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Things to see and do in Oklahoma City

Updated on February 16, 2010

In the center of the Oklahoma is Oklahoma City, known as OKC or simply "the city" to residents of the state. The state's largest city has in recent years taken great pains to make itself more attractive to visitors. So, besides the city standards such as zoos and shopping centers, here are some of the most popular places to visit in the OKC metro area.

Western Heritage

Oklahoma is cowboy country, and the city acknowledges that by hosting the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, also known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame. The museum honors famous cowboys and "westerners", from cattlemen to rodeo stars to western movie actors. Primarily, though, the museum is an art gallery, with paintings and sculptures by artists such as Charles Russell and Frederic Remington. The museum includes the original End of the Trail sculpture, and a 15' tall marble cougar known as the Canyon Princess. The museum is highly recommended for any fans of western art.

On the western side of town are the Oklahoma National Stockyards, the world's largest cattle market. Even if you are not looking to buy any live beef at the weekly auction, you can find some of the cooked variety at famous nearby steakhouses. The collection of businesses around the stockyards are known as Stockyards City, and are where you can buy boots, saddles, and most any other equipment a working cowboy needs. Grant's Centennial Rodeo Opry has live western music every Saturday night and hosts Cowboy Church on Monday evenings.

Science and History

For the kids (or the kids in all of us), the Kirpatrick Center/Omniplex Science Museum provides hands-on science exhibits that make learning fun. The center contains an air and space museum with multiple historic airplanes on display; a planetarium; and the OmniDome, an Imax-style theater projected onto a dome screen.

Near the state capital, the Oklahoma History Center is a Smithsonian affiliate that covers all aspects of Oklahoma history and heritage. It contains exhibits on everything from Native American history to the space program. A Gemini space capsule celebrates the fact that Oklahoma has produced more astronauts than any other state. A wagon from one of the Oklahoma land runs reminds of the state's somewhat unusual beginnings. An exhibit on Oklahoma inventions proudly notes that Oklahoma City was home to the first parking meter and first shopping cart.

Bricktown

Near downtown, Oklahoma City's Bricktown is becoming the center for nightlife and entertainment in the city. A canal has been built through the neighborhood of old brick buildings, along the lines of San Antonio's River Walk. Bricktown is far from being comparable to the River Walk, but it is growing, with many restaurants and nightclubs now filling the restored brick warehouses. Water taxis, trolleys, and horse-drawn carriages are available to ferry pedestrians around the area. The convention center is nearby, and the Bricktown Ballpark and Ford Center have been built in recent years to host everything from the Big 12 baseball tournament, to concerts, to (in 2005 - 2007) the New Orleans Hornets. The Ballpark and Ford Center are also home to the city's minor-league baseball and hockey teams.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

On a much more solemn note, the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum remembers those killed in the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing. The outdoor monument includes a field filled with 168 empty chairs to represent those who lost their life in the bombing. The indoor museum gives a glimpse of what that morning was like. In one room, an audio recording from a courtroom near the Murrah Building replays the chaos and confusion of those first few minutes. Do visit, but bring the tissues.

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    • drewmaniac profile image

      drewmaniac 8 years ago from Joplin MO

      And soon... Oklahoma City Sonics! Or, a team by some other name!

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Sadly, your photo and descrip. don't do justice to the OKC Nat'l Memorial. It's truly very, very moving. I write this as an OK native who's been away for 12 years, seen a lot of the USA's "best places" -- including all the memorials in WashDC--as well as international travel. This is a great memorial, very very moving. May not be as spectacular as the new WWII memorial, but bet it will touchingly stir the heart of all who visit. BUT this a great hub...thanks for giving some publicity to OKC!

    • profile image

      okcitymultifamily 8 years ago

      Hey Kevin! Lots of good suggestions on things to do in OKC. Thanks for sharing!

      Philip

    • profile image

      TheSablirab 7 years ago

      Thanks for the Hub. Used to live in OKC and LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT! The one thing I miss the most is Braums!

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