Where not to go in Louisville if you want to avoid Kentucky Derby crowds

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When asking people around town about their plans for Derby, responses have ranged from, "It's a great time to do yard work" to "Staying the hell away from Churchill." I can't give much advice about tending to your yard. My approach to lawn care issues? $20 and a teenager. But I can share pointers about avoiding Derby revelers---especially as I've been one of them the past two years (sorry 'bout that). Here are some places to avoid this weekend. (And if you're interested in not just avoiding Derby-goers but actually having some fun yourself this weekend, check out our Kentucky Derby-free guide to Louisville). Churchill Downs This one's so obvious you're excused for thinking I included because I get paid by the word. Wrong. I included it to flaunt the fact that I have a press pass that includes access to a beautiful modern media center with a balcony with a great view of the track; free concessions; access to the first, second and third floors as well as the trackside winner's circle; and parking. (Don't hate me too much though--the lack of hand washing going on in the media center men's room makes this place ripe for a swine flu outbreak.) But if you don't have such access, and you probably don't, you'll probably want to avoid the South Central part of town. 4th Street Live No proper Louisvillian would visit this bastion of contrived fun anyway, so there's no point in explaining why you should stay away. Just keep doing what you do the other 51 weekends of the year and you'll be fine. Bardstown Road No one is a bigger fanboy of Bardstown Road and the Highlands than I am (it has a lot to do with why I relocated to Louisville). Avalon, Ramsi's, Twig & Leaf, Cafe Lou Lou, Palermo Viejo, Le Gallo Rosso and Jack Fry's all merit your business. Just not this weekend (plus, without a reservation months in advance, you probably won't be getting a table anyway). Houses of burlesque Guys who travel to watch sporting events love nudie bars even more than they love watery American beers. If you're hoping for a little special attention this weekend from your favorite local lady, be prepared to be disappointed. Strip clubs often bus in out-of-town ringers when there's a big sporting event. And with so much money to be made (have you seen the guy-to-girl ratio in the infield?) don't expect your dance to last a second past the end of the song. (Disclaimer: This paragraph was based on hearsay.) (Photo: Zach Everson)