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Explore Excitement: Top Fun Things to Do in Oklahoma City

Curious about things to do in Oklahoma City? From historical sites and art districts to outdoor adventures and unique dining, our guide reveals the city’s eclectic attractions. Uncover Oklahoma City’s charm through this straightforward rundown of must-visit spots, and find the perfect activities for your itinerary.

Key Takeaways

  • Oklahoma City offers a diverse range of cultural and historical attractions, such as the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, that celebrate the city’s rich heritage and honor influential figures.

  • The Paseo Arts District and Factory Obscura present vibrant art scenes with monthly art walks, creative workshops, and immersive interactive art experiences that encourage community involvement and personal creativity.

  • For outdoor enthusiasts and families, Oklahoma City provides abundant recreational activities, from the family-friendly Scissortail Park to adventurous RIVERSPORT activities on the Oklahoma River, as well as serene nature experiences at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Discover the Heart of OKC: Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial at dusk with illuminated chairs

Steeped in profound history and emotion, the Oklahoma City National Memorial stands as a poignant tribute to the victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing. This historic landmark, located downtown, is a significant part of OKC’s heritage, inviting visitors to reflect on the past while instilling a sense of hope for the future.

Reflect at the Field of Empty Chairs

The Field of Empty Chairs, a deeply moving component of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, visually represents the lives claimed by the bombing. The 168 chairs, each a symbol of a lost life, are organized in nine rows to reflect the nine floors of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The smaller chairs stand as a poignant reminder of the children whose lives were tragically cut short. This outdoor memorial was dedicated to the public on April 19, 2000, by then-President Bill Clinton, marking a new era of remembrance and unity.

Understand the Past at the Museum

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is a beacon of resilience and unity, commemorating the tragic event that shook the nation on April 19, 1995. The museum offers:

  • A retelling of the event

  • An educational hub

  • Features like the Uncover-Discover STEM Lab that allows students to engage with science, technology, engineering, and math within the context of the Museum’s mission.

Personal narratives and powerful themes of unity and resilience are fostered through the ‘First Person: Stories of Hope’ and annual Student Essay Contests. The museum experience is further enhanced by an official app providing walking tours and interactive content, making educational resources accessible to all.

Western Heritage Unveiled: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Exhibit at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Immerse yourself in the captivating realm of the American West at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of:

  • the American cowboy

  • rodeos

  • Native American culture

  • Western performers

The Galleries of Fame within the museum pay tribute to the influential rodeo stars, Western performers, and pioneers, showcasing their significant impact on America’s Western culture.

Galleries of Fame

The Galleries of Fame in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum honor the influential figures who have shaped Western history. These exhibits pay tribute to the legacies of individuals who have shaped the American West, celebrating their profound impact on American Western culture.

Prosperity Junction

Travel back in time when visiting Prosperity Junction, a faithful reconstruction of a cattle town from the turn of the century. The town’s south edge includes a one-room schoolhouse, church, and doctor’s home, showcasing the community and social structures of the time. Meanwhile, the north side of Prosperity Junction exhibits the infrastructure of the cattle town era with a railroad, blacksmith, and livery.

The recent addition of a railroad depot and cattle car exhibit underlines the importance of cattle drives from Texas and the role of railroads in the expansion of the American West.

Artistic Vibrancy in the Paseo Arts District

Colorful artwork in the Paseo Arts District

Awaken your senses with a visit to the Paseo Arts District, the heart of OKC’s vibrant arts scene. Known for its First Friday Gallery Walk, vibrant pop-up events, and a plethora of art studios and galleries, the district offers an eclectic mix of experiences for art enthusiasts.

Local artists and craftsmen showcase their works at festive events such as Holiday Pop-Ups, organized by the Paseo Arts and Creativity Center (PACC). The district is enriched by fine dining, live music venues, and cocktail lounges, adding to its cultural fabric.

Monthly Art Walks

Held monthly, the First Friday Gallery Walk unites the community in a jubilant celebration of local artistry. The event sees galleries, boutiques, and businesses extend their operational hours until 9 pm, offering free events and making art accessible to visitors.

Creative Workshops

Unleash your inner artist at the Paseo Arts District’s diverse creative workshops. From ceramic plate painting with Quiquia Calhoun-McLilly to 3D sculpture creation with artists G. Patrick Riley and Glen Henry, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a pottery enthusiast or a needlepoint aficionado, the district offers engaging sessions for different artistic interests.

Unique workshops in art quilts, wearable art, and stained glass artwork welcome participants to explore new mediums and cultivate a sense of community among craft lovers and aspiring artisans.

Adventure Awaits at Scissortail Park

Scissortail Park with families enjoying outdoor activities

Scissortail Park, a thrilling destination in OKC, is a must-visit for those in search of amusement and adventure. The park offers an array of recreational activities to visitors of all ages, including:

  • Walking trails

  • Sport courts

  • Family-friendly play areas

  • Kayak rentals

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an action-packed day, Scissortail Park has something for everyone.

After an exhilarating day of play, visitors can indulge in a wide range of food options at Spark, serving up everything from burgers and fries to healthier options like power bowls and acai bowls.

Concerts on the Great Lawn

The Scissortail Park’s Great Lawn is a dynamic center for live performances, featuring both local up-and-comers and celebrated artists. Concert goers can easily access up-to-date information on upcoming concerts at the Great Lawn by checking Scissortail Park’s social media pages, particularly their events calendar on Facebook.

Family Fun Zone

The Family Fun Zone at Scissortail Park is a family friendly attraction specifically designed to entertain and engage children with a variety of interactive elements. The play area is equipped with playground equipment and water features that cater to young explorers, providing options for imaginative and physical play.

Children can also experience modern playground facilities in a few places amid the scenic views of kayaks and dragon boats in the city’s Boathouse District.

Cruise the Iconic Route 66

Iconic Route 66 with vintage signage

Feel the freedom of the open road while driving down the legendary Route 66. With over 400 miles of this historic highway running through OKC, a journey along Route 66 offers a unique blend of historic and modern experiences. Key attractions along Route 66 in Oklahoma City include:

  • Tower Theatre

  • Oklahoma State Capitol Complex

  • Gold Dome

  • Milk Bottle Grocery

  • Pops 66 Soda Ranch

  • Cheever’s Café

Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the picturesque views from the storied Route 66 bridge near Lake Overholser.

Snap a Photo at the Milk Bottle Grocery

One of the iconic landmarks along Route 66 in Oklahoma City is the Milk Bottle Grocery. Constructed in 1930 on a unique triangular land plot, the building is famous for its massive milk bottle structure atop its roof, introduced around 1948 as a creative advertisement for the dairy industry.

Relive the Mother Road at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton offers a personal journey through the history of the nation’s most revered highway. Visitors can encounter the iconic ideas, images, and myths of the Mother Road, as well as learn about the dreams and labor needed to make the road a reality.

The museum features exhibits that allow visitors to experience the Dust Bowl era and listen to the sounds of the Big Band era, both of which were significant periods in Route 66’s history. A 1950s diner exhibit at the museum recreates the feel of the open road, where visitors can sit at the counter or booth and immerse themselves in the vacation atmosphere of that era.

Embrace Nature at the Myriad Botanical Gardens

Find respite from the city’s hustle and bustle at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a verdant refuge in downtown OKC. This natural haven features:

  • The Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory, home to an impressive collection of exotic plant species

  • Stunning greenery

  • Elegant venue for hosting events such as weddings, with both indoor and outdoor spaces available.

Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a horticultural delight, divided into two distinct climates: the Tropical Wet Zone and the Tropical Dry Zone, showcasing thousands of exotic plant species. Visitors can marvel at water features including a two-floor cascading waterfall and a reflecting pool that is home to exotic water lilies.

The ambiance of the Conservatory is further accentuated by the striking cloud portal sculpture, which divides the space and frames scenic views.

Dog Park Adventures

Pet-lovers rejoice! The Myriad Botanical Gardens also houses a specially designed dog park area for your furry friends to enjoy. The dog park features little hills which create an interesting and engaging terrain for dogs to explore.

Maintained for cleanliness, the dog park ensures a pleasant environment for both pets and owners.

Dive Into Discovery at Factory Obscura

Factory Obscura merges art and adventure, crafting a wholly unique and immersive interactive experience. The Mix-Tape experience is a 6,000 square foot immersive art exhibition, inviting visitors to interact physically with the environment.

Designed with inclusivity in mind, the majority of the Mix-Tape experience is ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this unique attraction.

Mix-Tape Experience

The Mix-Tape Experience at Factory Obscura offers a participatory phenomenon that blends the realms of art and science. Exhibitions like Elemental Worlds invite visitors to explore and interact with art that demonstrates the deep significance of art and science. Visitors are encouraged to become part of the art, engaging all their senses as they move through and interact with the installations.

This full-spectrum art experience transcends traditional viewing, offering an immersive, multi-sensory engagement that leaves a lasting impression.

Shop Unique Art Pieces

The Factory Obscura gift shop offers a variety of artistic memorabilia, from unique buttons and pins to art-inspired stickers and patches. In addition to physical items, the gift shop provides gift certificates, allowing visitors to gift the unique Factory Obscura experience to others.

By purchasing from Factory Obscura’s gift shop, visitors not only get a memento of their visit but also support the continuation of the unique Mix-Tape art experience.

Oklahoma River Thrills

The Oklahoma River, host to an array of water sports and adventurous activities, presents an exhilarating destination for outdoor enthusiasts. RIVERSPORT Adventures caters to different levels of thrill-seekers, serving as a hub for both intense sporting challenges and more relaxed river experiences.

RIVERSPORT Adventures

RIVERSPORT Adventures provides a diverse range of aquatic pursuits, from flatwater kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to the adrenaline-rush of whitewater rafting. Beyond water sports, visitors can experience extreme sports such as surfing, skiing, and ziplining, providing a comprehensive adventure experience in Oklahoma City.

Relaxing River Cruises

For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the Oklahoma River offers serene river cruises. Passengers on the river cruises can enjoy:

  • Dinner with small dining tables and food available on board

  • Beautiful sights along the river

  • Insights about the cruise and the sights along the river from the knowledgeable captain

  • Refreshments from a selection of beverages provided by the on-board bartender

These features enhance guests’ experience on the river cruises.

The river cruise offers a unique travel experience from the west end of OKC to downtown, presenting an appealing alternative to the conventional drive and parking, with scenic views throughout the journey.

Savor OKC’s Culinary Delights

OKC’s food scene offers a flavor-filled diversity to cater to all tastes. Here are some highlights:

  • The First Americans Museum’s gastronomical experience with dishes inspired by Native recipes and tribally specific dishes

  • The international twist at Nunu’s Mediterranean Café

  • Riviere Modern Banh Mi, offering a fusion of Vietnamese and French flavors

There’s something for every palate in OKC’s food scene.

Steakhouse Staples

Oklahoma City is home to a variety of steakhouses offering prime cuts of meat. Some notable options include:

  • Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, known for their famous fillets

  • Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse, offering smoky flavors

  • Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, known for its refined setting and superior service

  • Stock & Bond, offering a vibrant atmosphere

These steakhouses in Oklahoma City provide not only delicious food but also a memorable dining experience.

Food Truck Frenzy

Food truck events in Oklahoma City provide an exciting culinary landscape, combining varied cuisine options with a vibrant community atmosphere.

The H&8th Night Market stands out as a premier annual food truck event, known for its wide selection of street food and the enjoyment of live music.

Historical Journey Through Bricktown

Journey east of downtown oklahoma city, also known as downtown OKC, to discover the rich history of Bricktown. Once a major warehouse district, Bricktown has been transformed into a lively entertainment district, featuring a mix of historic buildings, modern amenities, and a navigable canal.

Canal-Side Dining

The Bricktown Canal offers a unique dining experience, attracting locals and tourists alike. Restaurants along the canal offer diverse culinary experiences, including:

  • Mexican flavors

  • Italian cuisine

  • Local craft beers

  • American dishes

Ballpark Nights

Experience the thrill of a ball game at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. This premier entertainment venue in downtown OKC is home to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Catch a game under the lights for a truly memorable OKC experience.

Connect with First Americans Museum

The First Americans Museum offers a one-of-a-kind chance to engage with the vibrant history and culture of Oklahoma’s 39 distinct First American Nations. The historical significance of the museum is highlighted by the inclusion of the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation event that shaped the Native American history in the region.

Interactive Exhibits

The First Americans Museum invites visitors to discover the history and stories of the 39 Tribal Nations relocated to Oklahoma through their interactive exhibits. The museum’s exhibits provide an immersive and interactive environment for visitors to understand the interconnectedness of all people via hands-on activities and media-rich displays.

Cultural Performances

Oklahoma City offers visitors a chance to experience rich cultural performances, particularly those from Native American traditions. The First Americans Museum, an Oklahoma City museum, is a focal point for cultural events that showcase Native American social traditions.

By attending these events, visitors have the opportunity to not only watch traditional dances but also to listen to storytelling sessions, creating a holistic cultural experience.

Engage with Science and Wonder

The CurioCity exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma enthralls young explorers with its eight hands-on neighborhoods, ingeniously designed to teach science concepts through play. The museum’s Science Floor offers a multitude of activities like driving in the Segway Park and demonstrating physics using the Resonant Pendulum.

Curiosity and Creativity

CurioCity exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma is an expansive 20,000-square-foot area where interactive activities in whimsical neighborhoods help children explore scientific concepts. Some of the neighborhoods include:

  • BrainiAct: an imaginative area that explores the brain and its functions

  • Pi Shop: a geometric exploration area

  • Energy Alley: where kids can learn about different forms of energy

  • EcoZone: an area dedicated to environmental science and sustainability

There’s something for every curious mind in CurioCity.

Planetarium Shows

The Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma offers:

  • Multiple live shows and full-dome movies presented daily

  • A journey through the cosmos

  • The story of the telescope’s role in expanding our understanding of the universe

There’s a show for everyone at the Kirkpatrick Planetarium.

Revel in Outdoor Activities

With its range of natural settings, Oklahoma City presents a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to swimming. Visitors and residents can explore nature trails and discover wildlife at the free Martin Park Nature Center.

Or, they can enjoy the diverse recreational activities and natural springs of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Lake Overholser

Lake Overholser is a hub for various popular water activities including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing. Visitors can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats at the lake’s boathouse, facilitating easy access to water activities.

Angling enthusiasts can enjoy fishing at Lake Overholser, which is stocked with a variety of fish species, making it a beloved spot for fishing.

Bluff Creek Trails

Bluff Creek Trails offer mountain bikers a thrilling experience with:

  • tight, twisty paths

  • trees

  • drop-ins

  • steep hill climbs

  • root sections

providing challenging terrain. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all users, Bluff Creek Trails is well-maintained with clear markers and regular upkeep, and riders are required to wear helmets for safety.

Celebrate Special Events and Festivals

Oklahoma City and its surrounding towns are known for hosting a range of food truck festivals and events, attracting crowds with a shared love for local food and fun. Specific events include the Jenks America Food Truck Festival in Jenks, Beats & Bites in Norman, and Red Brick Nights in Guthrie, where food trucks and live music create a festive atmosphere.

Festival of the Arts

Oklahoma City’s annual Festival of the Arts is a celebration of creativity, uniting a diverse array of artists, performers, and food vendors. This highly anticipated festival typically takes place in April and delights attendees over the course of six days.

Visitors can enjoy an extensive artist market, live performances across three stages, and a selection of foods from local restaurants and food trucks.

Oklahoma State Fair

The Oklahoma State Fair is an annual event that showcases the state’s agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce, and provides family entertainment with educational exhibits and competitions. The fair offers a variety of special discount days, including:

  • Thrifty Thursday

  • Military Monday

  • Pepsi Triple Shot Tuesday

  • Senior Day

Each day has specific admission prices and deals.

Carnival armbands allowing unlimited rides can be purchased at varying prices depending on the day, with an additional fee for credit card transactions.

Summary

From exploring the rich history encapsulated in its museums and landmarks to indulging in an array of culinary delights and outdoor adventures, Oklahoma City is a vibrant destination that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, OKC invites you to discover its unique charm and endless possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I spend my day in OKC?

You must visit Bricktown Water Taxi, Conestoga Wagons & Teepees at Orr Family Farm, Factory Obscura, and other attractions in OKC for a memorable day full of fun and exploration. Enjoy your day in OKC!

What is the #1 tourist attraction in Oklahoma?

The #1 tourist attraction in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, offering a powerful and moving experience for visitors. It is a must-see destination in the state.

Is Oklahoma City famous for anything?

Yes, Oklahoma City is famous for its role in the pioneer settlement during the 1889 Land Run and as the birthplace of many Western film stars, musicians, and entertainers. It’s a must-visit stop in cowboy country!

What is the significance of the Oklahoma City National Memorial?

The Oklahoma City National Memorial serves as a tribute to the victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing and those affected by the tragic event. It holds significant historical and emotional value.

What can I expect to see at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum?

You can expect to see exhibits on the American cowboy, rodeos, Native American culture, and Western performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Enjoy your visit!

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