Oklahoma City is the capital and most populous city in the state of Oklahoma. The state itself preserves the cowboy atmosphere with museums, ranches, heritage centers, and bustling auctions. So, Oklahoma City has several outdoor pastimes, such as lasso games, jumping a bonfire, horseback riding, among others.
Besides, the city is known for its polite residents and also for the cleanliness of the place, the organization, and the elegance of the people. Also, Oklahoma’s territory is very diverse, with forests, cypress swamps, and sand dunes. Not to mention it is home to 39 Native American ethnicities.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Oklahoma City (OK)
1. Oklahoma City Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo is home to more than 500 species of animals, including rhinos, gorillas, lions, and tigers. They have a good variety of animals and it is actually hard to see it all. Visitors can enjoy many interactive experiences, such as giraffe feeding. There are also options for boat and train rides to explore the park’s extensive gardens.
Across the grounds, there are impressive displays of plants from Oklahoma and around the world. Besides, the zoo counts with many walking trails. Interestingly, the zoo offers many conservation and education programs as well as scientific research.
2. Newcastle Casino
At Newcastle Casino, you will find cards, electronic games, and American snacks spread in a very large space. From the outside, it may look small, but it is actually huge and very easy to get lost as it is a bit like a maze. They have so many slot machines it would be impossible not to find your game.
It might not be as elegant or beautiful with no hotel and only one dining option but if you are in for the winnings, Newcastle Casino is the place to go to. Also, the casino hosts bands, dancing events, and free outdoor summer concerts.
3. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is an open-air memorial in honor of victims, survivors, rescue workers, and others affected by the events of April 19, 1995, This was when the Federal Alfred P. Murrah Building was bombed. So, to learn more about the tragedy, you can visit the exhibits at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum.
Although there is a museum, the outdoor sculptural memorial is the highlight there. The main portion of the memorial has 168 chairs, one for each person who died. There are 9 rows, one for each floor of the building. And the chairs are arranged according to which floor each person worked on or was visiting.
4. Myriad Botanical Gardens
The 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens features formal gardens, a tropical conservatory, a dog park, and horticultural classes. The botanical garden is a wonderful place for an outdoor stroll amid flower beds and horticultural exhibitions. You can expect to see a wide range of flowers, palm trees, plants, waterfalls, and amazing animals.
Before you enter the garden there is plenty of artwork to see. Once inside the garden, there is a bridge where you can see the fish swimming in the water and a beautiful waterfall. There is also an elevator inside to take you to the different levels. Make sure to check out Mo’s Carousel, the splash pad, and the Children’s Garden outside.
5. OKC Outlets
Opened in 2011, OKC Outlets is the largest mall in Oklahoma City. The mall is an open-air market with occasional tents providing shade. You can find pretty much everything there, as there is a wide range of outlet stores. So, you can shop at Old Navy, Nike, Forever 21, Under Armour, Levi’s, and many more.
Given the large area, it does not feel crowded like most malls. However, you might want to wear comfortable shoes since you will probably walk a lot when visiting OKC Outlets.
6. Frontier City
Owned by Six Flags Entertainment, Frontier City is a western-themed amusement park offering rides, kids’ and water rides, plus multiple shows at the Starlight Amphitheater. The park has a unique decoration and design imitating a 19th-century city. The roller coasters are great, and the smaller rides are just as good. There are many choices for dining, and you cannot go wrong with the Frontier Fries.
Frontier City also offers special holiday events. For example, you can visit a haunted house during Hallowfest, watch the big Fright Fest parade, or admire the Christmas lights in December.
7. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a great visit if you are interested in cowboys, Indians, and the history of the American West. The museum’s collections include dioramas, artifacts, photos, sculptures, and art documenting and interpreting the history of the American West.
This is a very large museum with a very nice part for children. It displays many beautiful works of art depicting the old west, and several exhibitions showing how the cowboys lived. Make sure to also visit the Rodeo Hall of Fame which tells the story of rodeo champions.
Many of Oklahoma’s top tourist attractions are located in the old Bricktown warehouse district being sought after by tourists. This is a very old region of warehouses and department stores that has been restored in the last 15 years into an amusement district for the whole family. The red-brick warehouses that were previously abandoned, were converted and now house stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, and hotels.
Besides, the canal tour is a nice way to see this very cute part of the city. Your guide will tell you a little more about Oklahoma City, the crisis, tornadoes, football, nightlife, and restaurant recommendations.
9. Civic Center Music Hall
The Civic Center Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring local music and dance groups in its three theatres. The building itself is beautiful with an art deco and a grand reception hall as well as multiple suites. There are a few resident companies that call the Civic Center their home including the Oklahoma City Ballet, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and the Painted Sky Opera.
Due to its great acoustics and good lighting, regardless of your seat you will have a great view and hear every whisper from the stage. The music hall hosts touring Broadway shows such as Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, and The Nutcracker.
10. Will Rogers Park
The year-round Will Rogers Park is home to a formal rose garden, walkways, and education center. There, you can enjoy hands-on gardening and horticulture classes. The park’s amenities include the Charles E. Sparks Color Garden, the Margaret Annis Boys Arboretum, the Ed Lycan Conservatory, and the Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center.
The park also features little fairy houses that are built of tree limbs. They are very fun for a child to loo for all while you are taking in all the gorgeous flowers around you. So, pack a lunch and sit under the tree shade while you listen to the water fountain in the ponds.
11. Lake Thunderbird State Park
Featuring two marinas, beaches, a nature center, and trails, the Lake Thunderbird State Park is both a recreational area and a campground. The lake is beautiful offering many activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. The Nature Center is also worth a stop and even though it is small, it can be quite fun for the kids with all the hands-on exhibits.
There are a few decent walking trails with plenty of wildlife and flora to spot. Many visitors also go there because of the well-maintained mountain bike trails. Besides the fun downhill, there are many challenging wooden fixtures, making it fun for all levels.
12. Hurricane Harbor Oklahoma City
Also owned by Six Flags Entertainment, Hurricane Harbor Oklahoma City is a seasonal water park featuring thrill rides, slides, and play pools. The most popular rides include the Mega Wedgie, the Acapulco Cliff Dive, and the Bermuda Triangle.
Besides the Wave Pool, another highlight is the Castaway Creek, the former Lazy River. So, you can sit and relax as the currents naturally push you along the river. As a bonus, the park, which used to be known as White Water Park, also hosts outdoor movie nights.
13. Thunderbird Casino
Thunderbird Casino may be small, but it is a great casino where the crowd is mostly made of country and local people making it a laid back and fun environment. Located just southeast of Lake Thunderbird, the casino is surrounded by a beautiful and peaceful countryside scenery. It features many slot machines and card tables set up for all the usual games.
The space might feel a bit disorienting like a carnival funhouse, but its layout is actually very smart and spacious. Also, Thunderbird Casino offers an amazing pizza and a wide range of drinks.
14. OKCMOA Museum Store
The OKCMOA Museum Store is the perfect stop after visiting the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. This nicely curated store sells books, jewelry and accessories, décor arts, and the widest range of souvenirs.
The museum itself has good size, with only 3 floors which you can get through pretty quickly and efficiently. The museum features both permanent and traveling exhibitions of global artworks, plus classes, a library, a cinema, and a cafe. So, you can explore the Great Depression Era exhibit, the Chihuly galleries, and admire artworks from artists such as Warhol, Hirst, Murakami, and Koons.
15. Martin Park Nature Center
With 2.5 miles of woodland trails and a Bluff Creek running through it, Martin Park Nature Center’s amenities include a playground and a nature center. Overall, the park is beautiful and almost the whole area is naturally shaded. The trails are well-maintained, fairly wide, and flat allowing for a pleasant walk. Across the park, you will find nice features like bridges, benches, maps, and an observation deck.
The kids especially love walking around the pond and seeing the turtles and fish in the water. But, be aware that no dogs or bikes are allowed in the park.
16. Scissortail Park
Despite being an event center and concert venue, Scissortail Park is usually quiet and serene with picturesque views of downtown Oklahoma City. The park is large enough for lots of people, but you still feel like it is sort of empty wherever you are. Plus, there is something for everyone and every age.
The scenery is beautiful, and the park features a roller skating rink, concessions stands, plenty of walking paths, and a well-equipped playground. Not to mention the newly improved Sky Dance Bridge, which is also a notorious piece of art. The park also hosts a Farmers Market and Night Market.
17. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Home to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is the official baseball stadium in the city. The stadium has an open concept in which even if you stand up to buy a drink, you will not miss a single play. The stadium also presents fireworks displays and giveaway nights to get you to support the Dodgers.
Sometimes, they host different events with Monster Trucks, Bull Riders, and Rodeo presentations. Also, make sure to pay a visit to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame located within the ballpark premises.
18. Wheeler Ferris Wheel at Wheeler District
Located at the newly-renovated Wheeler District, Wheeler Ferris Wheel is a 100-ft-high Ferris wheel relocated from Santa Monica Pier. The Wheeler District is a redeveloped riverfront plaza on the south bank of the Oklahoma River. This new walkable and bikeable neighborhood offers a spectacular view of the city’s skyline.
Wheeler Ferris Wheel is a fun activity to do, especially if you have young kids or just want something different to do on a free afternoon. They have space to rent for receptions and a nice area with hammocks and picnic space. And as you can imagine, the view from the top is breath-taking and worth your time!
19. Chisholm Trail Park
Chisholm Trail Park is a landscaped getaway with serene walking trails and a rentable gazebo. The park has it all, from playgrounds, volleyball courts, swimming pool, activity center, to ball fields. With fountains everywhere and a lot of open space for dogs to run around, the park has plenty of walking paths.
The park is most known for its popular Christmas event. The whole area becomes a Christmas heaven filled with light decorations. You can easily spend two hours at the park admiring the lights and even going on a train ride to admire the decorations.
20. Mitch Park
The 280-acre Mitch Park is a recreational area with paved trails, a skate park, playgrounds, disc golf, and a volleyball court. The trails are great for joggers, walkers, and cyclists with some gentle slopes. It is slightly wooded and thus, separating the hustle and bustle of the main street from visitors who appreciate some quiet time.
There is also an on-site shaded pavilion that has several tables if you want to host a large outdoor party and cookout. The playground and disc-golf course are nearby for the little ones to have fun.
21. Museum of Osteology
With over 800 specimens and 40 exhibits, the Museum of Osteology is a unique spot for educational exhibits of over 300 skeletons plus hands-on displays. The museum houses the bones of hundreds of animals that make up the exhibits in the only skeleton museum in the United States.
Overall, the museum is well thought out. Everything is labeled adequately, the place is spotless, and the displays are absolutely gorgeous. This is a great place for kids and adults alike. If you get the chance to do something hands-on, like dissecting an owl pellet, go for it!
22. Buck Thomas Park
Buck Thomas Park is a large complex with nearly 130 acres of green space featuring a playground, fishing, a walking trail, and more. If you are into baseball this place is where you want to go since there are 16 baseball fields. However, there are also other fields to the east of the park, including soccer and football fields.
The park also counts with several paved trails running on the east side along creeks, and loops around a small pond. Besides, there is an extensive playscape for kids close to the water tower.
23. 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City
The former Ford Motor Company assembly plant is now the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City. Located only 11 minutes walking from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the hotel features a luxe spa, a modern art museum, and a cultural center.
The art museum is located on the bottom floor and as a guest you get a tour by the art director. The hotel itself has such unique and thoughtful aspects throughout. For example, carpets that resemble tire tracks and the faucet handles which are the same design as Model-T steering wheels.
24. Chesapeake Energy Arena
Chesapeake Energy Arena is the famous basketball stadium of Oklahoma City, with a capacity for more than 19,000 fans. The home court to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder is also a venue for big-name concert acts and events.
This is a very big arena with lots of seats, bathrooms, and water fountains. It is also always clean and cool inside, even on the hottest summer days. During the Thunder games, they always have a bunch of events for kids including free face painting, pictures, caricatures, VR, and sports events.
25. Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
Known for one of the best steaks in the city, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse offers a venerable eatery dishing house-aged beef, sides, and more, from morning to night in rustic digs. The restaurant has quite an interesting story as it opened in 1910 focused on feeding cowboys, ranchers, and cattle haulers.
Located in Stockyards, the restaurant’s steak is perfectly grilled with just the right amount of salt and pepper. The coconut cream pie is another one of the public’s favorite dishes. Due to its popularity, you might have to wait a bit before being seated. But the waiting room upstairs has a bar to get drinks with a tab-open option, making the wait way more pleasant.