Oklahoma City is nestled in the lower part of the Great Plains region, just about 100 miles west of Tulsa. Not only is it located in the state of Oklahoma, it’s also the Oklahoma County seat. So, if you ask someone from this area where they live, they might just answer, “Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!”
Once this historic Midwest city was a stop on the Santa Fe trail that started in New York. Today it’s a destination of its own, drawing tourists from neighboring states like Kansas and Missouri. Whatever your interest in the city, we hope the following list helps guide the way!
What is the Capital of Oklahoma?
That’s right! Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma state. Unlike a lot of capital cities, it’s also the largest city in the state in terms of area and population, with over 600,000 citizens occupying over 600 square miles of metro area.
Once Indian territory, the area was first settled during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. Until 1910, Oklahoma’s capital was located in the neighboring city of Guthrie, north of Oklahoma City. Back then, they literally picked up the state seal and moved it from one city to another to make the change official.
What is Oklahoma Known for?
A lot of the best things Oklahoma is known for can be found in and around the state capital. The list below doesn’t even cover everything Oklahoma City has to offer, so be sure to do your own research before heading out. For more information, just check out the “recreation” tab on the okc.gov website.
10 Reasons to Visit Oklahoma City
1. Oklahoma State Capitol Building
The Oklahoma State Capitol Building took seven years to build and cost a heap of money. The state government actually had to run operations from the former Huckins Hotel while they waited for the captiol building’s completion. Today, the building is the meeting place of both the house of representatives and the state senate. It is open to tourism, but opening hours and dates change, so be sure to check ahead.
2. Oklahoma History Center
Whether you’re talking about the state, county, or city, Oklahoma has a rich history. Visiting the Oklahoma History Center is a great way to learn more about the region’s heritage. Both permanent and traveling exhibits cover a range of topics, including pertinent issues like Native American and African American history.
3. Bricktown District
You’ll find this enchanting section of town just a few blocks from where the Oklahoma River and Centennial Expressway (I-235) cross. Like a lot of our country’s old city centers, this part of OKC has undergone quite a bit of urban renewal. As such, you can look forward to a range of entertainment, from delicious dining, to live shows. It’s also to close to other attractions like the Arts District and Riverwalk Park.
4. Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Unsurprisingly, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is located in the Arts District mentioned above. Its galleries include photography, sculpture, paintings, and more, giving everyone who visits something beautiful to behold.
5. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Nothing is more American than Cowboys and the West, meaning nothing could be more American than visiting this museum. Its installations include the sort of rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ good times you’d expect, alongside deeper dives into Western art, the lives of women on the plains, and more.
6. Oklahoma City Zoo
We know what you’re thinking: If only I could see some animals from Asia and other continents while I’m in the middle of the United States. Well, the Oklahoma City Zoo has you covered! We personally suggest their “Cat Forest” attraction and “Giraffe Feeding Platform”.
7. Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Garden
Since OKC has pretty much every sort of attraction you can imagine, including a Cowboy themed amusement park, you won’t be surprised to hear they also have a world renowned botanical garden. Once you’ve had your fill of primates and pachyderms, consider tiptoeing through the tulips with your fellow travelers.
8. Even More Museums
In addition to the museums already listed above, Oklahoma City has a handful of further educational institutions you might be interested in visiting. These include the American Banjo Museum, the Oklahoma Railway Museum, a Museum of Osteology (aka a bone museum), and more. Just do a quick search of “museums in Oklahoma City” and you’ll see what we mean.
9. Go Outdoors
The capital city also has a lot of outdoor offerings to consider. If you’re feeling like seeing some untamed nature, or even just having a simple picnic, there’s plenty of opportunity. In the southwest corner of the city (which is actually considered Norman, OK), you’ll find Lake Thunderbird State Park and Little River State Park. Both are located on Thunderbird Lake and have prime fishing spots, boat ramps, and campgrounds.
But really, there’s parks, lakes, and rivers sprinkled all over the city, so you’ve got some work cut out. Sorry we can’t make the decision for you!
10. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
If you’re okay with exploring the solemn side of the city, you should stop by this memorial to those lost in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. Its exhibits and events are dedicated to the spirit of national embetterment. We won’t harp on about this attraction, as it’s definitely a sensitive subject and not for everyone.
What’s you favorite thing to do in Oklahoma City? Let everyone know where the fun is on Our Wide Open Roads Facebook!