27 Amazing Things Oklahoma is Known For (+ Famous For)

Wondering what things Oklahoma is known for?

I’ve got you covered!

In this guide to all the things Oklahoma is famous for, we’re covering everything from Native American culture to banjos.

As an American who has traveled the US her whole life, I have a real love for Oklahoma (as I do for most states!) and everything it represents.

It’s the state of Route 66, of cowboys, of Woody Guthrie and of pioneering – not to mention much more!

Read on to learn more about the foods Oklahoma is famous for, the people Oklahoma is famous for, and other notable things about Oklahoma!

1. Native American Heritage

Oklahoma’s history is deeply intertwined with its Native American heritage.

The state is home to a diverse array of tribes, each with their own unique cultures, languages, and traditions.

The forced removal of many tribes, known as the Trail of Tears, led to their resettlement in what is now Oklahoma.

2. Route 66

The iconic Route 66 stretches across Oklahoma, embodying the spirit of adventure, freedom, and exploration.

This historic highway has captured the imagination of travelers for decades, offering a nostalgic journey through small towns, roadside attractions, and stunning landscapes.

Oklahoma boasts classic Route 66 landmarks such as the Blue Whale in Catoosa and the Round Barn in Arcadia.

3. Tornadoes

Oklahoma’s unique geographical location places it in the heart of Tornado Alley, where warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cold, dry air from the Rocky Mountains, creating a perfect environment for tornado formation.

While tornadoes can be devastating, the resilience of Oklahomans in the face of these natural disasters is noteworthy.

4. Oil and Gas Industry

Often referred to as the “Oil Capital of the World,” Oklahoma’s history is closely tied to the oil and gas industry.

The discovery of oil at the Spindletop well in Texas led to a rush of oil exploration in Oklahoma, leading to booms in cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The industry has contributed significantly to the state’s economy, shaping its development and infrastructure.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder

The presence of the NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, has brought professional sports excitement to the state.

The team’s passionate fan base and its players’ contributions to the community have made them an integral part of Oklahoma’s sports culture.

6. Cattle Ranching

Oklahoma’s vast landscapes and fertile plains have made it an ideal location for cattle ranching.

The state’s ranching traditions date back to the days of the open range and the cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail.

7. American Banjo Museum

Located in downtown Oklahoma City, the American Banjo Museum is a cultural gem that celebrates the history and artistry of the banjo.

The museum’s exhibits showcase the evolution of this unique instrument, its role in different music genres, and its cultural significance.

8. Tulsa

Often dubbed the “Oil Capital of the World” due to its historic ties to the oil industry, Tulsa boasts a distinctive skyline adorned with stunning art deco architecture.

The city’s unique blend of cultural attractions, such as the Philbrook Museum of Art and the Tulsa Zoo, along with its vibrant music scene and annual festivals, contribute to its lively atmosphere.

9. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Situated in Oklahoma City, this museum is a treasure trove of Western art, artifacts, and history.

It honors the spirit of the American frontier, showcasing artworks by renowned artists like Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.

The museum’s exhibits delve into the lives of cowboys, Native Americans, and pioneers, offering a comprehensive perspective on the Western experience.

10. Land Rush of 1889

One of the most iconic chapters in Oklahoma’s history is the Land Rush of 1889.

As settlers eagerly staked their claims to available land after the unassigned lands were opened for settlement, the event marked a significant turning point in the state’s development.

11. Oklahoma City National Memorial

The Oklahoma City National Memorial serves as a solemn tribute to the victims and survivors of the tragic 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The memorial’s design integrates elements of remembrance, healing, and resilience.

The reflecting pool, symbolic chairs representing the lives lost, and the Survivor Tree stand as powerful symbols of unity and hope.

12. Red Earth Festival

The Red Earth Festival is a vibrant celebration of Native American art, dance, music, and culture.

Held annually in Oklahoma City, it draws Native American artists, dancers, and performers from across the country to showcase their talents and share their heritage.

13. Oklahoma Sooners

The University of Oklahoma’s athletic teams, known as the Sooners, have a rich tradition of excellence in collegiate sports.

The football program, in particular, has a storied history with multiple national championships and a passionate fan base.

14. Chisholm Trail

The Chisholm Trail holds a pivotal place in the history of the American West, as it was a major cattle trail used for driving livestock from Texas to the railheads in Kansas.

The trail played a crucial role in the cattle industry’s growth and the development of towns along its path.

15. Woody Guthrie

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie is a legendary folk singer, songwriter, and social activist.

His music, often characterized by its poignant storytelling and social commentary, captured the struggles and aspirations of the American people during times of hardship.

16. Green Country

Nestled in northeastern Oklahoma, the Green Country region boasts lush landscapes, rolling hills, and serene lakes.

This natural beauty makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

17. Bison

The American bison, often referred to as the buffalo, holds a special place in Oklahoma’s history and culture.

The state’s official mammal, the bison, once roamed the Great Plains in massive herds and played a vital role in the livelihood of Native American tribes.

18. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State University’s athletic teams, known as the Cowboys and Cowgirls, have achieved success in various sports.

The university’s spirited fan base and competitive teams have earned it recognition on the national collegiate sports scene.

19. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Spanning over 39,000 acres, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is one of the largest protected tallgrass prairies in the world.

Located in northeastern Oklahoma, this ecological gem is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, some of which are endangered or rare.

20. Spiro Mounds

The Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center preserves the history of an ancient Native American civilization that thrived in eastern Oklahoma.

The ceremonial mounds found at the site provide insights into the religious, social, and economic practices of these prehistoric communities.

21. Scissortail Park

Situated in the heart of Oklahoma City, Scissortail Park is a modern urban oasis that offers a variety of recreational activities, green spaces, and cultural events.

The park’s design incorporates sustainable practices and artistic elements, making it a vibrant gathering place for residents and visitors alike.

22. Aviation

Oklahoma’s contributions to aviation history are significant.

The state is home to Tinker Air Force Base, a major maintenance and logistics hub for the United States Air Force.

Additionally, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum showcases the evolution of flight and aerospace technology.

23. Will Rogers

Born in Oologah, Oklahoma, Will Rogers became one of the most beloved humorists and entertainers of his time.

Through his witty observations, comedic performances, and newspaper columns, Rogers captured the spirit of the American people during the early 20th century.

24. Lake Eufaula

Lake Eufaula, often referred to as “The Gentle Giant of Oklahoma Lakes,” is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States.

Its expansive waters provide opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities.

25. Museum of Osteology

Located in Oklahoma City, the Museum of Osteology is a unique institution dedicated to the study of bones and skeletons.

The museum’s exhibits showcase a wide range of animal skeletons, offering insights into the anatomical diversity and adaptations of different species.

26. Bricktown

Bricktown, located in downtown Oklahoma City, is a bustling entertainment district known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings.

With a mix of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues, Bricktown provides a lively backdrop for socializing, dining, and enjoying live music.

27. Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond, known as the Pioneer Woman, has become a household name through her popular food blog, cookbooks, and television show.

Residing on a ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, Drummond shares her passion for cooking, family life, and the rural lifestyle through her engaging content.

Want to know what things the other US states are known for? Check out our other guides!

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