Travel Guide: The Best Things To Do In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Nicknamed as the big friendly, Oklahoma City is the state capital of Oklahoma. Famous for its cowboy culture, this bustling hub is on the Southern Great Plains.

Its economy’s largest sectors are oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. The city has one of the largest livestock markets in the world.

Its energetic atmosphere attracts visitors from around the globe with its deeply-rooted Southern charm. If you are looking for an adventure, Oklahoma City provides world-class attractions. 

Historical Sites and Landmarks

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Before Oklahoma City became such a vibrant city, its early settlement started in 1889. Around 10,000 homesteaders settled in the area known as the “unassigned lands.” Over the years, the town has grown owing to its early leaders who support the development of the city.

To learn more about such colorful history, here are some of the notable historical sites you can visit.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, things to do in Oklahoma City OK
Photo: Jonathan E.

Although Oklahoma City is known for its southern charm, it became well-known for its bomb attack in 1995.

Five years later, the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum opened to commemorate the victims of the attack.

The museum features the gates of time, reflecting pool, the field of empty chairs, survivor’s wall, the survivor tree, the memorial fence, rescuers’ orchard, and the children’s area. 

What makes this visiting this museum educational is its interactive tour. It tells you the chronological story of the attack and how the people of Oklahoma City recovered.

Top Review: “One of the most incredible experiences I have ever been a part of. This museum and experience was unlike most and I would rank it among probably the best museums I have ever been to. The experience was extremely immersive and will honestly cause a lot of emotion. I am not an emotional person but even I walked away from the museum with sadness in my heart. This place will make you experience the bombing in a way you likely wouldn’t have. Well worth the trip here just be prepared for the stories and the pain that was caused.”Wayne W.

620 N Harvey Ave Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 235-3313

Oklahoma Land Run Monument

Photo: Marty P.

The land run was considered a historic event in the US. It was opened to the homestead settlers.

The famous Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land run occurrence that took place in the late 1800s.

This famous incident started around the noontime of April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people participating in such an occasion.

These people were considered the homestead settlers seeking to gain the available unassigned lands of two million acres. 

To celebrate such a historic incident, a series of sculptures were put up along Bricktown Riverwalk Park.

There are 45 heroic statues, portraying the events that took place during this Land Run.

This landmark is also called the Centennial Land Run Monument.

Top Review: “Favorite spot to learn about how Oklahoma got started and the Oklahoma Land Run. Have a picnic or stroll along the Bricktown Canal.”Alonzo A.

200 Bass Pro Dr Oklahoma City, OK 73129

Harn Homestead

Harn Homestead was constructed during the famous land run of 1889 in Oklahoma.

Listed on the national register of historic places in the US, this property is about 10 acres in size. It houses several buildings, including the state’s first two-story building. 

Because of its well-preserved homestead, this place is a popular venue for couples that wish to get married in a rustic setting.

It is also a notable tourist site for guests that wishes to explore the life of the early settlers in Oklahoma City.

1721 N Lincoln Blvd Oklahoma City, OK 73105, (405) 235-4058

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Photo: Joe T.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral is another historical landmark on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.

This Gothic Revival architecture was completed in 1902. Although this landmark is not considered a beautiful church by many, it has witnessed a lot of notable events.

St. Joseph Cathedral’s distinctive feature is its side towers, flanking the church on both sides. 

307 NW 4th St Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 235-4565

Museums

Oklahoma City has numerous museums that you can visit. Each establishment varies according to its specific collections. 

Here are some of the distinguished museums in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the region’s main art institutions. The museum’s diverse collections are showcased in its dynamic range of exhibitions.

It features collections from around the globe, such as highlights from Asia, Europe, and North America. 

The museum also exhibits Dale Chihuly glass, the largest public collection in the world.

Most of Brett Weston’s photography collections are can be found in this museum.

Top Review: “Really cool displays of Dale Chuhily’s art.  They had a kids bag that made my kiddos experience so much more interactive – a nice touch.  Staff were friendly. Lots of street parking available, I’d recommend checking it out.”Jessica Y.

415 Couch Dr Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 236-3100

Science Museum Oklahoma 

Founded in 1958, the Science Museum is a fun place to visit. Tourists that are traveling with children will surely love its interactive displays. This museum is considered a premier destination for family activities.

With more than eight acres of various exhibits, allow your inner-child to come out and be amazed at their hands-on science exhibits. It features thousands of space, aviation, and cultural artifacts. Some of their notable exhibits are the Kirkpatrick Planetarium, CurioCity, Smart Space, Elemental Worlds, and many more.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Oklahoma City is considered a cowboy country. The birthplace of numerous Western entertainers, musicians, and filmstars, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum houses showcases its proud Western roots. It is a premier institution that exhibits Western history, culture, and art. 

For tourists that are fun of Western stories, you can witness the saga of American cowboy coming to life at this Museum. It also houses the prestigious Prix de West art exhibition. Visitors will be in awe of their astonishing array of Western art and artifacts.

Museum of Osteology

Tourists that are a fan of osteology will find the Museum of Osteology an educational place to explore. They have over 350 skeletons on displays featuring various species of animals from all over the world. This private museum focuses on the form and function of the skeletal system of the animals.

Their exhibits feature a humpback whale, primate skeletons, Oklahoma wildlife, elephant skeletons, and various animal skeletons.

Parks and Aquarium

Although it is educational and fun to visit historical sites, landmarks, or museums, it is also exciting to include recreational activities. By visiting parks in the city of Oklahoma, you are exploring what other wonders the city has hidden.

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

With more than 500 animal species, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden have served many tourists and residents for more than a century. Their animal exhibits include lions, tigers, rhinos, and gorillas. Their Botanical Garden has impressive displays of various plants from around the globe.

If you have a child that is a future zoologist, they can get interactive experiences with various animals. They have a walk-through wallaby enclosure, as well as boat and train rides that can provide your family with an exciting adventure. 

Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

Considered an urban paradise situated at the heart of downtown Oklahoma, the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is a popular tourist destination. It is nestled in between the city’s skyscrapers and historic business district. Tourists will be in awe of the vast green space that the conservatory offers. This tourist spot also features an interactive playground area for children. The adults can enjoy the live music from the contemporary band that plays within the gardens. 

During the summer, tourists will witness a performance of Shakespeare in the Park or enjoy splashing around in the fountain area. If you plan to visit during the winter, you can glide across the park’s ice skating rink.

Blue Zoo Aquarium Oklahoma City

Aside from the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Blue Zoo Aquarium Oklahoma City is another exciting place to visit with your family. Have fun with their interactive activities and get the opportunity to learn about sea animals such as stingrays, sharks, and other fishes. 

If you are looking for an aquatic adventure, the Blue Zoo Aquarium Oklahoma City offers family entertainment all year round.

Martin Park Nature Center

A hub for nature exploration, the Martin Park Nature Center fits tourists of all ages. They have guided hikes for those visitors that wish to explore nature. Uncover various wildlife sceneries with their interactive learning center. 

The Martin Park Nature Center features 2.5 miles of woodland trails. They also have a picnic pavilion where you can stay for a family gathering. 

Scissortail Park

Another place to visit for tourists traveling with families is Scissortail Park. They are open daily from 6 AM until 11 PM. They also have a Children’s Park for your kids to explore and enjoy. The park features lush flower gardens with tree-lined walkways. Take a stroll through their 40-acre park and enjoy the natural environment at its finest.

Top Nightlife Spotlights in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is a thriving urban city with a lot of notable places to explore. From historical landmarks to museums, to parks, they also offer exciting nightlife spotlights for tourists. Enjoy the beauty of the city at night and watch them transform into a hub of vibrant lights and music.

Bricktown

If you are looking for a place where the locals and tourists mix, Bricktown is the place to go. It is situated east of downtown proper and is packed with outdoor options such as dining, dancing, drinking, and live music. While in the area, visit Dollhouse, a part night club, and part burlesque show dance club. It is Oklahoma City’s high-energy venue for people that are looking for exciting nightlife. 

If you prefer to listen to live music, the Criterion is the ideal choice. It features regional and national acts showcasing different genres of music. 

Deep Deuce

If you prefer to explore Oklahoma City’s jazz neighborhood, Deep Deuce is a popular choice. Although it is mainly a residential area, the area still boasts great nightlife options. Within the district area, there is a favorite gathering spot for young professionals, the Deep Deuce Grill.

Automobile Alley

Home to dining and drinking options during nighttime, the Automobile Alley is another popular gathering for locals and tourists. It is the home to one of Oklahoma City’s largest and locally-owned bars and restaurants, the Broadway 10.  Their dining options include seafood, steaks, and chops. They also have an intensive collection of wine lists and craft cocktails. 

Within the Automobile Alley is another cocktail lounge named Sidecar. It is the perfect place to dine, especially when the weather is right. If you prefer to taste some of the city’s high-quality prime steakhouses, the Redprime Steakhouse can offer you a tasty and scrumptious meal. 

Downtown

There are many districts located in the downtown area of Oklahoma City. While Bricktown is situated on the east, the Film Row can be found on the west. The Chesapeake Arena dominates the downtown area. It is home to the city’s basketball team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. If you are a basketball fan, grab some tickets and watch Thunder home games.

Aside from this notable arena, you can visit Vast’s bar and lounge. It offers a magnificent view of the city, especially at nighttime. This lounge is situated on the 49th floor of Devon Tower.

Midtown

A popular local gathering place, midtown has some of the best bar and lounge options in Oklahoma City. If you are looking for a bar with extensive beer selections, the Fassler Hall and McNellie’s Public House is a good choice. They also provide live music, particularly on weekends.

If you are looking for late-night drinks with your buddy, R&J is the best option. 

Where to Shop in Oklahoma City

A visit to Oklahoma City would not be complete without a trip to some of their popular shopping centers. Despite the age of online shopping, there is still something special about going to a retail store and shopping for items on hand. 

Penn Square Mall

A regional shopping mall in Oklahoma City, Penn Square Mall is a two-story shopping center. It is one of the two biggest malls in the city that provides everything that you need. The mall features various outlet stores, theatres, and some dining options.

OKC Outlets

With more than 80 outlet stores, OKC outlets feature some of the popular brand names for clothes, accessories, among others. Brand names like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, just to name a few have stores at the OKC outlet.

Quail Springs Mall

Feature three major department store anchors, Quail Springs Mall is a super-regional shopping mall in Oklahoma City. It has a total of 111 tenants. Its main anchor stores are AMC Theatres, Dillards, Von Maur, Life Time Fitness, and JC Penney. The store is full of fashionable items for people of all genders, children, and mom-to-be.

The Shoppes at Northpark

If you are looking for some high-end retailers, then the Shoppes at Northpark is the place to go. It has a total of 45 tenants. The mall has a good selection of clothing products to home furniture, to food items. They also have some amazing dining options in the area. 

Where to Eat in Oklahoma City

Of course, if there are nice landmarks to visits, there are also notable restaurants that are popular among locals and tourists alike. If you wish to know some of the best places to eat, here are the lists of dining options in Oklahoma City

Cafe 501

Known for its upscale counter-service dining, Cafe 501 is a popular dining option, especially among the locals. Their legendary Cayote chicken sandwich, brick oven pizza, and homemade desserts are some of their notable food choices. 

Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe

If you are a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, then try out Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe. They serve delicious Lebanese cuisine. Try out their tenderloin kebab and pair it with a bottle of wine. They also provide takeout and delivery options. Another cuisine that is a must-taste is their hashwa rice and cabbage rolls made with spiced beef. 

The Hutch on Avondale

If you wish to try out their fine dining, the Hutch on Avondale holds the record for culinary excellence. However, after three decades of such tradition, they are now trading their linen tablecloths to a high-low collaboration of dining traditions. 

Sushi Neko

For tourists that love Japanese cuisine, you can visit Sushi Neko. They are famous for serving fresh sashimi. Try out their yellowtail special sashimi, rolled rib-ey negi maki, and specialty rolls.

Burger Punk

The Burger Punk is great for tourists that love the American meat burger menu. Their burgers are loaded with a mix of cheese, fried onions, and hoisin mayo. You can also try out their Theta burger, a mix of mayonnaise, pickles, and sauce.

Where to Stay in Oklahoma City

With such a vibrant place to visit, Oklahoma City has a wide array of hotel options. From high-end hotels to a charming bed and breakfast, you have several choices of hotels to stay in while touring the city.

The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City

A four-star hotel, The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City is a historic hotel constructed in 1911. This 3-towered hotel features an art deco-style grilled restaurant and cocktail bar. The restaurant serves American and Southern dishes. During the night, guests can enjoy live jazz music at their chic cocktail bar.

The hotel is also within walking distance to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel is another four-star hotel. This sophisticated downtown hotel features sleek rooms with flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and coffeemakers. You can upgrade your rooms if you wish to get amazing views of the city or its notable parks.

The hotel also features a steakhouse, cafe, two bars, and a casual restaurant. 

The Grandison Inn Bed & Breakfast

For tourists that wish to check in a lowkey hotel but with excellent customer service, the Grandison Inn Bed & Breakfast is the ideal place. Constructed in 1904, this Victorian bed and breakfast is a popular choice among tourists that prefer to stay in a quiet and cozy place. The place is 13 minutes away from the Science Museum Oklahoma.

Montford Inn

Another quaint bed and breakfast is the Montford Inn. A three-star hotel, this B&B is set in a traditional clapboard house. All rooms are individually themed and their cottages have fireplaces. They also provide private hot tubs, whirlpool tubs, walk-in showers, and a library. 

With all of these fun things to do, your visit to Oklahoma City is never boring. You are surely assured of a colorful adventure during your relaxing break. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Oklahoma City worth visiting?

Yes, Oklahoma City is definitely worth visiting! There is a lot to see and do, and it is a great city for families. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to have a good time, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Oklahoma City.

What is the number one attraction in Oklahoma?

The answer is the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The memorial was built to remember the victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

What is the best time of year to visit Oklahoma?

The best time to visit Oklahoma is during the spring and fall. The weather is mild and there are a variety of festivals and events taking place.

What is the coldest month in Oklahoma?

The coldest month in Oklahoma is January. The average temperature during this month is 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).

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