Things To Do In Oklahoma City, OK
The capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City (OKC), in the United States is known for the presence of its working oil wells. OKC is famously known as The Big Friendly city. Settled by pioneers during the 1889 Land Run, it had a vibrant cowboy culture. The summer months are normally hot and humid.
Oklahoma City, OK has an interesting set of many museums to visit. The city’s map is divided into various districts like Bricktown, Adventure District, the Asian District, Downtown etc.
Follow us to look at the best things to do in OKC ranging from the fancy Bricktown Entertainment District to internationally renowned museums, zoo and gardens and more.
OKLAHOMA CITY MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma stands in remembrance of people who lost their lives, the noble souls that made a mark in history by rescuing and taking care of the victims, and the survivors of the domestic terrorist bomb that killed 168 people and injured 680 more April 19, 1995.
Located in downtown Oklahoma City on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was the target of the bombing, the memorial is divided into various sections to tell the story of that fateful day. After the most recent stage in the development that the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum went through it has incorporated the newest ideas and features, artifacts and hands-on exhibits.
The 40-foot glass overlooking the stunning view of the OKC skyline establishes a connection between the museum and outdoor memorial. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial has features like the Gates of Time, the Reflecting Pool, Field of Empty Chairs, Survivor’s Wall and Tree etc.
The memorial outside is free and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year however there is a fee to enter the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, Oklahoma. The trip to the National Memorial can take longer than expected.
You can’t miss the open air wooden chapel erected by First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City, the Heartland Chapel across the street from the 9:01 gate. Another highlight across the memorial is the installation of a sculpture of And Jesus Wept across from the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
MYRIAD BOTANICAL GARDENS-
The Myriad Botanical Gardens in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City, OK is an impressive urban public park that spreads over 15 acres of land with a 7 story botanical garden. The park has all the future of gardens from the movies like children’s park, splash fountains, dog park, walking trails and paths to walk and run on. It also has a bandstand where concerts are held occasionally.
There is a popular greenhouse in a glass tunnel with a unique design called the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. It is 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter and is covered by 3,028 translucent acrylic panels. Inside it you’ll be able to enjoy some 750 species of plants from different climates and a waterfall!
One of the most incredible features of this botanical garden is that it offers classes throughout the year for both adults and children who are interested in flora, making it plant lover’s one of the favorite things to do in Oklahoma City.
The annual Oklahoma Gardening School is one of the Myriad Botanical Gardens’ signature events. Classes include chocolate making, story reading, gardening lessons and much more. The Myriad Botanical Gardens is home to several pieces of art.
EXPLORE HISTORY AT OKLAHOMA HISTORY CENTER, OKLAHOMA (OHC)-
The Oklahoma History Center (OHC) is a museum of Oklahoma State. Established in 2005, this museum thrives to archive and exhibit the history of Oklahoma from native American days to present on an 18-acre (7.3 ha) plot. The building has 215,000 feet and is dedicated to teaching visitors about the history of OKC. The museum is maintained by the Oklahoma History Society.
It is located across the street from the Governor’s mansion in Oklahoma City, OK. The OHC is divided into various galleries. There is Inasmuch Foundation Gallery on the south end of the first floor. It is dedicated to Oklahoma’s art and diverse culture. At the north end of the first floor, there is the ONEOK Gallery that exhibits the 39 American Indian tribes associated with Oklahoma. This gallery offers visitors the opportunity to explore and enjoy the lifestyle, experiences and activities of people from Oklahoma State in the past of Oklahoma as well as experience contemporary Indian cultures.
The Kerr-McGee Gallery on the south end of the third floor gives a glimpse of Oklahoma’s oil and gas exploration and the contribution of the state’s military since the first the Spanish expedition in the 16th century. The OHC is home to almost more than 2,000 artifacts across 50 different genres.
Another reason why this place is popular among visitors is because of the annual three-stage (district, state, and national) competition on National History Day called Oklahoma State Level History Day Competition hosted by OHC. Visitors can also enjoy a guided ¼ mile long walking tour called Red River walking tour.
The OHC’s “Farmstead Café”, branch of famous Farmstead Café of Luther, Oklahoma, sells locally-made fresh bakery items and roasted coffees from 10 a.m.–2 p.m
MUSEUM OF OSTEOLOGY-
One of the top attractions of visitors of OKC, the first of its type in the U.S with the skeletons of animals from all over the world, the Museum of Osteology has over 300 real animal skulls and skeletal systems.
As of now, approximately 7,000 specimens representing over 2,500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are present in the collection of Museum of Osteology, including a 40 foot skeleton of a humpback whale. This location is considered to be the largest skeleton museum in the country.
Just like any other museum, various galleries like Oklahoma wildlife, fossil hominid and human evolution are on display at the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This is also popular among families with kids as the family can spend great hours here
OKLAHOMA CITY ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN-
The City Zoo is located in the adventure district of the city at the north of the Capitol. The zoo is home to more than 1900 animals on a 119 acre area. Open all year around except on Thanksgiving, New Year and Christmas, the zoo is almost a century old.
Visitors can enjoy various unique exhibits, from children’s zoo to butterfly garden, that the Oklahoma City Zoo has to offer. Sanctuary Asia houses a herd of Asian Elephants. In the Great Escape section, travelers get to observe gorillas, chimpanzee, and orangutans in a close rainforest region setting.
There are section also dedicated to big cats like African lions, tigers, snow leopards etc.; water creatures like California sea lions; and island creatures like Galápagos tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, Abaco Island boas, San Esteban Island chuckwalla lizards, and other reptiles.
The photo worthy Oklahoma City zoo also has famous Oklahoma Trails where visitors can have fun while a walk in bird exhibit and find animals like bears, bison, beavers etc.
Other attractions include Safari Voyage boats, the giraffe feeding platform, the Safari Tram, the Endangered Species Carousel, the Sea Lion Show, the Centennial Choo Choo, the Jungle Gym Playground and swan paddle boats. Check their website here to plan your visit.
NATIONAL COWBOY AND WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM-
Visiting the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma is one of the most famous things to do in Oklahoma city, OK. With almost 28000 astonishing array of arts from Western and American Indian arts including pictures, sculptors etc., the museum focuses on preserving and interpreting the heritage of the Wild West.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum a is home to the internationally acclaimed Prix de West art exhibition has a list of interesting exhibits like the Rodeo Hall of Fame which is dedicated to rodeo champions, but on-screen cowboys are also given a tip of the hat in their own hall of fame.
The American Cowboy Gallery at the Western Heritage Museum provides insight into the saga of the American cowboy and ranching history. The other galleries exhibit stuff like artifacts belonging to Western artist Joe Grandee, Western tribes and over 100 examples of firearms.
Visitors can see the works by artists like Charles Russell, Remington etc. Make sure that you see the iconic, 18-foot tall “End of the Trail” sculpture, which portrays the plight of American Indians.
The other attractions of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum include Children’s Cowboy Corral where kids can make ranch.
OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART-
In the Arts District of the city, near Myriad Biological Garden, The Museum of Art is an art museum focused on 19th- and 20th-century European and American art.
The museum features touring and original collection to share the information about the art scene hence making it an arts fanatic one of the favorite things to do in Oklahoma City. The bright art-glass works of Dale Chihuly are also housed here including the 55-foot Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower in the Museum’s atrium.
Other featured artists in the permanent collection include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Henry Moore. The museum also includes a theater for showing a variety of films each week and an upscale dining restaurant.
On Thursday evenings in the Spring and Fall, the Museum of Art opens its rooftop for cocktails and music.
Check their website here if you want to know about the exhibition featured here at the time of your visit.
SCIENCE MUSEUM OKLAHOMA
In the Adventure district, the Science Museum Oklahoma is a science museum in Oklahoma City, OK. The museum has a lot of engaging and educating attractions that are popular mostly among kids. It has a number of specialized galleries like CurioCity, Read Earth museum, Destination Space etc.
It is also home to the Kirkpatrick Planetarium that presents regular insightful shows.
Various things to do here include enjoying a tornado simulator, building giant Legos, walking a tightrope, and learning to ride a Segway.
Adults can stay back and enjoy picnics in the expansive Japanese garden, while children can explore the children’s garden and lawn games.
Click here to buy tickets to the museum.
BRICKTOWN ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT-
Bricktown is the city’s fast growing entertainment district and tourist hotspot. Major highlights of Oklahoma City are here including exciting entertainment, cinematic nightlife and fashionable dining. Also, Bricktown is an ideal base for exploring the city as plenty of hotels nearby. Earlier it had abandoned red-brick warehouses which are now converted into shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other attractions.
You’ll have endless possibilities of shopping and dining here. While in “The Brick”, visitors can also catch live sports of their choice between baseball, basketball and soccer games at one of the sporting venues. Make sure you don’t miss exploring the American Banjo Museum.
People wander along the district’s charming brick-lined streets, take in all the sights from a water taxi on the winding Bricktown Canal and enjoy narrated cruises and dinner cruises along the canal are other popular things to do here. Round trip is about 40 minutes and all-day passes are available.
Be sure to stop by the impressive Centennial Land Run Monument, which commemorates the state’s land run pioneer settlers. Bricktown also has a movie theatre called Harkins Theatre and night hotspots like Coyote Ugly Saloon and TapWerks.
It has some of Oklahoma City’s finest dining establishments. Renowned Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse and The Mantel is famous among celebrities as it serves tastiest food. Another popular diner is Jazmo’z Bourbon Street Café. It not only offers most palatable food but also has great outdoor seating that overlooks the buzzing activities along the canal.
For Country music fans, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill offers homestyle food with great music over which people go crazy. Some people’s favorite food here are flash-fried catfish, fried bologna sandwich, or chicken fried steak and Southern sweet tea of the state.
Just like everything, the Bricktown Entertainment District also has other attractions ensuring you’ll never get bored like winery, dueling piano bar and fancy bowling alley.The Bricktown Mosaic Murals and Oklahoma Buffalo Corral are other popular attractions of the district. Bricktown is also a host to both human powered and horse powered buggies and carriages.
CATCH A BIG LEAGUE GAME-
Sports fanatics can have a time of their life here in OKC. The city’s successful home team, Oklahoma City Dodgers, plays in the Pacific Coast League of the minor baseball league. Their home games are played at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The team has 4 league titles, 2 conference titles and 13 division titles. Because of this success, the team has quite a fan following that observes every move of the team with a sense of excitement for match days all over the city.
However, if instead of Baseball, Basketball is your thing then the Chesapeake Energy Arena has got you covered. It is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder which is a NBA team.
The arena has a capacity of 18,200 seats which caters to a large number of fans on home games. Apart from basketball, many WWE events like Raw, SmackDown and Unforgiven; and various concerts are also hosted here from time to time.
Various soccer games are also featured in the city’s calendar regularly. Watch the Oklahoma City Energy soccer players playing live at the Pribil Stadium.
The places have various choices of restaurants, bars and an Irish Pub for before and after game hunger pangs. These places are located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City and Bricktown which makes it convenient for the visitors of these OKC sporting events to have a closeness to nearly everything from dining and hotels, to major museums and nightlife.
Grab your ticket here to make a weekend of it in Oklahoma City.
AMUSEMENT PARKS IN OKC FOR ACTION PACKED THRILL-
For all the adrenaline junkies and theme park lovers out there, Oklahoma City’s Frontier City Theme Park, White Water Bay etc. provides nerve testing action packed thrills.
Frontier City is a family friendly wild West park with four giant roller coasters that defy gravitational laws, nail-biting speedy rides and renegade water rapids, and various shows featuring shootouts, saloon shows etc.The park has over 50 thrilling rides to enjoy including the famous ErUPtion!. ErUPtion! is Oklahoma’s tallest thrill ride.
If you buy tickets online here, you do a savings of $8 off the full-price admission per head, and get them printed before your visit! Don’t miss diving into the tropical water retreat known as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and enjoy water rides that range from floating down a winding river to the thrilling trip down the Mega Wedgie. Mega Wedgie is a heart-stopping 277-ft.-long slide with a 64-ft. free fall.
Other fun things to do here include taking a stroll in Big Kahuna where you can enjoy an exciting tube ride, and the kids can cool off at the Shipwreck Island by hopping along lily pads and gliding down kid-friendly water slides.
White Water Bay is a water park that offers similar exciting attractions but is only functional in summers.
Keeping up with the visitors who come to experience cowboy theme, Stockyards City is where historic outdoor cattle pens fill for auctions every Monday and Tuesday. It is one of the largest livestock markets in the world.
Visitors can reach here via South Agnew or via Exchange Landing from an Oklahoma River Cruise. Your thirst of Western wear, Native American art, and western themed restaurants for a glimpse will end here. There are stores selling just about anything western themed that you could imagine, from saddles to belt buckles to giant hats.
Visit Oklahoma’s oldest Western wear store called Langston’s for a pair of Wrangler jeans or try on Tony Lama cowboy boots, and walk away with the ultimate souvenir, or visit Shorty’s Caboy Hattery for a custom cowboy hat. Try hearty steaks and “lamb fries” at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse which was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”. Near Stockyard City, there is Capitol Hill’s main street which is full of some of the best Mexican shops and restaurants. Catch live country music shows at the Oklahoma Opry here.
One of the oldest grand homes of the state, Overhoslser Mansion was Founder of Oklahoma City, Henry Overholser’s home in the city. Dubbed as the first grand home of the city, it was built in 1903 and still stands perfectly.
It is a three-story French chateau-style house featuring everything that makes up for grand mansions from the 1900s including English carpets, Antwerp fine oak paneling and French stained glass. Visitors can enjoy having walks along the hallways and furnished rooms. Locals also have some curious tales about the haunting of the mansion.
The Oklahoma State Capitol is the seat of government of OK. It was built in 1917. The building has a classic Greco-Roman structure and Oklahoma pink and black granite base with an Indiana limestone exterior. Various guided and self-guided tours are available daily during the working hours.
45TH INFANTRY DIVISION MUSEUM-
Another museum in OKC, built in 1920, 45th Infantry Division Museum is a dreamy place for military history folks. It’s located in the Lincoln Park Armory which is famous for having historical architecture in the neighborhood.
The museum features various exhibits featuring uniforms and firearms in an expansive displays facility. It is an ideal place to enjoy a self-guided tour. The exhibits tell stories from but many worldwide conflicts. It has a dedicated gallery for military vehicles presented in a 15-acre outdoor park.
SOME OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF OKC-
Oklahoma City is a huge city, hence it has a lot of attractions. This city is worth visiting which can get overshadowed by all these top 10 popular destinations. The city is divided in several districts, all of which have special attractions for sightseeing, shopping and dining to offer.
Museums like ASA National Softball Museum, Harn Homestead Museum and Oklahoma Railway Museum will keep any museum lover on the brink of excitement.
People interested in performance arts should try to visit Lyric Theatre of OK, Reduxion Theatre Company, Canterbury Choral Society, and OK Shakespeare in the Park for various critically acclaimed performances.
Head over to Bohemian Paseo Art District where the First Friday Gallery Walk is popular for shows and restaurant events.
In Adventure District, there is Remington Park and Casino which is famous for its thoroughbred and quarter horse racing track with a Casino and off-track betting.
Try to visit Lincoln Terrace and Orr Family Farm if you have some extra time in your hand.
SHOPPING AND DINING PLACES IN OKC-
Every district of OKC has its own special shopping and dining places. Like Asia District has Super Cao Nguyen Supermarket, the largest Asian market of the state. Click here to check out various shopping places to purchase books, art décor, and vintage gift etc.
OKC has a lot of restaurants of various cuisines from all over the world like Japanese, Moroccan, Vietnamese, American, Thai, Polish, Middle Eastern etc. covering all the possible budget brackets. Few famous restaurants are Paseo Grill, Cheever’s Café, Charleston’s Restaurant etc. Click here to check out various places to dine at, breweries, and local food trucks in OKC.
Please also read about things to do in Kissimmee.