Oklahoma City Guide: Neighborhoods & Things to Do
Oklahoma City is the “Modern Frontier,” a city that pays homage to the tribal nations who called this area home before we ever arrived. New residents and visitors alike are welcomed with open arms by friendly neighbors who value authenticity and kindness. Residents of the city like to create a small-town atmosphere, which is why this city is known as the biggest small town you’ll ever see. Known as the “Horse Show Capital of the World,” the city (which is home to nearly 644,000 people) provides a nice mix of nostalgia and new growth and innovation. If you’re looking for a city that exudes Southern kindness while providing you with many of the amenities of a big city, Oklahoma City might be the right fit for you.
Oklahoma City highlights
One of the perks of living in a great city is all the events and attractions you get to enjoy on a regular basis. Here are just a few in Oklahoma City that might pique your interest.
- Myriad Botanical Gardens: The botanical gardens are a great place to visit for the whole family. Here you can simply enjoy the scenery or take a class and learn about gardening and how to do it. Other events hosted by the gardens include the Pumpkinville Fall Festival, the Full Moon Bike Ride, concerts, art exhibits by local indigenous artists and more. You can even rent the event for special events like parties, weddings and corporate events.
- Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: Located in Central Oklahoma City, this memorial is a tribute to all those who were directly impacted by the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It also honors those who showed their heroism during that terrorist attack. It was built on the site where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood. The museum has exhibits that help you learn more about that day. It’s an experience that will very likely bring you to tears while you pay your respects to those that were lost in that attack.
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: This museum is a nice mix of art and antiquities. You’ll learn about the cowboys and indigenous peoples of Oklahoma and their history. You’ll see beautiful artwork, as well as exhibits on topics ranging from the history of tattooing and roads in the U.S. to the women of the pioneer/cowboy era and Andy Warhol’s take on Western life.
- Oklahoma City Zoo: If you have kids, you’ll definitely need to make a trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo occasionally. They’ll have so much fun – and so will you! At the zoo, you’ll see elephants, apes and big, beautiful cats, as well as species that are native to Oklahoma like black bears. The Sea Lion Show is particularly entertaining.
- Take in Some Sporting Events: There is a ton to see in Southwestern Oklahoma City, including the Oklahoma Victory Dolls Roller Derby, watching an NBA game (the Oklahoma City Thunder) or an Oklahoma City Dodgers (the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team). If you or your kids want to get some playtime in, head over to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park.
- Lake Stanley Draper: Located in Southeast Oklahoma City, this is one of three municipal reservoirs in the city that was named after the long-time director of the Chamber of Commerce back in the 1960s. The reservoir has 34 miles of shoreline and is a great place to picnic or go fishing, boating or water skiing. There’s even a model airplane flying field.
- Frontier City Theme Park: The motif may be Western, but this theme park will suit thrill-seekers of all kinds. Attractions include rides like the Geronimo Skycoaster, the Diamondback and the Brain Drain. Warning: They are intense! Once you’ve got your feet safely on the ground again, be sure to watch the Old West gunslinger show. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Oklahoma City guide to the best neighborhoods for renters
An important part of any move is figuring out which neighborhood you should call home. Choose the wrong neighborhood and you’ll be searching for another apartment in no time. Following are some of the most popular neighborhoods in the city.
Recently, the Downtown neighborhood has been undergoing a renaissance. Due to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which damaged or destroyed the majority of buildings within a one-mile radius, the Downtown area remained vacant and unchanged throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the Downtown area is undergoing an economic revival with multiple business buildings and condo/apartment complexes being built (including luxury condos that have a contemporary aesthetic), while older buildings are being converted.
This is a sprawling residential area that borders Lake Hefner. If you love fishing and boating, as well as bike rides, jogs or walks along paved paths, you’ll love living in this neighborhood. Nearby Martin Park Nature Center and Bluff Creek Park have trails that take you through beautiful, wooded areas. You’ll be sure to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. You’ll feel rejuvenated with your time in nature and be ready to get back to work in the big city! Even though there are so many outdoor activities to enjoy, this community also has plenty of shopping and dining opportunities with shopping centers clustered throughout the neighborhood.
Are you looking for a rental in a neighborhood that has an industrial-chic aesthetic? Check out the Bricktown neighborhood. You’ll find repurposed warehouses throughout the area that are now home to wine bars, chic piano lounges and sophisticated restaurants. Shops in the area sell home décor, gourmet condiments, clothing and even handmade chocolates. If you like being on the water, you’ll love that you can take water taxis along the Bricktown Canal. You can go on educational water tours or romantic dinner cruises.
Midtown is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. You’ll be able to walk to any number of global restaurants and gastropubs. Of course, you’ll find several American dining options with gourmet burgers and waffles. It’s a hotspot for food trucks, too! This neighborhood earns a high rating for its nightlife, which includes chic, retro cocktail lounges and beer halls. There is a bowling alley and live music, too. You’ll also get to shop trendy boutiques for home décor and designer clothes. If you want to live in an area that’s constantly buzzing with energy, look for a Midtown apartment.
Paseo has a decidedly bohemian vibe. The area is filled with chic clothing stores and stylish homeware boutiques. You’ll also find several restaurants that serve New American cuisine, a term that encompasses regional, as well as ethnic ingredients, utilizes classical European techniques (or not), as well as the farm-to-table movement. In other words, it’s a term that gives chefs the permission they need to get as creative as possible in the kitchen. You’ll also find burger joints and Asian eateries. The nightlife scene is bustling, too, with dive bars and cocktail lounges offering live music, billiards and karaoke.
If you’re looking for a hip neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife, Deep Deuce is the perfect neighborhood for you. Here you have your choice of cocktail lounges and whisky bars, as well as music venues built in the 1920s where you can listen to the best jazz and blues. There are numerous dining options as well, including restaurants and pubs that serve gourmet hot dogs, have an interesting and creative take on comfort food or those that have New American menus. Deep Deuce is close to Bricktown and Downtown Oklahoma City. In fact, it’s only 0.1 miles away from the central hub of the Downtown area.