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Oklahoma City Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Oklahoma City

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Oklahoma City is the state capitol and biggest city. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th in terms of population in the United States. Following the 2010 Census, the population rose, with the population projected to be 631,346 as of July 2015. The Oklahoma City metropolitan region has a population of 1,358,452 persons as of 2015, while the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,459,758 residents (Chamber of Commerce), making it Oklahoma’s biggest metropolitan area.

Oklahoma City’s city borders extend into Canadian, Cleveland, and Pottawatomie counties, albeit the majority of those regions are suburban or rural in nature (watershed). By land area, the city is the ninth biggest in the United States (including consolidated city-counties; it is the largest city in the United States by land area whose government is not consolidated with that of a county or borough).

Oklahoma City, located in the Great Plains area, is home to one of the world’s biggest cattle markets. The biggest segment of the local economy is oil, natural gas, petroleum products, and allied sectors. The city is located in the heart of a busy oil field, and the capitol grounds are dotted with oil derricks. The federal government employs a sizable number of people at Tinker Air Force Base and the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center of the United States Department of Transportation (these two locations house several Federal Aviation Administration offices and the Transportation Department’s Enterprise Service Center, respectively).

Oklahoma City is located on the I-35 Corridor, which serves as a main gateway to neighboring Texas and Mexico. The city’s northeast half is located in an ecological zone known as the Cross Timbers, which is part of the state’s Frontier Country region. The city was formed during the 1889 Land Run and within hours of its foundation expanded to a population of over 10,000. The city was the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people. It was the worst terror assault in American history until the September 11, 2001, attacks, and it remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

Oklahoma City has been affected by thirteen powerful tornadoes since meteorological records began: eleven F/EF4s and two F/EF5.

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Oklahoma City | Introduction

Oklahoma City – Info Card

POPULATION : • City 579,999
• Urban 861,505 (US: 51st)
• Metro 1,459,758 (US: 42nd)
FOUNDED :  Founded April 22, 1889[4]
Incorporated July 15, 1890[4]
TIME ZONE : Time zone CST (UTC−6)
Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
LANGUAGE :  English
AREA : • City 620.34 sq mi (1,606.67 km2)
• Land 601.11 sq mi (1,556.87 km2)
• Water 19.23 sq mi (49.81 km2)
• Urban 410.6 sq mi (1,063.5 km2)
ELEVATION : 1,201 ft (366 m)
COORDINATES :  35°28′56″N 97°32′06″W
ETHNIC : White: 62.7% (56.7% Non-Hispanic White)
Black or African American: 15.1%
Native American: 3.5%
Asian: 4.0% (1.7% Vietnamese, 0.7% Indian)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Some other race: 9.4%
Two or more races: 5.2%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 17.2% (14.2% Mexican, 0.7% Guatemalan)
AREA CODE :  405
POSTAL CODE : Zip codes
73101-73132, 73134-73137, 73139-73160, 73162-73165, 73167, 73169-73170, 73172-73173, 73178-73179, 73184-73185, 73189-73190, 73194-73196, 73198, 74013
DIALING CODE :  +1 405
WEBSITE :   City of Oklahoma City

Tourism in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is the state’s biggest city and the political, cultural, and economic engine. The city is the third biggest in the United States in terms of land size (608 square miles), behind only Jacksonville, Florida (759 square miles) and much behind Anchorage, Alaska (608 square miles) (1698 sq miles). The city is the 29th biggest in the United States (506,132 residents as of the 2000 census), and the largest among the five “plains states” (Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota). After decades of suburban sprawl and a failed downtown “urban renewal,” a’sudden’ burst of investment in the 1990s provided the city with additional big city attractions and a pleasant quality of life that is frequently the envy, if not surprise, of visitors from other cities, transforming Oklahoma City into a tourist destination in and of itself. Oklahoma’s state capital building is the only one in the world to be built on top of an oil well. Although it is legally known as Capitol Site #1, it is affectionately known as Petunia #1 due to the fact that it was initially drilled in the center of a flower bed.


Numerous attractions are situated in downtown or on the town’s north side. Bricktown, the city’s rapidly growing entertainment district and tourist draw, the new Oklahoma City Museum of Art, which houses the world’s largest collection of Chihuly glass as well as an arthouse/revival theater and a restaurant, and The Myriad Gardens, an impressive urban park with a seven-story botanical garden, are all highlights in downtown. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is located north of the museum. The monument is both one of the city’s most conspicuous and saddest sights, which has created some difficulties for the city’s tourist agency. The outdoor symbolic monument is free and open 24 hours a day, although a modest charge is required to attend the extremely well-done Memorial Museum (placed in the old Journal Record Building next door).

While many of the districts immediately around Downtown are classic instances of urban decay, to the northwest of downtown is a cluster of intriguing early twentieth-century communities near the Oklahoma City University campus. The most prominent are The Paseo, a run-down artist colony nestled in a 1930s urban area, and “Little Saigon,” or the Asia District, as it is officially called, which is home to the city’s sizable Vietnamese and East Asian communities. The Paseo was established in the early twentieth century in deliberate imitation of Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, but has since gained a gritty bohemian vibe that sometimes seem like a breath of fresh air. The neighborhood is densely packed with dozens of art galleries, cafés, apparel boutiques, and other associated companies. Although the Paseo is technically simply a single street lined with deco Spanish revival buildings, it has expanded to embrace a large portion of the surrounding neighborhood, including a length of stores on NW 23rd Street, which serves as the Northwest side’s primary thoroughfare.

The Asia District is located west of The Paseo along Classen Boulevard. It is home to the city’s predominantly Vietnamese Asian population. Oklahoma City was one of the places chosen by the US government to relocate refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1976. Since then, further immigrants from Vietnam and other southeast Asian countries, as well as Vietnamese Americans from other parts of the US, have joined these early refugees. The neighborhood is home to a plethora of excellent eateries, much too many to list, as well as Super Cao Nguyen Supermarket, the state’s biggest Asian market.

Oklahoma City University is located just west of the Asia District and contains a modest art museum as well as a variety of cultural events and activities.

To the north of Oklahoma City University are the “NW 39th Street Enclave,” the state’s largest GLBT neighborhood, Crown Heights, and the Western Avenue District, which are home to businesses and restaurants catering to young urbanites (Sushi Neko, a fine sushi bar, and Will’s, a coffee shop, both located within the restored art deco Will Rogers Theater complex, are worth a visit).

The capital complex, which is notable in and of itself, is located on the northeast side of the city, as is the Oklahoma History Center. There is a large and expanding concentration of medical research northeast of Downtown, concentrated on the OU Health Science Center, although unless you are a patient, a doctor, or a scientist, you are unlikely to spend much time there. (However, if you like old architecture, the historic Lincoln Terrace district between the OUHSC and the state house is worth seeing.) On NE 16th street, the Harn Homestead is also situated close.

North of the capitol is the “Adventure District,” which includes the highly regarded Oklahoma City Zoo, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Kirkpatrick Center (which houses a children’s science museum, an air and space museum, and a photography museum, among other things), as well as Remington Park and Casino, a thoroughbred and quarter horse racing track with a casino and off-track betting.

The Southside is most known for Capitol Hill, a significant Hispanic neighborhood, and the Stockyards, a neighborhood constructed around one of the world’s biggest cattle markets. Cattle are still purchased and sold there on Monday mornings, much to the chagrin of PETA and other local activists who may sometimes be seen demonstrating nearby. The Stockyards has some resemblance to a wild west-themed amusement park, without the rides. There are shops offering just about everything related to the west, from saddles to belt buckles to extremely enormous hats. One of the only locations in town where your newly acquired enormous hat will go mostly unnoticed is the historic Cattleman’s Steakhouse, which has been serving substantial steaks and “lamb fries” (a nice phrase for fried bull testicles) for more than a century.

Climate of Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa), with daily and seasonal changes, save for the usually hot and humid summer months. Prolonged and severe droughts (which may occasionally result in nearby wildfires) as well as very heavy rains resulting in flash floods and flooding occur on a fairly frequent basis. Consistent winds, often from the south or south-southeast throughout the summer, assist to moderate the heat. During the winter, persistent northerly winds may exacerbate cold spells. Throughout the winter, severe ice storms and snowstorms occur periodically.

The average temperature is 61.4 degrees Fahrenheit (16.3 degrees Celsius), with the monthly daily average ranging from 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4.0 degrees Celsius) in January to 83.0 degrees Fahrenheit (28.3 degrees Celsius) in July. Extremes vary from 17 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) on February 12, 1899 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) on August 11, 1936 and August 3, 2012; the most recent sub-zero (°F) temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) on February 10, 2011. On 10.4 days of the year, temperatures hit 100 °F (38 °C), 90 °F (32 °C) on approximately 70 days, and fail to climb above freezing on 8.3 days. Annual precipitation totals around 35.9 inches (91.2 cm), of which 8.6 inches (21.8 cm) is snow.

Geography of Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is located on one of the key routes into Texas and Mexico, about three hours from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region. The city is centrally placed in the state’s Frontier Country area, making it a suitable site for state administration.

The city has a total area of 620.34 square miles (1,606.7 km2), of which 601.11 square miles (1,556.9 km2) is land and 19.23 square miles (49.8 km2) is water, according to the United States Census Bureau. 3.09 percent of the entire area is covered by water.

Oklahoma City is located in Oklahoma’s Sandstone Hills area, which is notable for its hills ranging in height from 250 to 400 feet (120 m) and two oak species: blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) and post oak (Q. stellata). The city’s northeastern section and eastern suburbs are located inside an ecological area known as the Cross Timbers.

The North Canadian River nearly bisects the city (recently renamed the Oklahoma River inside city limits). The North Canadian once flooded annually, causing havoc on the surrounding region, including the downtown business center and the old Oklahoma City Zoo. In the 1940s, a dam on the river was erected to manage flood control and lower its level. In the 1990s, as part of the city’s MAPS regeneration effort, the city constructed a series of low-water dams that restored water to the section of the river that flows close downtown. The city features three big lakes: Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser are located in the city’s northwest quadrant; while the largest, Lake Stanley Draper, is located in the sparsely populated far southeast quadrant.

The population density for Oklahoma City that is often stated using the area of its city boundaries may be rather deceptive. Its urbanized zone comprises around 244 square miles (630 km2), resulting in a density of 2,500 people per square mile (2013 est), in contrast to the city’s greater rural watershed regions, which cover the remaining 377 square miles (980 km2).

Economy of Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City’s economy, which was formerly primarily focused on government and petroleum exploration, has now expanded to include information technology, services, health care, and administration. The city is home to two Fortune 500 firms, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Devon Energy Corporation, as well as Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, rated twelfth on Forbes’ list of private companies.

While not located in Oklahoma City, other major employers in the MSA area include Tinker Air Force Base (27,000), the University of Oklahoma (11,900), the University of Central Oklahoma (2,900), and Norman Regional Hospital (2,800).

Dell, The Hertz Corporation, United Parcel Service, Farmers Insurance Group, Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Cox Communications, The Boeing Company, Deaconess Hospital, Johnson Controls, MidFirst Bank, American Fidelity Assurance, Rose State College, and Continental Resources are among the other major corporations with a large presence (over 1000 employees) in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce reports that the metropolitan area’s economic output increased by 33% between 2001 and 2005, owing mostly to economic diversification. It had a gross metropolitan product of $43.1 billion in 2005, which increased to $61.1 billion in 2009.

Oklahoma City was voted the most “recession-proof city in America” by Forbes magazine in 2008. According to the magazine, the city has declining unemployment, one of the country’s best property markets, and excellent development in energy, agriculture, and industry. However, owing to the bankruptcy of Penn Square Bank in 1982 and the subsequent post-1985 oil price slump, Oklahoma City had one of the worst employment and housing markets in the early 1980s.

Oklahoma City was placed No. 8 on Forbes’ list of the Best Places for Business and Careers in 2013.

In 2014, Forbes rated Oklahoma City seventh on its list of the Best Places to Work.


Through the use of zoning restrictions and business improvement districts, commercial districts and, to a lesser degree, communities are able to keep their borders and identity (districts where property owners agree to a property tax surcharge to support additional services for the community). Historic districts and other special zoning districts, including overlay districts, are formed under zoning rules. Oklahoma City now has three business improvement districts, one of which includes the core business area.



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