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The 10 Best Things to Do in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is known for Sooner football, being part of Tornado Alley, and having a rich, historically significant cowboy culture. That's not all there is to Oklahoma City, though — not by a long shot. For example, many first-timers don't realize that OKC is situated on a large, active oil field, and you'll spot working oil derricks throughout the city.

If you're just passing through or are a local, there is always something new and interesting to do and discover in Oklahoma City.

1. Scissortail Park

 

This 40-acre park in downtown Oklahoma City truly has something for everyone. The expansive lawns and gardens are perfect for picnics or just relaxing, plus there's a children's playground and seasonal "sprayground," a music venue, a weekly farmer's market, the Sky Rink for traditional skating or rollerblading, and a lake where you can rent kayaks, canoes, or pedal boats.

2. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

 

Even if you're a lifelong Oklahoman, this immersive museum is worth a visit (and even repeat visits!). The museum provides an immersive educational experience on the heritage of the American West and Native American Indians, with classic and contemporary Western art and artifacts. Find outfits and saddles worn in real rodeos, intricate Native American art and jewelry, an extensive firearm collection, and much more. There are also many seasonal events and rotating exhibits.

3. Lake Hefner

 

The man-made lake in northwestern OKC was named after former mayor Robert A. Hefner, and it was built in 1947 as a reservoir to alleviate the city's water shortage. Although you can't swim in the lake, you can take kayaks or sailboats on it; fish for bass, walleye, bluegill, and catfish; or enjoy 9.5 miles of trails around the lake for biking, walking, or running.

4. Catch a Thunder game

As the only professional sports team in the state, the OKC Thunder has an extremely loyal fanbase. When the team is in town, attend a home game at Chesapeake Energy Arena — if you can. The arena's 18,203 seats are often filled to capacity. If you're able to score tickets, be sure to deck yourself out in blue, orange, and yellow to get into the spirit.

5. Oklahoma City Zoo

The city zoo features nearly 2,000 animals and elaborate exhibits, including the elephant habitat, where an entire herd of Asian elephants lives and plays in swimming pools and under a waterfall. The zoo also features an interactive children's zoo and many behind-the-scenes encounters, such as being able to feed giraffes or flamingos.

6. Horse show

Oklahoma City is known as the Horse Show Capital of the World, and for good reason. More equine events, both regional and international, are held here than any other city in the world. Throughout the year, you can attend rodeos, specific events such as bull riding or calf roping, or auctions. Many of the events are free, making them ideal for the entire family.

7. Myriad Botanical Gardens

These impressive and award-winning gardens feature numerous habitats, lush gardens, a children's park and splash fountain, walking paths, and even an off-leash dog park. There are also classes and events held throughout the year, but perhaps the biggest draw is the 224-foot-long Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, an awe-inspiring tropical oasis featuring two distinct habitats and a huge cascading waterfall.

8. Frontier City

Thrillseekers will go "wild" for this Wild West–themed Six Flags amusement park featuring more than 50 rides, including four roller coasters. There are also a number of family- and child-friendly rides, dining and shopping options, and classic western shootouts and stunt shows.

9. White Water Bay

For some relief on those scorching summer days, be sure to check out Six Flags Hurricane Harbor White Water Bay, a huge waterpark with something for everyone. The park features giant water rides, slides, a splash pad and adventure pool for the littlest visitors, and a lazy river.

10. Oklahoma City National Memorial

The Oklahoma City bombing shook the world back in April 1995 when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring nearly 700 more. This beautiful tribute offers a close-up look into the tragedy and demonstrates how much the city has grown since then. A recent $10 million renovation added interactive exhibits and real pieces of evidence, including the vehicle McVeigh was driving when he was arrested.

However you choose to spend your time in Oklahoma City, you'll want to finish your day of sightseeing off with a hearty Oklahoma-style dinner. There's no better choice than Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Historic Stockyard City, as featured on “Man vs. Food” and “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” We first opened our doors in 1910 and have an extensive menu of perfectly cooked steaks and other entrees, plus we serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Stop by and try it! We can't wait to serve you!