Tips from TicketCity: Kentucky Derby and Oaks

The Kentucky Derby is officially only one week away. Hopefully you have your tickets (No? We can help…), hotel reservations, and hat ready to go. But in case you’ve procrastinated, some of the Derby veterans from the TicketCity team have offered up their advice for making the most of this historic event.

As Sean Adam’s explained in a previous blog post, the Kentucky Derby is so much more than just a two minute race. It’s about tradition, fashion, memories, and maybe crossing a big item off of your bucket list.

Below you’ll find some of the favorites that keep Rafael, Rick, and Lindsay going back to Louisville year after year. Looking for tickets or have general questions about the event? Feel free to give us a call at 1.800.SOLD.OUT to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales associates, or visit We’d love to help you create some Derby memories of your own.


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Best Seats

Personal preference. A great time can be had anywhere. Personal preference, but 3rd floor or higher arguably the best for visibility/ perspective. Anywhere has a good view, but I like the Turf Club’s view best.

Best Food

Hot Brown Sandwich, Beer Cheese Hot Brown Sandwich  Hot Brown Sandwich

Best Drinks

Bourbon, Oaks Lily, Mint Julep Mint Julep just to say you had one. Mint juleps aren’t great but you have to drink one. Oak Lily’s are delicious!

Best Lodging

Seelbach, Brown Hotel, 21C are the best high end.  Crown Plaza Airport Hotel has a great atmosphere. Galt House(great central location downtown)  Sheraton

Transportation Tips

No cheap way to do it if you plan to drink.  Designate a driver and park in somebody’s yard.  Trackside parking passes cost $400. Taxi if possible. Traffic is ridiculous. Shuttle from your hotel or cab it.  Parking near the track is hard to come by unless you get there early.

Required Attire

Spring colors. Tacky is okay. Girls have to wear a hat. Depends on where you sit. Infield: Shorts and flip flops; Clubhouse or better: Suit, tie, hats a plus. Crazy, larger-than- life hats, suits (seersucker is always popular)

Necessary Souvenirs 

Dated derby glass. You may catch some racing goggles if you sit in the low rows of 119. Dated Derby glasses. I bring these back every year for my family and friends. Dated Derby glasses (FREE if you drink mint juleps/lily’s which is a MUST at the Derby)

Dining and Nightlife

Catch some Derby festival parades throughout the week, Jeff Ruby’s is a hot spot. Jeff Ruby’s steakhouse downtown near Galt House. Great food! Pricey! Numerous celeb sightings and tough to get reservations, so call early. Jeff Ruby’s had good food and a piano bar for after dinner. Several celebrities were there the day before Oaks.