Enjoy Washington, MO
Historic downtown Washington, Missouri has so much to offer locals and visitors alike. As the 2012 winner of the Great American Main Street Award from the Main Street America organization, we are proud of the vibrant community we have built in our city while maintaining and preserving so many of our historical buildings.
Throughout your stay, be sure to check out the 68 historic buildings along Washington’s self-guided walking tour. You can download this guide to take with you as you explore. Our very own Stephen Jones House Inn is stop 17 of the tour!
Are you looking for somewhere to eat?
Rothschild’s Family Restaurant was first established in 1963 during the now-nostalgic days’ of carhops and clip-on food trays. Today the establishment is a sit-down restaurant that retains its old-school charm of decades past. Be sure to try long-standing local favorites such as their omelets, catfish fillet, and chicken and waffles.
Marquart’s Landing has been a part of the Washington community since 1983. Residing in the Pacific House, first built in 1855 as a tavern and hotel for those traveling by train, Marquart’s is a stop on Washington’s self-guided historical tour. With a patio overlooking the Missouri River and passing trains, it’s no wonder this bar and grill has been voted an astonishing 16 Years in a row as Washington’s Favorite Bar by the Washington Missourian Reader’s Choice Awards.
Cowan’s Restaurant resides in a building built in the 1860s that has largely acted as a kitchen in one form or another throughout its lifespan. Cowans has occupied the historic building since 1973, making the establishment itself a piece of Washington history. Make sure you to stop in for a piece of their world-famous mile-high pie.
The Sugarfire Smokehouse is a relative newcomer to the Washington food-scene but nonetheless a local-favorite. Voted 2018’s Best Sandwich in the World at the World Food Champions, their award-winning fare includes barbeque and unique concoctions such as their pie shake—a milkshake with an entire slice of pie blended in.
Those are a few of the restaurants we consider to be within walking distance. But there are many more in the area. You can find a more comprehensive listing on the Visit Washington Missouri website.
Are you looking for things to to do anytime in Washington?
Cyclists can gear up and take a shuttle service offered by local bike shop Revolution Cycles to the Katy Trail. The stunning trail follows the route Lewis and Clark once took along the Missouri River. Popular with cross-country cyclists and a part of the American Discovery Trail, the route weaves beneath scenic river bluffs and through quaint farmland.
Meanwhile, history buffs will want to take full advantage of all that the Washington Historical Society has to offer during their time in the city. The society has five different museums, including the Genealogical Society for those interested in pursuing the particulars of their personal family history.
The Washington Museum has exhibits featuring corn cob pipes, zithers, Busch beer, and artifacts of daily life since the city’s inception in the 1800s. The other museums are available to tour by reservation. On the second Tuesday of each month from March through December, the Historical Society puts on an Evening at the Museum events for the public spotlighting our rich local history.
In addition to the museums, history enthusiasts will want to make space on their calendars to tour the Fort Charrette Historic Village. Available by appointment only, tours are given by the village’s creator, architectural historian Crosby Brown. Brown has relocated and restored remains of an old trading post filling it with collections of 18th- and 19th-century artifacts and period furnishings. Throughout the hour-long tour, you’ll explore the trade room, a blacksmith’s shop, and recreation of frontier living quarters.
Each Saturday from April to October, you can stock up on fresh produce and local goods at the Farmer’s Market downtown. On the second Thursday of each month, enjoy Music at the Market which is an event offering live music for the public to enjoy. And in September, visitors can join in on the local fun at Brewfest. The event features over 50 microbrew beers from over 18 breweries to sample while enjoying live music.
Each October, Washington’s Historical Society puts on cemetery and ghost tours for those seeking a frightfully good time. The Cemetery Tour will take you through the Wildey Odd Fellows Cemetery, first established in 1865 and containing over 1200 graves and elaborate monuments. And during the Ghost Tours, you’ll hear spooky, historical stories from Washington’s own intriguing past.
Ready to explore outside of Washington?
Wine lovers will find endless points of interest throughout the area while staying here in Missouri’s Wine Country. A seemingly never-ending list of wineries, events, and unique area wines to sample will keep even the most avid explorers busy.
Those looking for a unique, true-Missouri adventure will want to add Meramec Caverns to their weekend itinerary. The Meramec Caverns are the largest commercial cave in Missouri which is infamously known as the “cave state.” You won’t want to miss the chance to see these stunning, crystal formations in person.
For history buffs, be sure to take a ride or drive across the river to Marthasville where you’ll find the original burial site for Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca. Boone died while at his son’s home in nearby Defiance, and he was buried in the Bryan family cemetery next to his wife. There he rested for 25 years before his remains and the remains of his wife were exhumed and transported to Frankfort, Kentucky. Or were they? If you listen to local lore, you’ll discover many believe the body removed from the Bryan cemetery wasn’t Boone at all and that he still rests right here in Missouri. Look for the signs (or Google) for the Boone Burial Site and Monument to lead you there along State Highway 47.
There is always more.
More to see, more to do, and plenty of places to shop. Take a look at the Visit Washington Missouri website for a more comprehensive list and peek at our events calendar to see what’s happening nearby in the weeks to come.