Top 12 Attractions in Oklahoma City

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Oklahoma City impresses visitors with underrated experiences spanning cowboy culture, nature escapes, sports excitement and moving memorials. Beyond the metropolitan amenities you’d expect in a capital city, Oklahoma City’s distinctive attractions introduce travelers to tastes of the Old West and Southern hospitality.

AttractionDescription
Oklahoma City National Memorial Survivor TreeA memorial for the 1995 bombing, symbolizing hope and resilience.
Paycom CenterVenue for Oklahoma City Thunder NBA games, offering an electrifying atmosphere.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife RefugeNatural habitat with the country’s largest herd of American Bison.
Oklahoma State CapitolHistoric site featuring Greek Revival architecture and Native American tributes.
Crystal Bridge Tropical ConservatoryA lush oasis within the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Chickasaw Bricktown BallparkBaseball stadium for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Oklahoma River BoatingOffers kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding along the river.
Price Tower in BartlesvilleFrank Lloyd Wright’s only built skyscraper, featuring organic architecture.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumExhibits on cowboy culture, Western film icons, and Native American history.
Science Museum Oklahoma Kirkpatrick PlanetariumAstronomy and space science shows on a 60-foot screen.
Restaurant Alley in Automobile AlleyTrendy dining area with globally inspired menus and Southern fare.
First Americans MuseumMuseum highlighting the history and culture of Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations.

Make sure to explore these 12 top attractions capturing the Heartland charm and resilience embedded into OKC’s upbeat character.

See the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial

Name and Location: Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: The Survivor Tree is an American elm that survived the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. It was heavily damaged by the blast but was nursed back to health and stands today as a symbol of resilience and hope.

What to Expect: Visitors can see the Survivor Tree up close and read about its history. It is located on the Memorial grounds along with the symbolic Gates of Time, Field of Empty Chairs, Rescuers Orchard and the Survivor Wall.

Visitor Information: The Memorial is open daily. Guided walking tours are available.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum provides a profoundly moving tribute commemorating the 168 individuals killed in the tragic 1995 bombing attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The memorial’s prominent Survivor Tree symbolizes hope and resilience after enduring the blast. Over a decade of extensive renovations revealed the site’s original foundations and intricate symbolic elements honoring each innocent life lost alongside recovered salvaged materials.

Cheer on the Thunder at Paycom Center

Name and Location: Paycom Center, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder

History and Significance: The Paycom Center opened in 2002 and has been the home arena of the Thunder since 2008 when the NBA team relocated from Seattle. The venue hosts over 100 Thunder home games every year.

What to Expect: Fans can catch exciting professional basketball games featuring star players. The arena atmosphere has lots of energy.

Visitor Information: Ticket prices vary by game. The box office is open Monday-Friday. Public transportation is available.

Catch thrilling professional basketball action up close with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder at recently renamed Paycom Center arena. Energy buzzes through the high-tech venue whether you opt for seats down low to see dunks or prefer a bird’s eye view of the court from upper decks displaying the championship banners from the Thunder’s years in Seattle. Arrive early to wander the Thunder Shop for gear or try bold concession snacks like poutine fries or bison burgers.

See the Bison Herd at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Name and Location: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma

History and Significance: The refuge was established in 1901 to protect wildlife habitat, including a remnant herd of American Bison. Today it spans nearly 60,000 acres.

What to Expect: Visitors can see the bison herd along the 7-mile wildlife loop drive. There are also opportunities for hiking and spotting other wildlife.

Visitor Information: The refuge is open year-round and admission is free. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center first.

Escape into nature less than two hours outside Oklahoma City at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Here the country’s largest herd of native American Bison, around 650 strong, roam open grasslands with the striking granite Wichita Mountains as their backdrop. Drive the route surveying lakes, prairies and woodlands before stopping at the Visitor’s Center for the must-do bison loop driving tour with prime viewing and photo ops.

Tour the Oklahoma State Capitol

Name and Location: Oklahoma State Capitol, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: The Capitol opened in 1917 and houses the state’s legislature along with the governor’s offices. The building has a dome towering over 100 feet tall.

What to Expect: Guests can explore the Capitol on their own or take a free guided tour. Highlights include the ornate chambers and rotunda artwork.

Visitor Information: Open weekdays for self-guided tours. Guided tours given daily every hour.

History and architecture aficionados appreciate a free guided tour of Oklahoma’s State Capitol, considered one of the finest 21st century capitol buildings thanks to distinctive art integrated into classic Greek Revival style architecture. Completed in 1917, the dome soars to 440 feet tall making it the tallest capitol building in America. Symbolism honoring Oklahoma’s Native American roots and pioneers stands out in the ornate interiors’ Cherokee marble and Osage Nation tribal seals alongside expansive murals and stunning chandeliers.

See the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

Name and Location: Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory in Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: The lush Crystal Bridge greenhouse opened in 1988 showcasing over 2,000 tropical plants from around the world. It was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei.

What to Expect: Visitors can walk among exotic flowers, plants and trees while enjoying the humidity and warmth. It’s an indoor tropical oasis.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Admission fees apply. Guided tours offered.

An oasis awaits inside the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens just minutes from downtown. Feel your stress melt away walking lush pathways underneath 13,000 sparkling crystals making up the canopy. Waterfalls and koi ponds enhance the soothing ambience amidst towering palms, colorful orchids and thousands of plants from tropical regions across the globe right in Oklahoma’s heartland.

Cheer on the Dodgers at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Name and Location: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers baseball team

History and Significance: The ballpark opened in 1998 in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown district. It hosts the city’s Triple-A minor league baseball team, top affiliate of the LA Dodgers.

What to Expect: Fans can take in an exciting professional minor league game in an intimate setting while enjoying ballpark food and entertainment.

Visitor Information: Season runs April-September. Ticket prices are affordable. Book early for popular games.

Soak up America’s favorite pastime with Oklahoma City’s Triple-A baseball club, the Dodgers, at lively Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Opened in 1998 within the happening Bricktown Entertainment District just steps from restaurants and nightlife, the intimiate venue puts you on top of the action from every blue or red seat. Catch a game on a summer evening to appreciate skyline views alongside firework shows after final outs as in-stadium fun goes into extra innings.

Go Boating Along the Oklahoma River

Name and Location: Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City

History and Significance: The Oklahoma River was created through a series of canal projects to transform dry riverbed into a water recreation destination right through the heart of Oklahoma City.

What to Expect: Visitors can go kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, dragon boating and enjoy other water sports along the river. There are also river cruises and floating restaurants to enjoy.

Visitor Information: Numerous local outfitters offer equipment rentals and guided tours. The river is open year-round for recreation.

The Oklahoma River winds through the core of Oklahoma City providing a scenic thoroughfare for outdoor recreation. Rent a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard to traverse waters along the seven-mile stretch containing six dams. Paddlers pass by riverfront parks, the downtown skyline and peaceful natural areas perfect for wildlife watching. Special river events range from dragon boat races to floating outdoor movie nights catering to shoreline crowds.

See Price Tower in Bartlesville

Name and Location: Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

History and Significance: Price Tower is a 19-story tower built in 1956 designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It stands as the only realized skyscraper designed by Wright.

What to Expect: Visitors can tour the tower and see Wright’s unique design elements throughout. There is also an art gallery and restaurant on site.

Visitor Information: Guided tours offered daily year-round. Advanced reservations recommended.

Fans of architect Frank Lloyd Wright need to make the pilgrimage about an hour north to Bartlesville for a tour of his only built skyscraper, Price Tower. Completed in 1956, the 19-story tower was originally commissioned as corporate offices for a pipeline and chemical company. Galleries showcase Wright’s trademark organic architecture alongside artwork under naturally filtering sunlight. Guests also sleep in Wright-designed lodging available on site immersed in his trademark textile patterns.

Check Out Western Heritage at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Name and Location: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: Founded in 1955, this museum preserves and exhibits Western heritage including extensive collections of art, artifacts and film. Annual attendance exceeds 200,000.

What to Expect: Guests can immerse themselves in cowboy and rodeo history and culture spanning saddles, spurs, musical instruments and more. Rotating exhibits also featured.

Visitor Information: Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. Admission fees apply.

Celebrating cowboy culture past and present, Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum showcases impressive collections alongside lively demonstrations. Browse galleries focused on Western film icons like John Wayne, Native American gear embellished with beads and feathers, or saddles purpose-built for cattle drives and rodeo riding. Outdoors, try roping dummy steer heads or watch skilled trick riders and their beautiful horses perform intricate maneuvers.

See Stars at the Science Museum Oklahoma Kirkpatrick Planetarium

Name and Location: Science Museum Oklahoma Kirkpatrick Planetarium

History and Significance: The Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma opened in 1958 as the state’s first planetarium, made possible by a donation from businessman Jack Kirkpatrick.

What to Expect: Visitors can experience immersive 360-degree films about space, stars and planets shown on the giant dome screen. Unique astronomy programs change frequently.

Visitor Information: Included with general Science Museum admission. Special planetarium shows available daily.

The Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma immerses audiences into astronomy and space science wonders across their 60-foot hemispheric screen. Narrated shows reveal secrets behind cosmic phenomena like black holes as well as tours of planets and constellations visible modified by the seasons. Special music laser light shows synchronized to favorite soundtracks provide trippy entertainment amplified by surround sound systems sure to make jaws drop.

Try Restaurant Alley in Automobile Alley

Name and Location: Restaurant Alley in Automobile Alley district, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: Automobile Alley became the city’s main auto dealer corridor in the 1920s. Today it is home to some of OKC’s best restaurants, boutiques, bars and art galleries.

What to Expect: Restaurant Alley offers many cuisines to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with great people watching and window shopping.

Visitor Information: Free parking. Located along Broadway Ave downtown. Most businesses open late morning to late evenings.

Downtown Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley district juxtaposes 19th century red brick warehouse exteriors housing some of the city’s trendiest 21st century boutique shops and restaurants. The neighborhood earned its name selling Ford Model Ts in the early 20th century. Today the eight-block stretch offers diners globally inspired menus alongside creative takes on Southern and Southwestern fare perfect for a moveable feast hopping between hotspots for Insta-worthy sips and bites.

See Stars at First Americans Museum

Name and Location: First Americans Museum, Oklahoma City

History and Significance: Opened in 2021, this museum is dedicated to exploring the cultural diversity, history and resilience of Native peoples with Oklahoma roots. It is the largest of its kind in the U.S.

What to Expect: Immersive and interactive exhibits spanning tribal traditions, music, art and more. The Hall of the People highlights farmers, warriors and innovators. Stars features contemporary Native night skies.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesdays-Sundays. Admission fees apply. Guided tours available with reservations.

First Americans Museum expands insights into Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations through Native art spanning 12,000 years up to today. Rotating exhibits curated alongside Tribes cover mediums like painting and pottery against full-sensory immersive environments illustrating Native lifeways. Outside the architectural icon created in harmony with nature, honor dancer performances happen in the central courtyard alongside special cultural celebrations and hands-on workshops welcoming all ages to share in Indigenous knowledge.

Beyond expected urban attractions, Oklahoma City reveals diverse landscapes showcasing cowboy heritage and resilient community spirit sure to surprise visitors with quintessential Heartland hospitality. Use this insider’s guide when exploring creative culture thriving where the west begins and the Midwest meets southern charm.

Leave a Comment