Introduction Born in a day through a rash of land claims and later transformed from a cow town to a state capital, Oklahoma City is no stranger to rapid growth and development. The city takes change in stride, all the while sticking proudly to its roots.
In late 1993 voters approved a temporary one-cent sales tax, which funded a massive decade-long downtown improvement project. The convention center, the state fairgrounds and the Civic Center Music Hall received extensive face-lifts, and construction of the Chesapeake Energy Arena (formerly the Ford Center), the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and a library breathed new life into the area. But the highlight is a mile-long canal that connects the Oklahoma River, downtown and Bricktown, an old warehouse neighborhood that is packed with places to go for dining and nightlife. A stroll along the riverwalk on the Bricktown Canal, lined with trees and shops, is the perfect opportunity for people-watching.
When you’re ready to get back to the city’s roots, take a trip to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum or the Oklahoma History Center. Attend the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival, a gathering of more than 100 tribes, for a taste of Native American culture. Shop at the festival’s art market or visit one of Oklahoma City’s many Western wear shops to take a piece of its heritage home with you.
By CarTranscontinental I-40 is the primary east-west route through the area; it traverses the heart of the city, offering easy interchanges with main streets and other through routes. I-44, a shorter east-west corridor, angles in from the northeast and the southwest, skirting the western side of the city and offering frequent interchanges.
Except for its path through the city, I-44 is a toll highway throughout most of Oklahoma; its various segments are known as the Will Rogers Turnpike, Turner Turnpike and H.E. Bailey Turnpike. Other east-west routes serving the area mainly accommodate local traffic and include US 62, US 270 and old US 66, which parallels I-44 from the northeast and I-40 from the west.
I-35 bisects both the nation and Oklahoma City, bringing travelers from Lake Superior to the north and from the Mexican border to the south. It courses along the city's east side with frequent interchanges. US 77 closely parallels I-35 and serves mostly local traffic. Also of importance is SR 3, which provides access to Will Rogers and Wiley Post airports as it skirts the city's west side.
I-240 (the Southwest Expressway) combines with I-44 and I-35 to form a loop around Oklahoma City, providing a bypass of the downtown area.
Street SystemExcept for the area around the Capitol and state office buildings, Oklahoma City is laid out in a grid pattern with streets either running north-south or east-west. The numbered streets run east-west both north and south of Main Street; named north-south streets intersect them. East-west address numbers start at Grand Avenue, and north-south numbers begin at Broadway.
Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on most streets is 25 to 30 mph. Rush hour traffic, 7:30-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., should be avoided.
ParkingAmple parking is available downtown. There are many commercial garages, and most hotels provide parking for guests. Rates are $1-$2 per hour, or $10 per day.
Oklahoma City, OK
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
Oklahoma City levies a sales tax of 8.38 percent, a lodging tax of 13.87 percent and a rental car tax of 14.37 percent.
Time and Temperature
AllianceHealth Deaconess, (405) 604-6000; Integris Baptist Medical Center, (405) 949-3011; Integris Southwest Medical Center, (405) 636-7000; Mercy Hospital, (405) 755-1515; OU Medical Center, (405) 271-4700; St. Anthony Hospital, (405) 272-7000.
123 Park Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73102. Phone:(405)297-8900
Will Rogers World Airport
Several rental car agencies serve the Oklahoma City area. Hertz, (405) 681-2341 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Amtrak's Heartland Flyer provides daily train service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. The station is at 100 South E.K. Gaylord Blvd. Phone (800) 872-7245.
Greyhound Lines Inc. and Jefferson Lines are the major bus lines that serve the city. They both operate out of the same terminal at 1938 E. Reno Ave. Phone (405) 606-4382.
Cab companies include A1 Taxi Service, (405) 321-3111; and Yellow Cab, (405) 232-6161. Taxis are metered and charge $2.75 per call for the first 1/8 mile and an additional $.25 per 1/8 mile. There is a $1 charge for each additional passenger ages 12+.
EMBARK, (405) 235-7433, operates throughout the metropolitan area. The main terminal/transit center is at 420 N.W. 5th St. Bus fare is $1.75; 75c (ages 7-17 and 60+). A 1-day pass is $4; $2 (ages 7-17 and 60+). Downtown Discovery shuttle buses traverse the downtown area between the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and Bricktown; fare is free.
Oklahoma River Cruises operates on the Oklahoma River April through December. Boarding points for the 1.25-hour trip are at Regatta Park, 701 S. Lincoln Blvd.; Meridian Landing, 4345 S.W. 15th St.; Exchange Landing, 1503 Exchange Ave.; and Bricktown Landing, at 334 Centennial Dr. Fare is $6 per stop, $15 maximum; $3 per stop, $7.50 maximum (ages 7-12 and 60+). Phone (405) 702-7755.