20 Cities in Oklahoma

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A fascinating state in the South Central region of the United States that’s bordered by Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico, there is a mix of smaller towns and vibrant cities in Oklahoma. Derived from the Choctaw words ‘okla’ and ‘humma’, the state is steeped in Native American culture and history.

Nicknamed the ‘Sooner State’, Oklahoma’s list of cities to visit includes the forward-thinking Oklahoma City, the industrial hub of Tulsa, the college city of Norman and Tahlequah, the capital of Oklahoma’s two federally-recognised Cherokee tribes. Oozing Frontier spirit, a palpable connection with nature and some of America’s most important Native American landmarks, Oklahoma is as spectacular a state as any you’ll find in America, proudly showcasing its many tribes, cultures, languages, cities and diverse landscapes.

Cities in Oklahoma

20 Oklahoma Cities To Visit

1- Oklahoma City

oklahoma city skyline in summer
Oklahoma City should be at the top of anyone’s cities in Oklahoma visit list.

The cultural, economic, political and legislative heart of the Sooner State, Oklahoma City is a must-visit city when travelling in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City is the official capital of the Sooner State and is located right in the state’s geographical centre.

OKC is a truly cosmopolitan frontier city with something to see and do for people of all ages and backgrounds.

For an eclectic mix of Asian restaurants, shops and culture, stop by OKC’s Little Saigon neighbourhood.

If you’re interested in discovering the city’s creative edge, OKC’s Paseo district is home to some of the region’s best art galleries, boutiques and Art Deco buildings.

There are also several famous landmarks and attractions in and around the city, such as the world-class Myriad Botanical Gardens, the fascinating Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum

cafes by the side of a waterway
One of the best cities in Oklahoma to go wining and dining is Oklahoma City.

2- Norman

20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Oklahoma City, Norman is a historic Sooner State city with several impressive attractions, including the main campus of the University of Oklahoma.

The city is home to more than 120 historic buildings across Norman’s Chautauqua and Miller Historic Districts, which date back to the 1920s.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, the National Weather Center and Lake Thunderbird State Park provide visitors with plenty of options when deciding what to see and do in the city.

3- Tulsa

tulsa skyline across the river
Looking for cities in Oklahoma to visit? Check out Tulsa.

Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second-largest city after OKC and the county seat of Tulsa County, the state’s most populated county.

The Creek Native American Tribe first settled in the city during the 1820s and 1830s, and it is home to many fascinating landmarks and attractions to explore.

The city’s long history as a titan of aviation and energy has led to interesting attractions all across Tulsa, such as the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium.

Tulsa is also renowned for its contemporary art scene, which can best be experienced at venues such as the Brady Arts District, the Philbrook Museum of Art and 108 Contemporary.

If Oklahoma’s picturesque natural surroundings start beckoning you in Tulsa, outdoor landmarks such as the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area and Woodward Park are great options to visit. 

Download the Tulsa Scavenger Hunt: Center of the Universe game for a fun way to explore.

4- Lawton

Nestled in the heart of Oklahoma’s Great Plains region, Lawton is a city steeped in history and picturesque natural surroundings that provides travellers with an exciting mix of activities and adventures to be enjoyed in and around this unique southwestern Oklahoma destination.

Lawton is 87 miles (140 km) southwest of downtown Oklahoma City and is among the top 10 biggest cities in the state.

One of the city’s top tourist attractions is the scenic Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, which allows travellers to view longhorn cattle, elk, buffalo and deer in their natural habitat.

There’s also plenty of Native American culture to soak up at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, while Lawton’s McMahon Memorial Auditorium hosts several fantastic productions for travellers to see throughout the year.

5- Bartlesville

The mid-sized city of Bartlesville, situated in Oklahoma’s northeast corner, roughly 45 miles (72 km) north of Tulsa, is a destination steeped in Oklahoma history and pioneering spirit.

Bartlesville was little more than a sleepy outpost before oil was discovered outside the city in 1905, bringing a large influx of people and money into the Sooner State’s northeast.

Bartlesville sits just a stone’s throw away from the Oklahoma-Kansas state border, allowing Bartlesville to be used as a base camp to explore both states with ease.

Many of the city’s most striking landmarks are remnants of the city’s 20th-century oil boom, such as the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed skyscraper in the world and the 220-foot tall (67 m) Price Tower in downtown Bartlesville.

The city is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve just outside Bartlesville among the state’s best outdoor attractions.

6- Stillwater

Defined by the large campus of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater is Oklahoma’s 10th largest city by population.

It is in the Sooner State’s north-central region, roughly halfway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Stillwater is your typical college town with a unique Sooner twist, with tons of Great Plains outdoors, Native American history and Frontier spirit to soak up in the city dubbed one of the friendliest in the South.

Much of the city revolves around the ebbs and flows of the OSU campus, giving Stillwater a youthfulness that’s hard to come by anywhere else in the state.

The city is also home to a budding craft beer scene.

It has several notable attractions, including the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History.

7- Edmond

Edmond is a city in Oklahoma City’s greater suburban sprawl with its own identity and culture while enjoying the benefits of being mere minutes from the Sooner State’s capital.

The city is renowned for its thriving arts and culture scenes, with Edmond’s Showbiz Cinema, the hands-on AR Workshop and the Armstrong Auditorium, some of the city’s best places to stop by if you’re feeling creative.

One of Edmond’s best-known attractions is the spectacular Arcadia Lake, a man-made freshwater lake with accessible sandy beaches, great fishing opportunities and several fantastic picnic spots to entertain travellers among Edmond’s picturesque natural surroundings.

8- Broken Arrow

Forming part of the suburban area of Tulsa, the mid-sized city of Broken Arrow is among the most historical destinations in northeast Oklahoma.

The city was established after the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad sold lots in downtown Broken Arrow in 1902.

The city’s name derived from Creek Native Americans who relocated to Oklahoma from Alabama along the Trail of Tears.

The city is Tulsa’s biggest suburb and among the largest cities in Oklahoma population-wise.

Attractions throughout Broken Arrow include the Military History Center, the Ray Harral Nature Center and the Broken Arrow Historical Society.

The city also serves as an excellent base camp to explore Tulsa and the surrounding region, making Broken Arrow a top tourist destination among many travellers to Oklahoma. 

9- Enid

The mid-sized city of Enid is a vital cog in the United States’ agricultural sector and a popular weekend destination for city slickers thanks to the city’s incredible mix of cultural, historical and outdoor attractions.

Nicknamed the ‘Queen Wheat City’, Enid has the world’s third-largest grain storage capacity and supplies wheat and other grains to the rest of the United States and beyond.

Enid has plenty more than wheat, though, as evidenced by the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, the Kenwood and Waverly Historic Districts and the Leonardo’s Children’s Museum, making it a city that’s worthwhile to visit no matter your interests.

10- Ardmore

Located in Oklahoma’s southern region, the city of Ardmore is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination, with many great parks to visit and nature-related activities to try out in and around this mid-sized Sooner city.

Ardmore lies roughly halfway between Oklahoma City and the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, with just 100 miles (161 km) separating Ardmore from two of America’s most exciting and action-packed cities.

Ardmore itself is no slouch when it comes to things to see and places to visit, with Lake Murray State Park, Turner Falls Park and the Charles B. Goddard Center just some of the many great destinations to plan a visit to when travelling to Ardmore.

11- Sulphur

Sulphur is a small city in southern Oklahoma conveniently situated right on the doorstep of the mesmerising Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which offers travellers a treasure trove worth of outdoor activities and scenic natural scenery surroundings to enjoy.

The city’s name comes from the many sulfuric mineral springs dotted around the area, which the Chickasaw Tribes used for their healing properties.

From its idyllic streams to thundering waterfalls, Sulphur is a unique Oklahoma city with some of its most impressive natural surroundings and public parks.

12- Moore

Situated halfway between Norman to the south and downtown Oklahoma City to the north, Moore is a mid-sized suburb of OKC and one of the fastest-growing cities in the Sooner State.

Moore is infamous throughout Oklahoma for its extreme weather, with the highest wind speed ever recorded on Earth measured in Moore back in 1999 when a powerful F5 tornado clocked wind speeds above 301 mph (484 km/h).

The city is not all gloom and doom, though, as Moore has an impressive collection of activities and attractions to keep you busy, including the Moore Warren Theatre, the sprawling Moore Central Park and the Museum of Osteology.

13- Miami

Miami is a mid-sized city in Oklahoma’s northeast corner near the Kansas and Missouri state borders.

The city was founded in 1891 and experienced a dramatic economic and population boom when zinc and lead were discovered outside the city in 1918.

Several attractions and activities for visitors travelling to Miami include the historic Coleman Theatre, Route 66 and the Dobson Museum.

Miami was founded, built and developed on the lands of the Miami Native American Tribe and there are nine different tribal Native American headquarters dotted throughout the city.

Steeped in natural beauty and Native American history, Miami allows travellers the rare opportunity to experience and discover three separate American states all within a 30-minute drive from downtown, making Miami a desirable destination to visit in northeast Oklahoma.

14- Ponca City

Ponca City, named after the local Ponca tribe, was founded in 1893 as ‘New Ponca’ by settlers as part of the Cherokee Outlet Opening during the Cherokee Strip land run, the largest land run in American history.

The mid-sized city teems with Native American culture and history and became one of Oklahoma’s most important cities when oil was discovered in the region during the 20th century.

Today, modern-day Ponca City is a fully-fledged tourist attraction with tons of exciting and interesting venues, including the Standing Bear Park, the Marland Mansion & Estate, and the Lester & Mary Cann Memorial Botanical Gardens.

15- Muskogee

Nestled on the scenic shores of the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma, Muskogee is a low-key city with several one-of-a-kind attractions and historical landmarks to experience.

The city is the permanent home of the USS Batfish, a WWII-era submarine that visitors can board and tour at the Muskogee War Memorial Park.

Muskogee offers travellers a healthy balance of nature, the arts and Oklahoma history across iconic Muskogee venues such as the Roxy Theatre and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Those interested in learning more about the region’s many Native American tribes should check out the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, which contains numerous important Native American artefacts and curated exhibits for visitors to experience.

16- El Reno

El Reno, named after prominent Union general Jesse L. Reno, who was slain at the Battle of South Mountain, was established in 1889 and is situated just 28 miles (45 km) west of Oklahoma City.

El Reno is on the old Fort Reno site, which was built 14 years before the town’s establishment in 1875.

Still standing, El Reno’s historic restored fort now houses the Chisholm Trail Museum, which marks the city’s important geographical position at the crossroads of Route 66 and the Chisholm Trail.

There are many interesting things to do in the city, such as stopping by El Reno’s annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival, which celebrates the city’s beloved local delicacy or strolling along the city’s historic downtown neighbourhood.

17- Vinita

Steeped in Oklahoma history, Frontier spirit and Native American culture, Vinita is the second-oldest city in Oklahoma and a once important stopover destination along Route 66.

The city was founded by Elias Cornelius Boudinot in 1870 and is located along the famous Texas Road, a once-busy trade and travelling route that stretched from Kansas and Missouri to Texas.

Vinita is today a top tourist attraction in Oklahoma amongst historians and curious road trippers, with some of the city’s most popular landmarks, including the famous Clanton’s Café, the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant, and the fascinating Eastern Trails Museum.

18- Tahlequah

The city of Tahlequah, situated in what is known as Oklahoma’s ‘Lakes Country’ in the Sooner State’s northeast, is the capital of Oklahoma’s two federally-recognised Cherokee tribes.

Tahlequah lies at the foothills of the scenic Ozark Mountains and is home to many important Cherokee landmarks, including the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and the Cherokee National History Museum.

No other city in Oklahoma represents as much preserved Cherokee culture and history as Tahlequah, making it one of the many must-visit cities to add to your Oklahoma itinerary.

19- Durant

The official headquarters of the Choctaw Nation in southeast Oklahoma, Durant is situated just 96 miles (154 km) from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and was founded by Choctaw Dixon Durant sometime during the 1870s.

Durant is home to the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, with the city forming part of the broader Texoma region that covers parts of northeast Texas and southern Oklahoma.

There are several key attractions and places to visit in and around the city, such as the Lake Texoma State Park, the Choctaw Casino & Resort-Durant, and the Fort Washita Historic Site & Museum.

20- Bixby

Forming part of the broader Tulsa metro area, Bixby is a suburb of Tulsa situated just south of Oklahoma’s second-largest city and is among the fastest-growing cities in the Sooner State.

Bixby was first settled by Alexander Posey, a Creek Nation member, during the late 19th century and offers travellers a small-town feel with big-city attractions.

Some of Bixby’s many great landmarks include the Washington Irving Memorial Park & Arboretum, the scenic Lake Bixhoma and the family-favourite Carmichael’s Pumpkin Patch.

With –plenty to see and do in Bixby and nearby Tulsa, it’s always a great Oklahoma city to add to your itinerary when travelling around the Sooner State’s northeast corner.

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Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.