This article was originally published in our July/August 2021 issue.

Warrensburg was founded in 1835 by settlers John and Martin Warren, who established the city as an agricultural trade center. Then, Normal School No. 2 was founded in 1871. Now it is known as the University of Central Missouri. The university offers more than 150 programs of study and serves over ten thousand students.

Despite its picturesque campus, Warrensburg isn’t only a college town. The bustling city is home to a historic downtown square, a network of nine nature-filled parks, art and history museums (including a toy and video game museum), a downtown farmers market, local boutiques, and antique stores.

Dog lovers and anyone who appreciates the companionship of a beloved pet will find themselves at home in Warrensburg. Located an hour and a half southeast of Kansas City, Warrensburg is where the famous “Old Drum” court case took place and where the phrase “man’s best friend,” was coined. When hound dog Old Drum was shot and killed, his owner sued for damages, and lawyer George Graham Vest delivered a now-famous tribute to the importance of dogs. A statue and historical marker commemorating the canine now stands outside the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg.

Courtesy of the Warrensburg CVB

Lodge at Gelbach Manor. The home was built in the early 1900s and became a center of social life for movie stars and socialites. Located within walking distance of the downtown square and the university campus, Gelbach Manor offers cozy rooms, a full breakfast, and a swimming pool.

For a more off-the-beaten-path visit, reserve a campsite at Knob Noster State Park. Located just fifteen minutes outside of town, Knob Noster features woodland hiking paths, native prairies, fishing, and horseback riding trails. Pitch a tent or pull an RV into one of the park’s shaded campsites, then unwind in a rented kayak on one of the park’s lush waterways.

Dine at Meyer’s Market in downtown Warrensburg. The quaint general store is more than a place to stock up on groceries and wine—the market has an in-house deli serving savory sandwiches, hearty flatbreads, healthy breakfast options like açai bowls, and fully loaded milkshakes. The market is also an ice cream shop, so pop in for a scoop to savor as you stroll through the square.

Heroes Pub

Heroes Restaurant & Pub is another popular downtown destination that has been a Warrensburg staple for thirty-two years and has developed a following for its famous burgers. Get in the spirit of the trip and order a Warrensburger, a half-pound burger served on a fresh Kaiser roll, or go all-out with the B-2 burger topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, and buffalo mayo.

Visit Buckeye Acres Farm. This family-run farm has a host of fresh produce in the farm stand, but the true attraction is the u-pick strawberry fields. Pick ripe red strawberries through the early summer at the fields.

Central Missouri Speedway

For fast excitement, head to the Central Missouri Speedway on a weekend. This open-air local racetrack has races on Saturday nights. Sit in the grandstand with fresh concessions to take in the adrenaline amid the crowd or get close to action on the opposite side of the track from the pit.

Photos // Warrensburg Convention and Visitors Bureau