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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

Arts and the outdoors meet at this popular Route 66 destination

Smack dab in the center of the Sooner State, Oklahoma City is a popular destination for travelers along Route 66, known throughout the state as the Will Rogers Highway. As both the state capital and the state’s largest city, this is where you’ll find most of the region’s most important cultural attractions. Along with plenty of museums, Oklahoma City has a vibrant performing arts scene, with its own ballet company, opera and philharmonic.

There are also plenty of pro sports teams, namely the Oklahoma City Thunder (National Basketball Association), the Oklahoma City Dodgers (minor league baseball), and the Oklahoma City Energy FC (United Soccer League). It’s also got a lot to offer outdoorsy folk, including mountain biking and hiking trails, and lots of spots for fishing. It’s no surprise that Oklahoma City is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the United States.


Outdoorsy Oklahoma City

There are plenty of urban trails in Oklahoma City for walking and jogging, including a long stretch along the banks of the Oklahoma River’s eastern shores. Hikers will find plenty of spots to stretch their legs just outside the city limits. Arcadia Lake is one of the prettier spots to hike, and it’s just 15 miles from town.

There are plenty of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding at the reservoir’s surrounding park, along with a Frisbee golf course, swimming areas and designated spots for water- and jet-skiing. Other mountain biking and hiking trails include the Bluff Creek Trail, a single-loop, multi-use trail that stretches just over three and half miles. The Lake Stanley Draper Trail has three loops that link up for a total of 12 miles.

There are three reservoirs in the city that offer both fishing and boating. Other spots for fishing in the area include Crystal Lake, Dolese Youth Park Pond, Edwards Park Fishing Lake and Zoo Lake. All except Crystal Lake are open 24 hours a day (permits are required).

Fans of gaming and horse racing should head over to the Remington Park Racing Casino, where the action on the track is matched only by the chance to win big.

Right in downtown Oklahoma City, the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a gorgeous park with a mix of large, grassy areas and beautifully landscaped sections. At the heart of the park is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, an enormous glassed-in space with 13,000 square feet of plants. Nearby, the Oklahoma City Zoo will introduce visitors to animals ranging from gorillas to frogs.


Arts and Culture

For those who prefer to spend their time indoors, the city offers plenty of interesting—and diverse—museums suitable for visitors of all ages. Highlights include the American Indian Culture Center and Museum, which focuses on the lives of the state’s first people. Permanent exhibits include the Tribal Nations Gallery, which showcases important artifacts from the local Caddo, Wichita, Quapaw and Osage tribes from ancient times through to the first contact with European settlers and up until today.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum takes visitors on a chronological, self-guided tour through the events of April 19, 1995. On that day, a terrorist detonated a bomb that destroyed Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The memorial that now stands in its place offers a glimpse into the city’s journey through loss, resilience, justice and hope. A free mobile app (available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play) provides video and audio tours for the outdoor memorial and museum.

The Turtle Shell Gallery exhibits objects from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Collection, with a special focus on key themes of community, spirituality, perpetuation and journeys. Families with young kids won’t want to miss the Discovery Center, which offers hands-on activities for children.

Western Roots

Fans of the Wild West will find lots to see and experience at the National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum, one of the country’s most important institutions dedicated to preserving Western art and artifacts. Here, you’ll find a huge selection of paintings and sculptures, along with artifacts ranging from historic firearms to Native American objects. Permanent features include galleries dedicated to cowboy culture, the rodeo, guns, frontier life and performers from old Western flicks. There’s also a special interactive area for kids, dioramas, puzzles and the Children’s Cowboy Corral, featuring cowboy dress-up.

Music lovers should be sure to check out the American Banjo Museum, home to the world’s largest public display of banjos, along with interpretive panels detailing the history and cultural significance of the popular stringed instrument. Art aficionados will appreciate the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, housed in an enormous facility that showcases a fine array of primarily American and European paintings, sculptures and photography. Many of the works are exhibited in the state-of-the-art Donald W. Reynold Visual Arts Center. Highlights include an exhibit of the glassworks of prolific artist Dale Chihuly, a large collection of 20th-century photography from Garry Winogrand and Imogen Cunningham, and an American Art exhibit featuring pieces by Charles Willson Peale, Hans Hofman and others.

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Oklahoma City




Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department