The Kentucky Derby in Chicago

The Kentucky Derby, which debuted in 1875, is the longest-running sporting event in the U.S.  Also called "The Run for the Roses", this event is the most exciting two minutes in sports. It even happened during The Great Depression and World Wars I & II.

In 1872, when Meriwether Lewis Clark, the grandson of William Clark (yes of Lewis and Clark) – traveled to Europe and attended the Epsom Derby in England, a well-known horse race run since 1780. Clark, inspired by his travels and experiences, wanted to create a spectacle horse racing event back home. With the help of his uncle’s John & Henry Churchill, who donated to Clark the land to for a racetrack, and by formally organizing the Louisville Jockey Club, Clark and his new club raised funds to build a permanent racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. On May 17th, 1875, the racetrack opened its gates and the Louisville Jockey Club sponsored the very first Kentucky Derby.

The Derby has its own traditions outside of the horses that make it a celebration of southern culture and an American Icon, such as the ever popular mint julep, and fancy hats. The hats became more extravagant in the 1960s, when social fashion rules loosened up and the sport being televised gave women a reason to stand out. 

Kentucky Derby in Chicago

Cinco de Derby at Mac’s Wood Grilled

Cinco de Derby at Mac’s Wood Grilled
May 5, 2018
Mac's Wood Grilled
1801 W Division St, Chicago, IL

Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby both land on the first Saturday in May, and Mac’s adds festive specials to celebrate both.

Unbridled Art: A Kentucky Derby Party

April 27, 2019
Open Gallery
1963 Johns Drive , Glenview, IL

Arts of Life's night-to-remember party filled with live music, southern food and beverages, a silent auction, and a variety of derby and art-themed activities.

I|O Godfrey Hosts Sixth-Annual Kentucky Derby Party

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago invites guests and locals to attend its award-winning Derby Day bash on Saturday, May 4
May 4, 2019
IO Godfrey Lounge
127 W Huron St, Chicago, IL

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago invites guests and locals to attend its award-winning Derby Day bash on Saturday, May 4

Cinco de Derby Party & Turtle Races at HVAC

May 4, 2019
HVAC Pub
3530 North Clark, Chicago, IL

HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville will host a Cinco de Derby party on Saturday, May 4.

Kentucky Derby Watch Party at Clutch

May 4, 2019
316 W. Erie St., Chicago, IL

Those who know… know! That there is no finer location than the NEW Clutch Bar in all of Chicago to celebrate a derby-watch-party in lavish style!

Kentucky Derby Watch Party at Bounce

May 4, 2019
Bounce Sporting Club Chicago
324 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL

The spirit of the Kentucky Derby lives on at Bounce’s “Rooftop and Club House” watch party.

Kentucky Derby Watch Party at Apogee

May 4, 2019
Apogee Lounge
2 W Erie St, Chicago, IL

Derby Parties Chicago is your one-stop-shop for the classiest mixing and watch party socializing the city has to offer.

Run for the Rose and Derby Day

May 4, 2019
Saint Lou's Assembly
664 W. Lake, Chicago , IL

Head to the races at Saint Lou’s Assembly! Put on your best outfit and wide-brimmed “Southern Belle” style hats, adorned with flowers, feathers, bows and ribbons of any color for a chance to win the b

Joy District and Hubbard Inn Host a Kentucky Derby Day Party

May 4, 2019
Joy District
112 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL

Joy District and Hubbard Inn are teaming up for a giant bash and their first ever combined party with a Kentucky Derby Day Party.

Talk Derby to Me, Kentucky Derby

May 4, 2019
720 South Bar & Grill
720 South Michigan Avenue , Chicago, IL

Grab your hats for the Race of the Roses at 720 South Bar.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Special at Tuscany in Wheeling

May 4, 2019
Tuscany Restaurant in Wheeling
550 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, IL

Guests can catch all the 2019 Kentucky Derby action at Tuscany on Taylor St. and enjoy $10 Mint Juleps along with seasonally influenced Italian cuisine as they watch the race on TV.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Special at Tuscany

May 4, 2019
Tuscany On Taylor
1014 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL

Guests can catch all the 2019 Kentucky Derby action at Tuscany on Taylor St. and enjoy $10 Mint Juleps along with seasonally influenced Italian cuisine as they watch the race on the TVs.

Tapestry of Friendship Derby Day Event, a benefit for Argentium Senior Connections

May 4, 2019
1012 Church St , Evanston, IL

Argentium Senior Connections celebrates friendship at their annual Tapestry of Friendship Event. Join us on Derby Day, May 4th, for a fun event supporting local seniors connected to caring volunteers.

While you may not be in Kentucky, you can don your best chapeau and fancy dress (or suit) and head out to the many locations around Chicago that will be televising the derby.