I can't wait to share with you some free things to do in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that make it a haven for those seeking adventure, culture, and history.
In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.
Cruise the U.S. Rt. 66
You bet, there's something incredibly nostalgic about cruising down the old U.S. Route 66. I've been doing it almost every day.
It's the main artery of Oklahoma City, and I'll tell you what – it’s quite a gift to live here.
Early birds like me would agree that catching the sunrise over the highway is a sight that'll make you fall in love with the city all over again.
The way the oranges and pinks of the dawn paint the skies is no less than a masterpiece.
As the city slowly stirs to life, the hum of the traffic is, in a strange way, soothing.
But it's not just about the scenic views and the rush of the open road. The charm of U.S. Rt. 66 lies in the stories it carries.
It's the home of countless tales, of people and their journeys, of travelers passing through, and of dreamers who dared to venture out.
From the corner diners serving the best apple pie to the vintage signs reminding us of forgotten eras, there's a story hidden in every nook and cranny.
Speaking of nostalgia, it's hard to miss the old-timey motels dotting the highway.
They stand like time capsules, whispering tales of a bygone era when road trips were a novelty, and motels were sanctuaries for tired travelers.
Every time I pass by them, I can almost smell the rich aroma of coffee brewing and hear the soft murmur of jukebox tunes.
See Vintage Fighter Planes at Charles B. Hall Airpark
From the moment you step foot in Charles B. Hall Airpark, you can feel the rich heritage of aviation history.
The park may not be the largest, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in its depth of content.
Living just a stone's throw away, I often find myself drawn to this little gem of a park.
It's a place where I can enjoy an afternoon walk, basking in the sunny Oklahoma weather while immersing myself in the awe-inspiring world of aviation.
The highlight of Charles B. Hall Airpark, undoubtedly, is the magnificent display of military aircraft that have served our country.
Each of them stands proudly, a testament to the brave airmen and airwomen who have piloted them.
A personal favorite of mine is the B-52 bomber, which is quite an imposing sight to behold.
The park is also home to the Tinker Air Force Base, named after Major General Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American Major General in the U.S. Armed Forces.
I've always found it fascinating how the park and the base together tell the story of our country's military aviation history.
Walk through History at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
A walk around my hometown of Oklahoma City is never complete without a visit to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
You see, it is much more than a building; it's a testament to our resilience and unity as a community.
The museum that stands there is separate from the surrounding National Memorial Park.
Admittedly, it charges an entrance fee, but every dime is worth it.
The layout is phenomenal and tells the story in such a raw, emotional way.
It's almost as if you were there on that tragic day.
The damage that a small group of individuals can cause is absolutely astounding.
But what strikes me about the memorial is its power.
The markers, each one representing a victim of that day, are a solemn reminder of what we lost.
So many children, so many futures cut short.
The thought that an arrest may never have happened if not for a trooper pulling over a car without a license plate is chilling.
Of course, it's not all sorrow.
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building also chronicles the timeline of that horrific day, painting a picture of the humanity and community that rose from the ashes.
It's a poignant reminder of the bravery and dedication of the first responders, the police, and the firefighters.
Pay Respects to the Fallen at Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Whenever I walk the city, I always end up somewhere around the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
As an Oklahoman, it reminds me of the resilience of our people following the tragic 1995 Murrah Building bombing and the strength it took for us to rise from it.
Walking around the serene garden, the beautiful reflecting pool, and the poignant sculptural memorial, I often find myself lost in thought, considering the lives lost and the impact it had on our community.
It's a place that brings us together, a place of remembrance, and a place that beautifully memorializes the victims of that fateful day.
Just outside Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, there's a chain-link fence adorned with tokens of love and remembrance.
Spending some time here, reading these heartfelt notes often leaves me feeling emotional, yet, it’s a reminder of the love that endures even after loss.
The museum, marked by the contrast of black painted bricks and fresh ones, signifies the scars and healing of our city.
The museum is another treasure altogether. It's filled with videos, displays, testimonials, and remembrances that touch your heart.
The Gallery of Honor, featuring photos of the victims and personal items donated by their families, is a touching tribute.
I always advise visitors to start with the museum to fully understand the story behind the outdoor memorial.
The staff here are so welcoming, and the parking, while sometimes a little hard to find, is generally ample.
Explore Military History at the 45th Infantry Division Museum
As someone who grew up with a fascination for history, especially military history, I've spent countless hours wandering the halls and grounds of the 45th Infantry Division Museum.
It's not every day that you come across such an extensive collection of military vehicles, right from amphibious ones to medic trucks, a refreshing change from the usual tanks and planes that most museums showcase.
The museum, undoubtedly, is a treasure trove for war documentary lovers, filled to the brim with pictures and memorabilia from various wars.
Their systematic organization and display of exhibits adds to the overall experience, making it easy even for a layman to understand and appreciate.
Even if military history isn't particularly your cup of tea, the sheer wealth of information and the captivating displays make this museum an experience worth having.
One of the highlights of my visits has always been the insightful historical summary of the 45th Infantry Division provided by a knowledgeable Veteran who warmly greets visitors at the entrance.
The interaction always leaves me, and I'm sure many others, with a profound respect and deeper understanding of our military's history.
Stepping outside the 45th Infantry Division Museum, the array of tanks, planes, and other military equipment on display is fascinating, not just for the history enthusiasts but also for those looking for some great photo opportunities!
The outdoor exhibits allow both adults and kids to get a close look at battle tanks, helicopters, aircraft, and howitzers.
Admission to this wealth of knowledge and history is free, a fact that still amazes me.
Yet, I recommend making a donation if possible.
After all, maintaining such an incredible collection for future generations to learn from and appreciate is no small task.
Have a Family Time at Scissortail Park North
Breathing in the fresh air, I'm instantly refreshed as I step into the bustling oasis known as Scissortail Park North.
Nestled right in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City, it's the perfect getaway from the daily grind.
Packed with activities for children and adults alike, there's never a dull moment here.
The park is a joy to explore with its expansive gardens, picturesque lake, and playful playground.
I often find myself strolling around, taking in the beauty of the blooming flowers.
On any given day, you may stumble upon a farmers' market bursting with fresh produce or a vibrant concert filling the air with melodious tunes.
Scissortail Park North also serves as a delightful spot for family outings.
The large splash pad is always a hit with the children, and the comfortable seating with mist sprays ensures that us adults can relax while keeping a watchful eye.
It's especially magical in the evenings when food trucks begin to line up, offering a variety of delicious fare.
One of the park’s standout features is the stunning bridge that spans the lake, offering a unique view of the city skyline.
It's an inspiring sight that never fails to remind me of the beauty of our city.
And, for those traveling on I-40, the park is an unmissable pitstop.
It's fantastic to see visitors relaxing here, and I've often thought a visitor center would be a great addition.
Stroll through Bricktown Canal
I've always had a special place in my heart for the Bricktown Canal.
There's something about the smell of the water, the sound of laughter filling the air, and the sight of the historic brick buildings that just instantly soothes my soul.
And who can resist the delightful charm of a mini-Riverwalk right here in Oklahoma, sans the long trip to San Antonio?
The canal area is a vibrant hub of activity with a variety of restaurants that cater to every craving, from steak and seafood to pizza and ice cream.
It's a fantastic place to hang out with loved ones, catch up with friends over a meal, or just take a leisurely stroll and soak in the scenery.
And for the sporty folks among us, there's the added allure of outdoor games and mini golf courses.
My favorite activity, though, has to be the water taxi ride.
It gives a unique perspective of the place, and the smooth ride along the canal is a pleasant experience in itself.
And if you're lucky, you might even chance upon some free street parking nearby.
Otherwise, there's always the option of 2 hours of self-pay street parking or the $10 parking garage.
No trip to Bricktown Canal would be complete without a visit to the Bricktown Ballpark, which is just a few steps away.
Whether you're a baseball fan or not, the energy and excitement in the air are infectious.
Take Pictures with Skydance Bridge
It's hard to resist the pull of Skydance Bridge.
Whether it's a cloudless day or the rain is drizzling down, this piece of architectural beauty never fails to impress me.
I find myself drawn to it, making frequent visits to the park, where the bridge is located.
Everything is always so clean; it's clear that those responsible for its maintenance take their jobs seriously. And the view? Simply breathtaking.
What's even more exciting is the access that the bridge provides.
It's a convenient way to cross I-40 on foot, giving you a great reason to stretch your legs and enjoy a little exercise.
It's also a gateway to other parts of the park and the bustling downtown area on both ends.
The design of the bridge is distinct and iconic, making it a significant attraction point in the city.
I must confess, though, that the southern entrance has been off-limits for a while.
It's due to the park on that side of the highway undergoing construction, but I'm eagerly awaiting the day it reopens.
After all, the more ways to access the beauty of Skydance Bridge, the better!
Go Fishing at South Lakes Park
Ever since I moved into the area, South Lakes Park with its sprawling 158 acres has become my sanctuary, my place of escape.
Whether it's a sunny Sunday or a cool Wednesday evening, the park offers something for everyone.
The park is spacious, with two large ponds that are perfect for fishing.
I've spent countless hours there, rod in hand, enjoying the quiet serenity that only a fishing pond can offer.
The kids in the neighborhood love it too.
The park has plenty of open space for them to spread out, and one of the ponds even has a dock they can fish from.
The big playground is always bustling with happy kids, their laughter a constant background noise.
It's a hub of activity, and it's not uncommon to see families picnicking on the lush grass nearby.
South Lakes Park is also equipped with a basketball court, and often, you'll see locals enjoying a friendly game.
But what I enjoy the most are the walking and jogging trails.
As you follow the winding paths, you'll come across the park's beautiful lake.
It's home to a family of ducks, who are quite the local celebrities.
It's a sight that never fails to put a smile on my face.
If you're into skateboarding, the park also boasts a fantastic skate park.
It's not something I've tried myself, but it's always enjoyable to watch the local kids perform their tricks.
Above all, what impresses me the most about South Lakes Park is how well-maintained it is.
The park staff does a tremendous job keeping the place clean and ensuring that the amenities are in top shape.
Plus, there's always ample parking, which is a blessing.
Discover the Best in Sports at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
There's no better way to spend an afternoon than by immersing oneself in the rich sports heritage of the state at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Trust me, I've done it countless times.
Located adjacent to the baseball field in OKC, this impressive sports museum is a treasure trove for any sports enthusiast.
The standout display for me has always been the one dedicated to Jim Thorpe.
His story, his relationship with the sports he participated in, every detail is narrated in an awe-inspiring manner.
It's like stepping back in time and experiencing the games through his eyes.
The museum, gifted with a small viewing balcony, offers a unique perspective over the ballpark.
It's a sight to behold, especially during a live game.
The museum is ideally situated, and parking is never an issue.
You can always find a spot without much hassle.
They go above and beyond to ensure you have a memorable experience.
I remember once my son misplaced his hat during our visit.
The staff not only located it but also had it sent to our house by FedEx in no time.
It's these little gestures that have made the museum a special place for my family and me.
Being located at the new location at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame is a constant reminder of the indomitable sports spirit that the state represents.
Spot the Wildlife at Martin Nature Park
I lace up my hiking boots, savoring the anticipation, and remind myself not to forget my camera.
Just a stone's throw from the city rush, Martin Nature Park offers a tranquil and wild escape.
The park, with its meandering trails through woods and grassland, truly is a hidden gem away from the city's hustle and bustle.
Each time I set foot on these trails, I am pleasantly surprised by the rich wildlife it hosts.
From the deer that sometimes cross your path the squirrels playing hide and seek, to the dragonflies that hover above the glistening streams, every walk here feels like a new adventure.
And, oh, the turtles! There's something genuinely soothing about watching them swim smoothly in the pond or basking in the sun.
The park's amenities are nothing short of impressive too.
There's a playground to keep the younger ones engaged and a nature center that offers a wealth of information about local flora and fauna.
But don't be fooled by the ease of access and the amenities, Martin Nature Park is as wild as it gets.
The trails can get muddy if it has rained recently, but isn't that part of the fun? It just adds to the thrill of exploring nature at its best.
One of my favorite spots is where the streams meander and create beautiful spots perfect for a picnic or a peaceful afternoon.
These streams add a serene soundtrack to your visit, but just a friendly suggestion - it might not be the best idea to drink from them.
It's a surreal feeling being right off the highway and yet feeling miles away from civilization.
The park rangers do an incredible job maintaining the routes and ensuring the safety of both visitors and wildlife.
This means, though, sorry pet owners, no dogs are allowed.
Whether you're an avid hiker, an animal lover, or just someone looking for a peaceful place to unwind, Martin Nature Park is the perfect place to be.
Jog through Dolese Park
I remember it like it was yesterday, a sunny Saturday morning - the perfect day to visit Dolese Park in the City of Oklahoma.
The park is a local treasure with an array of outdoor activities that make it appealing to every family member.
From the moment I set foot in the park, the 2-mile looped trail had me hooked.
Whether I'm in the mood for a brisk jog or a leisurely stroll, it gives me the perfect route every time.
Dolese Park's serene and picturesque landscape makes it a year-round paradise for local residents like myself.
One of the park's standout features is its disc golf course.
It not only provides a fun recreational activity but also a way to connect with fellow locals.
I've made so many friends on the course, and our friendly competitions make for some exciting weekends!
But Dolese Park isn't just for sports enthusiasts.
If you're a PokémonGO player like myself, you'll find this park to be a haven.
With numerous stops, gyms, and spawns, it's a walkable and driveable paradise for players.
A unique draw of the park is the beautiful large pond.
There's something enchanting about the stillness of the water, the occasional ripple from a fish, and the playful ducks that inhabit it.
If you're into fishing, this pond is a must-visit.
Have a Picnic at Bluff Creek Park
I cannot help but feel a sense of tranquility wash over me every time I step foot into Bluff Creek Park.
The untouched beauty of this place always manages to steal my breath away, making it my favorite local spot to unwind and reconnect with nature.
Located right at the foot of Lake Hefner, this park is an abundant haven, catering to both adrenaline junkies and peace seekers alike.
Every trail in the park, whether dirt or paved, is meticulously maintained, contributing to a pleasurable hiking experience.
The easy-to-read mile markers scattered throughout the park make it a breeze to keep track of your distance.
And even though biking is restricted in some areas, there are specific biking trails as well.
As someone who loves cycling, I cannot describe the pure joy of pedaling through the trees on a warm, sunny day.
If you are the type who prefers a quiet afternoon picnic, Bluff Creek Park has got you covered with three covered picnic pavilions.
The big, shaded pavilions, equipped with clean, sturdy wooden tables, provide the perfect spot to enjoy a meal amidst nature.
There are also charcoal grills available for a cookout - perfect for those weekend family gatherings.
The park is not just for us humans, it's a favorite place for some wildlife too.
On numerous occasions, I have caught sight of deer frolicking in the woods.
The sight brings a sense of harmony, reminding me of the coexistence of man and nature.
Have a Pitstop at Route 66 Park
I'm always in search of a little peace and tranquility, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I found my refuge at Route 66 Park.
This expansive park, spread over 148 acres, is nothing short of a haven for nature lovers like me.
I usually plan my visit to coincide with the setting sun, which paints a beautiful hue over the park.
The Mother Road memorial is a nostalgic reminder of the iconic Route 66, and it's always a pleasure to stroll along the wide walking trails.
Despite the park's popularity, it never feels crowded, thanks to its spacious layout.
One of the park's most appealing features is its ponds, which act as a magnet for geese and other birds.
The sight of these creatures happily splashing around is pure joy!
For a more immersive experience, I sometimes climb up Route 66 Park's observation tower, which offers a panoramic view of the lake.
It's such a serene sight that you forget you're just a stone's throw away from Oklahoma City proper and Yukon.
The children's playground is another highlight. It's not uncommon to see families making memories here while enjoying the park's natural beauty.
Just a small heads-up, though - the bathrooms are just Porta Potties, and sometimes they can be a bit less than appealing.
Visit the Past at Oklahoma Governor's Mansion
The first time I embarked on a tour of the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion, it almost felt like I had stepped into a different era.
The mansion exudes a kind of grandeur and elegance that is both awe-inspiring and intimidating at the same time.
Walking through the opulently furnished rooms, I couldn't help but be awestruck by the intricacy of the woodwork and the fine detailing on the furnishings.
I remember vividly the majestic staircase spiraling up to the next floor; it was like a scene straight out of a history book.
While the mansion itself is a sight to behold, what caught my attention most was the Oklahoma-shaped pool.
Imagine the surprise of seeing a body of water carved out in the shape of the state – it was definitely a highlight.
The staff at Oklahoma Governor's Mansion were very accommodating.
They catered to the needs of all the visitors diligently and ensured that the tours were well-organized and informative.
Even though the place was bustling with people, they managed to maintain a serene ambiance that only added to the overall experience.
See Art and History Collide at the Oklahoma State Capitol
One of my favorite pastimes is spending an afternoon at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Just a casual visit here feels like embarking on an enriching journey through art and history.
Guided tours are available, but I love the freedom to wander around at my own pace.
The beautiful building, completed in 1917, is a treasure trove of artwork and architectural marvels.
During these visits, one of my favorite stops is the gift shop. The staff there are always so helpful and well-informed.
One time, I even bought a Route 66 passport for my niece, who was visiting from out of town.
The shop assistants not only provided her with the passport, but they also let her stamp it herself, adding a unique touch to her visit.
One of the most striking features of the capitol is its memorial.
The artist has done an exceptional job, with every detail carefully designed to invoke respect and remembrance.
And while the memorial is a constant, the capitol is also home to a rotating array of art exhibits, there's always something new to see.
For those who enjoy Pokémon Go, there's an added bonus. Oklahoma State Capitol has a number of Pokestops and gyms, and I often see players congregating there.
It's a great way to combine a bit of gaming fun with sightseeing.
When you visit while the legislature is in session, the capitol is lively and bustling.
However, even on quieter days, there's plenty to keep you engaged.
My advice? Take the time to learn about "The Guardian." The story behind it is quite fascinating and well worth the official free tour.
Oh, and don't worry about parking. There's always plenty of space, and it's free.
See Athletes Practice around the Boathouse District
There's something about the early morning calm in Oklahoma City, especially in the heart of the Boathouse District.
The way the sunlight casts a golden hue over the Oklahoma River, backdropped by the distinct architecture of the boathouse, is a picture-perfect moment I never miss.
I love the feel of the paved trail under my feet as I go for my usual morning run.
The rhythm against the backdrop of rowers slicing through the serene river water is a melody to my city-lover's heart.
There's nothing like watching the high-performance athletes at the OKC National High Performance Centre, honing their skills at dawn.
Their drive is infectious, and it keeps me motivated throughout my day.
Boathouse District is not all about high-speed rowing and kayaking, though.
I often find myself spending peaceful afternoons at the CHK|Central Boathouse.
The art gallery inside is a treasure trove of stunning pieces. And the live music performances?
They add an eclectic beat to the district that I have come to love.
Unleash Your Inner Cowboy at Stockyards City Main Street
There's something undeniably charming about a place that paints a vivid picture of its past, and Stockyards City Main Street is one such place that has managed to retain its rustic charm amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Strolling down the street feels like taking a trip down memory lane, with each brick and cobblestone echoing tales of a bygone era.
My mornings at Stockyards City Main Street often begin with a visit to the local cafe, where the smell of freshly brewed coffee is as much a part of the cityscape as the sight of red-brick buildings lining the street.
I love sitting on one of the wooden benches, sipping on my favorite latte while watching the world go by.
Afternoons are best spent exploring the rows of vintage shops that dot the street.
The thrill of discovering a forgotten piece of history tucked away in a corner is something that never gets old.
From handcrafted leather boots to authentic cowboy hats, these shops are treasure troves of unique finds.
As the day turns to night, the street comes alive with the sound of music wafting from the local pubs.
I often find myself tapping my foot into the tunes of live bands performing country and Western music.
The energy is infectious, making every night feel like a celebration.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Take Snaps with the Arcadia Round Barn
Imagine stepping into a portal that takes you back in time. That's the feeling you get when you visit the Arcadia Round Barn.
This 1898 round, red barn has become a historic roadside attraction and a popular stop on Route 66, full of old-world charm.
I take a leisurely stroll to this historic gem almost every weekend.
It's a relaxing way to spend the day reminiscing about a bygone era.
You can't miss the Arcadia Round Barn, with its unique round structure, it's the only one of its kind on Route 66.
The barn is more than a century old and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As you step inside, you'll find exhibits and a gift shop. The outdoor displays showcase primitive farm implements and other relics from days gone by.
I always find something new to marvel at with each visit.
At the top of the barn is a beautiful loft, which can be rented out for special events.
The space has seen its fair share of festive gatherings, from wedding receptions to family reunions.
The acoustics in the loft are fantastic, giving any event a vibrant, lively atmosphere.
If you're ever in the area, don't forget to stop by the Arcadia Round Barn. Admission is free, but they do ask for a two-dollar donation per adult.
Every contribution helps preserve this historic landmark for future generations to enjoy.
And who knows, you might end up loving this place as much as I do.
Oklahoma City truly offers a treasure trove of experiences at no cost at all.
The architectural beauty of the Oklahoma State Capitol and Governor's Mansion never ceases to impress me, and the Boathouse District, with its vibrant energy, has become a favorite gathering spot.
And, of course, you can't miss the iconic Route 66. Whether it's the amusing Arcadia Round Barn or the panoramic views from Route 66 Park, the Mother Road has its charm, which I find hard to resist.
So here's to the city that never fails to surprise and delight, to the experiences that leave lasting impressions, and to the simple joy of discovering the hidden gems in our own backyard.