Moving to Oklahoma City, OK

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Last Updated on January 8, 2024 @ 4:18 pm

Thinking about moving to Oklahoma City, OK?

Jump to any of the following sections to learn more about what to expect living in OKC.

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Oklahoma City At-A-Glance

Oklahoma City (also lovingly known as OKC, the 405 or the Big Friendly) attracts people from across the country due to its combination of friendly locals, affordable homes and warm small-town feel. Its robust economy and booming job market make it a fantastic place for startups and investors. Another plus? The state’s lower overall cost of living compared to the national average means you can stretch your dollar further. 

In addition to being affordable, Oklahoma City also boasts a diverse culture and some of the most beautiful lakes in the state, making it the perfect spot for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. And let’s not forget one of the best things about OKC, the mouthwatering BBQ it’s famous for! 

The Pros and Cons of Living in The Big Friendly

Oklahoma City has a lot to offer newcomers. But like all places, it has its share of disadvantages and disappointments. Let’s dive deeper into some of the city’s pros and cons.

PROS

Friendly Folks: Oklahoma City didn’t earn the nickname “The Big Friendly” for no reason. The majority of the people living here are genuinely happy, and their friendliness toward outsiders and newcomers is sincere. Because of this, you’ll often find the city on lists of America’s friendliest cities.

Affordable Housing: At 29 percent lower than the national average, affordable housing is by far one of the biggest draws to moving to Oklahoma City. For its size, OKC is one of the most affordable cities in the nation.

Quick Commutes: If you live downtown, you’ll love having the ability to walk pretty much anywhere. If you’re driving, regardless of where you live in town, you’ll likely be able to get to the heart of the city within 20 minutes.

Diversity Reigns: Like many people, you may be surprised to learn that 45 percent of people under 19 in Oklahoma City identify as a racial minority. The city also takes pride in its strong Native American heritage, with the largest Native American population in America aside from California.

CONS

The Weather: Oklahoma City experiences hot, muggy and windy summers, with temperatures hitting the mid-to-high 90s in July and August. But far worse than the humid summers and the odd winter ice storm is that the city is smack dab in the middle of the infamous “Tornado Alley.” The state is second only to Tennessee regarding the number of tornadoes hitting annually.

Bland Scenery For Miles and Miles: Living on the Plains, unfortunately, means living without jaw-dropping scenery. Some people love the flat, rolling prairie plains, but many can’t wait to take a vacation in more scenic states. If you can’t live without the beach or mountains, Oklahoma isn’t the state for you!

Tough to Attract & Keep Teachers: Oklahoma, known for its exceptional colleges and universities, unfortunately, falls short in its K12 educational system, ranking near the bottom on a national scale. The state’s underinvestment in education makes attracting and retaining talented teachers difficult. Teachers in Oklahoma City receive lower salaries than their counterparts in other states, and the state’s expenditure per student is below the national average.

Climbing Crime Rates: If you decide to move to OKC, lock your doors. It sits at a 4/100 on the Crime Index, meaning it is 96 percent less safe than any other city in the country. Like all cities, there are areas more prone to violence, so before you choose a neighborhood to call home, do your research.

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An Economy As Diverse As The City Itself

Oklahoma City boasts a robust and expanding economy characterized by its diversity. Its unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and the city is considered one of the best cities in the state for young professionals. The city’s favorable tax climate makes it an ideal destination for startups and entrepreneurship.

Oklahoma City thrives in various leading industries, including aviation/aerospace, government, energy, biotechnology, and transportation/logistics. If you’re looking for work, noteworthy employers in the city include the State of Oklahoma, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma State University, and INTEGRIS Health.

Why You’ll Want To Live In The Heart Of America’s Sooner State

Oklahoma’s affordable housing makes it an appealing choice for families and young professionals looking for a new home. The average housing costs are between $659 and $1,387/month. A typical home costs around $183,000, nearly half the national median sale price. Appreciation rates are also higher than the nation’s 6.8 percent, with an 8.8 percent value rate increase over the past year.

If you’re one of the roughly 40 percent of people who rent a home in Oklahoma City, you can expect to pay a range of $700-1,200 for rent each month.

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The 405’s Hottest Neighborhoods

Bricktown

Bricktown is the vibrant entertainment district of OKC, making it popular with singles and young professionals. Home to the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, this neighborhood boasts a safe atmosphere thanks to a robust police presence. Living in Bricktown means having access to quality city schools, exciting shopping venues, lively bars, and diverse restaurants. Bricktown is close to all major entertainment destinations in Oklahoma City and is home to the popular Bricktown Canal, attracting locals and tourists alike.

Deep Deuce

Located just north of Bricktown, Deep Deuce offers a distinct character as a beautiful historic neighborhood. The area blends urban flair with old-school charm, attracting young professionals and food enthusiasts, thanks to popular eateries such as Deep Deuce Grill and The Wedge Pizzeria. Deep Deuce is home to annual favorites, the OKC Jazz Fest and the Deep Deuce Music Festival, which celebrate the neighborhood’s jazz and blues roots. 

Nichols Hills

Nestled 15 minutes north of Downtown OKC, Nichols Hills is an upscale and close-knit community offering its residents a high quality of life. The neighborhood is peaceful, exclusive and safe, attracting professionals and families seeking a quieter area to call home. Excellent schools, top-notch amenities and abundant green spaces (like the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club) make it one of the city’s most desirable areas.  

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Tips On Getting Around OKC

While Oklahoma City’s transportation system heavily relies on personal vehicles, efforts are underway to enhance alternative options and alleviate traffic congestion. The city’s public transportation system, Embark, operates a bus network that serves various areas. Although the options in OKC may not be as extensive as in larger cities, improvements are being made to expand and improve public transportation services.

Cycling is gaining popularity in Oklahoma City, and the city has implemented bike-sharing programs, allowing residents to access bicycles for commuting or leisurely rides. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available, providing convenient and reliable transportation alternatives.

Exploring Higher Education In Oklahoma City

Parents in OKC have a range of educational options to consider when enrolling their children in school. In addition to the available public schools, they can also choose between charter schools, private schools, or they can homeschool their children.

For higher education in OKC, there are many prominent colleges and universities to choose from. Most students attend either the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College or Oklahoma State University. OU is located in Norman; however, the OU Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) in Oklahoma City enrolls over 4,000 students yearly in more than 70 health-related degree programs. The OCCC is home to over 12,000 students who can choose between over 100 degree and certificate programs. OSU enrolls over 24,000 students and offers 200 undergraduate majors. 

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The Kind Of Weather You’d Expect Living In Tornado Alley 

One of the best things about living in Oklahoma City is the opportunity to experience four full seasons. Here’s what you can expect from each:

Winter: Although snow and the occasional ice storm are possible, they’re infrequent. Winters here are cool, with some cold days dipping to freezing temperatures. The average temperatures here range from the mid-20s to the mid-50s.

Spring: When spring arrives, you can expect a range in temperature from the upper 50s to the low 70s. Nighttime temperatures are much cooler, with lows in the 40s. Oklahoma receives around 4.6 inches of rain each year, most of which falls in the spring. May is the peak month for all tornadoes in OKC, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for weather alerts and alarms. About two thirds of all tornadoes hit somewhere in April, May or June. 

Summer: In Summer, the sun (which shines 237 days/year here) is on full display, making things somewhat uncomfortable. Expect it to be hot and humid most days, with temperatures often reaching the mid-90s. 

Fall: Oklahoma City falls bring the changing leaves and much-needed relief from the heat. Highs are typically in the high 70s/low 80s and things cool down closer to winter, with averages in the 50s.

Due to the chance of severe weather in the state, especially in the spring, it’s essential that you stay informed when it comes to the weather conditions in your area. 

10 Can’t-Miss Hidden Gems In The 405

Immerse Yourself in the Arts: Lose yourself in the eclectic Paseo Arts District’s galleries and boutiques, or take in one of the world’s largest Dale Chihuly collections at the incredible Oklahoma City Museum of Art. 

Let Loose in the Bricktown Entertainment District: Whether you want to grab a drink, catch some live music, take a ride on a water taxi or dance the night away, this lively district won’t leave you disappointed.

Explore Your Wild Side at the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden: This popular family-friendly attraction boasts numerous exhibits and animals from around the globe. The zoo offers year-round special events, educational programs and even has its own Children’s Zoo where kids can enjoy interactive, hands-on exhibits.

Mosey on Over to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Experience cowboy country right in the heart of Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This world-renowned museum is the ultimate celebration of OKC’s Western roots. It’s an absolute must-visit for anyone in town. 

Pay Your Respect at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: This museum serves as a memorial to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After you take in the artifacts, spend some time at the reflecting pool, promontory and Survivor Tree.

Bask in the Tranquil Beauty of the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory: This urban oasis is a local and tourist hotspot. Visitors can enjoy stunning landscapes, live performances, streams and an interactive play area for children. Don’t miss the tranquil conservatory and its waterfalls, butterflies and tropical plants. 

Cheer on the Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC is home to the beloved NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cheer them on, along with the Thunder Girls, at the Paycom Center. 

Spend the Day at Historic Stockyards City: After taking in the sights at one of the largest livestock markets worldwide, grab a bite to eat at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse (featured on both Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) and enjoy some live music at the Oklahoma Opry.

Take a Stroll Along the Riverwalk: When you’re looking for a quiet, tranquil way to spend some of your downtime, go for a scenic walk at the Riverwalk. The views are stunning, and if you’re feeling peckish, you can grab a bite to eat along the way. 

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Lake Hefner: Outdoor enthusiasts will love spending time at Lake Hefner. Take your pick between fishing, kayaking, swimming, cycling, or just enjoying a picnic along the shore. 

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The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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