The first Saturday in May celebrates the most anticipated Thoroughbred horse race in the country: the Kentucky Derby, held in Louisville. As visitors crowd the stands of Churchill Downs drinking mint juleps, the horses are brought onto the racetrack to the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home." So begins what's been called "the most exciting two minutes in sports."
But the Louisville area has much more to offer: the city sponsors its own ballet, orchestra, repertory theatre, opera, children's theatre, and Shakespeare Festival. Authentic sternwheel boat the Belle of Louisville churns its way down the Ohio River. Baseball fans can take in a game with the Louisville Bats, a Triple-A farm team for the Cincinnati Reds, or check out the world's biggest baseball bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Visitors and locals alike enjoy public parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Local distilleries offer tours where renowned Kentucky bourbon is produced. And tours of historical landmarks feature Deep South handicrafts, architecture, and decorative arts. With so many choices available, you don't need to be a horse lover to love Louisville.