Welcome to Oklahoma City, a jewel in the heart of the American Southwest, with a compelling mix of affordability, opportunity, and cultural allure. Whether you’re browsing through the real estate listings on Redfin, eyeing houses for sale in Oklahoma City, or moving into a hip loft in the trendy Plaza District, there’s always something exciting around the corner. From the exhilarating energy of Thunder basketball games to the tranquil waters of the Oklahoma River, living in Oklahoma City offers a vibrant tapestry of urban charm and down-home comfort.
But there’s so much more to the OKC experience than meets the eye. We’re about to take you on a whirlwind tour of the city’s best (and not-so-best) attributes, going far beyond the postcard-perfect views of the skyline. Buckle up and get ready for an insider’s exploration of life in Oklahoma City, the pros and the cons, the ups and the downs, the wind-swept and the barbecue-smoked. As they say around here, “Oklahoma is OK,” but don’t take their word for it, dive in and decide for yourself.
Pros of living in Oklahoma City
1. Cost of living
The affordability of Oklahoma City stands as one of its key attractions. This affordability is most pronounced in the housing market, where the median sale price in Oklahoma City is only $265,990, which is 35% below the national average of $408,000. The lower cost of living in Oklahoma City, extends to other expenses too. With more disposable income and lower financial stress, residents can fully embrace the city’s vibrant culture, recreational activities, and community engagement, creating a well-rounded and fulfilling lifestyle.
2. Job opportunities
Oklahoma City boasts a diversified economy that isn’t overly reliant on any one industry. The energy sector, particularly oil and natural gas, has been a traditional driver of economic growth in Oklahoma, and the city houses many leading firms. Simultaneously, Oklahoma City has a thriving aviation and aerospace industry, and it serves as a significant healthcare hub, with leading institutions like the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In addition, there is a robust government presence. This diversified economy results in a breadth of job opportunities, appealing to a wide array of skills and interests.
3. Cultural activities
While Oklahoma City might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of cultural hotspots, the city has a surprising wealth of cultural institutions. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art houses a diverse collection and is particularly known for one of the most comprehensive collections of Chihuly glass. Science Museum Oklahoma, with its interactive exhibits, captivates children and adults alike. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a testament to the city’s historical roots, offering insight into the culture and history of the American West. In these ways, Oklahoma City provides rich and varied cultural experiences for residents and visitors.
4. Sports scene
For the sports enthusiast, Oklahoma City offers a thriving local sports scene. The city is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the youngest and most energetic teams in the NBA. Games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena are full of fervor, offering thrilling live basketball action. But the sports scene extends beyond basketball. Baseball fans can enjoy the minor league action of the Oklahoma City Dodgers, and the city is also known for its rowing, boasting a unique Olympic and Paralympic Training Site for rowing, canoeing, or kayaking at the Boathouse District. Plus, Oklahoma City’s horse shows are world-class events, drawing competitors and spectators from around the globe.
5. Friendly community
Known for its southern hospitality, Oklahoma City has a reputation as a place where people are genuinely friendly. Visitors often remark on how welcoming and helpful residents are, and it’s not uncommon for strangers to exchange greetings on the street. The city’s community events, such as neighborhood festivals, farmers markets, and citywide celebrations, foster this sense of warmth and openness. Living in Oklahoma City can feel like being part of a large, extended family, where everyone knows their neighbors and looks out for one another. This welcoming spirit can make the transition to living in Oklahoma City much smoother and more enjoyable for newcomers.
Cons of living in Oklahoma City
1. The wind
The wind in Oklahoma City isn’t just a breeze, it’s a feature. It whips through the plains with such gusto that it’s been immortalized in the iconic song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical, “Oklahoma!” It can bring a refreshing break from summer heat, but it also has a notorious reputation for wrecking perfectly styled hair and turning simple walks into resistance training. But hey, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like a model in a wind tunnel photo shoot, Oklahoma City has you covered.
2. Isolation from other cities
Oklahoma City’s central location can be a stumbling block for those who enjoy day trips to places nearby Oklahoma City. Dallas, Texas, with its vibrant music and arts scene, is about 205 miles away, a three to four hour drive. Heading up to Wichita, Kansas, is a 160-mile trip that takes close to three hours. Even Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second-largest city, is a two hour drive, approximately 105 miles away. While the isolation of Oklahoma City can mean longer travel times to neighboring cities and potential limitations to attractions, the city itself is chock-full of hidden treasures that might have you rethinking the need for road trips.
3. Flat terrain
The vast, flat terrain of Oklahoma has a unique beauty, with skies stretching out in every direction, offering spectacular sunsets. However, if you’re a mountain lover, you might start to miss the sight of jagged peaks on the horizon. Hiking options within the city are limited to more of a stroll than a climb. But, this lack of hilly landscapes makes Oklahoma City perfect for cycling.
4. Barbecue everywhere
In Oklahoma City, barbecue is a way of life. The tantalizing smell of smoked meat is a constant companion in many neighborhoods, and community events often feature a barbecue competition. While mouth-watering for many, this can be less enjoyable if you don’t eat meat. However, fear not, the city’s culinary scene is evolving, and while you might have to navigate past the barbecue joints, there are burgeoning vegetarian and vegan-friendly eateries to be discovered.
For those sensitive to seasonal allergies, Oklahoma City can be a bit of a challenge. Known as the “sneeze capital” to some, it’s infamous for its high pollen counts, especially during the spring and fall seasons. But on the bright side, local pharmacies are well-stocked with allergy relief options, and many residents find that they adjust over time. Plus, the city’s glorious blooms in parks and gardens almost make the sniffles worth it.