Searching for things to do in Pawhuska, Oklahoma? Look no further. You’ve come to the right place.
We’re Steve and Ann Teget and in 2017, we stopped in Pawhuska for lunch at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. We were intrigued by this unique place and a year later, we bought a home in Pawhuska. We now enjoy spending time with family and friends in what we think, is one of our nation’s very best small towns.
People are always asking us for ideas on things to do in Pawhuska, so we created this list of 70 things to do here! There’s not enough time in one day to do everything on this list, so plan to book a few days and enjoy your stay.
Note: We were not paid or compensated by any of the residents or businesses mentioned in this post. This compilation is simply our gift to visitors of Pawhuska and the kind and generous people who call Pawhuska home.
1. Pour a pop at Handy’s
Handy’s is a convenience store that doesn’t sell gas or have a public restroom. What they do have is the best fountain pop in Pawhuska, offering both Coke and Pespi products and three choices of ice — cubed, pellet, or shaved. Be sure to snap a photo with twin sisters and owners, Martha and Margie. Oh, and there’s another little secret about Handy’s you can read about HERE.
2. Book an Airbnb in town
Pawhuska doesn’t have a chain hotel, but it does have dozens of highly-rated Airbnbs, including ours called Postcard Place. Featured in The Pioneer Woman Magazine, Postcard Place is a three-bedroom cozy cottage with lots of amenities that impress guests. Book your stay HERE.
3. Learn about the Osage Nation
Stop by the Osage Visitor’s Center on your way into town. Learn about the Osages’ history there and then visit the Osage Nation Museum. It is the oldest tribally owned museum in the country and will give you a good overview of the tribe and its remarkable history.
PIN FOR LATER
4. Shop at The PW Mercantile
At The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, you can get the best plastic wrap dispenser ever made and much more! Shop your heart out in Ree Drummond’s store and come back often as inventory changes seasonally. You’ll find kitchen gadgets, gift items, home decor, cookbooks, and Drummond Ranch merch.
5. Stand in awe of the stained glass
There’s nothing quite like the German-made stained glass windows at the Immaculate Conception Church. The most famous window shows Father Shoenmaker bringing Catholicism to the Osage people and it is awe inspiring. While you’re there, step outside into the garden to see the Blessed Kateri Shrine of the West.
6. See where the movie was made
Look around town for remnants of sets used in the movie, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Director Martin Scorsese and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Robert De Niro were all in Pawhuska the summer of 2021 to film much of the movie here. The photo below is what downtown Pawhuska looked like while they were filming on Kihekah Ave.
7. Indulge in ice cream
Ree Drummond’s Charlie’s Sweet Shop serves up Tillamook ice cream creations that are worth every calorie. We recommend the Bakery Blast sundae or a scoop of Huckleberry ice cream. You can also find ice cream at McDonalds, Sonic, and the local grocery store’s freezer section. We love the Blue Bell ice cream there.
8. Shop local at a boutique
There are more than a dozen boutiques around town where you’ll find clothing, jewelry, and home goods. Some of our favorites include Mud Pies 2, Salt Creek, Mariposa, and Prairie Cottage.
9. Take a walk on the trail
New in 2021, the WhaZhaZhi Heritage Park is a perfect place to take a walk. With a paved and accessible path, this trail meanders through a beautiful wooded area and crosses Bird Creek. The start of the trail is located near Main and Lynn Ave. For more ideas of things to do outdoors in Pawhuska, click HERE.
10. Wet your whistle at Dry Hollow Bar
Open Wednesday through Saturday, Dry Hollow Bar is a spot to relax, unwind, and meet some local cowboys. Turn off your phone, pull up a chair, and order a brew or cocktail from the full service bar.
11. Purchase a piece of art
Osage owned and promoting Native artists, Big Rain Gallery is a great place to purchase art in downtown Pawhuska. The gallery features a range of art, jewelry, silver work, accessories, and clothing by Native artists in a variety of media and styles.
12. Visit the Drummond Lodge
Ree and Ladd Drummond invite visitors to tour their lodge where The Pioneer Woman shows are often filmed. Check the Pioneer Woman Mercantile website for open dates and details. Read our blog post “12 tips for visiting the PW Lodge” to make the most of your visit.
13. Tour Woolaroc Museum
About 20 miles from Pawhuska, you’ll find oilman Frank Phillips’ ranch retreat he called Woolaroc (woods, lake, rocks). It’s now a museum and wildlife preserve with bison, water buffalo, zebras, and even giraffes.
14. Walk across the Swinging Bridge
[Updated 5/28/22 – The Swinging Bridge is currently closed for repairs] Once the only way to get from one side of town to the other, the Swinging Bridge over Bird Creek has been a favorite of visitors, and crossing it is a rite of passage, so to speak.
15. Snap a selfie with Sheriff Terry
Watch for Sheriff Terry around the Merc. He’s not a real sheriff but is one of the friendliest people in Pawhuska. He can answer almost any question you have about our town and he’d love to get a selfie with you! Believe us, he’s one you’ll want to remember.
16. Find fun at Buckin’ Flamingo
Stop by the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo for a guaranteed good time. This locally-owned retail store specializes in metal yard art, decor, unique items, as well an extensive collection of turquoise jewelry.
17. Buy boots at Osage Outfitters
If you are looking for a unique pair of custom made cowboy boots or a cowboy hat that fits just right (yes, they steam and shape the hats right in the store at the hat bar), look no further than Osage Outfitters. The store is also full of fashionable clothing for a variety of tastes.
18. Collect it all
Ree Drummond’s newest store, The Pioneer Woman Collection, is just down the street from the Merc. It is filled with PW branded items including kitchen supplies, luggage, home decor, and Ree’s clothing line.
19. Visit the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum
The Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum focuses on the western heritage of Osage County. Pawhuska was the birthplace and home of Ben “Son” Johnson, who was the only man to win both an Academy Award and a Rodeo World Championship.
20. Drive through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
At 39,650 acres, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest protected remnant of native tallgrass prairie on earth. With about 2,500 free-ranging bison, any visitor to the preserve has a good chance of spotting one or more of these majestic creatures.
21. Sip wine at Dirty Laundry Saloon
Don’t let the name fool you. This “saloon” serves morning coffee, afternoon tea, wine, craft cocktails, and even charcuterie boards.
22. Mail a postcard
Send a postcard to your friends or family or mail one home for your own Postcard Jar like we do. Of course, we’d love for you to send us a postcard, as well. Mail it to Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333. You can purchase postcards at many of the local shops.
23. Take home Native American gifts
The Water Bird Gallery is a Native-owned shop that will help bring some style and color to you and your home. Framed Native American art, sterling silver jewelry, cedar boxes, and macaw beaded fans are just some of the curated items you’ll find here.
24. Visit the Chamber
Be sure to peek your head in the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and say hello to the nice folks there. They are happy to answer your questions about Pawhuska and point you in the right direction.
25. Say “hi” to Hyacinth
If you see Hyacinth (her real name is Cyndi) out and about be sure to say hello. She’s Ree Drummond’s best friend and one of the nicest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. She also published a fantastic book called “Save It Forward Suppers” which you can purchase HERE or at The Mercantile.
26. Go jump in the lake
Bluestem Lake near Pawhuska is a beautiful reservoir just a few miles out of town. The lake offers swimming and boating as well as cliffs that have waterfalls after a rain. Enjoy the lake during the hot summer months.
27. Indulge in Indian Tacos
Every year on the first Saturday in October, Pawhuska hosts the National Indian Taco Championships. Downtown is full of Indian Taco stands, crafts, games, entertainment and a Powwow dance competition. Read about our experience judging the competition in 2017 HERE.
28. Have breakfast at Buffalo Joe’s
This local favorite has something for everyone. We especially like the made-to-order breakfast burritos here. Be sure to ask for extra salsa.
29. Salute the Boy Scouts
Pawhuska claims to be where the first Boy Scout troop in the US was organized way back in 1909. A statue stands in front of the Osage County Historical Society Museum in commemoration of this event. You can learn more about this and the history of the area in the museum.
30. Try a Mexican meal
Spice things up a bit with a meal at one of two Mexican restaurants in town. Rancho Los Primos and El Jalisco both serve up flavorful dishes at reasonable prices.
31. See a show
The historic (and allegedly haunted) Constantine Theater in downtown Pawhuska is the second oldest performing arts center in Oklahoma. In its history, it has been a hotel, opera house, and theater. Restored in 1987, it still serves as a performing arts venue.
32. Scale the steps
Two long sets of stairs grace downtown Pawhuska. If you start near Salt Creek on Kihekah, 129 steps will take you to the top of the hill where the courthouse sits. While you’re up there, be sure to take in the commanding view of downtown Pawhuska and the surrounding area.
33. Shop for little ones
Find just what you need for your kids or grandkids at a couple of great shops downtown. The Honey Pot (pictured below) and The Steel Horse have clothing, toys and other fun, cute items. And don’t forget to stop in the Gypsy Cowgirl where they have a children’s section, as well.
34. Roam the Osage
Get an overview of Pawhuska with Roaming the Osage Historic/Scenic Tours. You’ll experience a fantastic 90-minute panoramic tour of the community and will learn all about the history of the town from a comfortable Mercedes sprinter van with a retractable roof.
35. Come back for Ben Johnson Days
Pawhuska was the hometown of Oscar-winning actor Ben “Son” Johnson, and he’s remembered and celebrated each year. This Western extravaganza is held annually on Father’s Day weekend. There’s a two-day rodeo, street dance, trade show and more.
36. Get a refill on your pop at Handy’s
You’ve made it halfway down this list and by now your cup is dry. Remember that Handy’s offers discounted refills. Head back in for another round of the perfectly crunchy ice and cold, sweet pop. Be sure to fill Martha and Margie in on your tour so far!
37. Pitch a tent at a state park
About 15 miles east of Pawhuska sits the 1,100 acre Osage Hills State Park. It offers many outdoor recreation opportunities like camping, hiking, and fishing. With eight cabins to rent, RV parking, a pool, ballfield, and tennis court, this park has something for everyone.
38. Celebrate America
Pawhuskans are as patriotic as they come, and they really know how to celebrate the Fourth of July. The day begins with a non-motorized parade to celebrate America. Spectators enjoy free hot dogs, apple cobbler, and water after the parade. In the evening, the Pioneer Woman Mercantile sponsors a street fair with food, carnival games, dancing, and one of the most spectacular fireworks displays you’ve seen. Ever.
39. Caffeinate with a coffee
We can think of no better start to the day in Pawhuska than a Cowboy Coffee at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. In the Merc you’ll find a great a coffee bar with beans sourced and roasted exclusively for the store.
40. Search for a Geocache
More than 80 Geocaches exist within a 10-mile radius of Pawhuska. Use the Geocaching app on your phone to search for hidden treasures, then mark that you found the item.
41. Remember those who served
Visit Pawhuska’s Veterans Memorials which pay tribute to locals who served the US military. One is downtown and reflects the entire community, while the other honors the Osages who have served in our military. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have given so much for our nation and freedom.
42. Try disc golf
With two of the top ten disc golf courses in the United States and three overall, Pawhuska is a destination for disc golf enthusiasts as well as novices. The city maintains a disc golf course in Williams park, but the real action takes place south of town at The Lodge at Taylor Ranch.
43. Find the site of the Million Dollar Elm
In the early 1900’s in the shade of a large elm tree, the Osages auctioned off leases for oil companies to drill on their land. Millions of dollars changed hands under this tree and there was even an occasional fistfight. While the tree is no more, you can find a stone marking this historic place.
44. Picnic in a park
Get some takeout from the Merc or a basket from The Dirty Laundry Saloon and head to one of Pawhuska’s parks. Enjoy a picnic outdoors and bask in fresh air and sunshine.
45. Grab some fast food
Pawhuska’s Subway is special. It has perfectly soft bread and fresh ingredients. It also has Chris, who has been there for more than 15 years and has had a hand in making more than a MILLION sandwiches. He and his teammates know exactly what they’re doing. Pawhuska also has a McDonald’s, Sonic, and Daylight Donuts.
46. See the bison
The Old West Buffalo Company offers visitors the chance to get up close to real bison–including the opportunity to hand feed these majestic animals. A fun activity for the whole family, the Buffalo Encounter provides an opportunity to learn all about bison and their comeback in the US.
47. View the vista
Head out of Pawhuska a few miles on Okesa Road and keep to the right at the fork. You’ll see a gravel road heading up a loooong hill. At the top, you’ll find the memorial and gravesite for Chief Fred Lookout and his wife, Julia. Pay your respects, then enjoy a panoramic view of Pawhuska, Bird Creek Valley, and Osage County.
48. Search for bronze sculptures
Pawhuska treasures the Arts, and a quick look around town proves it. Throughout the town you’ll find number of bronze statues, including several by famed sculptor John D. Free and his son John. See if you can find at least five of them.
49. Worship at a local church
Pawhuska has more than a dozen churches that are all excited to welcome visitors. Several are listed on this Chamber of Commerce directory.
50. Find a bargain
Downtown are two shops set up with consignment booths full of little treasures, collectables, and antiques you won’t find anywhere else. You never know what treasures you’ll discover at Sister’s Attic and Tallgrass Prairie Flowers & More. Best of all, the prices are right!
51. Stop and smell the roses
Make your Pawhuska stay extra special and decorate your accommodations with some fresh flowers. With three flower shops in town, it’s easy to get an arrangement you’ll love. Check out Tallgrass Prairie Flowers and More, Pocket Full of Posies, or the shop in the local grocery store.
52. Celebrate the season
Like Hallmark Christmas movies? Well, you’ll feel like you’re in one when you visit Pawhuska this holiday season. Mark your calendars for the first Saturday in December and join us for the annual Christmas Parade of Lights. Then, do your holiday shopping in Pawhuska. Need a place to stay? Book our Airbnb called Postcard Place for Christmas and enjoy some hot chocolate by one of our Christmas trees. We even provide a gift wrapping station for our guests!
53. Dance the night away
Each summer for more than 70 years, people have gathered in Pawhuska for Cavalcade, the world’s largest amateur rodeo. For a solid week, the town welcomes folks from all over. Festivities include a week of dances both downtown and at the rodeo grounds.
54. Get your Dawgs up
With football, volleyball, basketball, and more, there are plenty of opportunities to get your dawgs up and cheer for the home team Huskies. You can purchase Pawhuska Huskies gear at Spurs & Arrows downtown.
55. Use the public potty
We wouldn’t normally include a public loo on our list of things to do, except it’s the best small town public restroom we’ve ever seen.
56. Watch a sunset
Pawhuska sits on the plains of Oklahoma, one of the places God set aside for having beautiful sunsets just about every single night. Head out west on Highway 60, find a safe spot to park along a side road, kick back, and take it in.
57. Have a slice of pizza
Pawhuska has several good options for a slice (or twelve) of pizza. P-Town Pizza offers pies baked in a wood-fired oven, cocktails, and more. Simple Simon’s is another local favorite for American-style pizza (pictured below). And don’t forget Casey’s – especially their out-of-this-world breakfast pizzas served each morning.
58. Go home with clean clothes
Why go home with a pile of dirty laundry? Osage Laundry, right in downtown Pawhuska, offers full service. Just drop your clothes off then pick them up. They’ll be beautifully washed, dried, and folded while you enjoy all the town has to offer.
59. Savor some barbecue
Who doesn’t love good barbecue? Trigger’s Barbecue (open every day except Tuesday) offers mouth-watering smoked meats. Bad Brad’s is another great option. We recommend anything on the menu served with Fritos.
60. Get uncorked
Every year, the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association teams up with the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce for an evening of fun, wine tasting, and good food to support the arts in Oklahoma.
61. Read up on the news
The Osage News is a monthly publication that is sent across the country. Along with a website, it keeps people up-to-date on what’s happening with the Osage Nation. For additional local and area news, check out the Pawhuska Journal-Capital.
62. Acknowledge the architecture
Pawhuska’s unique history and ties to oil (and the money it brings) gave it many beautiful, stately homes. Take a drive and notice some of the mansions lining the streets. Pay special attention to the buildings downtown with their decorative brickwork.
63. Pick up groceries
Harp’s Pawhuska Hometown Foods is located on Main Street in Pawhuska. Featured on The Pioneer Woman cooking show, it’s your one-stop shop in Pawhuska for fresh produce, quality meats, and non-alcoholic beverages.
64. Read a book
Pawhuska has a wonderful public library that is open every day but Sunday. Anyone is welcome to come in out of the heat (or cold), use the restroom, and settle in a comfy chair with a book (like the New York Times Bestseller Killers of the Flower Moon), magazine, or newspaper. You can also purchase used books at the Book Burrow.
65. Visit a service club
Are you a member of a service club? Pawhuska has a Rotary Club, Kiwanis, American Legion, PEO, and Lions Club chapters along with other service organizations. They’d love to have you visit a meeting while you’re in town.
66. Rope a goat
The folks at the Buckin’ Flamingo that we mentioned earlier can also bring goat roping to your next get-together. Contact them for details and to book this unique entertainment experience.
67. Order the Not-Knots
At P-Town Pizza, we recommend you order the most wonderful little fried pizza dough creations called Not-Knots. These life-changing puffs of happiness are divine. Pro tip: Get the full order with both Ranch and marinara.
68. Tour the Drummond House in Hominy
Drive over to nearby Hominy where you’ll find the Victorian home of Fred and Addie Drummond. Mr. Drummond was one of the most successful ranchers and businessmen in the area and his historic home remained in the family for generations. It still has most of its original furnishings.
69. Wise up with Gio
If you spot our friend, Giovannie Soliano, be sure to say hello and ask him about anything. He loves to share his wisdom on everything from yard maintenance and remodeling a bathroom to why you must visit his beautiful native island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. We guarantee you’ll gain some wisdom!
70. Leave happy at Handy’s
Because you probably want another one, and the ice is sooo good that you can’t stop crunching, make one last stop at Handy’s for a half-priced fountain pop from 3-4 p.m. Heck, by your third stop there in a day, people will start to think you’re a local.
For even more information about what to see, do, and eat in Pawhuska, join our Visit Pawhuska Facebook Group. For for food, travel, and healthy living inspiration, join us on on social media @postcardjar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.