From its beginnings as a homesteader settlement, Oklahoma City has emerged into a bustling commercial hub in central Oklahoma. Today, the city offers a mix of old-fashioned Western heritage and a hip urban appeal. With well over a million residents spread out over a 600-square-mile metropolitan area, Oklahoma City is the second largest city in the United States in terms of geographical size.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
In Oklahoma City's inner-city neighborhoods, single-family detached houses with small yards are the most prevalent types of housing. Apartments are also available in these areas. In the downtown area and the business districts, condominiums and lofts are the main housing focus and can include mid and high-rise buildings.
The city has many distinctive neighborhoods within its limits:
- Downtown Oklahoma City has revived substantially since the Murrah Building bombing. The western part of Downtown includes the city's arts and museum district. Bricktown is a popular entertainment area within the Downtown district.
- The Asian District, sometimes called "Little Saigon," accommodates many Vietnamese refugees.
- Capitol Hill, despite the name, is not the state capitol district, it is the center of the city's Hispanic population.
- Eastside is where the state capitol actually resides, and also the location of the largest African-American community in Oklahoma.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The area's economy has diversified thanks to industries such as information technology, energy and administration. In recent years, the economic revenue has increased by a third. Tinker Air Force Base employs more than 25,000 residents, while another 30,000 work in the high-tech industry. Roughly 20 percent of the population works in state and local government.
Due to the strength of its housing market and its growth in several economic sectors-including manufacturing-Oklahoma City is likely to weather the current economic decline relatively well. The city led the list of America's recession-proof cities in Forbes magazine.
Aside from the city and state government workers, Oklahoma City has many Fortune 1000 companies. Some of the largest employers in the city include Devon Energy Corporation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Additionally, Integris Baptist Medical Center and OU Medical center each employ more than 1,000 workers.
There's a number of colleges in Oklahoma City, including:
- University of Oklahoma: Consistently rated among the top universities in the country in terms of academics and cost, OU is a four-year university offering bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in a wide range of fields. The university is home to the largest meteorology school in the country.
- Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City: This satellite campus offers associate and bachelor's degrees in Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, Business Technologies, Health Services, Human Services and Science and Engineering.
- Oklahoma City Community College: This two-year school has an annual enrollment of around 28,000.
- Oklahoma Technology Institute: The institute offers training in computer services.
- Platt College: Platt offers associate degrees in healthcare to more than 2,000 students per year.
- Vatterott College: One of 19 campuses in the Midwest, the school offers associate degrees in healthcare, business, computer science and technology.
- Heritage College: This college provides instruction in massage therapy and healthcare.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a part of the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center in the Downtown Arts District. It offers local and traveling exhibits, film screenings, educational presentations and a café and gift shop.
- The Civic Center Music Hall was built in 1937 and has been renovated several times. It now features a basement stage and a coffee shop, alongside the elaborate main stage.
- Myriad Botanical Gardens is located on 17 acres in the middle of Downtown, and is home to the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, which contains thousands of plants from around the world.
- The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum was founded in honor of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, in which 168 people were killed. It opened to the public in 2000.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team is the city's only professional sports team. The team began playing in Oklahoma City in 2008. Oklahoma City was also home to the New Orleans Hornets for most of the 2005 and 2006 NBA seasons, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Southwestern Publishing, a local publisher, distributes four different metro lifestyle magazines in the Oklahoma City area.
- The Oklahoman is the major newspaper of Oklahoma City and also has a large circulation across the state. It is one of the largest newspapers in the U.S., with a daily circulation of more than 200,000 copies.
- Founded in 1903, the Midwest Sun is a local newspaper with a circulation of around 5,500 copies.
- Journal Record is the city's daily business newspaper.
- Oklahoma City Business covers local business news
- WKY: In 1922, this station became the first to transmit its signal west of the Mississippi River. In the late 1920s, the station was bought by the Oklahoma Publishing Company. It is affiliated with NBC.
- The television station WKY-TV made its own history as the first independent station to provide color broadcasts. Citadel Communications later bought out the station.