Photo: Linda Doane
Every woman is a southern belle on Derby Day, and since the race began in 1897 it has been a tradition for women to wear hats to the race for luck. Bodacious bonnets are a mainstay of British horse races (where wearing a hat is required as part of a strict dress code), and Derbygoers, not to be outdone, don their wacky headgear, sip Bourbon and enjoy a bit of infield horseplay.
Louisville’s first farmer-owned, farmto-table restaurant serves up tasty food in an unpretentious atmosphere. Dishes such as the Hot Brown Pizza with roast turkey, cheesey Mornay sauce and smoked bacon, roasted vegetable pot pie and Bourbon bread pudding, satisfy foodie palates and stay true to local flavors. 624 E. Market St., harvestlouisville.com
Carrying an array of items from beautiful modern furniture to funny greeting cards and locally made jewelry, Scout is a must-stop shop for homegoods and gifts. 742 E. Market St., scoutonmarket.com
A boutique that focuses on local and regional items, Gifthorse might be the perfect place to find an outrageous Derby Day chapeau, as they handform and block hats and feathery fascinators. Gifthorse carries a variety of items, from household décor to men’s pocket squares. 805 E. Market St., gifthorse-shop.com
Joe Ley Antiques
One of NuLu’s mainstays, this antique store has been a Louisville favorite for more than 35 years. This shop is located in an 1890s schoolhouse and features two acres of furniture, collectibles and jewelry to peruse. 615 E. Market St., joeley.com
The largest Victorian-era historic district in the nation boasts more than 1,400 historic homes. With streets lit by gas lamps, it is easy to imagine yourself stepping into an earlier time, and perhaps walking alongside some spirits from the past. The ghosts of Old Louisville are one of its greatest draws, and there are several walking tours that share the neighborhood’s spooky stories.
The first Saturday in May is the most important two minutes in sports: the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is a time when the glitterati descend on Louisville, and everyone heads out to see and be seen wearing artful hats.
Buck’s In the heart of Old Louisville, this restaurant in the historic Mayflower building is a popular eatery with its own share of haunted happenings. With piano music and an elegant décor, the eclectic American fare is a datenight favorite. 425 W. Ormsby Ave., bucksrestaurantandbar.com
Churchill Downs A Louisville must-see no matter when you visit, and races occur all year long. If you can’t get a ticket for the Derby, watch the ponies with the townies the Friday before at the Kentucky Oaks. The race is for 3-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. This year, Churchill Downs has partnered with Stand Up To Cancer and will donate one dollar for everyone who attends.
The Urban Bourbon Trail
All Bourbon is whisky, but only whisky from Kentucky can be Bourbon. This strong, sweet spirit is at the heart of a culinary, cocktail and cultural experience unique to Louisville. Bars and restaurants featured on the trail have at least 50 Bourbons on their menu (some with as many as 165) and offer Bourbon-inspired dishes and special tasting menus. The Louisville Visitors Center offers the Urban Bourbon Trail Passport program (a downloadable app), which allows you to record your stops and possibly win a prize. Mint Julep Tours (mintjuleptours.com) is a fun and responsible way to enjoy the trail, too. bourboncountry.com 14