Charming Small Towns | Paducah, Kentucky Best Western Experience | Travel Zone by Best Western

Charming Small Towns | Paducah, Kentucky

By Stuart Hughes

Nestled along the picturesque banks of where the Tennessee River joins the mighty Ohio River sits the historic town of Paducah, Kentucky. Once an American Civil War battleground and a pioneering transportation and trade hub – these days Paducah has transformed itself into a vibrant tourist destination. With so many things to do in Paducah, visitors are drawn to exploring the city’s fascinating role in history, surrounded by its striking riverside settings. 

Also known as Quilt City USAPaducah revels in its recognition of also having been named a UNESCO Creative City. From its stunning Paducah floodwall murals and annual events, including the Lower Town Arts & Music Festival, the city has a wealth of reasons to visit. Whether it’s a family vacation you’re after or a romantic escape, there’s something Paducah, Kentucky, for every tourist to come and see. 

Paducah’s Historic Lower Town Arts District and Riverfront 

We start our tour of the top things to do in Paducah by heading downtown and riverfront areas to tour this historic area. Best known for its Paducah art scene, we first head to the radiant Lower Town Arts District. Now home to several top Kentucky artists, you can explore the countless artist studios, galleries, and communal art events that attract visitors nationwide. 

The most anticipated event on the Lower Town Arts District calendar is undoubtedly the Lower Town Arts & Music Festival. Held every May, this famous family-friendly Paducah event offers attendees a rich mix of live music, irresistible cuisine, and the chance to check out the incredible artworks available to buy from the best of the region’s artists. 

Continuing the artistic theme, we suggest visiting the Riverside area to discover the decorative Paducah floodwall murals. Originally built to protect the city after a major flood in 1937, today, the gigantic walls contain over 50 paintings that portray the city’s rich history in the form of the Paducah murals, which make for an excellent self-guided tour. 

Fascinating and educational tours of Paducah’s museums 

Paducah’s rise in significance can be credited to its crucial transportation links via river and rail networks spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. To honor this historical connection to the railway sector, a visit to the Paducah Railroad Museum has become a must-see attraction in the city. 

Providing enjoyment for adults and kids alike, the Paducah Railroad Museum features a collection of authentic, massive locomotive engines, an interactive railroad simulator for a hands-on experience of driving a train, and a remarkable model railway track. Brimming with original artifacts and railroad memorabilia, the highly informative Paducah Railroad Museum is one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Paducah. 

Not surprisingly, Paducah celebrates its status as the ‘Quilt Capital of the World’ by homing the amazing National Quilt Museum. As America’s premier quilt museum, it showcases a stunning collection of quilts and textile art designed to honor the intricate details of the craft and inspire future quilters of America. Not to be missed, the American Quilters Society’s QuiltWeek festival is the highlight of the quilting diary held annually in April; it attracts enthusiasts from all corners of North America. 

Paducah’s Top Food and Drink Hot Spots 

With so many things to do in Paducah, you’re likely to start getting thirsty – luckily, the city offers refreshing craft beer and locally produced wines to satisfy your cravings.  

Our first stop sees us heading to the impressive Paducah Beer Werks to try their range of medal-winning craft-brewed beers. With a pub, restaurant, and outdoor patio space, patrons can savor a selection of over twenty taps offering house-brewed amber nectar as well as an acclaimed offering from other popular neighboring Kentucky breweries. 

For the wine connoisseurs among you, the local Purple Toad Winery staff also has a treat for you. As Kentucky’s most awarded winery, you can try an excellent array of Napa Valley-inspired wines grown on what was a golf-driving range previously. Tours of the estate provide a wonderful insight into the growing techniques, culminating with a chance to taste their award-winning wines. 

To round off our tour of the best things to do in Paducah, you must also stop for a meal at the Freight House restaurant, where fine dining meets seasonal farm-to-table cuisine. Here, you can delight in the locally sourced meats, fruits, and vegetables sourced in partnerships within the local community for a great meal every time. 

With year-round activities and things to do in Paducah, don’t be a stranger. 

You may want to come for the friendly local hospitality or its love of history and artistic heritage; a trip to Paducah, Kentucky, always makes for the perfect vacation escape. Whether you’re on a pilgrimage to the Lower Town Arts & Music Festival or its River’s Edge International Film Festival, the city of Paducah will keep you entertained. 

Enjoy exploring the fantastic historic downtown, Riverfront, and Noble Park areas of this great city before experiencing an excellent night’s sleep every night by booking at the Best Western Paducah Inn in Paducah, Kentucky. 

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