Are you scrambling to find a hotel near Louisville for the 2013 Kentucky Derby? Even if you book your hotel rooms in advance, there can still be a need to have an extra room. Unfortunately, most hotel rooms close to downtown and Churchill Downs will not be available during the month before the race. However, there are still plenty of lodging options within proximity to the city of Louisville.
Areas most likely to be booked
Traveling by car to the Kentucky Derby is an excellent way for extra friends or relatives to invite themselves. If your travel party has last minute additions, you will need to find a place for them to stay overnight. Since Downtown Louisville is only a little over a mile from Churchill Downs, it is unlikely that you will find any hotel rooms in the area. You will also want to avoid the airport because it is also close to the Kentucky Derby location. Other areas likely to be crowded are neighborhoods adjacent to Downtown including the Highlands, Clifton, Saint Matthews, and most of the East End.
Hotel clusters outside of Louisville
If you look at an online map of Louisville, you soon notice that there are hotel clusters to the south of Louisville. For tourists coming from destinations far away from Kentucky, it can be difficult to figure out if hotels in Bardstown or Shepherdsville are too far away. In particular, there are hotels located in clusters at the Brooks/Hillview exit off of 65 South. While you may need to do a little bit of extra car travel, it is perfectly reasonable for Kentucky Derby tourists to stay at hotels that are between 10 to 30 miles from Louisville’s city limits.
Pros and cons of Southern Indiana hotels
Southern Indiana is literally across the river from Downtown Louisville, and it can seem logical to book a hotel in Southern Indiana because of the proximity. Despite this, New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville have a few drawbacks during the Kentucky Derby. Mainly, there are only two bridges going to these locations and this means that traffic is fierce. Nevertheless, if you like to walk, a new pedestrian bridge has opened in the past year. Tourists walking from a hotel in Clarksville can expect to walk at least four miles to get to Churchill Downs using the new walkway bridge.
Hotel plan for Kentucky Derby tourists with kids
The Kentucky Derby is considered to be an adult-oriented event. Nonetheless, thousands of people bring their children to watch the momentous race each year. More often than not, parents arrive with their children several days before the race and take them to see the sights. If you are traveling with your family, you are most likely avoiding alcohol, and this gives you a chance to get a cheaper hotel outside of the bar-hopping zones of Downtown Louisville. By staying at hotels in Bardstown and Elizabethtown, you will be able to take the kids to museums, zoos, and horse farms without the extra expense of staying next to the Kentucky Derby action.
A Kentucky Derby hotel warning
When you travel to the region for the first time, you may want to extend your travel to cities surrounding Louisville. For example, in order to see the Kentucky Derby, you book a hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two cities are only 90 miles apart, and driving for a couple of hours seems like a great idea for you and your family. On the other hand, keep in mind that traffic will be extreme for the duration of Kentucky Derby weekend. This means that your two-hour travel time can easily be expanded to four or more hours each way. While it may make a lot of sense to fly into the Cincinnati airport and stay a few days, your weekend hotel bookings for the Kentucky Derby should be closer to Louisville.
Alternatives to a traditional hotel
When all else fails with your attempts to get a hotel room for the Kentucky Derby, there is still one more option. Hotels are the standard for tourists, but they often do not give you the taste of home that you may need. Although there are many ads in classifieds for renting someone’s home for the Kentucky Derby, this is also a good way to not get what you paid for. Instead of risking being swindled and homeless during the 2013 Kentucky Derby, a better option is Airbnb. They have several levels of verification that ensure that you get what is advertised at reasonable prices — and their housing offers are often still available the day before the Kentucky Derby.