Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Shawnee, OK

  • Published 2022/09/22

Be fascinated with the eclectic fusion of old-west rural and modern urban lifestyle all in the city of Shawnee.

This unique multicultural town is a gem in Oklahoma, which features several world-class museums, a historic downtown district, outdoor recreation parks, and many more.

Whether you’re looking for thrilling recreational activities or have a fruitful exploration of some historic sites, Shawnee has got you covered.

Read on to discover the 20 best things to do on your trip to Shawnee, OK:

Visit the Historic Beard Cabin

View of Historic Beard Cabin

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go on a trip to the past by visiting the first home built in Shawnee, the Beard Cabin.

This historical landmark in Shawnee is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, built in the 1890s by Etta Ray and her father, P.H. Ray.

Exterior of the Historic Beard Cabin

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The cabin is located near the Pottawatomie County Museum, where you can also arrange a tour to visit the cottage.

This tiny cabin is a notable feature before the industrialization of Shawnee.

Make sure to stop by and don’t forget to snap some pictures with this quaint, rustic house.

Meet “Tutu,” the Egyptian Mummy, at Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Exterior of Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Casadevida at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

History buffs and art enthusiasts, prepare to be fascinated with the wide array of historical artifacts and up to a vast collection of modern art at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.

The museum is home to over 6000 artifacts, ranging from pre-historic pieces to contemporary art exhibits, and you can find a selection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art pieces that are the finest in the nation.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is also the resting place of the Egyptian mummy named ‘Tutu,’ the one and only Egyptian mummy across Oklahoma.

The museum was founded in 1919 by Father Gregory Gerrer, known for considerable artistic talents; he curated an impressive span of history to cultivate rich cultural history from across the world, all in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Don’t miss out on an exciting day trip to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.

Get a Glimpse on the County’s History at Pottawatomie County Museum

Exterior of Pottawatomie County Museum

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover more of Shawnee’s historic descent in the Pottawatomie County Museum housed in an operational train depot previously known as the Santa Fe Depot.

Be fascinated with the beautiful architecture of the structure with its Richardsonian Romanesque design, featuring a monumental castle with a red tile roof above the sandstone walls, and get to explore the interior of the building for a closer look at the historic depot.

The past will amaze you as you stroll through the Pottawatomie County Museum that houses several well-curated artifacts and memorabilia dedicated to celebrating the county’s history and educating the younger generations.

The Pottawatomie County Museum is hard to miss because of its beautiful design standing in Shawnee’s main street, so make sure to stop by and discover the notable historical significance of Shawnee.

Groove on the Dance Floor at the Brickhouse Saloon

Exterior of Brickhouse Saloon

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a night of grooving and dancing to the live music of the Brickhouse Saloon, the perfect hang-out place nestled in downtown Shawnee.

The Brickhouse Saloon showcases the local music scene hosting live music events to amp up your night out with friends.

Groove to the music, compete with friends over a drink while playing pool, or aim for a perfect shot at beer pong.

The Brickhouse Saloon truly makes for the perfect night out, with the combination of good music, games, ice-cold beer, and a friendly atmosphere.

Learn About the Potawatomi Culture at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center

Travel further back in time as you explore the first settlements of the Potawatomi tribe and their ancestry at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center.

The museum is dedicated to educating the public about the ancestry of the Native American community and their contemporary significance.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center features historical tools and materials depicting the Potawatomi tribe’s early ways of life, as well as interactive story-telling exhibits and exhibits that showcase their vibrant tradition.

This museum is the ideal place to learn about the country’s heritage and commemorate the life and struggles of America’s ancestors.

You can explore this museum for free, but you may want to help the museum’s mission by donating any amount on your visit.

Cast Your Lines at the Shawnee Reservoir

If your definition of a perfect day is to be out in the sun with a fishing rod at hand, then make sure to go on a fishing trip at the Shawnee Reservoir.

This place is perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Shawnee’s community center.

Here, you can settle by the dock and watch the sun reflect the glistening waters while you wait for a fish to tug on your line.

You can catch prevalent species in the reservoir, like the largemouth bass, spotted bass, and channel catfish.

A trip to Shawnee Reservoir is perfect if you’re looking to spend a day outdoors surrounded by peaceful nature.

Go Picnicking at the Glenn Collins Memorial Park

If you’re looking for an ideal activity with the whole family, visit the Glenn Collins Memorial Park by the Shawnee Twin Lakes.

The Glenn Collins Memorial Park is located on the west side of Shawnee Lake, where you can cool off on a dip at the lake.

This place is a great hang-out place for families who love to be outdoors.

There are designated picnic areas to set up a picnic with the family or spend a night under the stars in a tent on the camping grounds.

Make sure to pack your outdoor fun necessities and prepare for a vibrant day trip at the Glenn Collins Memorial Park.

Spend a Night of Fun and Entertainment at The Ritz

Entrance to The Ritz

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This iconic theatre located west of Shawnee’s main street is where nostalgia and great performances meet.

The Ritz is Shawnee’s icon of entertainment nestled in a historic building that has been standing since the 1900s.

Experience nostalgia and the small-town warmth in this majestic venue.

This theatre is one of Oklahoma’s oldest operating theatres, serving as an abode to local and international talents, as well as audiences looking for world-class performances in a quaint, classical theatre.

You can catch a live comedy show, music concerts, and musical productions while enjoying some tasty concessions.

If you’re looking for a fun night watching live performances, then make sure to check out the line-up of shows and reserve a seat at The Ritz.

Try Your Luck at Black Hawk Casino

If you’re looking for some heart-pounding excitement as you test your lucky stars to win a jackpot, then you shouldn’t miss out on a night of games at the Black Hawk Casino.

This premier casino gaming destination in Oklahoma gives you the chance to get your winning moment in their slot games and table games.

You can grab a drink at the casino’s bar or have dinner in their little restaurant serving phenomenal food.

A night at the casino surrounded by the glimmering neon lights and vibrant sound of the machines makes for a great time at Shawnee, so make sure to stop by and spend a night of fun.

Go RV Camping at the Rolling Stone Stables and RV Park

If you are traveling on an RV, then the rolling Stone Stable and RV Park is the perfect place to go RV camping with the whole family.

Aside from the full hookup RV campsites, the Rolling Stone Stables and RV Park features a scenic hiking trail, a private lake for fishing, hunting grounds, and horseback riding opportunities.

The location is perfect, nestled just two miles from the major highway and six miles away from the community center; so you won’t have to worry about convenience and accessibility.

The Rolling Stone Stables and RV Park is the place for a relaxing escapade where you’ll appreciate country living.

Stroll Through the Shawnee Downtown District

Nothing beats a day of shopping and dining on the weekend at Shawnee’s Downtown District.

Appreciate the combination of historical and modern atmosphere in the district as you explore a plethora of stores and grab a bite in restaurants featuring a wide array of cuisines.

Get acquainted with the town by joining community events in Shawnee’s Downtown District like the annual Redbud Festival, Trail Days and Wine Festival, and the Shawnee Christmas Parade of Lights.

A trip to Shawnee wouldn’t be complete without appreciating the vibrant community, so make sure to drive by and explore the places that pique your interest.

Support Shawnee’s Talented Performers at Shawnee Little Theatre

Exterior of Shawnee Little Theatre

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Catch a fantastic show starring Shawnee’s talented performers at the Shawnee Little Theatre located along Airport Drive.

The Shawnee Little Theatre is an abode to art expression through performing arts, and this quaint theatre has been the place for decades of shows and memorable experiences for performers and audiences.

You can catch a range of theatrical productions, from classics to comedy and drama.

If you believe that theatre is not dead, then make sure to catch a show in this charming, small-town theatre at Shawnee.

Beat the Blazing Summer Heat at the Shawnee Splash Water Park

If you’re looking for a place to cool off from the blazing summer heat, then head out for a dip at the Shawnee Splash Water Park.

Featuring several amenities for different swimming skills and water levels, this community water park is a place for all ages to enjoy fun water activities.

The kids can bask under the sun at the shallow pool and spray ground, while the older kids can splash their way to the diving area.

This well-kept facility also has a climbing wall, several slides, a lazy pool, and a pool area for all ages.

If you’re traveling with the young ones, you won’t have to worry because there are friendly lifeguards on duty that are watchful.

Indeed, the Shawnee Splash Water Park is the best place in town for family bonding, with amenities that are fun for the young and the young at heart.

Don’t forget to pack your sun protection and swim essentials, and spend a day under the sun at the Shawnee Splash Water Park.

Watch Balloon Launches at the Annual Fireflight Balloon Festival

People watching the colorful hot air balloons at the Annual Fireflight Balloon Festival

Kit Leong /

Watch as the Shawnee skyline glows with the vibrant colors of hot air balloons every 13th and 14th of August at Firelake Parks.

The Fireflight Balloon Festival is the perfect family-friendly festival in Shawnee, where you can watch the balloons fly and even catch a ride to fly with the balloons.

Band performing at the Annual Fireflight Balloon Festival

Kit Leong /

Aside from the breathtaking view of brilliant colors, the festival hosts live entertainment events, with featured artists, carnival rides, a petting zoo, and many more.

Foodtruck at the Annual Fireflight Balloon Festival

Kit Leong /

The festival ends with majestic fireworks show that will brighten the night skies with sparkles and colors.

The Fireflight Balloon Festival makes for a memorable experience on your trip to Shawnee, so make sure to plan your trip to catch the majestic show.

People preparing for the Annual Fireflight Balloon Festival

Kit Leong /

Spot the Painted Horses Scattered All Around Shawnee

If you’re in for some easter egg hunt, then spot these art installations scattered all around Shawnee, except you’ll be looking for beautifully painted horses.

The Painted Horses are essential symbols of Shawnee’s identity, each of which is hand-painted by local artists with unique stories.

Over 30 beautiful horses have been standing proudly since their first installation in celebration of Oklahoma’s centennial year in 2007.

The proud-standing horses with brilliant colors are undoubtedly hard to miss, so don’t forget to snap some selfies with the painted horses you meet along your stroll through Shawnee.

See Various Tree Species at National Arboretum II at Oklahoma Baptist University

Only one arboretum in Oklahoma has received national accreditation; you may find it at Oklahoma Baptist University.

In 2002, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) Arboretum began gathering trees and planting 50 different types.

There is mulch around every tree in the arboretum, each with a unique tag.

One of its objectives is for students to learn the value of trees and shrubs and then take that expertise with them when they leave the institution.

There are now more than 630 tree and shrub species recorded in the database, and the arboretum spans the whole 200+ acre site.

The Survivor Tree from the Oklahoma City bombing has produced a seedling that may be seen and learned about at the arboretum.

You may relax in the shade, read a book, and bask in their splendor.

Bond over Puzzles and Mysteries at House of Hints

You and your friends may grow closer together as you work together to solve challenging riddles in an escape room.

House of Hints is the place to go in downtown Shawnee for a genuine escape room experience.

Beat the clock and get things done early.

You’ve got one hour to figure out the locks, combinations, and riddles.

House of Hints has four themed rooms, each with a unique theme.

Have a Blast at At The Pier Arcade

Featuring a wide variety of games, from vintage favorites to cutting-edge marvels, At The Pier Arcade is a place where people of all ages can bond over a shared love of fun and competition.

You’ll wish you could relive the experiences (and the games) forever.

You’ve just scored big; now what?

Head to the prize counter and trade in those points for some cool swag, including games, toys, and collectibles.

It features entertainment options suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Everyone in the household is welcome to join.

Everyone in your gang should come along.

At the Pier Arcade has something for everyone!

Hit the Mark at Lumberjack Johnson’s Axe Throwing

Visit Lumberjack Johnson’s Axe Throwing in Shawnee with your friends and family for a fun and different activity.

Several booths with wooden targets are available for you to try your hand at axe throwing, and there are competitions organized regularly.

Use the various breakable things in the smash room, such as televisions, chairs, and dishes, to vent your anger.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit less hectic, the lobby is great to chill out, shoot some pool, and take it easy.

Make sure you have the time of your life axe-throwing by reserving a target in advance.

Learn a New Skill at The Guitar Vault

At The Vault, you can kick back, take in some live tunes, hone your hobbies, socialize with other musicians, and learn from industry professionals without fear of criticism.

Regardless of your experience level or age, The Guitar Vault has a class for you.

Anyone, from the age of 6 to the age of 85, is capable of learning to play a stringed instrument.

Students from complete novices to professionals can all find something useful here.

You may learn something new in as fast as 30 minutes.

Also available are various stringed instruments and their accompanying accessories, including guitars, amplifiers, ukuleles, violins, mandolins, and more.

Final Thoughts

Marvel on the number of exploration opportunities you can find on your trip to Shawnee, whether you’re looking to spend some time outdoors or explore the town’s historical sites.

This quaint town truly makes for a fun vacation with the whole family, so make sure to reference this list upon making your trip itinerary.

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