Paducah is a beautiful city located in the state of Kentucky. The city is known for its unique culture, history, and stunning natural scenery. There are plenty of things to do and see in Paducah, and you will never find yourself bored. From hiking and biking to visiting historical sites and museums, there is something for everyone in this city. So what are the top things to do in Paducah? Here is a list of The 12 Best Things to Do when visiting Paducah, Kentucky.
1. Take a stroll down through Paducah’s Historic Downtown
Downtown Paducah is a National Historic Landmark District boasting more than 100 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the many antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants, visitors will find a number of historic sites and museums.
A great way to see downtown Paducah is to take a walking tour. The Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a free, self-guided walking tour map that highlights some of the most notable buildings and sites.
Start your tour at the Paducah Riverfront, where you’ll find a number of sculptures and public art installations. Stroll down Broadway to see some of the historic buildings, including the basement flood walls that protected Paducah during the Great Flood of 1937. Be sure to stop at the Paducah Wall to view some of the city’s best contemporary art.
Continue your tour to William Clark Market House Museum, which was built in 1857 and served as a market for local farmers and merchants. Today, the museum houses exhibit on local history and culture. And no visit to Paducah would be complete without a stop at the Market House Square, home to a farmers market, live music, and special events throughout the year.
Other notable sites downtown include the Maiden Alley Cinema and Gallery, the McCracken County Courthouse, and the Yeiser Art Center.
2. Visit the National Quilt Museum
Located in downtown Paducah, The National Quilt Museum is the world’s largest quilt museum and a must-visit for anyone interested in the American quilting tradition.
The museum features three exhibition galleries with rotating exhibitions of traditional and contemporary quilts from around the world. In addition to the exhibitions, the museum also offers educational programs, lectures, and workshops.
Other things to do at The National Quilt Museum include taking a self-guided tour of the quilt galleries or attending one of the museum’s special events. The “Museum Experience” tour is a guided tour and hands-on workshop that teaches visitors about the process of quilt-making.
The National Quilt Museum is just one of the best things to do in Paducah. So if you’re interested in learning more about the American quilting tradition, be sure to check out the museum on your next visit to Paducah.
3. Learn about Paducah’s history at the floodwall murals
Walking along the Paducah Riverfront, you’ll notice over a quarter mile of concrete floodwall adorned with large murals. Painted by local, national, and international artists, the murals depict different aspects of Paducah’s history and culture.
The murals were painted between 1994 and 1999 as part of the city’s floodwall beautification project. After the devastating 1937 flood, Paducah constructed a system of levees and floodwalls to protect the city from future flooding.
In 1994, the Paducah Wall-to-Wall Mural Committee was formed with the goal of turning the blank concrete walls into works of art. The project was completed in 1999, and the murals have since become one of Paducah’s most popular tourist attractions.
The murals range in subject matter, from the city’s founding to the Civil War to the city’s role in the American quilting movement. You can take a self-guided tour of the murals or join a guided tour led by the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Touring the Wall-to-Wall Murals is just one of the many things to do in Paducah. So if you’re interested in learning more about the city’s history, be sure to check out the murals on your next visit to Paducah.
4. Have Fun at Noble Park
With more than 100 acres of green space, Noble Park is the perfect place to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. This scenic park is located along the Ohio River and features a variety of things to do.
The centerpiece of the park is the five-acre lake, which is perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming. Picnic shelters and grills are located throughout the park, making it the perfect spot for a family barbecue or gathering with friends. The park also hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and holiday celebrations.
Another popular thing to do at Noble Park is to take a stroll or bike ride along the Greenway trail. This paved trail is great for all skill levels and provides stunning views of the river.
Whether you’re looking to get active or simply relax in nature, Noble Park is the perfect place to do it. Visiting this scenic park is one of the best things to do in Paducah, Kentucky
5. Visit the Kentucky Oaks Mall
The Kentucky Oaks Mall is the largest shopping mall in Paducah and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. With more than 80 stores, the mall is a shopper’s paradise.
There are several anchor stores at the Kentucky Oaks Mall, including JCPenney, Dillard’s, and Best Buy. In addition to these well-known retailers, there are also a number of unique boutiques and specialty shops.
In addition to an impressive selection of stores, the Kentucky Oaks Mall also features a food court with a variety of quick-service options and several full-service restaurants. There’s also a movie theater and an indoor play area for kids.
The mall is open seven days a week, with extended hours on weekends. It’s easy to spend a whole day at the Kentucky Oaks Mall, especially if you want to hit up all the stores and grab a bite.
Take your time browsing the shops, or try your luck at the nearby casino. Either way, the Kentucky Oaks Mall is a great place to spend a day and should be at the top of your list of things to do in Paducah.
6. Explore the Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum
Located in Paducah’s historic downtown district, the Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum is a must-see for history buffs and anyone interested in the Civil War. The museum is housed in the former home of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman, who was killed in battle during the siege of Vicksburg.
The museum features a variety of exhibits on the Civil War, including a large collection of artifacts belonging to General Tilghman. And in addition to the museum, visitors can also tour the historic Lloyd Tilghman House. The house is furnished with period furniture and features a variety of exhibits on life in the 19th century.
I suggest starting your visit to the Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum with a tour of the museum. This will give you an overview of the exhibits and provide some context for your tour of the house.
7. Explore Shawnee National Forest
One of the best things to do in Paducah is to explore Shawnee National Forest. Covering more than 300,000 acres, Shawnee National Forest is the largest protected area in Illinois and home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
The forest offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, and horseback riding. There are more than 300 miles of trails to explore, including the popular River to River Trail. The trail runs for more than 140 miles through the forest and is perfect for hikers of all skill levels.
In addition to its many recreational opportunities, Shawnee National Forest is also home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. This trail commemorates the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their homeland in the southeastern United States.
Shawnee National Forest is also home to a variety of scenic lookouts and natural features. Garden of the Gods, for example, is a unique rock formation that is popular with photographers and nature lovers.
If all these reasons are not enough to get you excited about a trip to Shawnee National Forest, consider this: the forest is also one of the best places in the country to see fall foliage. So, if you’re looking for places to visit in Paducah in autumn, this is definitely the place to be.
8. Stroll along greenway Trail
The Greenway Trail is a scenic, paved trail that runs along the Ohio River in Paducah. The trail is named for former Paducah mayor Clyde F. Boyles, who was instrumental in the development of the city’s riverfront park system.
The greenway trail is just part of Paducah’s extensive park system, including over 100 acres of parks and green space. The trail is perfect for walking, running, biking, or rollerblading and offers stunning views of the river and skyline.
The trailhead for the Greenway Trail is located at Noble Park, which also features a playground, pavilion, and sand volleyball courts. The trail winds its way through the park and along the riverfront before ending near the convention center parking lot.
Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera when you visit Paducah so you can explore the Greenway Trail and all the city’s parks and green spaces.
9. Take a walk on the wild side at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Paducah that are a little more on the wild side, look no further than Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. This 170,000-acre recreation area is located between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley and is managed by the United States Forest Service.
Land Between the Lakes offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, horseback riding, and more. There are also several educational opportunities, such as the Woodlands Nature Centre and the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm. The Woodlands Nature Centre is a great place to learn about the local flora and fauna. At the same time, the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm is a living history museum that allows visitors to experience what life was like on a working farm in the mid-19th century.
And finally, don’t forget to stop by the Elk & Bison Prairie. This 700-acre enclosure is home to a herd of elk and bison that roam freely. It’s the perfect place to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
10. Wander through the Paducah Railroad Museum
For a fascinating look at Paducah’s vibrant railroad history, be sure to stop by the Paducah Railroad Museum. This top attraction in Paducah tells the story of how this small town became a major railroad hub in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The museum is located in an old train depot, which has been restored to its original glory. Visitors can explore three floors of exhibits, which detail the history of Paducah’s railroad industry. The museum also features a large collection of artifacts, photos, and documents.
Interactive displays bring the exhibits to life, and there are also a few locomotives and passenger cars on display outside. The museum is open From Wednesday through Saturday, and guided tours are available upon request.
11. Take a Food Tour
Away from the hustle of mainstream tourism, Paducah’s food scene is often overlooked. But this charming city has a lot to offer in terms of culinary delights. One of the best ways to get a taste of Paducah’s food scene is to take a food tour. This is a great way to learn about the city’s history and culture while sampling some delicious local cuisine.
You can choose from a variety of different food tours, each with its own unique flavor. For example, the Historic Downtown Paducah Food Tour takes you on a walking tour of the city’s historic downtown area, with stops at local restaurants and cafes. Or, for a more comprehensive experience, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Food Tour, which includes a visit to a local bourbon distillery.
Popular foods to try in Paducah include Kentucky barbeque, hot tamales, and country ham. But with so many different restaurants and cafes to choose from, you’ll definitely find something to suit your taste. So be sure to include a food tour on your list of top things to do in Paducah during your next visit.
12. The River Discovery Center
The River Discovery Center is a great place to learn about the heritage and importance of the surrounding Four Rivers Basin area. Through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and various educational programs, the River Discovery Center strives to educate visitors of all ages about the rivers.
One of the most popular attractions at the River Discovery Center is the Boat Simulator. Here, visitors can get a taste of what it’s like to pilot a riverboat. The simulator is an exact replica of the cockpit of a towboat, and visitors can control the speed, direction, and even sound the horn.
Other interactive exhibits highlight the importance of the rivers for transportation, recreation, and even as a source of power. Visitors can also learn about the various wildlife that inhabits the rivers and the steps taken to conserve the ecosystem. I suggest checking the River Discovery Center’s website before your visit, as their calendar is packed with special events and programs.
You can’t go wrong with any of the things to do in Paducah that I have mentioned. All of them are great options for a fun-filled day or two in this scenic city. So get out there and explore all the things that Paducah has to offer.