The Kentucky Derby returns to Louisville this weekend! You should be making your final preparations for the event or a derby party. Since this is the 143rd running of the derby, are you ready? If not, we have a few tips to make the event enjoyable!

What to Wear

The outfits at the Derby are often defined by the hats. But it is important that you are dressed to the nines from head to

Women’s Fashion

kentucky derby

Hats – Your hat is your personal fashion statement. This will likely be the first thing somebody notices when they see you, so make sure it’s representative of your flair.

Pro Tip: Don’t underestimate the importance of your hat alongside your outfit. There is debate over whether you’re supposed to get your hat or outfit first, but the decision is completely up to you. Whichever you choose, make sure the two complement each other.

Dresses – Your dress has similar significance to your hat in terms of derby-day looks. While it’s important to find one that has the look you desire, it’s equally as important that it keeps you comfortable. While it’s not expected to be scorching hot this year, it’s still important to choose a dress that won’t have you sweating in the sun, or shivering in the breeze. Choose a dress with Spring floral patterns, or light, vibrant pigmentation

Pro Tip: Try to keep the dress simple, so it doesn’t draw too much attention away from your hat.

Shoes – Keep things classy, yet simple with a spring heel or sandal. Avoid more dressy heels that will cause foot pain over the course of a long day, and stick to shoes that are broken in. Be sure to bring an extra pair of flats, on the off chance your feet get tired.

BagsBecause the Derby is an all-day event, it’s advised that you bring a larger bag to carry all of your necessities. Make sure to pack essentially like a water bottle, wallet phone, sunglasses and more for the day.

Men’s Fashion


Suits – Only attendees with clubhouse admission or tickets for reserved seats typically wear suits. If you are one of these areas, it’s recommended that you stick to a lighter colored suit, made of cotton or linen for breathability.

Sport Coat & TrousersAll other attendees can wear a thin-lapeled jacket in a spring color palette, such as a light blue, pink or other pastel colors. Tan khakis will complement any of these options well, and if you’re worried you’ll look too casual, add a patterned tie to the mix.

ShoesIf you aren’t wearing a suit, loafers, topsiders or boat shoes will give you a more casual vibe. If you’re going the suit route, wear Oxford’s or Brogues.

Pro Tip: when wearing loafers, topsiders, or boat shoes, remember not to wear socks with them. Keep it classy, gentlemen.

Hats – Men tend to be a little more low key when sporting hats at the Derby, so keep things simple with a fedora or bowler hat. Avoid patterned hats, go for solid colors that accent your outfit.

Getting There

Now that your clothes are set, you should worry about transportation. On the day of the event, you should wake up early enough to get ready and get to the track. The Derby gates open at 8 AM, so arrive around then.

You’re likely not going to the Kentucky Derby alone, so we recommend you rent a shuttle bus or charter bus to keep your group together. GOGO Charters can get you a bus that accommodates groups of any size, which will make your Derby experience that much more memorable.

Pro Tip: Chartering a bus will simplify transportation to the Kentucky Derby greatly. Renting a bus mitigates a number of issues, including:

  • Lost car keys
  • Lost cars
  • Designating a driver
  • Refueling your own car

What To Do

Before the Derby:

  • Place a Bet – Get to the wagering windows by 10 AM to pick your winner in the big race
  • Drink a Mint Julep – Mint Juleps are available from the moment the gates open at 8 AM, until the last call at 8:10 PM
  • Walk the Grounds – Take a tour of the infield and check out the race track and the red carpet
  • Watch the Garland of Roses ceremony [9:45 AM] – Take part in one of the Derby’s greatest traditions, and watch as the Garland of Roses arrives at Gate 18


  • View the Horses – Get an up-close view of the horses, 20 minutes before each race, at the Paddock
  • Stand for the National Anthem [5:08PM] – Pledge your allegiance to this great country and listen to the Harry Connick Jr.-performed National Anthem
  • Watch the 50/50 Raffle Drawing [5:20PM] – Get over to the Horseshoe Balcony to find out if you’ve won the raffle
  • Toast to the Kentucky Derby – Head to the winner’s circle to toast with some champagne
  • Watch the Final Participants Arrive at Track [6:06PM] – Get to your seat to watch the jockeys and their horses walk from the barn to Paddock in preparation for the final race
  • Listen to the “Riders Up” Call [6:31PM] – Watch the jockeys get instructed to mount their horses
  • Sing “My Old Kentucky Home” [6:32PM] – Another Kentucky Derby tradition, sing this historic song thousands of Derby Fans
  • Watch the Race [6:46PM] – It’s called “the most exciting two minutes in sports” for a reason. Find out why
  • Watch the ‘Garland of Roses’ Draping & Trophy Awarding – After the race, stick around to watch the winning horse get draped in roses, and the winning jockey get presented with the Kentucky Derby Trophy


  • Go to Dinner – Head into downtown Louisville and enjoy any one of its amazing restaurants
  • Have a Drink – If the Mint Juleps weren’t enough for you, have a few more drinks downtown. Check out some of the best spots for a drink

If you’re in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby this weekend and haven’t secured transportation yet, contact GOGO Charters to learn more about how we can help you get around.