As travelers, one of the first things we look for in a city is the friendliness of its locals. Who would want to travel to a place where the people don’t make us feel welcome? If you are looking for the most welcoming place in the U.S., then you should set your eyes in Oklahoma City, also known as The Big Friendly. Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city of the state of Oklahoma. By it moniker, it’s pretty obvious that this city is welcoming to tourists and locals alike. Of course, there’s a lot more to do other than simply making friends with the people that reside in the city. The Big Friendly is also home to various experiences and travel destinations that travelers should have on their bucket list.
As it lies in the Great Plains region, Oklahoma City has one of the world’s largest livestock markets. Don’t be surprised if you see a ton of vast green lands while traveling around as livestock and farming play a huge role in the city’s economy. Other than that, Oklahoma City is a prominent name in the production of oil, natural gas, and petroleum products.
The city itself was first settled on April 22, 1889 back when the area was currently called as the Unassigned Lands. During that event of settlement, it was called as The Land Run and around 10,000 homesteaders built up their homes in the area which we now consider as the capital of Oklahoma. That was just the beginning though as in the following years, the population doubled in an instant. At a point in time, Oklahoma became one of the fastest growing cities. Nearly 20 years since being established, the city was admitted to the Union in 1907.
During the early 90s, Oklahoma City became a top tourist destination as it was a major stop on Route 66. The city’s livestock economy began years before the Second World War. At the time, Oklahoma developed major stockyards which created jobs and of course, revenue that helped the city develop even further.
In the following years, there were a lot of events that shaped Oklahoma. These include natural calamities, terrorist attacks, and more. Of course, the city and its citizens stood strong and were able to recover amidst through all of this. Now, it is a bustling economy with tourism that it built on the local’s friendliness and welcoming demeanor.
- 1 How To Get To Oklahoma
- 2 Getting Around Oklahoma City
- 3 Best Time To Visit Oklahoma City
- 4 Quirky but Fun Things to Do in Oklahoma City
- 4.1 Visit a museum about bones
- 4.2 Feel like an Olympian as you row a boat at the Boathouse District
- 4.3 Marvel at the firearm collection at the 45th Infantry Division Museum
- 4.4 Tour the city in a Bricktown water taxi
- 4.5 Explore the American Banjo Museum
- 4.6 Taste what the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Museum Café has to offer
- 4.7 See what Harn Homestead has
- 4.8 Pay tribute to the victims, survivors, and others affected by the 1995 tragedy in Oklahoma at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum
- 4.9 Hunt for ghosts at the Overholser Mansion
- 4.10 Dig for crystals at Great Salt Plains State Park
- 4.11 See the Blue Whale
- 4.12 Reminisce about your childhood or introduce your childhood to your kids and go to the Toy and Action Figure Museum
How To Get To Oklahoma
This should not come as a surprise but it is very easy to get to Oklahoma. Since this is the capital city of the state of Oklahoma, there are many routes that can get you there and one of those is the acclaimed Route 66. Be sure to stop by the city if you are taking that iconic trip across the U.S.
If you are hoping to get to the city via car, keep in mind that it is located in the crossroads of Interstate 35, Interstate 40 and Interstate 44. It is around a day’s drive from these cities, 105 miles south of Tulsa, OK, 162 miles south of Wichita, KS, 205 miles north of Dallas, TX, 353 miles southwest of Kansas City, MO, 501 miles southwest of St. Louis, MO, and 680 miles southeast of Denver, CO
If you are coming from other parts of the U.S., you’ll need to take a flight to reach the Will Rogers World Airport which is at the heart of the city itself. This accommodates flights from over 20 major cities in the U.S. If you are coming from outside the U.S., you’ll need to make connecting flights from those cities and then to this airport.
Getting Around Oklahoma City
Since this is a major U.S. city, you can bet that ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are available in Oklahoma City. This is a great option if you want to avoid getting lost. Do keep in mind that this method is the most expensive option yet. However, this is the safest if you want to fully explore every ends of the city as the drivers really know their way around. Alternatively, you can’t rent a car at the airport which is more convenient and a lot cheaper.
If you want, you can also take taxis across the city. These are available at downtown hotels and the Transportation Plaza at the Will Rogers World Airport. If you are going to take a taxi from the airport to the downtown area, it can cost you around $25.
In terms of public transportation, the best option available are the Oklahoma City Streetcars. These are beautiful green, blue, and pink cars that can connect travelers to hotels, restaurants and other key spots around the city. There are a total of seven cars running on two loops that have varying schedules six days a week. In its loop, there are 22 platforms for a total of 4.7 miles trip. These platforms are also easy to get to as well.
Another efficient way to get around the city is by traveling via transit through Embark buses. These serve much of the Oklahoma City metro area. While the hours of operation may vary day to day, the most popular routes run at about every 30 minutes each on the week day and every 60 minutes during the weekends.
If you want to travel without having to worry about traffic, rent a bike or a Lime Scooter. These are readily available around the city and they are the most affordable, fun and convenient way around the city.
Best Time To Visit Oklahoma City
According to other travelers and based on our experience as well, the best time to visit Oklahoma City is during the month of July. During this time of the year, the temperature are still on the hot side but the room rates are at their cheapest. You can get a discount of at least 30% during this season. You may however, want to bring thin clothing as the temperatures could peak at the high 80s.
The peak for tourism in the city is during the spring and early summer. While the streets are more fun and crowded, expect to pay higher accommodation rates as well. Although it is great to visit the city during this season, you may miss out on some valuable time because of the longer queues at hotels and other attractions.
Quirky but Fun Things to Do in Oklahoma City
For many people, Oklahoma City is a sleepy flyover state. For that reason, many people pass on the idea of adding Oklahoma City to their travel itinerary because who would want to drive miles just to get somewhere more interesting, right?
However, contrary to what many think, there are actually a lot of quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City that you won’t find in any other state. To prove it, here are some of them that we’re sure you will enjoy a lot.
1Visit a museum about bones
Most of us are probably familiar with science, history, and art museums. But have you heard of a museum about bones? Oklahoma has one called the Museum of Osteology and visiting it is one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City that we can recommend. When it comes to quirkiness, it is definitely a unique one as it is the first of its kind in the States.
But what makes it really worth the visit is not just how it looks on the inside but the museum also aims to provide information about bones, particularly of animals. The museum houses displays of about 300 skulls and skeletons from all over the world that explains the locomotion, classification, adaptation, and the diversity of the vertebrates like birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, as well as some species of fish. You will not just leave the premise amazed by its exhibits but you can also get to take home some more knowledge.
2Feel like an Olympian as you row a boat at the Boathouse District
Oklahoma is also a place for when you feel like having fun on the water as it has the Boathouse District where you can kayak, canoe, and paddleboard. But what makes it on this list of quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City is that you will feel as if you’re really an Olympian as you visit this place. This is because the Boathouse District is the official training site of the US Olympic and Paralympic athletes for canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. What’s even better is that it has 13 miles of paved trails as well that is best for when you feel like cycling or running. The place also holds several events as well, such as the Oklahoma Regatta Festival and the Stars and Stripes River Festival, that will make your visit all the more fun. So make sure to time your visit to the Boathouse District if you want to witness such special events.
3Marvel at the firearm collection at the 45th Infantry Division Museum
Whether you love history or you’re just fascinated with firearms, visiting the 45th Infantry Division Museum is one of the most quirky and fun things to do in Oklahoma. This is because you might not get to see such museum that is filled with weapons that were once used in the war back in the day. The place is filled with several exciting exhibits featuring a collection of basic firearm weapons that were used by cavalry and infantry from the Revolutionary to even the Vietnam War. Also one of the highlights in the museum is the Mosby Cannon, a cannon that was used in the Civil war that the Union army captured back in 1863.
Aside from the fascinating collections, the 45th Infantry Division Museum also houses cartoons created by Bill Mauldin, a 45th Infantry Division soldier, between 1944 and 1945 that depict several things about World War II. There are exhibits that feature documents, photographs, and other artifacts about the battles that happened in the city during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and the Civil War.
4Tour the city in a Bricktown water taxi
Riding water taxis isn’t actually something new as it has been around since 1920s. However, it is not as common today as before. Often, they are only used to tour travelers around the place. And if you haven’t tried a water taxi yet, touring the city in a Bricktown water taxi is one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City too.
Basically, the water taxi will tour you around the Bricktown entertainment district’s canal. It runs seven days a week so you don’t have to rush your visit. However, note that it is weather dependent. Still, it is a fun and unique way to tour the city.
And as its name suggests, you can also use it like a taxi to take you to the sites around the Bricktown district if you want to. And the best part of it is that, chartered trips and inner cruises are also being offered. It’s a must try as it will also give you a different look at the city.
5Explore the American Banjo Museum
If you are familiar with banjos, you’ll probably think about African culture first. But Banjo is also a big part of the US’ past. In fact, there is a large emphasis on this musical instrument in American jazz music in 1920s as well as in 1930s, as well as in folk and bluegrass music. And wouldn’t it be nice to see a glimpse of the past? Apparently, you can do that at the American Banjo Museum. Here, you have more than 20,000 square feet of facility filled with banjos collected from around the world for you to enjoy plus several artworks. Get to know more about this musical instrument and see a glimpse of the state’s history as well. Whether you are a music lover or not, it visiting the American Banjo Museum is one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City that is worth the try. It is open from Tuesdays through Sundays and admission is only $8 plus discounts can be availed for seniors, children, as well as military members.
6Taste what the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Museum Café has to offer
The Oklahoma City Museum is also one of the favorites among the many attractions in the city. It’s not a surprise, though, as the museum is full of artworks that are really jaw-dropping. In fact, one of its highlights are the comprehensive collections of Chihuly glass sculptures that it has. But The Oklahoma City Museum of Art Museum Café is also what makes locals and visitors alike to come back time and again and visiting is also one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City too as you will not just get to fill your eyes with the best works of art displayed in the museum but you can also get to fill your tummy with the good food that it has to offer. Some of their popular dishes are the ravioli primavera, sea scallops, saffron risotto, and grilled quail. The museums café also has build-your-own hamburgers as well that are served at lunch. If you want to try out what we’re talking about, note that lunch and dinner services are offered Mondays through Saturdays. Oklahoma City Museum of Art Museum Café also offers British-style afternoon tea on select days, along with a movie-style prix-five and dinner menus.
7See what Harn Homestead has
When we think of museums, we often imagine a vast collection of items on display inside it. But Harn Homestead is a bit more different than the others and visiting it is also one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City. This is because the place is an outdoor museum. Though you will still be amazed by the displays that it houses, what’s outside is also worth talking about.
Here, you have 10 acres of original Oklahoma Land Run property to enjoy. And because it is solely dedicated to the early settlement of the city and its settlers’ way of life, you will definitely get a glimpse of the city’s past that you will not get to experience elsewhere. Outside, you can also get to see a Victorian-style home, a one-room schoolhouse, and a farm.
But what makes it even more different from the rest of Oklahoma’s attractions is that it can be rented out for special events such as weddings. In fact, it is considered as one of the best places to tie the knot in Oklahoma because of the beautiful ambiance that gives off.
In addition to that, the museum offers educational tours like field trips and day camps. However, note that the tours are only available on weekdays throughout the year except for federal holidays. So if you want to check this out, might as well time your visit.
8Pay tribute to the victims, survivors, and others affected by the 1995 tragedy in Oklahoma at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum
Back in April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City experienced a tragedy after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed and took out the lives of at least 168 people, injured more than 600 others, and caused damaged to more than 300 buildings nearby. On April 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was made and dedicated to commemorate the victims of the bombing where remembrance services are also held every year on April 19, at the time of the explosion.
With that in mind, you might wonder why this is included in the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City. Visiting it, for some, might bring back the traumatic experience that happened back in 1995. However, it is still worth visiting not just to remember the victims, survivors, rescuers, and the others who were affected by the tragedy but it is also a nice place to reflect and to take a break from the busy parts of the city because of the solemn atmosphere that it offers. The outdoor memorial is also a stone throw away from several attractions in the city. One of which is the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum where you can find out more about the tragedy.
9Hunt for ghosts at the Overholser Mansion
The Overholser Mansion is also one of the popular attractions in the city that you need to see. Its exteriors alone is worth talking about. It is dotted with trees and its architectural design alone is really something to marvel at. What’s inside it will also make your jaw drop as this three-story French chateau-style house has stained glass windows, Antwerp fine oak paneling, English carpets, and gorgeous furnished rooms. But, apparently, the Overholser Mansion’s interiors and architectural design aren’t the only things that make locals and tourist alike come back time and again. Visitors also frequent the mansion to see some ghosts too.
According to some, ghosts can be seen here. In fact, some of its previous visitors have reported that they caught “orbs” in photos taken in the mansion, figures were seen in the mansion’s windows, and some even claim to have heard strange things while inside the mansion. And if you’re brave enough, you can join seasonal ghost tours being offered here wherein you can get to hear spooky tales of the city’s history and even get a rare glimpse inside the mansion after dark. But then again, such a tour is only seasonal. If you want to see if there are ghost tours available as you visit the city, keep an eye out here.
10Dig for crystals at Great Salt Plains State Park
If you really want some quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City, head to the Great Salt Plains State Park and dig for crystals. Yes, you read it right. You can actually dig crystals in Oklahoma and it’s one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City; just head to the Great Salt Plains State Park. Here, you can find hourglass-shaped selenite crystals beneath the surface. And what’s even better is that they allow theirs visitors to take home these crystals. And they’re not limited to one or two crystals but 10 pounds of it. But there’s a catch; you’re not allowed to sell it.
The Great Plains State Park also has an interesting landscape that is worth talking about as well. Some even say it kind of looks like the surface of the moon.
11See the Blue Whale
Oklahoma is also known for its Blue Whale. However, we’re not talking about the actual mammal. Rather, we’re talking about a unique structure of a blue whale and seeing it is one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City. But whether you don’t intend to visit it and you just happen to pass by it, it will surely catch your attention due to its size and unique look. But aside from that, the story behind the structure is what makes people visit it more.
Made mostly with steel, this Blue Whale of Catoosa, as what they call it, was apparently not initially made as an attraction that it is today. It was supposedly an anniversary gift made by Hugh Davis in the 70s for his wife, Zelta, who is so fascinated with blue whales that she has a huge collection of whale figurines. It sits on a lakeside that used to be the couple’s private property but as time passes by and more and more people notice it, they eventually opened it to the public. With its uniqueness and amazing story behind it, it’s definitely worth adding to your list of quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City, right?
12Reminisce about your childhood or introduce your childhood to your kids and go to the Toy and Action Figure Museum
It’s always nice to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the good days we spent as a child. It’s a good thing, you can do that in Oklahoma as it has a Toy and Action Figure Museum and it’s one of the quirky but fun things to do in Oklahoma City.
Whether you are a kid at heart or you just want to introduce parts of your childhood to your kids, going to the Toy and Action Figure Museum is what we highly recommend. This is because, as its name suggests, the museum houses lots of toys and action figures and we’re most familiar to the majority of them. In fact, it has more than 13,000 toys on display and some of them are characters from The Simpsons, KISS, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, who would not forget about the DC and Marvel superheroes?