The capital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City (OKC) is known as “The Big Friendly.” With its modern museums, lavish gardens, and art galleries, Oklahoma City creates the perfect atmosphere for a memorable midwestern experience.
With so many options, it can be difficult to decide what to see and enjoy. To help you, I have compiled a list of the 10 best things to do in Oklahoma City.
- Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
- Oklahoma City Museum of Art
- Oklahoma City Zoo
- Oklahoma History Center
- Frontier City Theme Park
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
- Myriad Botanical Gardens
- Science Museum Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State Capitol
- Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Standing right at the heart of the city, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum memorializes the infamous Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing of 1995 that claimed many lives.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum offers video presentations and moving oral accounts, and displays bomb-damaged artifacts.
Image Credit: Dustin M. Ramsey aka Kralizec!, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons
The memorial and museum complex has other attractions such as the Field of Empty Chairs, Gates of Time that frame the moment of the bombing, the Survivor Tree, and a reflecting pool, all of which are breathtaking at night.
Within the Downtown Oklahoma City area is the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center.
The museum displays artwork from Asia, Europe, and North America. There are many American art and postwar abstractions that woo art enthusiasts from across the world.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has the world’s largest collection of Dale Chihuly glass along with a large collection of the works of Paul Reed of Washington Color School and photographer Brett Weston.
Located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, the Oklahoma City Zoo is a zoo and a botanical garden.
Spanning over 119 acres and housing 1,900+ animals, the Oklahoma City Zoo has many state-of-the-art habitats.
From mighty gorillas to spry orangutans, playful chimps to huge Asian elephants, and graceful tigers & lions to beautiful flamingos – the zoo offers a chance to watch wildlife up close.
The zoo is home to both Oklahoma’s native animal species and exotic species from different parts of the world.
The Oklahoma History Center is a 215,000-square-foot center for learning the state’s unique history of commerce, transportation, aviation, geology, culture, heritage, and more.
Standing on an 18-acre plot right in front of the mansion of the acting governor of the city, the Oklahoma History Center is home to artifact galleries and interactive installations that will teach you everything you need to know about the city.
Image Credit: Roller Coaster in Frontier City
Also known as the White Water Bay, the Frontier City Theme Park is Oklahoma City’s family adventure destination.
Renegade water rapids, high-speed rides, gravity-defying roller coasters, wild west shows (with shootouts) – the Frontier City Theme Park has everything you will need for a memorable family vacation.
To cool off, hit the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – a tropical water paradise with choices of gentle and extreme water rides.
For a heart-pounding experience take a trip down the Mega Wedgie – a 277-foot slide with a 64-foot free fall. If you have kids, don’t forget Ship Wreck Island.
There is no better place to witness the American cowboy saga than the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Home to the famous Prix de West art exhibition, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum displays a mind-boggling array of American Indian artifacts and Western art.
The iconic “End of the Trail” sculpture standing 18 feet tall will scream the plight of the Native Americans along the infamous Trail of Tears in which thousands of Native Americas died.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is also the home to an extensive collection of American rodeo saddlery, photographs, and trophies.
Sitting right in the heart of Oklahoma City, the Myriad Botanical Gardens, or simply the Myriad Gardens is an urban oasis with captivating open spaces and interesting landscapes.
Complete with tranquil streams, an off-leash dog park, splash fountains, and a children’s garden, the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a perfect getaway destination for those who want a touch of nature and solitude.
There is an ice skating rink for winter activities. If you want you can enjoy a performance of Shakespeare in the Park.
The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is the crown jewel. This 224-foot round glass structure houses blooming orchids, cascading waterfalls, palm trees, and delicate zebra-longwing butterflies.
Image Credit: Science Museum Oklahoma
A great destination for family fun, the Science Museum Oklahoma offers hands-on science experiences and an exhibition of cultural, aviation, and space artifacts.
Spread over 8 acres, the Science Museum also has the Kirkpatrick Planetarium where you can explore the dark depths of the earth or travel beyond our Milky Way galaxy.
The museum remains open 7 days a week, but the timings for the weekends differ.
Home to Senate offices and the Oklahoma House of Representatives chamber of the Oklahoma state, the Oklahoma State Capitol is a fascinating destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs.
Built in 1917, the Oklahoma State Capitol building has impressive Greco-Roman architecture with many murals and paintings related to the state’s history.
There are many scenes from World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War.
The Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is a famed stadium that was opened in 1998. Located in the Bricktown Entertainment District of Downtown OKC, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is home to the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Enjoy a live game and get an ice-cold coffee and something to eat from one of the park’s several concession stands or restaurants.
Check out the monuments and statues around the park or purchase some new gear from a team store.
Since the Oklahoma City Dodgers is a Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the entry tickets for a game are quite cheap.
The 45th Infantry Division Museum is located in the Lincoln Park Armory. The 45th Infantry Division was active between 1920 and 1968 and participated in both the Second World War and Korean War.
There is a huge collection of military vehicles and weapons used during those conflicts. If you are interested in the history of military conflicts of the 20th century, a visit to the 45th Infantry Division Museum is a must.
The Bricktown Entertainment District is the entertainment hotspot. This is where you will find the Bricktown Canal and even ride a famous Bricktown water taxi.
Dinner cruises and narrated cruises are quite popular, and one of the most important stops is the Centennial Land Run Monument commemorating the state settlers.
The once abandoned red-brick warehouses are now fancy restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, creating a perfect setup for enjoying Oklahoma City nightlife.
You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river, watch a movie, explore the American Banjo Museum, or catch a basketball or baseball game at a sporting venue.
Image Credit: Oklahoma Railway Museum
Located close to the Lincoln Park Golf Course, the Oklahoma Railway Museum is a time capsule where you can learn about the history of railways in America.
Steam locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses, freight cars, etc., dating back to the 1870s are on display with original equipment and decals.
West of Downtown OKC and next to the Bicentennial Park is the Civic Center Music Hall – a performing arts center where you can enjoy theatre performances, concerts, ballets, and orchestras.
A breathtaking addition to the Oklahoma City skyline, the Contemporary Arts Center is a world-class center for performances, exhibitions, and education. There are interactive exhibits and even classes for people of all ages.
A family-friendly destination, the Orr Family Farm was built by Dr. Glenn Orr and his family. It is a perfect destination for family bonding along with a variety of informative and entertaining experiences such as activities, rides, educational opportunities, etc.
Owned and operated by Oklahoma State Firefighters Association, the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum is America’s only fire museum operated by firefighters.
There are various exhibits such as the Patch Collection, the Fort Supply Firehouse, and The Last Alarm mural.
Image Credit: Sklmsta, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Close to Lake Stanley Draper, the Museum of Osteology houses hundreds of skeletons of small field mice to huge humpback whales. It is the only skeleton museum in America where you can learn about the biology of various creatures.
Scissortail Park is a 70-acre public space with lush landscapes, ornamental gardens, recreational activities, a dog park, a playground for children, a seasonal roller rink, public art installations, and more.
Chesapeake Energy Arena (today known as Paycom Center) is where you can watch NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder live during the main season. Many celebrities like Justin Bieber, Adele, Drake, etc., have graced the arena.
Oklahoma City has four seasons – Summer, Autumn/Fall, Winter, and Spring. Autumn/Fall (September to November) is the best time to visit Oklahoma City.
Specifically, the months of September and October are the most preferred months because the average daytime hovers around 29-23°C and the night temperature hovers between 17-10°C, making it pretty comfortable.
The temperature starts dropping in November, but it is still not very cold. Winter officially starts in December and ends in February, making November the perfect shoulder month to enjoy low prices and pleasant weather.
Before the Summer (June to August), the shoulder months of March to May are also great times to visit Oklahoma City. However, the summer months make the peak tourist season because of summer break. This is when prices are high!
There is no shortage of hotels, hostels, or Airbnb in Oklahoma City, so it completely depends on your requirements and budget.
I use booking.com as my preferred hotel booking app. I have tried many over the years and booking.com consistently offers me the best deals.
If however, you’re looking for super budget accommodation try hostelworld.com.
Here are the best budget and mid-range accommodation options in Oklahoma City:
Howard Johnson by Wyndham: Starting at $47.5/night (plus taxes) [For budget accommodation]
Only 10 minutes drive from Downtown Oklahoma City, the hotel offers free Wi-Fi and continental breakfast. It is a pet-friendly hotel with smoking and non-smoking room options. There is an on-site ATM, and every room comes with air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: Starting at $66/night (plus taxes) [For mid-range accommodation]
This three-star hotel offers free Wi-Fi and an onsite ATM. Each room has air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV. The property offers a swimming pool, free parking, and daily housekeeping. Both non-smoking and smoking rooms are available.
Omni Oklahoma City Hotel: Starting at approximately $219.5/night (plus taxes) [For luxury accommodation]
At a 15-minute walking distance from Oklahoma City Museum and one kilometer away from Oklahoma City National Memorial, this is a pet-friendly hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, on-site ATM & a currency exchange facility, air-conditioning, and a flat-screen in all rooms.
- The best way to get around Oklahoma City is by renting a car, but that can be costly. Oklahoma City Streetcar (think of them as trams) is a good cheap option but it only connects major attractions on a 4.7-mile loop! Streetcars are fun, but not the most convenient ones. There are bus services that cover most of the metro area. Bike rentals are also available.
- Wi-Fi connection was pretty good almost everywhere in Oklahoma City, but remember that when you go to certain isolated locations like Lake Hefner & Water Park, and Martin Park Nature Center, there might be connectivity issues. But most residential and commercial areas have high-speed internet available.
- The US Dollar is the official currency of Oklahoma City. Credit cards will be accepted almost everywhere, but do carry some cash because that helps you get the best exchange rates while paying in local currency.
- Depending on how long you’re staying and the kind of phone contract you’re on, it might be worth getting a local SIM when you get there. Most times when I travel, a local sim is the cheapest option. However, the story is different in the US. Only T-Mobile and AT&T offer prepaid SIMs, but they may not be very efficient for a short stay in Oklahoma City. I recommend purchasing an eSIM that you can get for $4.5 for 7 days for 1GB of data. For $26, you can get 10GB of data for 30 days. It’s worth checking roaming fees with your phone company before traveling.
- If taking money out of an ATM, always choose the ‘convert from your own bank’ option, rather than the convert from the ATM option. This is a golden rule worldwide. I have tried multiple ATM’s in multiple countries and the bank conversion is always without fail cheaper than a local ATM conversion.
- Also when paying with your travel credit or debit card, always choose local currency. If you choose your own currency, the conversion will be done then and there by their bank. When choosing local currency, the conversion is done by your bank and will be cheaper. Not by much, but every little helps!
It’s tough when organizing your travels to know which companies offer the best deals and can be trusted with your credit card details!
The following resources are companies I have consistently used over my 11 years of travels and who I believe are the best in the business. I’m constantly updating this list as I find new and improved services.
Rome2Rio – a fantastic app which will show you the best routes to get from city to city or country to country. Simply enter where you’re traveling from and too, and they’ll show you how to get there via planes, trains and automobiles!
Skyscanner.net – always my first port of call when looking for the best flights. Easy to use and consistently highlights flights I can’t find anywhere else, they’re the best flight resource there is. Plus an easy to use app.
Flight Aware – a free, handy app showing flights around the world. I use this to track family or friends when they’re flying, to check whether my flight has left on time on previous days so I can be prepared for delays etc, and just to double check my own flight details as and when I’m traveling.
Trainline (for Europe) – I used to use this just for UK trains, but nowadays you can book trains all over Europe using their services. Cheap, reliable and with a great refund policy for canceled or delayed trains, they’re highly recommended.
Booking.com – I have tried all the other hotel booking sites and without doubt booking.com has consistently offered the best deals. One caveat to this, is always to just check the hotel website directly before finalizing your booking as sometimes they’ll have specialized deals.
Getyourguide.com – the easiest and most reliable activity booking agent. I haven’t had a bad trip to date with them. Plus an easy to use app which tracks all your bookings and includes the meeting point, trip details and everything else you need to ensure your activity goes smoothly.
Discovercars.com – Easy to use website to find rental cars in over 145 countries around the world. Pick up from one location, drop off in another. Find the best deals with the best reviews.
Safetywing – quite simply the best insurance for digital nomads and long term travelers. See my Safetywing insurance review for more details, but with cheap monthly plans and an easy to use claims process, you won’t find better on the market.
Light Packing Guide
I’m generally a very light packer so for a summer trip here is what I would usually pack, with a maximum weight of 7 KG;
Swimming costume or bikini
Light Beach dress
2 x pairs of shorts
2 x summer skirts
3 x t-shirts
1 x ‘going out’ dress
2 x night shorts & tee
14 x underwear (I always take a lot as I hate washing underwear in hotel sinks)
1 skin color plunge bra (can wear under black or white, and with posh dress or t-shirts)
1 x flip flops or thongs or sandals (depending where you’re from in the world)
1 x trainers/sneakers (which I generally wear when traveling from place to place or hang off the back of my bag
3 x trainer socks
1 x leggings
1 x light cardigan
Travel size all in one Shampoo/Conditioner (sacrilege to some women, but hey I want to travel light)
Travel size shower gel
Small battery powered toothbrush (with cap)
Travel size sun lotion
50SPF lip balm
Travel size body moisturiser
Ziplock bags – for anything and everything!
Travel Bags – for separating tops/shorts/underwear etc, and also great for laundry
My husbands bag usually weighs less than mine and he takes;
2 x shorts (Both double as swim shorts)
2 x tees
7 x socks
7 x boxers
1 x ‘going out’ shorts & tee
1 x croc flip flops
1 x trainers/sneakers
Travel size shampoo
1 x razor
Justin Prine | Unsplash
Oklahoma City is located along the North Canadian River close to the center of Oklahoma state. The part of the river flowing through Oklahoma City is known as the Oklahoma River. The city is approximately 100 miles southwest of Tulsa – the second-largest city in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City is very safe even for solo female travelers.
As with all popular tourist destinations you’ll need to watch out for pickpockets and keep your valuables hidden, plus for females, use your common sense and don’t go wandering on your own in the middle of the night plus be careful when drinking in bars/clubs. (Sad but true across the globe).
But on a general scale compared to the rest of the world, for tourists visiting Oklahoma it would be considered a very safe city, for solos, couples & families alike.
Nevertheless, always ensure you have travel insurance wherever you go as it will protect you against theft, injury, illness, or cancelations. Use the form below to get your personalized quote.
The official currency of Oklahoma City is the US Dollars and it is the only legal tender acceptable throughout the country, including Oklahoma City. You can use international travel credit and debit cards that will allow paying in US Dollars, but I recommend carrying some local currency (you can convert your currency at US banks) just in case cards are not accepted in certain places.
Most people in Oklahoma City speak English, however, as with across the US, you’ll likely meet people from across the globe.
Oklahoma City follows Central Standard Time, meaning they are 6 hours behind UTC. The city also follows Central Daylight Time (Daylight Saving Time), meaning they are 5 hours behind UTC. In 2023, DST will start on 12 March at 2:00 CST and end on 5 November at 2:00 CDT.
With a fascinating Southern charm and heaps of Western allure, Oklahoma City is home to family-friendly theme parks, world-class museums, and fast-growing entertainment districts.
The capital city of Oklahoma state, Oklahoma City can rightly be called the nucleus of the urban renaissance.
But the sprawling metropolis isn’t just home to huge buildings adorning the city skyline. There are pockets of pristine nature where you can spend some time away from the city’s cacophony.
Overall, Oklahoma City has many attractions for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers, making it a perfect holiday destination.
Oklahoma City has much to offer.
With its rich Western heritage and cowboy history, bustling entertainment districts, theme parks, urban oases, and fine dining experience, Oklahoma City has something for everyone.
Whether you are an art enthusiast, a history buff, or someone looking for some thrilling fun, the city has a fine mix of all the ingredients you will need for a memorable vacation.
On top of that, friendly locals and a thriving nightlife make visiting Oklahoma City an unforgettable experience.
I hope you’ve found this list of the 10 very best things to do in Oklahoma City useful for your travels. Let me know how you go!