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So you're headed to Churchill Downs for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
Whether you're looking to party, cross a marquee sporting event off your bucket list or simply soak in the unparalleled atmosphere, you're likely going to arrive early and stay later in surrounding Louisville, Kentucky.
That said, here's what you need to know before you go.
If you're driving into Louisville there's a good chance you'll be cruising Interstate 64 or Interstate 65, which run east-west and north-south respectively and intersect the city (crossing the Ohio River).
But if you're flying in for the weekend, odds are you'll be landing at Louisville International Airport, which is located just over two miles away from Churchill Downs and just south of the University of Louisville.
Once you pick up your rental car, you'll need to find parking. Check out Park Me or Best Parking for up-to-date availability and pricing.
Assuming you're just here for the weekend's events, it's a safe bet you'll be looking to book a room for a couple of nights. Below you'll find Expedia.com's highest guest rated properties (with at least 50 reviews) based on class.
Boutique: 21c Museum Hotel Louisville
High End: Marriott Louisville Downtown
Mid Range: Homewood Suites by Hilton Louisville-East
Bargain: Hampton Inn Louisville-Northeast
Foods to Seek Out
While you won't have time to try everything, there are a few stops you should plan for ahead of time. Hammerheads is sure to satisfy your Southern food cravings, boasting standout dishes like crispy mac and cheese balls and pork belly baked beans.
And you can't leave Louisville without sinking your teeth into a batch of truffle fries. Visit Sidebar downtown and order some to chase down any one of their dozens of bourbon offerings.
If you don't want to venture far from the airport to grab a satisfying bite, check out Grind Burger Kitchen, where the B&B burger (it's got brie cheese, bacon and apricot jam) is a local favorite.
Even if you plan on showing up to the race track early on Saturday, you'll likely be searching for something else to do by Saturday evening. Fortunately, Louisville boasts an abundance of unique attractions, including the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.
The Louisville Mega Cavern and various sightseeing tours also promise plenty of fun.
Cherokee Park and the Frazier History Museum are among Louisville's standout attractions, as is the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.
If you can't get a ticket to Saturday's Run for the Roses, there's plenty of excellent bars to stop in at, like River City Drafthouse, and catch the race before diving back into all that Louisville has to offer.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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