Churchill Downs is a horse racing complex that is the venue of the world famous Kentucky Derby horse race. The track hosted its first race meet in 1875 which included the first running of the Kentucky Derby, which has become the longest continually held sporting event in America. The racecourse was named Churchill Downs in 1883 after the family who leased the land in which it is located.
The Grade I Kentucky Oaks and Clark Handicap were also held on that first meet in 1875, with a number of races now held across the year at the racetrack.
Tickets at Churchill Downs
General admission tickets start at just $5. Further information and booking is available on the official website here.
Location & Travel to Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is located on Central Avenue in south Louisville in Kentucky, approximately 4 miles from the downtown area.
Airport – Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport offers a number of flights across the United States. The airport is approximately 3 miles southwest of the racetrack with driving directions below. The slightly larger Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is about 100 miles away and offers a greater number of destinations.
Driving (I-264 East (from I-64E – New Albany and St. Louis) – Take Exit 9 – Taylor Blvd. Turn left traveling north on
Taylor Blvd. Turn right on Central Ave. and then right onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.
Driving I-264 West (from I-64W – Lexington) – Take Exit 10 -Third St./Southern Pkwy. Turn right heading north on
Third St. or Southern Pkwy. to Central Ave. Turn left on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.
Driving I-65 North or from Airport (from Nashville) – Take I-264 West (Watterson Expressway) to Exit 10 – Third
St./Southern Pkwy. Turn right heading north on Third St. or Southern Pkwy. to Central Ave. Turn left on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.
Driving I-65 South (from Indianapolis/Downtown Louisville) – Take Exit 132 – Crittenden Drive (exit will veer to
the right). Continue straight onto Crittenden Drive. Take first right at Central Ave. intersection. Continue straight on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs
Parking – Parking is free at Churchill Downs in the frontside parking lots off Kentucky Derby Drive, except during Kentucky Derby week when it must be reserved in advance. If you have not reserved, parking will be available at Cardinal Stadium a short walk away or the surrounding neighbourhoods. Further information on parking is available here.
Where to Stay in Louisville
Tour of Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby Museum
Admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum costs $16 for Adults, $14 for Seniors (65+) and $10 for Children (aged 5-14). The museum is open 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Admission to the museum also includes a 30 minute walking tour of the racetrack which takes place every half hour. Further information and booking is available here.