There’s more to Oklahoma than meets the eye.
If you thought this Midwestern state was all plains and prairie land, you're sorely mistaken. Oklahoma has the most diverse terrain in the nation, mile per mile - from caverns to sand dunes, mountains to prairies, mesas to forests and lakes. For travellers, Oklahoma's kaleidoscope of landscapes means a ton of unique destinations across its six regions.
It's not just about flora and fauna either; it's culture too.
Experience frontier towns like Ponca City, as well as the sprawling natural surroundings of Grove’s Grand Lake. Drive through Sapulpa, the heart of Historic Route 66, and metropolitan Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Learn about Native American history one day, and snack on Czech kolaches the next. And if you can time it right, plan your visit around festivals only found here, like the Oklahoma Czech Festival in Yukon or the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival in Oklahoma City.
Wherever you end up within the state, you’ll be sure to experience the type of welcome only Oklahoma can provide.
Oklahoma - more international than you might expect
You might know about the Native American culture in Oklahoma, especially the Cherokee and Choctaw, but did you know that there’s a European influence as well?
Yukon is known as the "Czech Capital of Oklahoma" and has held an annual festival since the 1960s. Every year, this celebration brings together traditions like the polka and kolaches. Czech descendants have resided in this part of the country since the late 1800s.
Over in Tulsa, Linde Oktoberfest ranks among the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States. The Bavarian festivities boast many of the same features as the Munich version, including pretzels, brass bands, dirndls, lederhosen, and games. Oh, and of course, beer.
And when Italian immigrants settled in the coal mining town of Krebs, they brought with them the savoury and beloved flavours of their home country.
Sounds of the South
Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce area was a hotspot for African American musicians in the 1940s. The nearby American Banjo Museum documents the history of the quintessentially southern instrument. Tulsa was a hotbed for jazz and blues, best seen at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
More recently, a diverse group of artists hail from the state, including Carrie Underwood and The Flaming Lips. Catch national and local acts at the frequent music festivals like Pryor’s Rocklahoma.
There’s more to Oklahoma’s culinary scene than chicken fried steak.
Barbecue restaurants are frequent, along with Mexican fare, but thanks the state's agricultural bounty, farm-to-table is an emerging gastro-trend. Ludivine in Oklahoma City and Tallgrass Prairie Table in Tulsa are known for their fresh ingredients and unique flavours.
And while craft beer tends to come out of hubs like Boulder and Portland, the Sooner State is starting to leave its mark on the industry, especially in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Tulsa’s Prairie Artisan Ales is one of the top breweries in the nation for the production of funky farmhouse ales.
Prefer pinots to pints? Winos will find a wine industry just a short drive from Oklahoma City. Girls Gone Wine in Broken Bow, Stableridge in Stroud, and Sparks Vineyard in Sparks, are all perfect for a weekend getaway.
Last but not least, craft cocktail bars are also on the rise. Stop by Mixed Company and Valkyrie in Tulsa, Wsky in Oklahoma City, and Scratch in Norman for thoughtfully mixed libations.
Hit the road in search of quirky road stops
Did you know that Oklahoma is home to the longest driveable stretch of original Route 66? It's 400 nostalgic miles along America's "Mother Road".
More than just a highway, Route 66 is steeped with cultural and historic significance. Designed to thread together urban centres and rural towns (rather than circumvent them), early 20th-century road trippers were introduced to all ways of American life. This earned the highway the monikers "Main Street of America" and "Mother Road". Learn all about it at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum or National Route 66 Transportation Museum. Then, drive it yourself, stopping at places like Lucille’s Service Station & Roadhouse.
And what’s a road trip down Route 66 without some offbeat stops? Totem Pole Park in Chelsea, Catoosa’s Blue Whale, and Tulsa’s Golden Driller all seem to be imported from a bygone era. They're perfect for nostalgia-laden photo ops.
There’s also no shortage of free things to do while you’re in the state. The Oklahoma City National Memorial, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and Oklahoma State Capitol are all open to visitors.
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