Each one of UNESCO's 116 Creative Cities is a hotbed of culture and the arts. Representing the fields of crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music, and media arts, these urban hubs span the globe—and six of them can be found right here in the United States. Take a photo tour and see why Budget Travel always has, and always will, support UNESCO's mission.

Paducah, Kentucky - Crafts & Folk Art

Located halfway between St. Louis and Nashville at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, this city of 25,000 is home to both the American Quilter’s Society and the National Quilt Museum, hosting biannual quilt festivals with exhibits, events, vendors, classes, and lectures and serving as a year-round mecca for fiber artists and enthusiasts alike. (In 2016 alone, travel and tourism to the city and surrounding county generated $226.8 million in direct expenditures.) But Paducah’s dedication to craft doesn’t end at quilt-making. Scope out the floodwall murals for a concrete example of the community’s commitment to public art, take a ceramics class or a makeup workshop, stroll through the revitalized Lower Town Arts District, where working artists, students, and artists-in-residence live, and visit the Paducah School of Art & Design campus, then celebrate the culinary arts with a meal at Freight House, a local favorite that’s generating national buzz. For a pit stop, may we suggest a craft beer at a repurposed Coca-Cola plant or Greyhound station, or a moonshine tasting at a localdistillery? Or see something completely different: Harry Truman veep Alben Barkley is a native son of Paducah, and a collection of his memorabilia is on display at a historic home that doubles as a highway welcome center—the only one in the country.

By Maya Stanton, Budget Travel

View this feature of Paducah and fellow U.S. Creative Cities here!