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16 Things to Know About Living in Oklahoma City

Thinking about a move to Oklahoma City? “The Big Friendly” is growing rapidly thanks to its affordable cost of living, family-friendly activities, and excellent business opportunities. Here are 16 things you need to know about living in Oklahoma City!

Live in a Big City with Small-City Costs

Skyline photo of Oklahoma City. Photo by Instagram user @jarvisphoto.

Photo via @jarvisphoto

Oklahoma City is one of the most populated cities in the U.S., but the cost of living in OKC is 13% lower than the national average! Low prices for groceries, utilities, and transportation all contribute to this affordability, allowing you to have a big-city experience without the hefty price tag. But the biggest savings comes from OKC housing costs, which are 21% lower than average. This means that whether you’re buying a house or renting an apartment, Oklahoma City is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Rentals in Oklahoma City average $950 a month, while the average home purchase price is $260,000, making OKC a great city for first-time homebuyers, too.

OKC Business Is Booming

Photo of Oklahoma City's skyline. Photo by Instagram user @pics_by_isaiah.

Photo via @pics_by_isaiah

The unemployment rate in OKC is lower than the national average at 3.7%, making the city ideal for job seekers. Interested in energy, aviation, or healthcare? Those are some of the most common careers and top industries in OKC. Hobby Lobby, Love’s Travel Stops, INTEGRIS Health, and Fortune 500 Company Devon Energy are a few of the largest employers in OKC. Want to work for yourself instead? Oklahoma City is one of the best cities to start a business! OKC’s low business costs make starting your own business more attainable. Need some guidance on where to start? Take advantage of Thunder Launchpad, a 12-week entrepreneur mentorship program with free workspaces cultivated by Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA).

Attend Oklahoma City Colleges & Universities

If you’re moving to Oklahoma City to earn a degree, the city has plenty of colleges and universities to choose from. Further your education at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, which ranks No. 1 for an online statistics degree and the most affordable master’s degree in business. Pursue a career in healthcare at The University Of Oklahoma College of Medicine, one of the few comprehensive medical centers in the nation and one of the top medical schools for primary care. Choose from over over 70 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate degrees at private liberal arts and sciences school, Oklahoma City University. Attend Oklahoma City Community College—one of the best value schools in Oklahoma—for top-rated programs ranging from nursing to film. Or check out private education options like Mid-America Christian University, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, or Oklahoma Christian University, a best-value school in OKC.

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Save Time with OKC Transportation

Photo of people riding bikes. Photo by Instagram User @rideokc.

Photo via @rideokc

Like many other Midwestern cities, driving in OKC is the most common way to get around. You won’t have to worry about dense traffic in Oklahoma City, as Interstate 35 provides quick access to many parts of the area—plus, the average commute time in OKC is over 5 minutes shorter than the national average. But if you don’t own a car, there are lots of OKC public transportation options, too. Find affordable and reliable transportation with the OKC Streetcar, or hop on one of the 23 fixed bus routes in OKC through the EMBARK system. Rent a bike from the Spokies bike-share program and take a ride on one of ten interconnected bike trails in OKC leading to almost every point in the metro area. If you need to travel further, catch a flight at the Will Rogers World Airport!

Spend More Time Outdoors

The mild seasons are another perk of moving to OKC. Residents get to enjoy an average of 231 sunny days per year—and 6-8 inches of snow during winters that rarely falling below freezing. And though Tornado Alley is prone to strong winds between March and June, you can stay prepared for tornados and thunderstorms while still enjoying outdoor recreation in Oklahoma City. Zipline across the Oklahoma River or test out white water rafting at Riversport—a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site! Make a splash at the Scissortail Sprayground or browse the Farmers Market at Scissortail Park. Strap on your helmet and grab your skateboard to ride the half pipe at Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park. Test out your aim with a group of friends at Epic Paintball Park. Pitch a tent, reel in fish, or boat across Lake Stanley Draper. Kayak through the still waters of Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge. Hike, bike, or ride horseback right along the Oklahoma River, and enjoy scenic water views and OKC’s skyline.

Explore OKC’s Distinct Districts

With 14 unique districts, you’ll always be able to find something to do in OKC. Spend a day shopping at locally-owned businesses like Oak City Vintage, Nash Engineered Fashion, or Plant People in OKC’s Midtown. Get a taste of OKC’s past with a visit to the Deep Deuce District, a neighborhood with deep ties to the Black community since the rise of blues and jazz in the 1940s. Roam through Automobile Alley—the former home of over 50 car dealerships, now filled with shops and restaurants. Catch film and arts festivals, or explore galleries in Film Row. Take the kids to the Adventure District in Northeast OKC, a spot well-known for its family-friendly attractions. Or find tons of restaurants, bars, and nightlife attractions in Downtown OKC and Bricktown!

Live in OKC with Pride

OKC is home to a spirited and supportive LGBTQ community. LGBTQ youth can receive specialized care from Oklahoma’s Children’s Hospital—an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader designated by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Young people can also attend Youth Nights with OKC Pride Alliance to mingle and learn about additional LGBTQ resources. Locally-owned businesses and organizations also work to support the LGBTQ community—Freedom Oklahoma focuses on education and advocacy for the LBGTQ community throughout the state. Stonewall Security, a queer-owned security company, offers a police alternative for businesses. LGBTQ couples planning a wedding can find supportive vendors through the Rainbow Collective. Celebrate Pride Month in OKC with a visit to the 39th Street District, lovingly referred to as “The Strip,” and attend the Pride on 39th Street festival and parade. Or stop by Tramps or Angles if you’re looking for some of the best gay bars and nightclubs in OKC!

Find Fun for the Whole Family

If your family likes to explore, learn, or chase thrills, moving to Oklahoma City lets all of those possibilities come to life. Ride camels, feed giraffes, or get a behind-the-scenes tour of the grizzly bear enclosure at The Oklahoma City Zoo. Take a stroll through the Children’s Garden at Myriad Botanical Gardens. Buy a joint ticket to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and First Americans Museum, where you can dive deep into Western and Indigenous art, culture, and history. Visit Oklahoma’s only theme park, Frontier City—a Six Flags Theme Park—for everything from rollercoasters and thrilling water rides to kid-friendly attractions. Or for an extra dose of fun, attend Frontier City’s Fright Fest throughout October for Halloween-themed, family-friendly attractions and live entertainment.

Appreciate Art in OKC

Passageways are painted with bright colors. Photo by Instagram user @pyramidguy.

Photo via @pyramidguy

If you’re keen on art, moving to Oklahoma City opens a world of opportunities. Just by walking through the streets of OKC, you’ll experience the top U.S. city for street art! The walls in the Plaza District are updated annually by over 25 artists during the Plaza Walls Expo, and street art spills over into other districts, as well. Be sure to see the six-story-tall Norman Red Tail Hawk mural spanning a building in Western Avenue, and Downtown OKC’s vibrant tunnels brightened by Abstract Passages. Discover diverse art collections and traveling exhibits from around the world at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Sign up for a ceramics class, attend an artist talk, or see exhibits at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. Explore First American art and artisan works at Exhibit C Gallery. Engage with the immersive art exhibits at Factory Obscura. Or purchase paintings from local artists at The Art Hall!

Support the Performing Arts

Photo of a performance at the Civic Center Music Hall. Photo by Instagram user @janacarson

Photo via @janacarson

If you’re moving to OKC and love the performing arts, the Civic Center Music Hall in OKC’s Arts District is your one-stop-shop for a wide variety of shows and performances. Hear some of the metro’s finest musicians in the Canterbury Choral Society. Grab tickets to touring shows and experience live theatre in OKC from OKC Broadway. Listen to classical and contemporary music or celebrate the holidays at one of the OKC Philharmonic Orchestra recitals. Or see the Oklahoma City Ballet perform shows like Lady of the Camellias and Cinderella.

Spend a Day Exploring OKC Museums

A banjo sits in a case. Photo by Instagram user @banjomuseum.

Photo via @banjomuseum

While living in Oklahoma City, you can find interactive fun in plenty of museums! Find artifacts from the London Fire Brigade at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum. See more than 450 animal skeletons from all over the world at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology. Explore exhibits like Destination Space, Light Minded, and smART Space at the Science Museum Oklahoma. Learn the history of “America’s instrument” at the American Banjo Museum. Or visit the OKC National Memorial & Museum to honor the victims and for an authentic, interactive understanding of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Discover Fun at Festivals & Events

A carousel spins at The Oklahoma State Fair. Photo by Instagram User @okstatefair.

Photo via @okstatefair

While living in OKC, you’ll never run out of events to attend! Find 11 days full of fun for the whole family at the Oklahoma State Fair, where you can do anything from eat and watch concerts, to facing your fears on the Mega Drop at the fair’s Midway Carnival. Run a relay with your friends during the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon, the biggest marathon in OKC. Celebrate the holidays with outdoor ice skating, live performances, and more during the Downtown in December festival. Encounter visual, performing, and culinary arts during the Festival of the Arts in OKC’s Bicentennial Park. Catch locally-made films at the deadCenter Film Festival. Or join over 60,000 thousand others at the Paseo Arts Festival to see original artwork from nearly 100 artists!

Share Passion for OKC Sports

Photo of OKC Thunder players mid basketball game. Photo by Instagram user @okcthunder.

Photo via @okcthunder

College football is a big deal in Oklahoma City, and avid fans are more than welcome. But you’ll need to choose between rooting for the Oklahoma State Cowboys or Oklahoma University Sooners in the Oklahoma Bedlam Series! Join OU’s devoted fans on college football game days, when OKC seemingly shuts down as everyone is glued to the game. Learn the “Beat Texas!” chant during Red River Showdown when the Sooners take on the Texas Longhorns. And the excitement doesn’t stop at college football—OKC is home to a handful of professional sports teams, as well. Join one of basketball’s most rabid fanbases and root for OKC Thunder (NBA), or get rowdy for OKC’s first professional bull-riding team The Oklahoma Freedom (PBR) at the Paycom Center. Cheer on OKC Energy FC (USL) at Taft Stadium. Or get your baseball fix with an Oklahoma City Dodgers (MiLB) game at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark!

Find Diverse Dining

A plate is full with tacos, salsa, and chips. Photo by Instagram user @devouringokc.

Photo via @devouringokc

When thinking about where to eat in Oklahoma City, Chicken Fried Steak from Cheever’s Cafe or a Strip Sirloin from the notable Cattlemen’s Steakhouse are probably at the top of your mind. But OKC’s cuisine scene spans far beyond the city’s staples. Try a taste of Oklahoma’s agriculture at Ludivine, where you’ll never run out of meals to try since their farm-to-table menu changes daily. Find lots of vegetarian and vegan places to eat in OKC—like the Red Cup, which puts a vegan-friendly twist on seafood with their Bagel n Lox. There are also over 125 food trucks in OKC, each with its own unique spin on classic dishes. Break out of your breakfast routine with an order of the lavender-infused Whitchy Stack of pancakes from Peace & Pancakes. Or stop by Big Truck Tacos and order the Flaming Lips with smoked tongue, or sample fried avocado in the Cripsy’cado.

Sample Local Brews in The Big Friendly

There are plenty of breweries in OKC to choose from. Check out Bricktown Brewery, Oklahoma’s first brewery, for craft and local brews. Test your knowledge during Trivia Night at Angry Scotsman Brewing, one of Oklahoma City’s microbreweries that offers seasonal brews alongside the beloved Scotsman IPA. Enjoy the view of Downtown OKC’s skyline while sipping on a Tenkiller Pilsner or Defender Blonde Ale at Elk Valley Brewing Company. Find beer-inspired ciders like Apfel Pils and Double Hop Transition—vegan or gluten-free drink options at OKC’s first and only cidery, OK Cider Co. Or hang out at The Big Friendly, which takes its name from the city’s nickname, to enjoy their selection of local and international brews!

Paint OKC’s Bricktown Red

The Bricktown Water Taxi strolls down a canal. Photo by Instagram user @bricktown.

Photo via @bricktown

If you’re looking for diverse nightlife, consider moving to Oklahoma City! Head to the Bricktown district to find tons of nightlife attractions in OKC—like a glittering ride through the canal aboard the Bricktown Water Taxi. See acts from Paramore, to Rainbow Kitten Surprise, to David Spade at The Criterion. Get a group of friends together and knock down some pins at the sports bar and bowling alley Revolutions OKC. Experience the Southern influence in OKC’s country dance bar, Cowboy Ranch. Dance your heart out at the only nightclub and burlesque lounge in Oklahoma City, Dollhouse. Take a stab at stand-up during Bricktown Comedy Club‘s open mic nights, or leave it to the professionals and catch one of the many A-List comedians in OKC!


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Oklahoma City, OK - 16 Things to Know

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.