Check out the recap of my trip for Kentucky Derby weekend!
One of my 30 before 30 goals is to visit 25 states by the time I turn 30, so this past weekend, I was so excited to make my way over to Kentucky to, not only cross another staff off the list, but also to get to experience such an iconic sporting event in person. I’ve only ever been to one horse race in my life, and that happened on a Fourth of July when I lived in Shreveport. I also saw ostrich and camel races that day too, so it was a little nutso.
SATURDAY: KENTUCKY DERBY
For the Kentucky Derby, Kyle and I stayed with his cousins who live in Louisville, and it was a cousins reunion of sorts for all of them. Even though it makes me anxious, and I’m super awkward in social situations, I was looking forward to getting to know Kyle’s family a little more and meet some people I hadn’t gotten to meet yet.
Kyle’s cousins host an annual Kentucky Derby brunch, and it was definitely epic. There were so many different types of food, and everything was amazing. Lots of people were in and out throughout the morning and early afternoon. We mixed, mingled, ate, and drank, but I mostly hung out with the dogs because they have four, and they’re all perfect.
Kyle’s sister had shirts made for the event with guys matching and girls matching. Kyle’s cousin said that the infield, where we were going to watch the race, was super casual, but after actually getting there, the majority of people were dressed up (as is to be expected). If it wasn’t such a gloomy, rainy day, I probably would have been embarrassed, but because the weather was so gross, I was glad I didn’t ruin a nice outfit with mud and rain.
Admittedly, this was my first and will probably be my last ever Kentucky Derby. It was neat to experience the historical event, but word on the street is that the weather is almost always like that on Derby Day, and I did not enjoy it. It was cold and rainy, and my shoes and jeans were just covered in mud. Don’t even get me started on my hair. My socks were soaked through with water. It was just a hot mess of a day. We were all miserable, but determined to stick it out because we had all traveled awhile to get there. It’s cool that we were there for a historical race though, since the first place winner got disqualified and all that mess.
After the race, we walked to a restaurant called Old Louisville Tavern. We wanted to get as far away from the crowds so we could get a Lyft home, and we were all starving, so we opted to get a bite to eat. My expectations were low for good food at Old Louisville Tavern, but my meal ended up being incredible. One of Kyle’s cousins ordered the spinach queso dip. 10/10 recommend. They give you so much dip that you may need to ask for more chips. For dinner, I had the soy glazed ahi tuna sandwich, and I upgraded my fries to parmesan truffle fries. Y’all, I ate everything. It tasted so good. If I visited again, I would probably get that exact same order.
Our little Derby after party at the house involved lots of drinks, laughs, snacks, and puppy cuddles.
SUNDAY: EXPLORING LOUISVILLE
Kyle and I made up for the grossness of Derby Day by exploring Louisville a little bit the next day. It was sunny and gorgeous on Sunday, which was like a punch in the gut for how awful the weather was the previous day.
Our first stop was the Big Four Bridge. It’s a pedestrian walking bridge that connects Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana. You can see some neat views of both cities, but the skyline view isn’t that great because it’s blocked by two bridges. It’s nice to walk up and down it though, especially on a pretty day. The parks around the bridge close at 11 pm, but the bridge itself is accessible 24/7, so you can enjoy views of the cities both during the day and at night.
We had lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant called Vietnam Kitchen. We started with an order of Xiu Mai, which were doused in the sauce and so good. For lunch, I had the Sườn ram mặn, which is simmered spare ribs and eggs served in a clay pot with rice on the side. Y’all, I’m telling you, it was so delicious. The meat just fell off the bone. If you like Vietnamese food, Vietnam Kitchen is a must-stop in Louisville.
I’m so in love with street art, so our last task of the trip before heading home was finding some pretty street art to take photos in front of. There is literally street art everywhere. We had plans to go to three, but we stumbled upon so many more. We didn’t take photos of all of them, but we were definitely in awe of how gorgeous they all were.
Even though I didn’t have the greatest time at the Kentucky Derby, I definitely plan on going back to Louisville and do a little bit more exploring of the city.
Have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby?