Beyond the Derby: Horse Around in Louisville - United Hub

Beyond the Derby: Horse around in Louisville

By Bob Cooper, May 05, 2016

The Kentucky Derby

You can watch how Major League Baseball bats are made at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in downtown Louisville, yet Louisville — more populous than 11 MLB cities — surprisingly doesn't have any professional sports teams of its own. Instead, Louisville residents pour their enthusiasm (and thousands of gallons of mint juleps) into a two-week festival culminating Saturday, May 7, in the Kentucky Derby.

The Derby, continuously run since 1875, is the World Series of thoroughbred racing squeezed into a two-minute race. Much more than that, it's a major-league celebration that's been called the "biggest party in the South" (sorry, Mardi Gras). But whether you make it to the Derby this year, or visit Louisville when it's less crowded, you'll discover there are many ways to horse around in town that don't involve betting or binoculars.

Horses (of course)

Visiting Louisville without catching a race at Churchill Downs, or at least seeing it, would be like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You can choose among several guided tour options; all include admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum at the famed racetrack.

Bourbon bonanza

Bourbon lovers are drawn to the distilleries around Louisville just as wine lovers flock to the wineries of the Napa Valley. Several Louisville-area historic distilleries with tours and tasting rooms are on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, topped by the extravagant Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, which opened downtown in 2013. If you'd rather not drive, Urban Bourbon Trail restaurants, taverns and hotel bars where fine bourbons are served are within walking distance from downtown.

Museums and more

The Slugger Museum and Bourbon Experience are two of the 10 museums and attractions found on a four-block stretch of downtown Louisville's Museum Row. The two newest additions are the Muhammad Ali Center and Frazier History Museum. The former is a six-story, $80-million tribute to the city's most famous native son. The latter (with no connection to Ali's boxing rival Joe Frazier) features several daily interpretations of scenes from history by costumed performers. Also, the Speed Art Museum at the University of Louisville reopened in March with the completion of a $50-million addition that nearly tripled the gallery space.

Kentucky kingdom

For the kid in all of us, Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay just added Storm Chaser, the first roller-coaster in the U.S. to feature a barrel-roll drop from the equivalent of 10 stories up. Along with four other coasters, the amusement park has 31 rides and 13 waterpark rides, slides and pools — fun for kids and adults.

Fossil fun

Besides hiking and bird-watching, fossil-viewing is popular at Falls of the Ohio State Park, just across the mighty Ohio River from Louisville. Limestone fossil beds cover 220 acres at the river's edge, revealing many fossils from 390 million years ago. The best fossil hunting is between August and November, when the river level is lowest.

Coming soon

You don't need to watch a horse race to come to Louisville for a big event. Abbey Road on the River (May 26-30) is the world's largest Beatles-inspired music festival, and the Forecastle music and art festival (July 15-17) attracts more than 75,000 annually to Louisville's Waterfront Park for bands like this year's headliners, Alabama Shakes and The Avett Brothers. Live music, especially indie rock, is ingrained in the culture of Louisville year-round — a city where "Keep Louisville Weird" is a popular slogan.

How to get there

Louisville International Airport is only 2.5 miles from Churchill Downs and seven miles from downtown. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your trip to see the ponies, the city, or both.

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By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

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This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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