Nestled between six vastly different and perhaps more well-known states –– Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas –– sits a remarkable not so little hidden gem called Oklahoma.
If you don’t know a whole lot about Oklahoma, you’re not alone. The vast majority of folks have never actually been there. They’ve only flown over it or driven through it to get from one coast to the other –– Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma, just so happens to be equidistant to Los Angeles and New York City. The halfway point, of sorts.
We are here to argue that Oklahoma shouldn’t just be a flyover state or one you speed through to get wherever you’re going… but instead a place not only worth stopping by but staying a while… maybe even calling home?
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Oklahoma is notorious for being home to cities with just bizarre names. Some of the more bizarre ones include… Bushyhead, Loco, Cookietown, Forty-One, Moon, IXL and Cron. How would you like to tell people you live in Corn, Oklahoma?
Silliness aside, Oklahoma is home to some fantastic cities and we wrote a good chunk of information on each one down below. Here are the best places to live in Oklahoma.
We are going to kick things off with Oklahoma’s capital and largest city, Oklahoma City. Believe it or not, it is one of the only two state capital cities whose name includes the name of the state. If that doesn’t have you packing your bags, don’t worry we’ve got plenty of other interesting information to share about Oklahoma City.
For one, Oklahoma City is the perfect mix of Midwestern and southern. Folks who make a jump there quickly fall in love with the close-knit southern feel and the warm Midwestern friendliness. Let’s just say, together, the combination makes for quite a welcoming experience for newcomers.
Additionally, while Oklahoma City is growing quickly, it’s still very affordable to live there. What’s the main driver here? Housing. According to Kiplinger, Oklahoma has one of the most affordable housing markets in the nation. At $148,000, home buyers are jumping for joy considering the median home price across the nation is nearly $350,000. Let’s just say you get a whole lot more bang for your buck living in Oklahoma.
And, while Oklahoma City has a population of 643,000 people… it isn’t difficult to get around. When you look at cities of comparable size, like Nashville, Tennessee… let’s just say it’s a bit of a miracle that Oklahoma City hasn’t gotten out of control from a traffic standpoint.
If you take a look at the 100 largest companies in Oklahoma as a whole, you will be wildly impressed. And, being that Oklahoma City is the state’s capital and its largest city… many of these prolific names call it home. If you don’t feel like perusing the list… does Sonic, Chuys, American Cancer Society, Avis and Hobby Lobby ring a bell?
We would say Oklahoma City is for families of all sizes and ages looking for a big city to call home. Oklahoma City is a great jumping off point for families looking to make a transition to bigger city life without losing the close-knit welcoming feel that might come with a small town. There is a reason Oklahoma City is called “The biggest small town you will ever see”. While it is quite large in population and is growing every single day, it hasn’t lost the warmer welcoming elements that make it a true gem.
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Tulsa hit its stride in the early 1900s when oil (or black gold) was struck in “Red Fork”… a neighborhood that today exists on the southwest side of the city.
But, this only scratched the surface of the vast wealth brewing below Tulsa’s crust. An oil field called Glenn Pool was eventually discovered and it ended up being quite the doozy. To date, Glenn Pool has yielded 340 million barrels of oil and was the jumping off point for nearly 100 oil companies.
It’s no wonder that for so long, Tulsa was widely considered the Oil Capital of the World.
But, this title was a double-edged sword for a city that has worked relentlessly to become seen as more forward-thinking and innovative. In the past, young professionals have left Tulsa in search of more innovative careers in other parts of the country like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City.
But, this migration is beginning to change, and change rapidly.
Living in Tulsa is cheap. Do you want a 5,000 square foot mansion? If you have $500,000… it’s yours, no questions asked. The average apartment rent in Tulsa is right under $700/ month. When you consider that the city has a population of 400,000 people… it’s difficult to fathom how rent can be this low.
But, more than this, innovation is beginning to happen in Tulsa. And, when you couple this innovation with a ridiculously low cost of living the city is positioned to become an innovative hotspot in the next five to ten years.
Mike Basch, a Tulsa transplant that has quickly become a native, has been tasked with leading both the philanthropic and investment arms of the GKFF (George Kaiser Family Foundation). He foresees that startups will choose Tulsa in the future for their secondary offices because they will be able to save 30%-50% on costs.
That’s extremely enticing to both the many educated individuals that live in Tulsa and startups tired of paying obscene costs in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
And, in addition to all the innovation, Tulsa is quite the artistic hub, too –– home to coveted spots like Tulsa Arts District and world-renowned museums like the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Gilcrease Museum and the Decopolis.
Tulsa is a trickier one when compared to Oklahoma City. While we would certainly recommend OKC for families and even young professionals for that matter… we think that Tulsa offers some unique strengths. At such a reasonable cost of living and a large upside for future innovation, if you have something you’re wanting to build whether that be a venture, a side hustle or a creative endeavor, you should highly consider moving to Tulsa.
With 4.8 out of 5 stars on over 100,000 moves, you might say we’re the best in the business.
Norman, OK is OK. In fact, we’d argue that it is more than OK. It’s home to great food, lovely art, loads of opportunity, a killer music scene and an exceptional college football team.
Norman is home to the seven-time national football champions, the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s the truest football town you will find and with this comes perks only true football towns can sport –– crazy fandom, endless tailgating, and beer that flows through the streets like wild horses.
With that said, besides football, Norman has a whole lot to offer. For one, it boasts a beautiful and recently revitalized downtown area. A walk down its streets will travel you back in time to a world much simpler. But, in the lovely quaint buildings sits delicious restaurants and cafes like Gray Owl Cafe, Full Moon Shushi and The Diner (the latter of which has actually been featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Additionally, for being a small town sitting right around 122,000 is world class art museums like Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and Jacobson House Native Art Center.
And, finally, we can’t forget about the city’s endless number of festivals, the most prominent of ones being the Norman Music Festival. The event attracts literally 80,000 people to the city over the course of a three day period where countless independent artists show the Norman what they’ve got.
Norman is for the individual that doesn’t want to fuss with larger city life –– city life that is certainly to some extent present in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. With that said, Norman isn’t so small that you can’t find something to do. Between plenty of outdoor activities, festivals, eateries, college football, and art museums… you will never find yourself feeling bored in Norman.
We will be honest… we love them all. We love Oklahoma City for its refreshing take on a big city and lovely pairing of southern hospitality and midwestern warmth. We love Tulsa for maybe not what it is right this very moment, but for its potential and accessibility from a price standpoint. And, finally, we love Norman for its small football feel and music and art-centric culture that is difficult to define unless you’ve seen it with your own two eyes.
However, if we were to pick a reigning champion? Well, we would probably have to give it to the first name on our list Oklahoma City.
Regardless of where you decide to call home next, be it Oklahoma City or somewhere farther East or West, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We might just be able to help you get there.
By The Bellhops Team.
Considering a move to Sooner State? We're here to help with our 2019 guide on everything you need to know about moving to Oklahoma. Enjoy.
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