Explore the Evolution of Downtown Owensboro

It wasn’t too long ago that Owensboro’s downtown riverfront wasn’t much more than a grassy bank dotted with park benches and one boat dock. But these days, visitors are getting an entirely new experience when they travel to Owensboro, and our downtown riverfront is one of the top attractions visitors seek out.


And that’s for good reason. After years in development, downtown Owensboro received a makeover several years ago in the form of a six-acre project that included waterfront views and updated sidewalks, multiple fountains, speakers playing music along light-adorned pathways, and one of the most famous playgrounds in the world at Smothers Park. 


Between 2008 and 2013, those investments generated a $1 billion economic impact for the City of Owensboro. 


But that’s not all that’s happened over the last few years. Downtown Owensboro also built the Owensboro Convention Center, which has garnered nationwide fame for both its incredible architecture and world-class facilities. 


On top of that, downtown Owensboro added two – and soon to be three – riverfront hotels that not only made it possible to have large-scale conventions in our city, but gave tourists beautiful waterfront views from their hotel rooms. The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Downtown Owensboro/Waterfront and Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront are two of the nicest, most modern hotels you’ll find in the state of Kentucky and have supported our local tourism industry in immeasurable ways. 


Top all of that off with a Owensboro’s first local brewery in over 100 years (The Brew Bridge), countless new restaurants, bars and shops, and amazing music venues such as the RiverPark Center and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and you’ve got a downtown that any tourist would be excited to visit – all right here in Owensboro.