I have to admit, I never thought I would be one to visit Paducah, Kentucky.
But one day I inadvertently found myself there, and I’m better for it.
Getting to know this fun little artistic city and surrounding area was an eye-opening delight, and there is certainly a little something for everyone in and around the “Quilt City”.
Paducah, KY – The Best Place You Never Wanted To Visit
Laid out in 1827 by William Clark (of the famous Lewis & Clark western expedition) the town sits at the convergence of the Columbia and Ohio rivers.
River life has played an important part in this city throughout its history including the town’s complete flooding of 1937.
After this historic flood, the U.S. Corp of Engineers built a protective wall guarding against the river which today is a focal point of the city decorated with beautiful murals commemorating the area’s history which is rich and vibrant.
Murals are not the only art in Paducah. Opened in 1991 the National Quilt Museum literally turned this little riverside town into the “Quilt City”.
Each year, the museum attracts more than fifty thousand people from throughout the world. This led to a surge in fiber arts and in 2013 Paducah received a unique distinction. The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Paducah, Kentucky, the world’s seventh City of Crafts & Folk Art for the City’s important role in the connectivity of cultures through creativity.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network comprises 116 member cities in 54 countries designated in seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. This designation has created many partnerships between Paducah and various cities throughout the world, and these influences are seen throughout the city.
Cashing in on its strengths, artistic cultures are on display wherever you look. Be it the culinary arts in the many restaurants and distilleries, the visual arts on display in stores, public places and museums, and a burgeoning local music scene which has launched musicians such as Steven Curtis Chapman, the top-selling Christian artist of all time.
In addition to all of Paducah’s offerings, it’s located near one of the south’s most beautiful destinations, Land between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
Formed in 1963, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area manages over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
The family-friendly recreation area offers one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern United States. With 300 miles of natural shoreline, lake access provides idyllic settings for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, and water sports.
Another nearby attraction for Paducah lies just across the Ohio River, and is a must-visit if you are in the area. That is the city of Metropolis, IL with its Superman Museum and Superman town square statue.
A trip to Paducah takes about 4 hours one way, so this for a quick, convenient, off the beaten path weekend get-away.