What to Know Before Buying Kentucky Derby Tickets (Guide)

Posted by Evan Chronis on Fri, May 3, 2019

So you want to attend the 2020 Kentucky Derby®. 

We can't blame you; about 160,000 people every year make the same decision that you just landed on.  

But the Kentucky Derby is a massive event in both size and historical context, making it no simple task to just go out and grab a ticket. 

2020 Kentucky Derby On Sale

So instead of making you go to five different places to get all of the information you need about the 2020 Kentucky Derby, we've compiled it all below to help ease the process. 

Here are the most important things for you to know before buying 2020 Kentucky Derby tickets.

Seating Sections at Churchill Downs

The first question to answer: where do you want to sit for the 2020 Kentucky Derby? While Churchill Downs is a massive sporting venue, the seating sections can easily be broken down into three areas.

Grandstand Seating

The Grandstand seating section at Churchill Downs® is perfect for guests looking to capture the opening moments of the Kentucky Derby and watch as the horses make their way towards the final stretch. With elevated seating that keeps guests close to the track, Grandstand seating is a great option along the starting line.

Grandstand seating at Churchill Downs

Grandstand Seating Options

Clubhouse Seating

Clubhouse seating at Churchill Downs encompasses both the Clubhouse and Courtyard sections of the track. These seating sections offer a similar allure as the Grandstand, but with placement further down the line. The Courtyard allows guests to get a straight-on view of the final moments of the "Run for the Roses" as the horses head towards the finish line, while the Clubhouse section is a great vantage point to watch the horses head into the first turn and also cross the finish line.

Clubhouse seating at Churchill Downs

Clubhouse Seating Options

Premium Seating

Premium seating is for guests who wants to mix style and luxury into their time at the 2020 Kentucky Derby along with a great view. These seating options grant you access into some of the most exclusive areas at Churchill Downs, like the Stakes Room, Trophy Room, Millionaires Row, Derby Room and much more. While they are placed further from the track, premium seating options give guests a privileged view of the entire track and a great vantage point to observe all the action from. 


Premium seating at Churchill Downs

Premium Seating Options

Your Hospitality Options

One of the most important aspects of attending the Kentucky Derby is determining which hospitality space you want to be in. Each one has its own appeal, whether it be location, accommodations or more. 

These are the hospitality spaces offered exclusively through Derby Experiences

Aristides Lounge

Aristides Lounge Derby Experiences

Located on the second floor of the Clubhouse

This hospitality includes:

  • Celebrity Jockey Meet & Greet
  • Live Entertainment
  • Premium Open Bar
  • Gourmet Food Buffets
  • Self-Service Wagering Stations

Affirmed Lounge

Affirmed Lounge Derby Experiences

Located in the Kentucky Derby Museum

This hospitality includes:

  • Celebrity Jockey Meet & Greet
  • Live Entertainment
  • Premium Open Bar
  • Gourmet Food Buffets
  • Live Wagering Tellers

Whirlaway Lounge

Whirlaway Lounge Derby Experiences

Located near the Paddock Gate

This hospitality includes:

  • Celebrity Jockey Meet & Greet
  • Complimentary Beer, Wine & Soft Drink
  • Lunch Buffet
  • Cash Bar
  • Self-Service Wagering Stations

Sunny's Halo Lounge

Sunnys Halo Lounge Derby Experiences

Located in the Grandstand Pavilion

This hospitality includes:

  • Celebrity Jockey Meet & Greet
  • Complimentary Beer, Wine & Soft Drink
  • Lunch Buffet
  • Open Air & Partially Covered

Citation Lounge

Citation Lounge Derby Experiences

Located by the Clubhouse Gate

This hospitality includes:

  • Celebrity Jockey Meet & Greet
  • Cash Bar
  • One-Time Lunch Buffet
  • Self-Service Wagering Stations

Where to Buy 2020 Kentucky Derby Tickets

Your ticket buying options depend on what time of year you are looking to purchase. 

The Kentucky Derby does not officially go on sale with tickets for the 2020 Derby until November 2019. Once those tickets become available, the reseller market will also see a huge spike as more options enter the marketplace. 

However, tickets to the 2020 Kentucky Derby are already on sale through Derby Experiences. As the Official Ticket Package Provider of the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Derby Experiences is the only official source of 2020 Derby tickets until the public on-sale commences in November.

So what does this mean?

The earlier the better when it comes to purchasing Derby tickets. More seats will be available and the prices will not be affected by the fluctuations in the secondary market once the public on-sale happens. 

Parties for the 2020 Kentucky Derby

Did you know that some of the biggest parties of the year are held during Derby weekend? And while you may have just been planning to spend your weekend at Church

Taste of Derby 

When: Thursday, April 30th

Experience some of the finest culinary treats from around the country at the annual Taste of Derby party. Featuring chef's from multiple stops along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, this event is the perfect kick-off to an exciting weekend in Louisville.

Fillies & Lilies Party

When: Friday, May 1st

Spend Derby eve at the Kentucky Derby Museum with live music, special guests and delicious food and drink options. Previous musical guests include Martina McBride, Clint Black and Wynonna Judd. 

Winner's Party

When: May 2nd

Celebrate the conclusion of the 146th Kentucky Derby at the Winner's Party! Watch as a new champion is crowned and enjoy drinks and food alongside the winning jockey, trainers and owners inside of the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Adding Hotel Accommodations to your Kentucky Derby Tickets

We've got news for you. Hotels in Louisville go fast in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby.

Due to the massive influx of people into the city, room available quickly dwindles and the cost per room skyrockets to exponential proportions. 

This is why locking down hotel accommodations is so vital when purchasing Derby tickets, and likely something you want to do at the same time that you are completing the purchase of your Kentucky Derby tickets. 

When buying an Official Ticket Package from Derby Experiences, you have the option of adding a hotel stay to your order, turning a two-step process into one. 

Here are the hotels currently available through Derby Experiences with select Official Ticket Packages:

When purchasing a hotel with Derby Experiences, guests also are given the option of adding transportation to and from their hotel to Churchill Downs to their Official Ticket Package. 

Choose Your 2020 Kentucky Derby Ticket Package

Now that you are fully up to date on the ticket-buying process, it's time to take action. Derby Experiences offers over 30 different Official Ticket Packages for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, meaning that you can craft your dream experience at Churchill Downs next year. Click below to start exploring packages:

2020 Kentucky Derby Official Ticket Packages