TRAVEL

On a Budget? Free Things to Do in Oklahoma City

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This content was most recently updated on January 31st, 2020

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After visiting Oklahoma City, I haven’t stopped singing the city’s praises. I was incredibly surprised and delighted with how colorful, unique, and progressive the city is. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in Oklahoma City no matter what your taste is – museums, art, green spaces, adventurous activities, and a pretty good food scene – even for vegans! If you’re heading to Oklahoma City on a budget there are also plenty of free things to do in OKC.

There’s definitely no way you’ll be bored if you know where to look for the free things to do in OKC. 

I love finding free things to do. Not only do I save money, but a lot of time finding free things to do also takes you to more of the local scene including state and city parks, farmers’ markets, libraries and more. I was really excited to put this guide on free things to do in OKC together when Hotels.com asked me to share my thoughts on Oklahoma City.

free things to do in okc

Free Things to do in OKC

Where to Stay in Oklahoma City

There are plenty of great areas and accommodation for every budget so deciding where to stay in Oklahoma City may leave you feeling indecisive. Here’s a few of my favorite picks – one for each budget type!

BUDGET

Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown – Bricktown

This hotel is budget-friendly and is located in the very popular Bricktown neighborhood. The colors are beautiful and the design is modern and sleek. 

MID-RANGE

21C OKC Hotel & Museum

I love the 21C chain [one of the few hotel chains I do love]. The 21C OKC is located inside a century old brick building that was once a Henry Ford Model T assembly plant. They’ve combined industrial and art in an absolutely beautiful way. In addition to the beautiful rooms, the hotel also houses a contemporary art museum. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, the art museum is free for all. 

LUXURY

Colcord Hotel

The Colcord Hotel is located in the historic Colcord Building downtown. The building was completed in 1910 and was the first skyscraper in Oklahoma City. The building was luxurious for the current times including marble columns and walls, nickel and bronze letterboxes, and ornamental ceilings. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. 

The hotel is definitely one of the more luxurious hotels in the city and has received many awards and accolades. 

why oklahoma city surprised me
inside 21C OKC hotel

Free Things to Do in OKC for Museum Go-ers

The Edmond Historical Society Museum

Edmond is a city and community about 25 minutes north of downtown Oklahoma City. The Edmond Historical Society & Museum preserves the history of the city. The permanent exhibits include information and artifacts focused on Native Americans, early Edmond history, and much more. 

The museum has a ton of related information including photographs, documents, and artifacts. The museum is housed in a historic building – the Old Edmond Armory which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. 

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located on The University of Oklahoma’s campus and is one of the finest university art museums in the country featuring over 20,000 objects. The museum’s free admission is due to  an annual $60,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department. This unique collaboration between athletics and art is one of the first in the United States.

The Oklahoma Contemporary

The Oklahoma Contemporary provides free exhibitions, performances, innovative programs and workshops as well as low-cost art classes for adults and children. The Oklahoma Contemporary embraces all forms of art and creativity. 

The Oklahoma Railroad Museum

Who doesn’t love trains? The Oklahoma Railway Museum provides an educational experience of railroads and how they shaped Oklahoma. The museum preserves the rail lines and artifacts as well as tells the stories of the people whose lives were affected by the railroads. Oklahoma is in the middle of the country and therefore played a large role during the height of railroads. 

Oklahoma City National Memorial

While much of Oklahoma City is colorful, there is a history here that shouldn’t be ignored. Oklahoma City is the location of the Oklahoma City Bombing – arguably one of the largest domestic terrorism events in history. You absolutely need to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on any trip to Oklahoma City. While there is a fee for the museum [which is worth it, by the way], the memorial is free to explore. 

why oklahoma city surprised me

Free Things to Do in OKC for Art Lovers

Hunt Down Street Art

If street art is something you love to find when you travel, I can assure you that you will leave Oklahoma City feeling completely satisfied. The murals of Oklahoma City blew me away both in quality and quantity and is one of the few reasons OKC left me feeling surprised

The First Friday Gallery Walk

On every first Friday of the month, artists and businesses stay open late to showcase artwork. Located in the historic Paseo Arts District, this neighborhood is very adorable and is the location for some delicious vegan donuts as well. 

weekend getaways in Oklahoma

Free Things to do in OKC for Nature Lovers

Myriad Botanical Gardens

The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden and urban park located in downtown. The Gardens is home to multiple tiers of densely landscaped areas that surround a sunken lake. While the inside does cost a fee, you can explore the outdoor gardens for free. 

Will Rogers Park

This year-round park is home to a formal rose garden, walkways, an arboretum & education center.

Route 66 Park

The Route 66 Park includes a watchtower, an amphitheatre and a scaled down walkable version of Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles with seals for the most important towns along the road.

Martin Park Nature Center

Martin Park Nature Center is a great way to explore the free things to do in OKC and get a dose of the outdoors. There is a variety of trails and an on-site nature museum. 

Scissortail Park

Scissortail Park is a new 70-acre urban public space featuring a variety of things to do including ornamental gardens and woodlands, a 3.7 acre lake, children’s playground and water fountains, seasonal roller rink, dog park, picnic grove, and more. 

weekend getaways in Oklahoma

Free Things to do in OKC for History Buffs

Route 66

Oklahoma features the longest strip of Route 66 so make sure to take some time to drive it. Find all the classic hotels, vintage gas stations, and more that are located in the Oklahoma City section of Route 66

Free Things to Do in OKC Overview

As I mentioned, there are plenty of free things to do in OKC for everyone. Whether you love exploring the outdoors, a day inside strolling through a museum, or stepping back in time on Route 66 is your thing, you’ll find plenty to do in Oklahoma City. If you’re in town just for a weekend, make sure to check out my 48 hours in Oklahoma City itinerary

PLANNING A TRIP?

Find accommodation, read accommodation reviews, and check flight prices.
Book attractions, tickets, or guides in advance.
Research using these guides or read my other Oklahoma City posts.
See my packing list.

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free things to do in okc
free things to do in okc
free things to do in okc

free things to do in okc
free things to do in okc

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Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website, wild-hearted.com.

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