Introduction to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, located in central Oklahoma, is the state capital and its largest city. The city was born when land was made available to homesteaders in 1889 and its population jumped to 10,000 in a single day. "OKC" became the state capital in 1910 and saw rapid growth in the 1920s when oil was discovered in the area. The oil industry has dominated the city's economy ever since. Among the inventions originating out of Oklahoma City are the parking meter and the traffic signal.
Today, Oklahoma City is the nucleus of the cattle industry and a major distribution center for the state. Seven miles southeast of downtown OKC, Tinker Air Force Base is Oklahoma's largest employer and the world's largest aircraft repair facility. There has been a billion dollar redevelopment program in recent years, seeing a major restoration of the Oklahoma City downtown area and other locations in the city. The Oklahoma City renovation has included the Bricktown Canal Landmark project, renovation of educational campuses, and many historical buildings.
Oklahoma City Culture
OKC's big city cultural attractions belie its small city reputation. One of the largest museums in the country, the Omniplex Museum has an Imax theater and an array of exhibits making it known as the Smithsonian of the Southwest. Other Oklahoma City museums include the Oklahoma State Museum of History, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. The city hosts numerous festivals, with the Festival of the Arts in April, state and county fairs in September, Arts Festival Oklahoma in September and the Deep Deuce Jazz Festival in October. Downtown, the Ford Center and the Civic Center offer pop concerts, ballet, theatrical productions and sporting events throughout the year.
Oklahoma City Sports and Leisure
Without a big league sports team (though some argue that Oklahoma Sooners football is bigger than big league), OKC still has an abundance of spectator sports options. SBC Bricktown Ballpark downtown hosts home games of the Oklahoma RedHawks, a minor league (triple-A) affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The Ford Center downtown hosts the American Basketball Association's Oklahoma City Ballhawgs, ice hockey's Oklahoma City Blazers, and the Arena Football League's Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz. The city is also home to the Oklahoma City Lightning, a women's football team. For major league action, a 3-hour drive to Dallas avails sports fans to baseball's Texas Rangers, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and the NHL's Dallas Stars.
Oklahoma City Outdoors
Oklahoma City has plenty of outdoor attractions. The Myriad Botanical Gardens, OKC's most romantic urban park, has waterfalls, a lake filled with goldfish, several amphitheaters and the Crystal Bridge tropical conservatory, designed by I. M. Pei. Lake Hefner in northwest Oklahoma City has bicycle trails around its perimeter, boating facilities and a golf course. More golfing is available at the many fine courses in the area. Less than an hour away are Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond and Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, both named among the top 100 courses in the country by Golfweek.
Oklahoma City at Night
Nightlife in Oklahoma City is more cosmopolitan than you'd think. Bricktown, stretching for a mile through the downtown area, is a growing entertainment district that features a myriad of restaurants, bars, dance clubs and places to see live music. Around the NW 39th Expressway is OKC's gay community, which has a high concentration of bars and clubs. The city has a large Asia District offering dining and entertainment options from a variety of cultures.
Recognizing Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is a safe, affordable place to live, with a pleasant climate and low traffic and pollution. Places Rated Almanac named it one of the "Best places to live in North America."