Louisville's weather is temperate and seasonal. Summers (late May to late September) are hot with cool evenings so bring along a light jacket or coat. March to September are the wettest seasons, although rainfall is fairly constant all year round, and snow usually falls from December to February, allowing for winter sports fun. Winter temperatures range from -2 to +6 degrees and in the summer they vary between 18 and 30 degrees.
Getting around Louisville
Louisville is a very easy city to get into and around. There are great roads and train lines reaching into the city, as well as an international airport. Within the city, take one of the efficient public buses. Many of the hotels have their own free shuttle service, so be sure to find out what your accommodation offers. Taxis are easy to catch and there are many well-marked bike lanes in the centre of town.
Louisville insider information
The Kentucky Derby may be the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” but be ready for more than just the races during your Kentucky Derby holiday. The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, but if you arrive anywhere from two weeks to two days before, you can enjoy even more bustle and excitement in Louisville.
Dawn at the Downs: If you’ve seen the celebrities sitting in Millionaire’s Row, but don’t think you’ll ever get close to those seats, think again. Enjoy breakfast the week before the race (Monday through Thursday) at Churchill Downs and catch the morning workouts of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders. Be sure to call Churchill Downs for reservations in Millionaire’s Row. There is also other seating available that does not require a reservation.
Pegasus Parade: This event, which began in 1956 and is one part of the Kentucky Derby Festival, is held during the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby and draws thousands of spectators, participants and celebrities. You can see the floats, marching bands and balloons from bleachers and chairs for a nominal fee, but there is also free viewing on certain parts of the route.
Kentucky Derby Festival: When planning your Kentucky Derby vacation, consider checking out the Kentucky Derby Festival’s calendar of events. If you can’t make it to the race, there are still plenty of race-related events to keep you busy through April from golf tournaments to balloon tours to American Indian pow-wows.
Great Steamboat Race: Spend a few hours away from the race track and check out another Derby tradition. Tickets, which cost more than $US 100, include a catered meal and a performance from a live band. Secure your seat aboard the Belle of Louisville and watch as she races against her rivals on the Ohio River.
- Take a ride across the border to Indiana and explore the Forest Discovery Center. The centre was built to encourage eco-friendly environments and it offers visitors an opportunity to wander through an indoor forest and an enclosed glass skywalk to explore a working sawmill.
- Take a sip of good old-fashioned Kentucky Bourbon whisky at any number of distilleries in the state. The oldest distillery still operating is the Woodford Reserve Distillery, located between lush horse farms in Woodford County on McCracken Pike. Bourbon was first distilled here in 1812 and today visitors can watch how Bourbon is made before enjoying a little bit after the tour.
- If you have tickets to the Kentucky Derby, make sure to get to Louisville early and bring your best headwear. The bigger the better when it comes to hats.