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For other places with the same name, see Paducah (disambiguation).

Paducah is a small city on the Ohio River about midway between St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee. The county seat of McCracken County and the largest city in the Jackson Purchase area of western Kentucky, Paducah has a booming riverfront restaurant trade and arts scene in part driven by the city's artist relocation program which offers interest-free housing loans and other subsidies for established artists willing to relocate. Paducah is the hometown of humorist Irvin Cobb and former Vice President Alben Barkley (who served under President Harry S. Truman). Fans of contemporary Christian music will know it as the hometown of Steven Curtis Chapman, one of that genre's most iconic artists.

Restaurants and shops line both sides of the old Market House in downtown Paducah

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Most visitors will arrive by car: Interstate Highway 24 describes a semi-circle around Paducah from the northwest where it crosses the Ohio River into Southern Illinois to the southeast where it meets Interstate 69 at Gilbertsville, near Kentucky Lake. You could also reach Paducah from the east or the west using U.S. Highway 60. Travelers coming from the south or southwest on I-69 (the former Purchase Parkway) should take Exit 25 (U.S. Highway 45) on the north side of Mayfield and turn left (north on 45); from there, Paducah is about a half-hour drive along a four-lane highway.

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Barkley Regional Airport (PAH  IATA) (4 miles west of town). There are a few commercial flights per day with United Express from Cape Girardeau and Chicago–O'Hare. Barkley Regional Airport (Q2785389) on Wikidata Barkley Regional Airport on Wikipedia

Most locals however prefer to fly out of Nashville International Airport (BNA).

By bus[edit]

Greyhound offers plenty of bus services, there are daily departures from Memphis, Nashville and St. Louis. 2 Greyhound Bus Station is on 2719 Irvin Cobb Dr, south of the city.

By boat[edit]

Where the Tennessee River meets the Ohio River, just upstream from where the Ohio meets the Mississippi. River boats, like the Delta Queen(no longer in service), often stopped at the riverfront in Paducah.

Get around[edit]

Map of Paducah

Paducah is served by a limited network of buses, Paducah Area Transit System has three lines with departures every hour during daytime.


  • Market District. Revitalized starting in the early 1990s, Paducah's riverfront downtown boasts a charming restaurants, shops, museums and an active farmer's market. A particularly unique offering is that of the mural-covered Ohio River flood walls, which are well worth an afternoon of your time and make for a pleasant stroll.
  • Lowertown Arts District. The centerpiece of Paducah's Artist Relocation Program, Lowertown plays host to a dozen or so art galleries of varying reputation, one of the most friendly coffee houses ever and a fine-dining fusion style restaurant. How could you go wrong? In general the feel of the neighborhood is reminiscent of New Orleans' Garden District, at least before Hurricane Katrina. If you make art yourself, the city might even be willing to buy you a house here.


Flood Wall Murals
  • Flood wall murals. Enjoy the larger than life murals created by Robert Dafford on the flood wall as you walk down scenic 2nd street near the river.
  • 1 National Quilt Museum, 215 Jefferson St, +1 270-442-8856, . National Quilt Museum (Q6975149) on Wikidata National Quilt Museum on Wikipedia
  • 2 River Discovery Center, 117 S Water St, +1 270-575-9958. M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Simulations of commerce on the river to demonstrate its importance.
  • 3 Whitehaven, +1 270-554-2077, . Historic home and state welcome center. At I-24 Exit 7 (Lone Oak Road). Many local high schoolers have their prom photos taken here, so it gets very busy on those nights. Whitehaven (Q55642680) on Wikidata Whitehaven (Paducah, Kentucky) on Wikipedia
  • William Clark Market House Museum.
  • Yeiser Art Center, 200 Broadway (Market House Square).



  • Quilt Show. April: Visitors from around the world come to Paducah to see the AQS Quilt Show & Contest. And shop and visit with each other.
  • Dogwood Trail. April: Usually around the same time as the Quilt Show, the city marks out a driving tour of the city, where the blooming dogwood trees are illuminated.
  • LowerTown Fine Art & Music Festival. May: All day event, art, music, food vendors and dancing in the streets. Live jazz, blues, salsa & zydeco music. Around 7th & Monroe.
  • River's Edge Film Festival. August: First-class international film festival, held at Maiden Alley Cinema .
  • Barbeque on the River. September: The downtown parking lot, between the Floodwall Murals and 2nd Street, is filled with vendors selling BBQ of course, but also cheesecake-on-a-stick, deep fried oreos, local treat Dippin' Dots, baked goods, and more. Live music on the stage at the floodwall. A friendly rivalry continues between many of the yearly competitors for the top prizes. A craft fair is usually held simultaneously along the edges of the Quilt Museum.
  • August 8th Black Family Celebration-August the 8th was the day that the word had reached Paducah Slaves that Slavery had been abolished by the signing of the Emanicipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Black people from around the country come to Paducah to celebrate this event which includes open markets/street vendors/good food/music/African dance and other events including your "neighborhood block party" at the Community Center on 7th Street.



(On the Second Saturday of every month, most lowertown galleries remain open until 8PM.)


(Downtown After Dinner program runs Saturday nights April–October, and most businesses remain open late. Broadway is usually blocked off from the riverfront to 7th Street (cross streets remain open) to allow a street-fair like atmosphere complete with live musical performances. Antique cars are often displayed on Broadway between the riverfront and 2nd Street, and along 2nd Street.)


Other shopping[edit]


  • Chongs. There are several locations of this local Chinese restaurant in town. The nicest is by the mall, and the one on Jackson Street has a buffet.
  • Cynthia's, 125 Market House Square, +1 270-443-3319.
  • Gold Rush Cafe, 400 Broadway St, +1 270-477-9995
  • Flamingo Row, At I-24 Exit 4, behind Home Depot. The fillymingo stuffed breads are a must-try.
  • Italian Village Pizza, 125 S. 3rd St, +1 270-442-9500.
  • Kirchhoff's Bakery, Deli & Market, 116 Market House Square, +1 270-442-7117. If you've never been to Kirchhoff's, get a sandwich (and a cookie) -- just make sure to sample something from their bakery, which has been family-owned since 1873.
  • Max's Brick Oven Café, 112 Market House Sq., +1 270-575-3473. Sometimes it can be hard to find good bread in small-town America. That's why it can be such a thrill to find a place like Max's.
  • Backwoods BBQ, 5172 Hinkleville Rd, +1 270-441-7427. Family restaurant with BBQ pork, ribs, chicke ribs, pork, custom cooking & catering, and chicken. The pulled pork is prepared just right, not drowned in sauce to mask the flavor. It is slightly smokey, very tender, and juicy. The ribs are fantastic. The meat literally falls off the bone and they use a special dry rub that has an exceptional flavor.



  • Duck Creek Campground, (60 sites) 2540 John Puryear Dr. Exit 11 off I-24, +1 270-415-0404. Game room, water, sewer, store, primitive camping.
  • Fern Lake Campground, (60 sites) 5535 Cairo Rd. Exit 3 off I-24. Water, sewer, and dump station. 30 & 50 amp, paved & gravel interior roads, some shade, 30 pull-throughs, bath house and laundry facility. +1 270-444-7939
  • 1 1857 Guest House, 127 1/2 Market House Square, +1 270-933-1857, fax: +1 270-444-6309. 127 Market House Square.
  • Fisher Mansion Bed & Breakfast, 901 Jefferson St, +1 270-443-0716. Restored Queen Anne with nice antique furnishing.
  • Fox Briar Inn at RiverPlace, 100 C Broadway, +1 270-443-7004, +1 877-FOX-INN1 (369-4661). Distinguished by jacuuzis in some of the rooms, a kitchen for guest use and nice river views.
  • Holiday Inn Paducah Riverfront, 600 N 4th St, +1 270-366-7614, toll-free: +1 888-465-4329.
  • 2 Paducah Harbor Plaza Bed & Breakfast, 117 N 2nd St, +1 270-556-3094. Just blocks from the Ohio river; renovated.


By phone[edit]

Most telephone numbers in Paducah, as well as the Purchase area, consist of +1 270 plus a seven-digit number, but the entire region is now served by an overlay complex of two area codes, with +1 364 being the second. A local or in-state telephone call now requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 270 before these if no area code is indicated.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Paducah
Pulleys MillMetropolis  W  E  Calvert CityNashville
ChampaignMetropolis  N  S  → Splits into and JacksonTupelo
SikestonCairo  W  E  HendersonEvansville via
SikestonCairo  W  E  Calvert CityElizabethtown
END  W  E  AuroraBowling Green

This city travel guide to Paducah is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.