Known for being rich in history and the home of many Missouri festivals and celebrations, Sedalia should be high on your list of weekend getaway destinations.
Sedalia is only about an hour away from Jefferson City, and while the town might be underrated compared to bigger cities in Missouri, it has a welcoming ambiance with lots of places to visit and activities to try.
And with the Missouri State Fair -- the town's biggest event of the year -- kicking off today, there's even more of a reason to load up the car and head west in the next 11 days.
Start the weekend at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, which has more than 1,500 pieces of art in its permanent collection and opens new exhibits every few months.
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site is another important piece of Sedalia's history. Formerly the estate of John Bothwell, an influential figure in the Midwest in the 1900s, visitors can walk through the 31-room mansion and see Bothwell's eclectic taste in home decor. There is also a three-mile hiking trail on the property open to the public.
After delving into Sedalia's history, stop by Kehde's Barbeque, a family- owned restaurant with old train car inside that visitors can dine in.
"One of our biggest attractions is the train, and we're super kid-friendly," manager Tabitha Kehde said. "We have a wide variety of items on our menu to appeal to different tastes, and we have some great homemade desserts."
If you're looking for upscale dining, Ivory Grille is the place to go. Located inside the historic Hotel Bothwell downtown, the restaurant has a large wine selection and was even presented with the Wine Spectator Magazines Award of Excellence in 2021.
No. 5 Bistro & Bar is another popular spot for casual fine dining in town. They offer brunch on Saturdays, featuring french toast, a biscuit board, bottomless mimosas and more.
"Between our lunch, dinner and brunch, our brunch seems to be such an incredible vibe every single Saturday," said Reid Swearingen, chief marketing officer. "So if you're coming on the weekend, come in for brunch and stay, 'til dinner."
"If you want to have a have a beverage and go booze and peruse the record store, we (No. 5 Bistro & Bar) have a liquor license for patio to patio," Swearingen said.
With football season approaching, a weekend getaway may include watching your favorite team. Fitters Fifth Street Pub downtown is a popular bar and grill among locals. They have multiple TVs and a stocked menu with all the classic bar food.
While there aren't many places for a family night out in Sedalia -- a common complaint among the locals -- there are a handful of parks, two public pools and a collegiate summer league baseball team that plays at Liberty Park Stadium.
Also at Liberty Park are two sand volleyball courts, two basketball courts, six lighted tennis courts and a fishing pond.
Clover Dell Park's 12-acre lake is another popular fishing spot. A dog park, eight soccer fields, a disc golf course and a remote control car track also attract visitors to the park.
If you're a fitness junkie, check out the brand new Heckart Community Center during your weekend getaway. It has an indoor pool, aquatic area, group fitness classes, indoor playground, sports gyms, walking track and more.
Of course, a getaway isn't complete without a sweet treat. Teremok Coffee & Desserts offers specialty drinks and coffee flavors -- like crème brulee, white rose, pistachio, chai tea boba and strawberry boba -- as well as desserts and pastries.
The executive chef of Ivory Grille also opened another new dessert place in the late spring called Cow Bird Creamery & Sweets. The menu features Dole Whip, homemade ice cream, floats, fun milkshakes and more.
The Missouri State Fair
The 11-day-long extravaganza that is the Missouri State Fair has taken place in town since 1901 and is a well-founded excuse to escape to Sedalia.
This year's fair starts today and ends Aug. 21; it will include performances from Trace Adkins, Sam Hunt, Casting Crowns, Justin Moore, Charley Crockett and Stoney LaRue, KC and the Sunshine Band, ZZ Top and more.
Every year, the fair features live entertainment, animal exhibits, vendors, carnival rides and classic fair food. There will also be an opening day parade and contests throughout the week.
Whether you want to get away to visit the famous fair or simply enjoy a relaxing weekend away from home, Sedalia has many new adventures awaiting you.