The Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 7 this year, and many of Denver’s most popular party venues will be hosting splashy events to celebrate. Get ready to don your fanciest hat, sip on mint juleps, and watch the most exciting two minutes in sports at one of our favorite Derby Day spots.
Denver Derby Party at McGregor Square
Where: McGregor Square, across from Coors Field
When: 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm
McGregor Square will be hosting the Denver Derby Party, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The party will be one of the largest in the country, with over 17,000 square feet outside as well as three levels of interior gathering space.
The square features a giant, 66-foot-wide LED screen which will broadcast the races (also one of our favorite places to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve). You can enjoy plenty of cocktails and delicious food at the adjacent Milepost Zero. The spacious food hall features a signature bar and stalls serving a wide selection of cuisine, from salads to sushi.
This year, you will also have the option to purchase brunch with early admission along with your general admission derby tickets. Brunch will be served at The Original, an American diner offering elevated comfort food located inside the venue.
Tickets for the Denver Derby start at $125 and are all-inclusive (admission, food, and all-you-can drink). 100 percent of ticket sales go to benefit the Sean Ranch Lough Foundation, which offers four-year scholarships to students who would otherwise be unable to go to college.
Purchase your tickets to the Denver Derby Party here.
The Denver Mini Derby
Where: The Green (North) E 50th Ave, Denver
When: 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
The Denver Mini Derby is back on this year and promises to be more adorable than ever. The aptly-named celebration offers its own version of the races featuring miniature horses, which compete directly after the main event. Guests will also be treated to an open bar, live music, BBQ, Corgi races, and a Derby Hat contest.
The Mini Derby does not, in fact, condone the Kentucky Derby itself. According to their website, they have chosen to use the races as an excuse to bring the community together, dress up, and donate to a good cause. Really, I think that’s what we are all looking for on Derby Day anyway.
Proceeds from the Mini Derby benefit Next Step Horse Rescue, a non-profit that adopts and cares for neglected or abused horses and also offers educational programs for horse owners.
You can buy tickets to the Denver Mini Derby here. Tickets start at $69.99 and include bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
Derby at the Station
Where: Union Station, 1700 Wynkoop Street, Denver
When: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Derby Day at Union Station will start with a pre-race brunch at the Cooper Lounge. This “Winner’s Circle” meal will include Southern favorites, like buttermilk biscuits and chicken and waffle skewers, as well as bottomless mimosas.
From 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm, the Terminal Bar and Cafe will offer covered patio seating on a first come, first serve basis. Sip Woodford Reserve mint juleps and enjoy live music while you wait for the races to begin. Guests can also compete for the title of “Best Dressed” and win prizes.
The main viewing of the races will take place in the Great Hall. Live music will be played courtesy of DJ Cyn, and the surrounding shops and restaurants will all be offering special Derby Day fare and games. (We’ve got our eye on the giant pans of paella that Ultreia is promising to dish out.)
Admission to the Station to view the event is free and open to all ages. Brunch tickets at Cooper Lounge can be purchased here. You can also purchase VIP tickets to reserve a seat on the Cooper Lounge terrace and enjoy bottomless cocktails, including mint juleps and sparkling wine.
Derby Day at Avanti Food & Beverage
Where: 3200 Pecos St
When: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Avanti will be hosting its 7th annual Derby Day celebration this year. The “Collective Eatery” is constructed from modified shipping containers and houses seven different restaurants. Guests on Derby Day can enjoy eclectic cuisine from any one of these restaurants as well as drink specials, live music, a photo booth, and a Best Dressed contest.
Entrance to Avanti for Derby Day is free and open to everyone. If you are interested in booking a private party, you can contact their customer service here. A portion of all proceeds from food and beverage sales will benefit the Interscholastic Equestrian Association.
Stay Safe on Derby Day in Denver 2022
While many of us are looking forward to the first maskless events in Denver this summer, refer to your venue’s website to verify COVID protocols before you head out. Denver also has plenty of ride-share programs and public transportation to help get you home safely after all those mint juleps.
Stay safe and have a fabulous Derby Day!