17 Cool Things to See & Do in Oklahoma City On Your South Central USA Road Trip

Cruising through the Sooner State? Derail from your current trip plans to rummage through all the fun things to do in Oklahoma City. Nicknamed “The Big Friendly,” Oklahoma’s capital city teems with everything from modern museums and art galleries to fascinating gardens and blissful parks. Dive deep into the city’s history, cowboy culture, natural beauty, and dining scene with this complete OKC tourist attractions guide!

Must-see places to visit

Oklahoma City Zoo

Looking for a family-friendly day out in OKC? Head to the Oklahoma City Zoo and enjoy a day of dazzle at wildlife. At this popular zoo, located in the Adventure District, the whole family can indulge in activities like camel rides or riding the Elephant Express Tram.

Oklahoma City Zoo

Start the day with a tour of Sanctuary Asia, the chief attraction of the Oklahoma City Zoo. At this 14.5-acre sanctuary, you’ll gaze at various exotic animals, such as Komodo dragons, Francois’ langurs, and Asian elephants.

Slide over to the Great Escape to witness chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas swinging around their natural habitats. For a taste of the exotic, head to the Cat Forest to see the ferocious Sumatran Tiger, Caracal, and Fishing Cat in action.

Built up a thirst while exploring the wildlife? Head to the Lotus Pavilion at Sanctuary Asia or Safari Cafe to savor Asian tea or coffee.

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Interested in uncovering the history of Oklahoma City? Set your sights on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum to experience the heart-wrenching history that shaped this city.

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Built on the remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum serves as a reminder of the tragic city bombing of April 1995. Take a guided tour of the museum to learn about the events leading to the bombing and how the city recovered. The site showcases various damaged artifacts accompanied by oral accounts and video presentations.

Meander through the surrounding grounds and the Field of Empty Chairs. Witness the massive bronze Gates of Time and Survivor Tree, and relish the beauty of the adjacent Reflecting Pool.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Want to leave behind the hustle & bustle of the city? Take a detour to Myriad Botanical Gardens, a natural escape in the heart of Oklahoma City.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Unwind in the calm greenery of Myriad Botanical Gardens to a relaxing soundtrack of chirping birds. If you’re visiting in summer, cool down in the refreshing waters of the thunderstorm fountain. Or, if you’re traveling in the winter, lace up your blades for some ice skating at Devon Ice Rink

You can also watch comedy shows in the garden organized by Shakespeare in the Park. If you’ve got some more time, visit the gardens’ crown jewel, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, to marvel at its stunning architecture and rich collection of wet and dry tropical plants.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Fascinated by cowboy culture? Explore an antique collection of contemporary and stunning cowboy-related art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Take a walk inside the corridors of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to discover the rich history of American cowboy culture. The museum is home to over 28,000 American, Indian, and Western artwork and artifacts. You can also peruse an extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, rodeo trophies, and saddlery.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum also houses a collection of exquisite artwork by famed artists such as Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and James Earle Fraser.

Frontier City Theme Park

Looking for a little family-friendly fun? Savor the delight of thrilling rides and entertainment at Frontier City Theme Park, located just north of the city on I-35.

Challenge gravity at Frontier City Theme Park on the Silver Bullet or Diamond Back looping roller coasters. Get a scenic view of the Oklahoma City skyline from the top of a gondola-style Ferris wheel. Or let the kids experience family-friendly thrills at Billy’s Frog Hopper, Hootie’s Tree House, and Rocky’s Ranger Planes.

Want to beat the scorching summer heat? Careen through the waves on thrilling water rides like Renegade Rapids and Mystery River Log Flume.

After building up an appetite on all the thrill rides, satisfy your hunger with cheeseburgers, corn dog bites, and chicken tenders at the Chuckwagon Food Court.

Scissortail Park

Need to relax your mind and body on your Oklahoma road trip? Drive to Scissortail Park and indulge in outdoor activities that’ll relieve all your holiday stress.

Scissortail Park

Head to the boathouse to engage in pedal boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Or, for a little active fun on land, put on your roller skates and “get your skate on” at the Sky Rink.

If you’re visiting Scissortail Park with children, let them cool down while having a little fun in the water jets at the Scissortail Sprayground.

Feeling hungry? Chow down on scrumptious hot dogs, sandwiches, burgers, ice cream, or snow cones at on-site eating options like The Perch and Spark. After a delicious feast, digest your food with a relaxing stroll through the lush greenery of the park.

Hurricane Harbor Oklahoma City

Up for some fun water activities? Take your kids to Hurricane Harbor Oklahoma City to feel the touch of the splashing water while sliding down the slides.

Head to the Caribbean Cove at Hurricane Harbor and bask in the cool and refreshing water. Or, grab a tube and feel the thrill while hovering over water on the Bermuda Triangle slide.

Bring the action up a notch with a race down the 300-foot Blackbeard’s Revenge slide, hitting the cool activity pool. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll scream in delight while sliding down any of the three slides in the cove. Need to bring down the heart rate? Hop into a tube and float along the calm water at the Castaway Creek lazy river.

For a tasty meal on your Hurricane Harbor visit, head to Captain Cordell’s or Coral Reef Cafe, featuring favorites like nachos, pretzels, or french fries.

Oklahoma History Center

History buffs visiting OKC should slot the Oklahoma History Center at the top of their vacation bucket list. Situated next to the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, the center opens the door to explore historical instruments, devices, machines, and more.

Oklahoma History Center

While scouring the Oklahoma History Center, you’ll come across exhibits like Becoming Fearless, From Institution to Inclusion, Launch to Landing, and Sun and Silver. Highlights include early photographic equipment, the Skylab 4 Apollo Command Module (CM-118), and an iron lung used to treat polio. 

Along with unwrapping the state’s rich history, you can also indulge in various educational programs, field trips, and expeditions at the museum.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Captivated by stunning artwork? Art lovers should save time to peruse the priceless masterpieces at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Most ewll known for the glasswork of Dale Chihuly, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art boasts countless stunning glass pieces alongside its collection of European and American art. Some eye-catching works here include pieces by Thomas Moran, Hans Hofmann, and Charles Willson Peale.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is also a paradise for photography lovers, containing the works of 20th-century photographers like Elliott Erwitt, Alfred Stieglitz, and Brett Weston.

Bricktown Entertainment District

Looking for an all-in-one entertainment hotspot while exploring Oklahoma City? Take the route toward Bricktown Entertainment District. Packed with over 45 restaurants, shopping centers, and nightclubs, the district is the perfect spot for an evening out on the town.

Bricktown Entertainment District

Among the coolest ways to experience Bricktown Entertainment District is to take a tour or dinner cruise along the Bricktown Canal aboard the Bricktown Water Taxi. Or, if you’d rather keep your feet on land, lace up your shoes for a walk along its atmospheric streets, lined by boutique shops, restaurants, and lounges.

Craving some mouth-watering food? Taste some of Oklahoma City’s finest steak at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse or the cheese tortellini with grilled chicken at The Mantel Wine Bar & Bistro. End your day in Bricktown with a quiet evening sipping delectable wine at Put a Cork In It.

Orr Family Farm

Looking for a perfect family-friendly spot around OKC? Point the wheels towards Orr Family Farm for some relaxing, quality family vacation time.

At Orr Family Farm, you and the kids can engage in various fun activities, including a ropes course, carousel, train rides, pedal cars, and zip-lining. For a more relaxing outing, unwind with a massage at the Michael Phelps Signature Series Swim Spa.

If you’re up for an overnight stay, camp at the Conestoga Wagons & Teepees. Enjoy an evening by a roaring campfire, or, for a little more comfort, stay in the temperature-controlled wagons or Teepees.

Martin Park Nature Center

Want to experience some of Oklahoma City’s finest nature? Zip over to the Martin Park Nature Center. Featuring educational programs and walking trails through lush greenery, the 140-acre park is a must-see for nature lovers visiting OKC.

Martin Park Nature Center

Explore Martin Park Nature Center’s 2.5 miles of trails, teeming with wildlife and recreational activities. While meandering along the hiking trails, keep your eyes peeled for animals like rabbits, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, and deer.

Don’t forget to explore the landmark of the nature park: the INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Courage Trail. Ideated by Jack McMahan, this trail offers people with disabilities and mobility limitations a chance to get lost in nature.

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Baseball lovers visiting Oklahoma City can’t miss the chance to enjoy a game at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Home of the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, the stadium is one of the city’s hotspots for sports fans.

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Grab tickets to a baseball game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark to cheer the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers to a win alongside the rowdy hometown crowd. Add to the classic American baseball experience by enjoying hot dogs and sipping beer as you watch the balls soar over the wall.

After the game, you can head to the nearby Bricktown Entertainment District to enjoy a lovely stroll, an evening dinner, or a night out on the town.

45th Infantry Division Museum

Pay homage to America’s brave soldiers with a visit to the 45th Infantry Division Museum. Located inside the Lincoln Park Armory, the military museum covers all the major 20th-century military conflicts. 

Book a guided tour to experience the museum’s Reaves Military Weapons Collection, including its crown jewel, the Mosby Cannon. Your guide will also take you through Thunderbird Park, which features full-track vehicles, aircraft, tanks, and large guns.

Elsewhere in the 45th Infantry Division Museum, you’ll learn all about World War II through a unique collection of over 200 cartoons by Bill Mauldin.

Bricktown Brewery

Planning a romantic dinner with your partner? Make Bricktown Brewery your next stop. Resting in Downtown Oklahoma City, this popular brewpub is famous for its scrumptious local food and craft beer.

Get on board and order a shareable plate, Bricktown burgers, or hand-crafted food items like a Bricktown Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Wash it all down with a sip (or two!) of one of their fine craft beers.

Want to move beyond the usual Southern comfort food? Nosh to your heart’s content by ordering their specialty boom-boom shrimp, Bavarian pretzel sticks, or avocado fries. If you’re craving sweeter dishes, tantalize your taste buds with a Heath Bar Crunch Brownie or the Sizzling Apple Crisp.

Beavers Bend State Park

Seeking an outdoor paradise near OKC? Enjoy scenic views over Broken Bow Lake on a camping adventure at Beavers Bend State Park.

Beavers Bend State Park

Spread across an area of 3,482 acres, Beavers Bend State Park allows you to pitch a tent at any of the 50 tent camping sites. The Oklahoma state park is dog-friendly, too, letting owners bring their pets to stay alongside them in one of the park’s cabins. 

Even if you aren’t interested in staying the night, one of the most popular Oklahoma City day trips is to ride down the winding roads while witnessing the lush greenery of the pine forest and hardwood trees.

Beavers Bend State Park also offers fun outdoor activities, including boating, kayaking, scuba diving, canoeing, and horseback riding.

Science Museum Oklahoma

Ready to learn about the mystery of stars and beyond? Stop at the Science Museum Oklahoma and dig into the cosmos with its fun and exciting interactive exhibits.

Science Museum Oklahoma

On your trip to Science Museum Oklahoma, bring the kids to Curiosity, the museum’s fun center, where they’ll discover various fun activities. Explore exhibits like Brainiact, Pi Shop, Tinker Works, Wunderground, and Spark Park before moving on to the Kirkpatrick Planetarium, where you’ll savor the immersive experience of shows like Journey Through the Cosmos or Secret Lives of Stars.

Got some more time? Enhance the experience with live shows like Forces and Fire or Scientist’s Choice at Science Live.

Recommended places to stay

For most travelers, the top choices for where to stay in Oklahoma City are around Downtown, including the hip & trendy Bricktown and Arts District. In all of these areas & neighborhoods, there are plenty of accommodation options, with everything from hotels to vacation rentals on offer.

21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City

21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City

Explore the Arts District to its fullest by making this creative boutique hotel your base for your OKC vacation adventures. With 14,000 feet of exhibitions and art installations, this unique hotel is a must-stay for art lovers. Relax in the ultra-hip rooms featuring unique industrial-chic decor inspired by the city’s heritage. Extra amenities include an on-site spa, fitness center, and three on-site restaurants & bars.

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel

Enjoy an elegant OKC getaway by spending your evenings relaxing at this lovely hotel in the Arts District. After a long day of sightseeing, soak up the Oklahoma sun to beautiful city views at the rooftop pool or pamper yourself with a spa treatment. The hotel also has six restaurants on-site to further explore the city’s surprising culinary scene.

Renaissance Oklahoma City Downtown Bricktown Hotel

Renaissance Oklahoma City Downtown Bricktown Hotel

Located in the heart of Bricktown, this luxury hotel shines with its minimalist style accented by small luxurious details. Besides its sleek and luxurious rooms, you’ll love its on-site restaurant, serving up juicy steaks, fresh sushi, and innovative cocktails.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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