Signs of Oklahoma City’s unique history can be found everywhere you look, from the enormous arrow sculptures as you exit the airport to the mighty Indian atop the dome of the state capitol. The city is full of rich experiences that are completely unlike anything you’ve seen elsewhere. One of the hidden gems, located just west of downtown, is the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
This area began as a cattle trading and packing post over 100 years ago. It was the first major industrial effort in the city and provided a significant boost in jobs. The stockyards gave birth to the community surrounding the area. Soon to come were several businesses relating to the cattle trade, as well as hotels, banks, a post office, restaurants, and more. Today, you can still get a glimpse of what life looked like then. Here are five must-sees for when you visit the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
Trust me - you have never seen an auction quite like this. Every Monday and Tuesday, thousands upon thousands of cattle are herded through pens and walkways into an auction house, where a fast-talking auctioneer calls out one bid after another until all of the cattle are sold. At the World’s Largest Cattle Market, it’s not unusual to see 9,000 head of cattle pass through in a single day. Want a sneak peek? You can view one of these spectacles online. You won’t get the authentic feel - and smell - of actually being there in person, but if you can’t make the Monday or Tuesday events, it’s worth a look. Seeing an auction like this is truly a one-of-a-kind experience you aren’t likely to forget.
Walking down Main Street in the Stockyards is truly a treat. The architecture design and style date back to the early 1900s, which immediately make it feel like you’re stepping back in time to the Old West. Along the way, you’ll find countless places that pull you in with their unique wares. There’s a furniture store, a jewelry store, a saloon or two, and even a rattlesnake museum. And if you happen to be shopping for your horse, there is an endless selection of saddles and tack, from cheap to high end. After a little while on Main Street, you’ll have a bag full of treasures and a hankering for sarsparilla.
There is nowhere in the world better for shopping for western wear. If you’re looking for some good boots, Little Joe’s Boots will fit you with the perfect pair. They’ve been in business in the stockyards since the 1950s. If you fancy a new cowboy hat, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery is the place to go. And if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, the country’s largest selection of cowboy & cowgirl gear can be found at Langston’s Western Wear. Here you’ll find everything from cowboy boots to coveralls and boots to belt buckles. Can’t wait? You can shop Langston’s online too.
The Rodeo Opry is a 170-seat venue right in the heart of the Stockyards. Every Saturday night, new performers and guests treat attendees to “Oklahoma’s Official Country Music Show.” With new acts performing regularly, you never know when you might catch the next rising country star. Check out the calendar for information about the next show.
This is cattle country, and nobody does beef like the people here. When it’s time for a meal, it’s Cattlemen’s Restaurant you’ll want to seek out. Cattlemen’s is as much a part of the Stockyards as the auction itself and is known for its’ excellent steaks, relaxing atmosphere and great service. In business since 1910, it’s the oldest continually-operating restaurant in the city. Presidents and celebrities alike have dined at Cattlemen’s, enjoying the finest steaks around.