As a 30-something, single person looking to relocate to a small southern town, I was plagued by the questions of "How will I meet people," "Will there be anything to do around there," "Will I ever find other young people to hang out with on the weekend?" All of these were important questions for someone at my stage of life and the answers weighed heavily into my decision to call Paducah, KY, "home" about two years ago.
After a quick search of the internet I found that Paducah, KY, had so many options for entertainment that I honestly didn't think my social calendar had room for it all. A search through event websites such as www.paducah.travel and www.iListPaducah.com convinced me that I would have no trouble finding things to do and people to do them with.
Upon moving here, I found loads of interesting people and hysterically fun things to do. September is a great month to travel to Paducah, KY. When planning your trip to Paducah's historic downtown and the LowerTown Arts District, you'll want to check out a few of my personal Paducah favorites.
Karaoke and Dancing. I've been a fan of karaoke and dancing most of my adult life and never have I had as much fun or laughed as hard as a night spent doing both at Mother Duncan's, located at 225 Broadway. Every week on Wednesday and Thursday evenings a complete cast of characters shows up to sing a mix of rap, classic country, rock, and singer-songwriter ballads. No where else will you find so many young people mixing with older couples in the community, having the time of their lives every week. Locals unveil their alter-egos at these mixers and invite the audience to get up and dance!
Talented Musicians. For someone coming from a city filled with great local music options every weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find such an array of talented songwriters, singers, and bands living in this community. Stop in at Doe's Eat Place or Fat Moe's on a Saturday night and you'll be amazed at the talent that is housed in this seemingly quiet, river community.
If you're a devoted planner and not a last minute weekend traveler, then Paducah's Live on Broadway event is one you don't want to miss. The event is host to street musicians and performers, offering audiences an array of entertainment options on the street. It begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through mid-September. For a weekly line up of music go to www.paducahmainevents.com.
Good Eats. One of my favorite things to do in Paducah is to eat! There are 20 locally-owned restaurants, delis, coffeehouses and cafes, all housed in historic downtown and the LowerTown Arts District. Every weekend I grab a few of my friends and head out for brunch, lunch, dinner and sometimes just dessert. There is no shortage of places to eat. This is by no means a comprehensive look at all of the culinary greats that Paducah has to offer, but a few of my personal favorites are paninis and soups, gourmet coffee, specialty teas and scones, 2 lb. steaks, gourmet chocolate cakes, cheesecake and homemade ice cream, and the Mexican sandwich. And the list goes on.
History Buffs. If you have any interest in history, then Paducah's historic downtown is home to five outstanding museums, each exploring different aspects of Paducah's history and traditions. Museums such as The River Discovery Center have interactive exhibits for adults and children to explore the workings of the river. One of Paducah's first fire trucks can be found at the William Clark Market House Museum. The Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum allows visitors to gain a better understanding of how important Paducah was during this war.
Photo by Ken Rudolph
A Community of Artists. Some other well-kept secrets Paducah holds are its galleries and studios. One of my favorite Saturday afternoon stops is at Studio Miska where I can watch printmaker, Freda Fairchild, at work. Just about a block over, artist Bill Renzulli offers a home made Italian dinner with the purchase of one of his paintings (and Bill is an outstanding chef!). Another fun place to visit in LowerTown is Working Artist Studio, where Ike and Charlotte Irvin offer workshops in marbling paper and fabrics, as well as in book binding. You can almost always find an artist in residence living and working at A.I.R. Studio, creating all kinds of interesting projects and experimenting with various materials.
Shopping. I have yet to find a better-fitting pair of jeans than what I can buy at Cassitys.' Marilyn, one of the shop's owners, has an eye for finding clothes that look great on her customers. I never leave the store without a bag of retail goodness. Other fun places to shop are the vintage racks at The Victorian Parlor and Fleur di Lis Antiques, as well as Creatures of Habit. Groundfloor Shoes has been serving Paducah's historic downtown for the past 35 years! After all this time they have managed to keep up with the trends, while still providing customers with a great fitting pair of shoes. Hooper's Outdoor Center is one of my favorite places to find outdoor and casual apparel. In fact, right now they have a new shipment of North Face outerwear and casual dresses.
Speaking as a local, there is no shortage of things to do in Paducah's downtown and LowerTown Arts District. There are plenty of places to go, places to shop and a plethora of great things to eat. Make plans to visit Paducah's historic downtown and LowerTown this fall!