Tucked between the Marais des Cygnes and Pottawatomie rivers, Osawatomie thrives as an up-and-coming city with a little something for everyone.
Osawatomie is home to the Flint Hills Trail “Mile Zero” Trailhead. The trailhead is the easternmost terminus for the 118-mile rail-to-trail that is the seventh longest in the United States. The trailhead offers plenty of parking for equestrians, cyclists or hikers looking for any variety of trail exploration. Take a mini scavenger hunt before your hike and look for more than 20 painted bikes scattered around town in celebration of the trailhead.
Stop by the corner of 5th and Main Street to see a mural featuring John Brown, the historic Creamery Bridge, and classic Kansas iconography such as a railroad line, sunflower, stalk of wheat and honeybee. In front of the mural, snap a memory by placing yourself in the “I” of the Mile Zero bike rack.
Osawatomie’s history traces back to 1854 when abolitionists laid claim to the territory. Famous abolitionist John Brown’s time in Osawatomie began Bleeding Kansas and brought the battle against slavery to the national stage. This history is highlighted at the Osawatomie History Museum and the Mo-Pac Railroad Depot Museum.
Recognized nationally as one of the towns whose sparks ignited the Civil War, Osawatomie boasts seven sites on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Old Stone Church (First Congregational Church), Creamery Bridge, Pottawatomie Creek Bridge, Asylum Bridge (First Street), the Mills House, Soldiers’ Monument and the John Brown Museum State Historic Site in John Brown Memorial Park, where the storied Battle of Osawatomie was fought.
For a quieter day outdoors, the Osawatomie City Lake is a small, serene spot for fishing and non-motorized watercraft located just a few minutes north of town. Heading back over the Creamery Bridge, fishermen are always excited for snagging season. Osawatomie boasts one of the only spots for paddlefishing in Kansas, March 15 through May 15.
Nestled alongside the lake is the Osawatomie Golf Course. The 18-hole municipal golf course offers a clubhouse, food and beverages, a pro shop, driving range and practice green.
Year-round recreation and exercise can be found at the O-Zone Sport and Fitness Facility and Aquatics Center, the only facility in Miami County with fitness equipment, daycare, gymnasium, lap pool, warm pool, aquatics park, sports programs and classes. The outdoor pool is open May through August and is the place to be on a hot day.
The Karl E. Cole Sports Complex offers a playground, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, a full-service concession stand and restroom facility.
Flint Hills Nature Trail
Midway Drive In
Marais des Cygnes River
Osawatomie offers a range of community events year-round.
The nostalgic John Brown Jamboree highlights the month of June. It features a classic Thursday night parade and end the night at the carnival with a cloud of cotton candy. The annual baby contest, car show, craft fair, and entertainment galore can be found during this picture-worthy weekend.
The Lights on the Lake festival is an independence-worthy celebration ending with a live concert and a larger-than-life firework display over the lake. This event offers family-friendly fun that keeps the entertainment going all day long.
Celebrate Osawatomie’s rich history each September with the Freedom Festival. John Brown Memorial Park hosts this two-day event featuring battle reenactments, handcrafts, music, food and family-oriented activities.
Home to the Border War BBQ contest, this October smoke-off lives up to its name for competition. Competitors from across the country come together to battle it out on the grill and in the smoker.
Every October, the Spook Parade welcomes hundreds of families to celebrate the littlest of monsters with a too-cute parade down Main Street followed by trick-or-treating at local businesses.
Make holiday shopping even easier at the Holiday Festival in December! Local city partners come together each Christmas season and host a craft fair, Santa pictures, tree lighting and Gingerbread Breakaway Race Downtown!
While in town, be on the lookout for the perfect pitstop!
The China Restaurant is a savory staple with crispy Crab Rangoon and delicious garlic chicken served family style or to-go!
La Hacienda satisfies any south-of-the-border cravings. Be sure to check out their daily specials!
The Drive-in at Midway is one of only five drive-ins left in the state. Check out their expanded season which includes a spooktacular October and cocoa-filled holiday season. Located “midway” between Osawatomie and Paola, this venue is a must for families and kids of all ages.
On Point Catering, conveniently sitting on 6th Street, offers dream-worthy ice cream, homemade waffle cones, and grab-n-go meals from their kitchen.
Shoot House Paintball is quite the group attraction with buildings, obstacles, barriers and more than 3 acres of fun just waiting for its next players. Shoot House has big plans for 2023 that include a custom, 18-hole disc golf course and more!
A visit to Whistle Stop Café is a must. Stop in for the downhome comfort food and stick around for stories passed down from generations of railroaders.
Of course, no trip to Osawatomie would be complete without a stop into one of the local shops, salons, and other businesses. Local florist Hitomi’s Little Flower Shop boasts a handpicked collection of gifts and other home decor, and Auten Pharmacy continues to expand their gift shop with a great selection for any budget. Ceramic Studio is the perfect place to hang out with friends and paint custom pottery pieces like mugs, holiday decor, and more. The Palace Market keeps customers happy with a selection of jams, jellies, fresh produce, and a deli counter - stop there to eat or grab a token of Osawatomie to take home. From Wild Cactus Hair Co.'s newly opened and trendy boutique salon experience, Pat’s Signs ever-busy printing presses to Donna and Viola’s Shirts & Etc. custom T-shirt and embroidery shop and all the places in between, Osawatomie has something for everyone.