Not many tourists are familiar with the sights in Oklahoma, but this state is an unsung hero and has more to offer than meets the eye. Below are some activities that make the state’s capital city such an exciting spot to visit.
A reservoir that was constructed to help the city with its water shortages years ago, Lake Hefner has become a recreational destination for visitors and locals alike. Fishing, for example, has become a popular sport in the area – but if it isn’t really up your alley, then you can try your hand at sailing or even grab a blanket and have a lakeside picnic with friends and family. Spanning over 2,500 acres (1,012ha) and not too far away from the heart of the city, the park offers plenty to do while you enjoy the outdoors.
The Gold Dome is definitely one of those sights that travelers to Oklahoma City will remember long after they’ve left the city. With its bold color and intricate geometric patterns, this structure is eye-catching to say the least. This landmark was built on Route 66 in 1958 and became one of the first geodesic domes in the world. So, come over and visit this historic and aesthetically pleasing landmark.
Founded in 1955, Oklahoma’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (also containing the National Cowboy Hall of Fame) provides fascinating insight into the culture and history of the American West. The permanent collection comprises paintings, sculptures and historical materials, highlights of which include American Indian art, rare military items and important works by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Kids won’t get bored either; they can test their rodeo abilities in the Children’s Cowboy Corral. A varied program of temporary exhibitions also runs alongside the permanent collection.
Formerly called the Conncourse (after a distinguished Oklahoma City banker Jack Conn), Downtown OKC’s Underground was opened in 1974 to connect various buildings and parking garages. Spanning 20 blocks and running for around a mile in total, this subterranean network of tunnels is now used as a de facto art gallery, with temporary exhibitions displayed on its colorful walls. You’ll also find a café, a post office, a bank and a Chinese restaurant. Entrances to the Underground are scattered around the downtown area, but the two most accessible entry points are in the basements of the Sheraton Hotel and the BancFirst building.
Located on a large site directly opposite the iconic Capitol building, the Smithsonian-affiliated Oklahoma History Center takes a detailed look at every facet of the state’s past. Topics explored across the 2,000-item permanent collection include culture, aviation, geology and commerce. There’s also a huge range of educational events and workshops available for those wanting a deeper immersion in Oklahoma’s rich history, from classes to field trips and film screenings. Outside, take the quarter-mile Red River Journey, an informative walking tour focused on the flora native to the Oklahoma stretch of the Red River Valley.
Additional reporting by Mark Nayler