Pawhuska, Oklahoma is home to the Osage Nation.

Pawhuska, Oklahoma – A Visit To Osage Country

We’ve known for years that the treasures of the United States aren’t found on the interstates. It’s the small towns and cities that fall around and between these thoroughfares that hold the essence of life in America. Lying northeast of Tulsa, you’ll find Pawhuska, Oklahoma. This town gained fame as the home of the Pioneer Woman. Our visit taught us that it has long been the headquarters of the Osage tribal government. The blend of Native and Western cultures has created a destination that draws thousands of visitors annually.

The Osage Nation Museum is a good resource to learn about the tribe.

Osage Nation in Pawhuska

The Osage people are one of the native nations of the Great Plains. They migrated west, in the 1660s, to distance themselves from the growth of the Iroquois nation. By the early 1800s, the Osage had become a dominant power in the Midwest region. This would change with the expansion of the new American government. Before the end of the 19th century, the Osage would be forced into their present-day area in northern Oklahoma. The Osage were one of the few tribes who purchased their lands, as well as the mineral rights. This would prove to be beneficial to the tribe members when vast oil reserves were discovered on their property. You can learn more about the culture of the tribe by visiting the Osage Nation Museum. This FREE attraction is located near downtown Pawhuska.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is a huge draw in Pawhuska.

Pioneer Woman

We first heard of Pawhuska during reference to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile. Ree and Ladd Drummond have transformed a 100-year old building into a showcase of Americana. As we shopped, we noticed modern versions of many items that were present in our grandparent’s kitchens. Heading upstairs, we discovered a bakery stocked with sweet treats. They even have a deli, which was the perfect spot for a delicious lunch.  

No visit to pawhuska would be complete without a stop at the Ben Johnson Museum.

Ben Johnson Museum

While the Pioneer Woman may be a huge draw for Pawhuska, it’s not the only attraction in town. Just a couple of blocks away is the Ben Johnson Museum. This hidden gem holds an array of western and movie memorabilia from one of my favorite cowboy stars. We enjoyed seeing the long list of steer roping champions. They even have a setup for visitors to try their hand at roping. While we decided to skip it, there was a family that jumped in and gave it a shot. 

We found some cute shops in he historic downtown.

Shop Till You Drop in Pawhuska

After the museum, we strolled back downtown to do a little more shopping. We had spotted some boutiques earlier in the day and decided that we would visit, if time allowed. The focus seems to be on the western style, which was just fine with us. Crystal was able to find a cute skirt, while I picked up a couple of bracelets at The Buckin’ Flamingo. All-in-all, we felt like it was a successful shopping adventure.

Trigger's BBQ was the perfect fit for an evening meal.

Trigger's BBQ

All of this fun had triggered our appetites, so we asked a few locals for their recommendations. The majority pointed us toward Trigger’s BBQ. You know we weren’t afraid to tackle some barbecue, so we headed over to check them out. One of their sampler meals seemed the perfect fit for two. Our choice included pulled pork, brisket, and sausage. The meal included two sides, so we chose some cheesy potatoes and dirty rice. The food was so good that we were surprised to learn the place had only been around since 2020.

Barbecue coated fingers comes with the job when visiting a restaurant in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Loving The Pawhuska Vibe

By the time we finished our meal, I had barbecue coated fingers, but I’m not complaining. Our time in Pawhuska, Oklahoma had been filled with fun and fascinating discoveries. It was another reminder that getting off the interstate can bring big rewards. The town is about a four-hour drive from Kansas City, so it’s on the furthest edge of what we consider a day trip. If you choose to spend the night, they have some cute lodging options around town. We’d love to hear about your visits to this unique town. Drop us a note in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Until then, travel safely!

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