If you want all the amenities of a big city, without having to brave the traffic you might find in a place like Dallas or Denver, Oklahoma City is the perfect option. Just under three hours from Butler County, the capital of the Sooner State will leave you wanting to come back.
Just How Big Is OKC?
The county seat of Oklahoma County,the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 631,346 as of July 2015. As of 2015, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,358,452, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,459,758 (Chamber of Commerce) residents, making it Oklahoma’s largest metropolitan area.
What can we do?
If the kids are begging for an amusement park, look no further than Frontier City when you want everything from roller coasters to something for Mom and Dad. Set in the old days of the Oklahoma Land Rush, Frontier City will give you a taste of what an old time city might have looked like in the 1800’s. The kids and young at heart can choose from over fifty rides, water activities, and entertainment shows to watch during your stay.
Oklahoma City Thunder
People from across Oklahoma have learned to “Thunder up” in the days since the team moved in from Seattle. Playing at the state of the art Chesapeake Arena, the team has brought an exciting brand of professional basketball to a region that had few options for major league sports. The season starts in October, so it may be a little late for a summer vacation, but you can always make a quick weekend road trip in the fall.
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
April 19th, 1995 was one of the most solemn days in our nation’s history, when domestic terrorists destroyed the Alfred Murrah Federal Building. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is a tribute to not only those who died on that fateful day, but a tribute to the resielence of the Midwest. The history that is observed first hand is something that is a must see for all Americans.
“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity” – OKC Memorial
The Stockyards are an Oklahoma City tradition. From the days of when cattle drives were mandatory, this was one place cowboys and cowgirls did their business. In 2017, it represents a mix of shopping and dining that are a must see for Oklahoma City .
The history of the place goes like this:
Oklahoma City businessmen met with the representative of the Nelson Morris Company of Chicago in May 1909 to propose building a packing house, if a $300,000.00 cash bonus and property concessions could be obtained. Led by Anton Classen and Charles Colcord, an Industrial District Company was formed. A tract of land west and across the river south from the downtown area was obtained and the company began selling lots to raise money, matching the gifts pledged by individuals. A second packing house followed suit and the beginnings of “Packingtown: became a reality. This began one of the most important building booms in Oklahoma City history.
The Oklahoma National Stockyards Company began operating as a public livestock market in October 1910. Morris and Company (now Armour) opened a large meat packing plant adjoining the stockyards at the same time. The following year, Schwartzchild & Sulzberger (now Wilson) opened a similar plant. Together they represented an investment of approximately $3.5 million. The entire operation generated 2,400 new jobs in the city with a population of only 60,000. The stockyards and meat packing plants were Oklahoma City’s first major industrial installations and represented the heaviest concentration of labor in the capitol city.
In the first five years of operation, the volume of livestock handling increased by 130%. By 1966 the Oklahoma National Stockyards had become the sixth largest market in the nation on the basis of livestock handling, representing $125 million in annual business. When the number of saleable cattle soared to 919,280 head in 1973, the stockyards took the nation’s lead. Today the stockyards remains the world’s largest stocker and feeder cattle market.
From the beginning of this growing industry, a supporting community of goods and services was established. The streetcar was extended to this business district and it became known as “Packingtown”. A post office was opened along with a bank, hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of businesses related to the cattle trade.
Much of the original business district remains intact, maintaining the rugged western flavor but broadening their marketing approach to serve the needs of the larger community. Western wear attracts a wider scope of buyers today and the original home of western gear maintains stores in place where western activities are still a way of life.
Where To Eat
The Cattleman’s Steakhouse
You can’t come to Oklahoma City without eating a good steak. In the Oklahoma City Stockyards lies the Cattleman’s Steakhouse, which is a throwback to the restaurants we remember from the good ol’ days.
“A smoke-filled room and a lucky roll of the dice were all it took to move a little diner from cowtown obscurity to annals of western folklore.
Today, Cattlemen’s is known not only for its unique history, but mainly for its terrific food – perfectly aged steaks, legendary breakfasts, and the best cup of coffee that Seattle couldn’t touch.
So stop by Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, smack in the middle of Oklahoma City’s Stockyards City, and soak in the rich atmosphere that has made us a favorite destination of anyone who’s pulled on a pair of ropers”