1. We Should be Known as “The Big Friendly”
You’ve heard of “The Big Apple” and “The Big Easy.” Well, in the midst of planning Oklahoma City’s 100th anniversary events, Centennial Commission director Blake Wade applied for the trademark “the Big Friendly” thinking this would be the time to promote the name in a city where friendliness seems to be the norm. Walk outside and ask 10 people how to get to Bricktown and 6 out of 10 people won’t just give you directions, they’ll take you there.
2. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is Here
If you’d like to know how the West was won, this is the place to go. Under one roof you have an internationally renowned collection of western artifacts plus art, education, and history. While you are there, don’t miss the Rodeo Hall of Fame, keeping the Cowboy spirit alive since 1955.
3. Hit The Bricks – Bricktown, That Is
Once an old abandoned warehouse district, now the signature red brick, just east of downtown, marks the center of all things OKC. With delectable restaurants, rampant retail, and entertainment delights there’s no end to the things to keep you occupied in Bricktown.
4. Steak Out Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
If OKC had a signature food it would surely be the steak. For 100 years, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in historic Stockyards City has served comfort food in an authentic Old West setting. The steaks are so tender you can cut them with a fork, and the lamb fries are to die for—but maybe not the best choice for vegetarians.
5. We’ve Got a Canal in Bricktown
Tourists and locals alike enjoy a gentle float along the canal. It’s a lot of fun to do with friends and the beginning of the trip will take you through the restaurants and bars. You pass by the Bass Pro Shop, a local favorite, and there are some pretty cool statues of the Oklahoma Land Run.
6. There’s No Crying in Softball
OKC is the home of the Amateur Softball Association of America. Founded in 1933, this nonprofit has become the strongest softball organization in the country. And we have the NCAA Women’s Champions to prove it.
7. Do You Like Beer? Yeah, So Do We
If microbreweries are your thing, OKC is a destination for you. We’ve got lots of brewing companies in town but for a real treat check out Battered Boar Brewing Company. Their Coconut Cream Stout was a recent hit at the Great American Beer Festival. Coconut is healthy, right?
8. Recession Proof and Affordable? That’s the Place to Live!
During the height of the recession Forbes named OKC the most recession proof city in the nation and more recently the magazine called us the most affordable city in America. Couple that with my first point on this list and you’ve got one of the best places to live in the country!
9. Oklahoma City Downtown Renaissance Is Underway
With all the people and businesses moving to OKC, there’s a huge revitalization underway. It’s great for the neighborhoods but at times traffic can be a bear. Definitely avoid the stadium area like the plague when a game is going on.
10. Vast: A Restaurant With A View
Devon Tower, the tallest building in Oklahoma City, is the home of Vast, a fine dining experience head and shoulders, and well 50 floors, above the rest. This is a great place for special occasions unless you are afraid of heights. Then you might want to give it a pass.
11. Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory
This place is great year round, but in the winter this place helps cure the winter blues for those of us who can’t afford that exotic getaway. You can experience tropical climates year round, stroll along streams, and experience waterfalls along with over 1,000 unique plants at the conservatory.
12. Visit Myriad Botanical Gardens, 17 Acres of Green Spaces Downtown
A stone’s throw from the Crystal Bridge, but please don’t throw any stones; this public park provides nature experiences in the midst of a busy metropolis. Events from concerts to weddings happen out here along with educational programs and it’s the location of the big Festival of the Arts.
13. The Oklahoma City Zoo – One of the 10 Best Zoos in the Nation
Our zoo earns many great accolades. We were the third best zoo for kids in the nation according to Child Magazine and we were among the top five finalists in Microsoft’s “America’s Favorite Zoo” contests. Our elephant habitat is a big deal, especially with our new baby elephant. Last year 14,000 locals voted online and named the baby elephant Malee.
14. We’ve Got Spirit! Yes We Do! Goooooo Thunder!
When ESPN ranked 122 professional sports teams spread across basketball, baseball, hockey and football, they looked at fan appreciation and the team’s community commitment. They also looked at the quality of ownership and other key points. Our NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, ranked No. 1!
15. Chesapeake Energy Arena: Home of the Thunder
The Arena is best known for the Thunder is pretty important to the city because it allowed us to have our first professional sports team. While the Thunder wasn’t the first team, it is the most loved around here. It’s a comfortable venue, and tickets are pretty cheap!
16. Ride a Roller Coaster in the City
complete with rides, roller coasters, concerts, shopping and fun for the whole family, Frontier City is a Western themed amusement park in the city and the only amusement park in all of Oklahoma.
17. Or Get Drenched for Some Fun in the Sun
Now only does Oklahoma City have an amusement park, but it’s also got a water park. White Water Bay, originally opened in 1981, has over 15 attractions across its 25 acres. What’s really cool is that the park closes certain nights for “dive-in” movies you can watch from the artificial beach and wave pool.
18. The Adventure District
This is the center of all things fun in Oklahoma City. This is where you can find the Zoo, The Science Museum, The National Softball Hall of Fame, the Stadium, the National Cowboy Museum & Western Heritage Museum, and Remington Park Racing and Casino.
19. Nonna’s Euro American Ristorante
Nonna’s, once known for its bakery cafe when it was located on S. Western, expanded and moved to Bricktown and became the unique restaurant it is today. The menu contains amazing desserts and scrumptious dishes. The cookies are huge, and for a real indulgent dessert order the Italian creme cake. You won’t be disappointed.
20. The Painted Door Gallery: A Unique Shopping Experience
The Painted Door Gallery was part of the Nonna’s original bakery cafe and moved with it to Bricktown and expanded. This is a unique shopping experience and a really cute store. You can pick up candles, quirky gifts, and Oklahoma related items by local artists.
21. The Bass Pro Shop is Kind of a Big Deal
Well, we do a lot of hunting and fishing and we have a big Bass Pro Shop in Bricktown. It’s like a big kid Disneyland to have all these toys in one place. While the adults are entertained by outdoor stuff, the kids can look at the big fish tanks and “stuffed” animals all over the store.
22. We Have A Climbing Wall in a Grain Elevator
The Rocktown Climbing Gym is a pretty unique place with indoor and outdoor climbing venues. But the most impressive part is that it has climbs up to 90 feet inside a grain elevator.
23. We’ve Got the Blues on Route 66, at the Blue Note Lounge
This historic site was a neon enticement to stop travelers in their tracks along the historic Route 66 and encourage them to come in for a drink and some music. Today it’s a spirited, happening venue for local and national bands, and also the place where the Flaming Lips debuted in 1983.
24. The National Memorial Is Somber But Special
Everyone in OKC remembers where they were when 168 people lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. It’s a pretty big part of modern OKC history. It’s also the starting line for the Memorial Marathon which, besides being a lot of fun, is a big deal and helps fund the National Memorial.
25. Oklahoma City’s Premier Fall Event: The Regatta Festival
Taking place in the boathouse district, this isn’t just any ordinary festival. Events include dragon boating, kayaking, rowing, and stand up paddle boarding. This is a five-day extravaganza complete with food from local restaurants and a wine garden.
26. The Historic Paseo Arts District
Over 60 artists and 17 galleries occupy the oldest arts district in OKC. Nestled amongst the art galleries are restaurants and shops making it the perfect place to partake of First Friday events chocked full of art openings, live music and wine.
27. Kristin Chenoweth Is a Local
One of the area’s most beloved actresses, this local lovely (and Tony Award winner) attended Oklahoma City University and was second runner up in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. Her talents are endless on shows like “Glee” and “The Good Wife” and we’re so happy she’s an Okie. When we see her around town facebook blows up with Chenoweth spotting reports.
28. “Bachelor” Host Chris Harrison Started Here
Best known for his role as the host on “The Bachelor”, Chris Harrison started out his television career reporting the sports on KWTV, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City. I guess reporting on sucker punches in sporting matches isn’t too far flung from refereeing cat fights over bachelors.
29. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
The “Brick,” as it’s known locally, is located in the heart of the entertainment district and is home to the RedHawks. The stadium houses commemorative statues to regional greats Mickey Mantle, Warren Spahn, and Johnny Bench.
30. Don’t Miss Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse
Go here after a ball game you can stay in Bricktown, or really any time, and visit one of OKC’s best upscale restaurants. Since celebrities and athletes frequent the place you might catch a glimpse of Kristen Chenoweth.
Of course, this is just some of what Oklahoma City has to offer. If you’ve got another favorite thing about this great city, share it in the comments. And, if you’re looking to move here, we’d love to have you—and Movoto Real Estate can help you find the perfect home.