In the past twenty years Oklahoma City’s Bricktown entertainment district has seen the emergence of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, The Bricktown Canal and several restaurants and skyscrapers. Art museums and theaters add to the city’s cultural influencers. Designed after a Spanish village, Oklahoma City’s historic Paseo Arts District offers residents a chance to venture off the beaten track and explore local and unique artwork during its festivals on the first Friday of every month and annually each Memorial Day.
Frontier City (Sixflags) is not closing down and is a great park. It is not a large park, but the lines are very short, so you can ride even the big rides several times. The water park is the same way and also owned by sixflags. Bricktown is the main downtown night spot is very safe and if you are into the night life you will love it. Let me end by saying that folks that move to Oklahoma City with a family and an open mind will never want to leave. It is a cultural shock in the sence that folks here are much friendlier than most places and very helpful. The price of living is lower. It does get very windy. Sorry that my answer sounds like I am rambling, I am trying to give lots of info in a hurry.
You might have something of a culture shock, but sometimes a shock can be a good thing!
When we moved here from the east 19 years ago, we found that Oklahomans tend to be friendly and generous, that their lives tend to be centered around children and church, and that they are fiercely proud of their state and their heritage. Our children, 10 and 13 at the time, fit in easily and quickly came to think of Oklahoma as "home."
Like other big cities, Oklahoma City has theme parks and art museums, symphonies and shopping, festivals and parks. While some isolated areas may have high crime rates, you will find that public places are safe and well patrolled. Oklahomans like their football, so be ready to decide if you're an OU fan or an OSU fan.
Spring is the windiest season, though winter cold fronts can kick up quite a breeze, too. Summers are mostly calm. You can expect that July and August daytime temperatures will hover in the mid 90s, but mornings are wonderful all summer long. In exchange for enduring the hot summers, you will find that winters are brief and mild.
Any other questions, feel free to ask.
Totally talk to anyone in any line about anything!
We also have a fabulous botanical garden downtown called, The Myriad Gardens.
The Civic Center hosts ballet, philharmonic, and wonderful concerts like Harry Connick, Nora Roberts, etc.
The Arts Districts are amazing, The Paseo and The Plaza District.
We have chapters of every hobby you can imagine, from the Sierra Club to the Bullriders Association.
There are several lakes around town; Lake Hefner is probably the most popular, where people sail, sail board, fish, walk, bike, hang out in the parks, and eat at the local restaurants.
Fitness and Yoga places galore! And really so much more.
But…most importantly!!! We are home to the NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City Thunder!!!!!
Summers in OKC are hot and dry with less rainfall after June. Occasional thunderstorms pop up throughout the hot months where the average temperature is right around 90 degrees. You might want to cool off at the pool on hot summer days. Or, if you prefer, you can visit the many shops and get out of the heat.
In the fall, the heat lets up a bit and precipitation occurs in September and October. While temperatures fall quickly going into the fall months, OKC still has many hot days of 80 to 90 degrees going into mid-October.
Winters in OKC can be very cold although they are brief. It is not uncommon for warm spells to take place in winter with temperatures reaching 70 degrees. You can expect to see snowfall sometime throughout the winter months.
With the arrival of spring in OKC, warmer temperatures will be noticed in March. With spring comes an uptick in thunderstorms and rain showers.
Oklahoma City is made up of several unique neighborhoods, each possessing its own special characteristics and charm. A few of these areas stand out because of their popularity and ability to draw in a young elite crowd.
The Plaza District is made up of young couples and singles. Throughout the last 15 years, this neighborhood has seen millions of dollars in development, plummeting crime rates and sharply increasing property values. Schools provide an excellent education for the children of this neighborhood and local businesses thrive in this area. The young elite are drawn to the nightlife, arts, and culture that the Plaza District offers.
Oklahoma City has no shortage of entertainment and fun activities. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to capture the true emotions and feelings associated with the Oklahoma City bombing. Oklahoma City experienced unspeakable violence on that day. This memorial stands as a symbol of strength and hope.
A unique educational experience can be found at the Museum of Osteology, "America's Only Skeleton Museum". This museum has 7,000 square feet of displays focusing on the form and function of the skeletal system.
The Banjo Museum is a national treasure that tells of the banjo's humble roots in American slavery and evolution to bluegrass, American folk, and world music.
I've kind of been in and out of Oklahoma City over the last few years. My wife moved from Toronto to OKC *counts with fingers* about 4 months ago. Seeing how she's faring in OKC, here are my thoughts:
I told her upfront that she was going to miss the ethnic diversity (and the impact that it has on everything from commerce, politics, to dining options) that she was used to in Toronto. Oklahoma is... white. If you head into certain parts of south OKC, you'll get pockets of Hispanic populations, but it's largely a very white bread sort of town. About the only other major ethnicity that I've noticed in OKC is a semi-large Vietnamese population. Which could explain why everyone and their mother seems to be into pho around here. I'm not sure where in California you live, but if you enjoy (or even take for granted) the ethnic diversity and the perks that come from being someplace that isn't so... you know... it'll be a bit of a shock when you come to Oklahoma and you realize that a lot of things that you loved is not available, or if it is, it's rarer and more expensive than it has any business being. Is it something that should majorly influence your decision? No, but it's something worth thinking about, because I can see how much it's affecting my wife. And I knew it was going to happen too, but she thought I was exaggerating.
As Clayton mentioned, housing is very affordable. But depending on your line of work, if I had to start fresh, I would head South to Texas. Cost of living is comparable, you get the ethnic diversity (depending on the area that you choose to live in), depending on your politics, you can enjoy everything from the uber-left that is Austin to the uber right that is... the rest of Texas. Unemployment is similar also. And the only thing you're going to have to deal with is traffic. But if you're coming from Cali, I suppose anywhere is better for traffic.
Not to suggest that OKC or the surrounding area isn't great. It is. But it's pretty homogenous and that took some getting used to for me.
Like everyone has said, Oklahoma is very friendly. It's cliche to say, but OKC is really a big small town. Having lived here all my life, it seems like anywhere I go I can find someone who knows a friend or relative of mine, yet the population is fairly large. You will definitely find more conservative thinking here than in California.
Joy mentioned it's very spread out and that's very true. I work downtown and live in northwest OKC, which is about a 20-minute drive with no traffic; my morning and afternoon commutes range from 30 to 40 minutes, so not horrible. Having said that, I live in a pretty suburban area so there's not a lot to do around there. I usually have to drive downtown or another area for bars, local restaurants, etc. I like living in the suburban area, but sometimes the long drive to do anything fun can be a pain. But I love my garage and my backyard. :)
As far as the diversity goes, I don't think it's as bad as the stereotypes around the south, but I agree with Joy - the areas themselves aren't very diverse. I think there is diversity here, but it is segregated into certain parts of town if that makes sense.
And Oklahoma weather is famous. I was born and raised here, and you won't get used to it because it has a mind of its own. I remember one year on my Spring Break it literally snowed, and the week before was typical 70-degree spring weather. We also had temps in the 70s and 80s until just a few weeks ago, which is not typical at all. It'll always keep you on your toes! :)
Plaza is cool if your from Oklahoma but I wouldn’t recommend it as a first stop. Midtown has come a long way but honestly for your first night out hit up bricktown. Go drink on the canal, play some mini golf and then go to a dodgers game.
Oklahoma earth bike builds and maintain the trails state wide, they have a Facebook page with all of the trail info. Bluff creek is pretty overrun and overcrowded, but still a fun ride. Where you will be staying would probably put you closer to Draper, 16 miles of trails total I think, or the new trail in Mid West City about 4-5 miles
Oklahoma City limits span roughly 620 miles, so you have a lot of different areas to choose from. The nicer/expensive apartments are mainly located in the downtown area and prices generally start around $1000. You can find apartments in the $500-800 range, but I wouldn't recommend living those if you care about your well being. I'm sure you already know this but the cost of living here is substantially lower than the Bay area.
Considering moving to OKC? Your next hometown may just surprise you. Sure, Oklahoma City boasts clean air. Low crime. Easy commutes. Friendly people. New and renovated schools. Fresh farmers markets and trendy local coffee shops. An exciting, dynamic arts and music scene. A cradle of entrepreneurship. More than 300 days of sunshine per year. Even an NBA team calls OKC home.
But what’s different about Oklahoma City? For starters, you can still dream big. Here, a renewed emphasis on public improvements and large-scale projects has helped propel our renaissance and make OKC a big-league city, while also keeping us a great place to live, work, and play. This enterprise and energy is evident everywhere, whether you’re kayaking on the Oklahoma River, checking out the Chihuly at the Museum of Art, or cheering on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Check us out and see why in OKC, it’s truly a better living and a better life.
My wife & I moved to Edmond almost 8 years ago. We don't have any family in the state. I think the OKC metro is a great place to live, work & raise a family. Unfortunately there is no beach or mountains anywhere close but Denver is only a half day drive. I like OKC because it's big enough there things to do but not too big. No real traffic issues & the people are very friendly for the most part.
Like you said, housing is extremely affordable. I'm betting you could get a much larger & nicer home here than what you may have had in California. Job market seems to be doing great. What type of work do you do? Oklahoma is very traditional in a lot of ways. If you like guns you'll find lots of opportunities to exercise your 2nd amendment rights in a fun way. In my opinion, best place to find a good special someone is Church & we've got TONS of those. :-) Oh, and college football is a BIG deal!
I've lived all over the United States, and Oklahoma is by far my favorite. I love the pace of life, the general demeanor of people, the open sense of community, the scenery, and the weather (grew up in North Dakota....never again).
My grandfather once told me that "No matter where you go, there you are." If you set out to be happy, you will be. If you're sure you're going to be miserable, chances are that will be true as well.