I have never in my life heard someone say, “Let’s go visit Paducah, Kentucky.” I haven’t even heard, “I’ve been to Paducah.” So sad, really. This city of 25,000 in southwestern Kentucky, located at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers, has got it goin’ on, and I’m here to tell you about it.
Why did we visit Paducah? I have no idea. We were on our way back from Chattanooga to Chicago, and it looked like a good place to spend a few days. Due to reading something random previously on the internet, I knew that the city was designated a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art.
And I knew it had breweries. Good enough for us!
What’s really cool about Paducah is that – like Chattanooga – the city seems to care about itself. The entire, historic downtown has been renovated and revitalized. In fact, 20 blocks of this area are a designated historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture is fantastic, and the city center feels welcoming.
Paducah has invested heavily in the arts, and actually wants artists to come to live and work. While the city – like any other city – has its share of issues, the investment and pride in itself is paying off in a big way. It’s home to a bunch of murals as well, and the National Quilt Museum, which my mom would most certainly love.
So, let’s see some flicks about what we did while in Paducah!
Our first eve there, we stopped by the Italian Grill on Broadway, which came highly recommended from the good folks at our hotel. This joint serves from-scratch pasta and other delicious treats, and it hit the spot quite nicely!
So yeah, that was a proper food coma.
As you may know from other posts, we like to get out and take in some local culture. And by that, we mean car racing! In this case, anyway. We found out there was a dirt track nearby, so we headed out to the races. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too exciting or crowded on this particular day, and the place didn’t serve beer (blasphemy!).
We still enjoyed some rounds of races and watched the kids do their things in mini sprint cars as well.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day, we headed downtown to have a stroll and check out more of what it has to offer.
There’s art and architecture for days around here. I especially dug the tile work on this building.
Don’t know why, just thought it was funky!
Heading down by the river, we came across one of Paducah’s most famous and memorable art projects: the Wall to Wall mural program. The entire flood wall that separates the city from the river is painted with over 50 murals by artist Robert Dafford and his team. It’s a sight to behold, and something that every city should aspire to.
It feels like it goes on for days! And that’s a good thing, of course.
Peeking around the flood wall, we also stood for a while and watched the barges go by.
Ducking out from the heat, we dropped by local spot Shandies, which serves up great food and drink.
Back outside, we passed by the aforementioned National Quilt Museum, and had to get a picture for Mom. 🙂
Guess what? Brewery time!
Paducah has some real gems for breweries, and we had to be sure to check them out ourselves. You know, for research.
Dry Ground Brewing Co. is located in the old Coca-Cola bottling facility, a very historic building and one that was actually filled with tons of Coca-Cola history when the owners bought the building. It had so much of it, in fact, that the Coca-Cola corporate historian came for a visit. The whole place is really, really fascinating.
And as neat as that all is, we were here for the beer!
Dry Ground is serious business. And we made sure to respect that serious business. Repeatedly!
As you can see by the above taps, they also have other brews available if you want to try something else. We were here for their beer only, though, and we had a mighty fine time being taste testers for all of you. And we also had to get some to go, naturally.
So delicious, so memorable.
Another brewery we visited is also housed in a very historic location. It’s a location I’ve not yet seen used for a brewery – or any other business, for that matter – and I am totally in love with what they did here.
Welcome to Paducah Beer Werks, located in the old Paducah bus station!
So freaking cool. Also, they have delicious food and beer.
Ever had fried pepperoni? You need to, immediately.
One thing I want to point out are these signs we saw in local coffee shop, Etcetera. The espresso was not up to standard for us – an unfortunate experience we have with too many local coffee shops and always hope is a one-off – but we really have a lot of respect for this. And everyone should see it. So…
If only all other business owners out there would have such respect.
And that’s nearly it! Also, a shot of the gifts given to Louis at our hotel. Watching him try to figure this out was just too hilarious.
Hasta luego from Paducah!
Be sure to check out our other Fabric of America posts.
A very special and very big thanks to everyone in Paducah, especially all the fine folks we met at all the places we visited. Thanks to all of you for being so wonderful.
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Have you ever been to Paducah? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!