Oklahoma City, OK skyline

13 Things to Know About Living in Oklahoma City

Thinking about moving to Oklahoma City? If so, you’re not alone! The “Big Friendly” is rapidly growing, thanks to its affordable cost of living, family-friendly activities, and excellent business opportunities for everyone from entrepreneurs to large corporations. Here are 13 things you need to know about living in Oklahoma City!

An Affordable City for Young Homeowners

Red brick home with bright green lawn. Photo by Instagram user @dwellwithmaryhatchgroup
Photo via @dwellwithmaryhatchgroup

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or simply looking for an affordable place to settle down with your family, living in Oklahoma City is a fantastic choice! The cost of living and cost of housing in OKC are 14% and 21% lower than the national average, respectively. That affordability makes Oklahoma City one of America’s most affordable cities to live and work in, as well as one of the best cities for first-time homebuyers. Because of this, it’s no wonder that OKC is popular among families as well!

Business Is Booming

Skyline of tall building with a sun set in OKC. Photo by Instagram user @ericgolda
Photo via @ericgolda

Want to start your own business? Consider moving to OKC! Not only does Oklahoma City offer low costs of doing business, but it also has i2e, an organization dedicated to providing business expertise and funding for local startups. Of course, you don’t need to start from the ground floor for work, as there are plenty of established jobs available in Oklahoma City—and the job market continues to grow! Oil and natural gas companies, such as Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy, are the city’s largest employers. The city is also home to some of the world’s biggest livestock markets, making it an ideal place for those seeking agriculture careers.

You’ll Want to Have a Personal Vehicle

White and blue car parked outside in front of sculpture. Photo by Instagram user @theokiebug
Photo via @theokiebug

While there are a few modes of public transportation in Oklahoma City—like the public bus system that runs about every half-hour, the 4.7-mile streetcar loop with 22 stops in the downtown area, or the Spokies bike-share program—most OKC residents need a personal vehicle to get around. Fortunately, the city has three major interstates and two secondary interstates, which makes commuting less stressful and traffic less congested. In fact, commutes in OKC are about five minutes shorter than the national average.

FIND YOUR STORE

Enjoy All Four Seasons

Sunset over field. Photo by Instagram user @visitokc
Photo via @visitokc

One of the perks of living in Oklahoma City is its favorable weather. The summers are warm but not overbearing, so you can enjoy the many parks, festivals, and outdoor activities the city offers. The winters are milder than you’ll find in most of the Midwest, as temperatures typically hover around 40 degrees and usually only 6-8 inches of snow accumulate each year. However, you will have some strong weather every now and then when living in OKC. The city sits in the heart of Tornado Alley, so it’s prone to severe thunderstorms, tornados, and hail. Consider these tips before moving to Oklahoma City to ensure you’re prepared for severe weather!

Get a Taste of the Wild West

Statues of men on horses. Photo by Instagram user @wbannister
Photo via @wbannister

In 1889, Oklahoma City was a central hub for pioneers after thousands of settlers rushed in for free land when the U.S. government opened the Oklahoma territory. Though the city is quite modern now, there are plenty of reminders of its pioneer past. Travel back to the early 1900s at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which houses a massive collection of art, artifacts, demonstrations, and classes that showcase the American West. Take a tour of the Harn Homestead to see and experience what life was like for OKC’s first settlers. Or for a more modern adventure, attend one of Oklahoma City’s many rodeos, which feature some of the country’s top riders and ropers.

Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial next to pond. Photo by Instagram user @gadinbc
Photo via @gadinbc

Oklahoma City experienced a heartbreaking bombing on April 19, 1995, but it rallied, recovered, and now honors the fallen with a reverent memorial. Today, you can visit the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum—built on the original site of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building where the attack occurred—to understand the impact of this tragic event and how the community picked itself up afterward. Take a guided audio tour to learn more about the events of that fateful day and what you can do to help keep the OKC community moving forward. Be sure to go outside as well to quietly reflect among the Field of Empty Chairs, Reflecting Pool, and Survivor Tree (a century-old American elm that survived the blast).

Check Out the Family-Friendly Attractions

People sitting in a park listening to music. Photo by Instagram user @scissortailpark
Photo via @scissortailpark

Whether you’re looking for a fun adventure, a calm afternoon, or anything in between, Oklahoma City has the family-friendly activities you seek! Grab lunch from a food truck, participate in a yoga class, catch a concert, or take a peaceful stroll through Scissortail Park, a massive gathering space in the heart of the city. Travel between the park’s two sections on the stunning Skydance Bridge, which passes over the interstate and provides gorgeous views of the skyline. See exotic animals like Asian elephants, Komodo dragons, and red pandas at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Get your blood racing with a whitewater rafting course or zip line ride at Riversport. Or meander through the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens, where you can see all kinds of unique plant species and attend special festivals.

Experience the Heart of OKC in Bricktown

Water taxi driving by trees with colorful lights. Photo by Instagram user @bricktownwatertaxi
Photo via @bricktownwatertaxi

The Bricktown Entertainment District is one of OKC’s top attractions for locals and visitors alike. Get to know the area with a brew on a Bricktown Bike Bar or from the quiet calm of a Bricktown Water Taxi. See a concert or comedy show at the Chesapeake Energy Arena or the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. Shop for local merchandise at the Painted Door Gift Boutique or beef jerky and boozy chocolates at the Jumpin Jackalope. Sample local beers and challenge the mighty Nachosaurus at the famous Bricktown Brewery. Chow down on a “Cowboy Cut” Ribeye at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, head to the South with Louisiana Shrimp & Grits at the Bourbon Street Cafe, or gorge yourself on smoked meats with Earl’s Binge Dinner at Earl’s Rib Palace.

OKC Is Packed with Events

People getting ready for a marathon. Photo by Instagram user @lowark
Photo via @lowark

Living in Oklahoma City means you have access to tons of local events and festivals! Love art and music? Attend the Festival of the Arts, which features stunning work from more than 100 artists and three musical stages that host 300+ performers. Are you an avid runner? Take part in the OKC Memorial Marathon, which was named one of the 12 “must-run” marathons by Runner’s World magazine due to its overwhelming fan support and stirring backstory. Join your fellow film junkies at the deadCenter Film Festival, which screens more than 100 films. And you can’t miss the Oklahoma State Fair, where you can attend epic concerts, blood-pumping rodeos, and nationally-acclaimed performances like Disney on Ice.

There’s Serious Passion for Oklahoma City Sports

Basketball player from OKC Thunder jumping. Photo by Instagram user @okcthunder
Photo via @okcthunder

OKC is a great hub for any sports nut! Join one of the NBA’s most rabid fan bases and cheer on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Catch an OKC Dodgers baseball game—a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers—at homey Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, which also hosts the Big 12 Baseball Tournament in May. If soccer is your game, check out the OKC Energy and Oklahoma City FC teams. More of a college sports fan? OKC is within 70 miles of both Norman and Stillwater, giving fans of Oklahoma University (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU) easy access to their favorite college teams!

Embrace the Arts & Culture Scene

Statue of a man's head with painting behind it. Photo by Instagram user @oklahomacitymoa
Photo via @oklahomacitymoa

If you’re passionate about all things art, moving to Oklahoma City opens up a world of possibilities! Visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, one of the region’s finest art institutions with works and exhibits from all over the globe. Watch an international, independent, or documentary film at the Samuel Roberts Noble Theater. Peruse the 22 galleries at the Paseo Art District and sign up for a class to learn how to create your own masterpiece. Take a stroll though the Plaza District for a less formal atmosphere to enjoy the street art and gorgeous murals. Prefer the performing arts? Attend a Lyric Theatre show, play, or concert at either the Civic Center or the Plaza Theatre. If you want to get into acting yourself, check out the Thelma Gaylord Academy, which allows people from all walks of life to get onstage.

The Food Is More Than Just Chicken Fried Steak

Guy pulling apart cheesy grilled cheese. Photo by Instagram user @dwellingtable
Photo via @dwellingtable

Tourists stopping in OKC often steer toward the city’s signature dish—Chicken Fried Steak—at hot spots like Cheever’s Cafe or Nic’s Grill. But Oklahoma City has more than just this dish! Savor a USDA Prime Blue Ribbon Special Steak at Cattleman’s Steakhouse, recognized as one of the best steakhouses in America. Embrace your inner child with an elevated Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The Mule or a Hamburglar Pizza at the Empire Slice House. Indulge in your Southern side with a Chicken Fried Pot Pie from Kitchen No. 324. Combine history and explosive flavor with each bite of an Oklahoma Onion Burger from Tucker’s Onion Burgers, which serves some of the finest patties in the U.S. For a truly unique dining experience, dine at Bleu Garten, a small food truck park with different options available every day. And cap off your meal with a warm Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie from Insomnia Cookies, which can be picked up in store or ordered for delivery!

Oklahoma City Nightlife Keeps the Fun Going

Bartender pouring a cocktail. Photo by Instagram user @ponyboyokc
Photo via @ponyboyokc

There are tons of ways to have fun after the sun goes down in Oklahoma City! Put on your dancing shoes and get to Ponyboy, a two-story bar with live music and a giant disco on Fridays and Saturdays. Sing along at Michael Murphy’s Dueling Pianos, where talented artists bang out requests from the crowd. Prefer something a bit more casual? Try a famed “Lunchbox” at Edna’s, OKC’s most well-known dive bar that’s been around for more than 30 years. Sample specialty cocktails and local brews at The Bunker Club, a retro-themed dive bar. Or take in some great acoustic music while you throw back some beers at JJ’s Alley, which has live local performances each night.

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