horses run and run.

Churchill Downs is in southern Louisville, a 10-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from the city’s downtown. Walk here in 20 minutes from University of Louisville’s main campus. Free parking is available at the site.

Choose from a variety of tour options available to book on the racetrack’s website. The racetrack and museum are open daily during business hours with somewhat later start on Sundays. Racing takes place in three meets in spring, summer and fall. The Kentucky Derby is always the first Saturday in May.

Top Hotels Close to Churchill Downs

Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
3.5 out of 5
830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY, 40209
The price is $97 per night from Feb 13 to Feb 14
$97
per night
Feb 13 - Feb 14
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly hotel in Louisville. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a free airport shuttle. Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (1,050 reviews)
"Property was big and has plenty of space for large parties. Our room was clean, but furniture and decor was warm in and probably could be replaced. But overall our stay was enjoyable. The bed was actually really comfy. We wish they offered a complimentary breakfast. Staff was very nice and ..."

Reviewed on Feb 5, 2023

Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
3 out of 5
130 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY, 40209
The price is $125 per night from Feb 19 to Feb 20
$125
per night
Feb 19 - Feb 20
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Louisville. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Popular attractions Cardinal Stadium and Kentucky Kingdom ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (129 reviews)
"Clean hotel, huge rooms, nice staff. We will stay here again!"

Reviewed on Jan 8, 2023

Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
380 FARMINGTON AVE, Louisville, KY, 40209
The price is $120 per night from Feb 7 to Feb 8
$120
per night
Feb 7 - Feb 8
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Louisville. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (81 reviews)
Would Stay Again,,,,great place!
"We enjoyed our stay at the Staybridge immensely with the only exception being the flights from the airport overhead."

Reviewed on Jan 1, 2023

Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Plan a trip to see Churchill Downs

Hyatt Regency Louisville
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Louisville Downtown, an IHG Hotel
Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown-Whiskey Row

Popular places to visit


Best Lodging Options Near Churchill Downs

Super 8 by Wyndham Louisville/Expo Center
Super 8 by Wyndham Louisville/Expo Center
2 out of 5
101 Central Ave, Louisville, KY, 40209
Super 8 by Wyndham Louisville/Expo Center
Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
3 out of 5
130 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY, 40209
Homewood Suites By Hilton Louisville Airport
Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
3.5 out of 5
830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY, 40209
Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
380 FARMINGTON AVE, Louisville, KY, 40209
Staybridge Suites Louisville Expo Center, an IHG Hotel
Galt House Hotel Trademark Collection by Wyndham
Galt House Hotel Trademark Collection by Wyndham
4 out of 5
140 North Fourth Street, Louisville, KY, 40202
Galt House Hotel Trademark Collection by Wyndham
Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport
Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport
3 out of 5
2735 Crittenden Dr, Louisville, KY, 40209
Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport
Home2 Suites by Hilton Louisville Airport/Expo Center, KY
Home2 Suites by Hilton Louisville Airport/Expo Center, KY
3 out of 5
3000 Crittenden Drive, Louisville, KY, 40209
Home2 Suites by Hilton Louisville Airport/Expo Center, KY
Holiday Inn Louisville Airport - Fair/Expo, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Louisville Airport - Fair/Expo, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
447 Farmington Ave, Louisville, KY, 40209
Holiday Inn Louisville Airport - Fair/Expo, an IHG Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Louisville Airport
Four Points by Sheraton Louisville Airport
3 out of 5
2850 Crittenden Dr, Louisville, KY, 40209
Four Points by Sheraton Louisville Airport
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.