Moving to Oklahoma
Have you ever considered a fresh start in the Great Plains? Get ready to be charmed by Oklahoma, a hidden gem that offers an incredibly diverse landscape, a warm and welcoming community, and a vibrant economy. Our comprehensive Oklahoma relocation guide will walk you through every aspect of the journey – from finding your dream home, to discovering the perfect local restaurant, to embracing Sooner traditions. With engaging tales, captivating advice, and a sprinkle of playfulness – let us unveil the wonders of Oklahoma, and paint a vivid picture of your future in the Sooner State.
What to Know Before Moving to Oklahoma
1. The weather is a conversation starter
One of the first things anyone moving to Oklahoma should know is that the weather here is wild and unpredictable. Oklahomans love to say, "If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes!" With temperatures ranging from freezing to scorching throughout the year, tornadoes in the spring, and even an occasional earthquake, it's no wonder that weather is a favorite topic of conversation.
2. Fried okra and chicken-fried steak are local delights
Get ready to enjoy some delicious southern comfort food, because Oklahoma does it right! Two dishes you'll likely encounter (and should definitely try) are fried okra and chicken-fried steak. Fried okra is a staple side dish in Oklahoma, serving as a tasty way to enjoy the regional vegetable. Chicken-fried steak, on the other hand, takes a thin, tenderized piece of beef, breads it, and pan-fries it to crispy perfection. Paired with creamy mashed potatoes and smothered in white gravy – your taste buds will thank you!
3. Football reigns supreme
When it comes to sports in Oklahoma, nothing gets locals as excited as football. The Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys boast loyal followings throughout the state. Expect to see flags waving, bumper stickers, and rivalries playing out from September to December. In addition to college football, you'll also find enthusiastic support for the state's professional basketball team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
4. The heartwarming story behind the state nickname
Oklahoma's nickname is "The Sooner State", and the story behind it is one of determination and drive. In the late 1800s, settlers hoping to stake their claims in the Oklahoma Territory were legally required to wait for the official start of the land rush. However, some determined settlers, tired of waiting, entered the territory before the official start and staked their claims "sooner" than allowed, hence the name "sooners". Although these early settlers faced legal repercussions, their determined and go-getter spirit is still celebrated today.
5. There's an "Oklahoma Standard" of kindness
Something unique and somewhat unknown about Oklahoma is the "Oklahoma Standard". This unwritten code of kindness, resilience, and community became widely recognized after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing when locals came together to support one another. People in Oklahoma take pride in being kind, helpful, and good neighbors, so expect to be greeted with a smile and a helping hand when you move here.
6. The landlocked ocean – Lake Texoma
Another relatively unknown fact about Oklahoma is that it's home to one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. Lake Texoma spans well over 89,000 acres and is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and birdwatching. Regarded as the "Playground of the Southwest" or the "Red River Oasis", the lake attracts over 6 million visitors every year. So if you are a nature lover or enjoy water sports, Oklahoma has got you covered!
7. Authentic Native American history and culture
Oklahoma is rich in Native American history and culture. The state has 39 federally recognized Native American tribes, with the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw being some of the most populous. The city of Anadarko is known as the "Indian Capital of the Nation," offering a unique opportunity to experience authentic Native American culture, including traditional dances, ceremonies, and cuisine. You can also visit museums and historical sites that pay tribute to the state's important Native American heritage.
In conclusion, moving to Oklahoma will take you on an adventure filled with wild weather, flavorful food, passionate sports fans, and a heartwarming sense of community. With its unique blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural attractions, there's no doubt that you'll have an exciting and unforgettable experience when you make the great Sooner State your new home.
Pros and Cons of Living in Oklahoma
Pros of Living in Oklahoma
Affordable Housing and Cost of Living
Oklahoma is known for its affordable housing and low overall cost of living. Compared to other states, residents can expect to spend less on housing, groceries, and utilities, which leaves more money for other essentials or leisure activities. This affordability can make moving and settling in Oklahoma an attractive choice for many people.
Diverse Landscape and Outdoor Recreation
Oklahoma offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the rolling hills and lakes of the eastern part of the state to the flat plains and rugged terrain of the west. This variety provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, boating, and horseback riding. Residents can easily explore and enjoy all that Oklahoma's great outdoors has to offer.
Oklahoma is home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene, featuring numerous museums, art galleries, and performance venues. The Philbrook and Gilcrease Museums in Tulsa and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art showcase both local and international artists, while the various performing arts centers, such as Tulsa's BOK Center, host live music, theater, and dance productions throughout the year.
Friendly People and Strong Sense of Community
Oklahomans are known for their friendliness and warm hospitality. This welcoming atmosphere can make it easy for new residents to make friends and build connections in their new community. Many small towns and neighborhoods in Oklahoma have a strong sense of community, with regular social events and gatherings to foster togetherness.
Oklahoma's economy is diverse, with industries such as energy, aerospace, agriculture, and healthcare providing a range of employment opportunities. With a low unemployment rate and various job options, the state can be an attractive destination for those seeking to advance their careers or establish businesses.
Cons of Living in Oklahoma
Severe Weather and Natural Disasters
Oklahoma is known for its severe weather, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hailstorms. These natural disasters can cause significant damage and require residents to take precautions to stay safe. Additionally, the state's location in Tornado Alley can make obtaining affordable homeowner's insurance more challenging due to the higher risk.
Limited Public Transportation
Public transportation options in Oklahoma are limited, particularly in rural areas, which can make travel difficult for those without personal vehicles. Large cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa have bus systems, but they may not provide the extensive coverage and convenience that residents might find in other states.
Healthcare Access and Quality
While Oklahoma has a variety of healthcare facilities, access to care and the overall quality of healthcare services in the state can vary depending on location. Rural areas may have fewer providers and limited services, making it challenging for residents to receive the care they need. Additionally, Oklahoma ranks low in some health indicators, such as obesity and life expectancy, which can be a cause for concern.
Oklahoma's education system has faced challenges in recent years, such as budget cuts and limited resources. These issues can impact the quality of education for students in public schools and may contribute to lower test scores and graduation rates, compared to national averages. Families considering a move to Oklahoma might be wary of these educational concerns for their children.
Lack of Diversity and Entertainment Options
While Oklahoma boasts a range of cultural attractions, the state's overall diversity and availability of entertainment options can be limited compared to larger states or cities. This lack of variety might be a drawback for some residents who enjoy a wide range of dining, shopping, and nightlife experiences. However, larger cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa do offer a selection of activities and amenities for residents to enjoy.
Is Oklahoma a Good State to Live In?
Oklahoma is a great place to live because it offers a low cost of living, friendly communities, and diverse outdoor activities. The state is home to beautiful landscapes ranging from the Great Plains to forests and lakes, making it a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
What Is Oklahoma Famous For?
Scrumptious Chicken-Fried Steak
Oklahoma is known for its delectable chicken-fried steak, a dish with origins dating back to the late 1800s. It consists of a tenderized piece of steak that is battered, deep-fried to perfection, and smothered in mouth-watering gravy. Oklahomans love it so much that it's even been declared the official state meal!
Route 66: The Mother Road
The legendary Route 66 winds through Oklahoma, covering 400 miles of quaint towns and roadside attractions. This historic highway played a significant role in American history, as it offered a path for westward migration during the Dust Bowl. Today, visitors can take road trips through Oklahoma, discovering vintage restaurants, quirky museums, and nostalgic landmarks along the way.
Oklahoma! The Musical
The state’s name is synonymous with the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1943. The show is an iconic piece of American theater, depicting love and conflict in the Oklahoma territory during the early 1900s. The memorable songs and characters make Oklahoma! a beloved tribute to the state's frontier spirit.
Twisters of Tornado Alley
Oklahoma sits right in the heart of Tornado Alley, where powerful storms and tornadoes frequent the landscape. The state is home to the National Weather Center, dedicated to the study and prediction of tornadoes and other severe weather events. While tornadoes can be terrifying, Oklahomans’ resilience and tight-knit communities make it one of the most incredible places to live, work, and visit!
Overview of Tax Rates
Oklahoma's average property tax rate is 0.87% as of 2023, which is lower than the national average of 1.07%. This places Oklahoma in the lower half among US states in terms of property tax rates.
As of 2023, Oklahoma has a state sales tax rate of 4.5%, with local rates ranging from 0% to 7%, resulting in a combined sales tax rate of 4.5% to 11.5%. This puts Oklahoma in the higher end of sales tax rates compared to other states.
Oklahoma has a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 0.5% to 5%. These rates are relatively low compared to other states with progressive income tax systems, placing Oklahoma in the lower-middle range in terms of income tax rates among US states.
The Oklahoma housing market offers great affordability compared to other states, with median home values around $137,000, significantly below the national average. This is accompanied by relatively low property taxes and a favorable cost of living. Renters can expect to pay around $750 for a one-bedroom apartment, also well below the national average. Thus, Oklahoma presents an attractive opportunity for homebuyers and renters seeking budget-friendly options.
Cost of Living
Oklahoma has a relatively low cost of living compared to other states in the US. The primary contributing factors include affordable housing, utility costs, and transportation expenses. However, residents may experience low income levels and limited access to amenities. Overall, Oklahoma remains an attractive options for individuals and families seeking a more affordable lifestyle without compromising on essential quality of life factors.
Weather & Natural Disasters
The climate in Oklahoma is characterized by its central location in the United States, which results in an interesting mix of subtropical and continental climate types. Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures around 90°F (32°C), and sporadic cooling rainfall. Winters are relatively mild with temperatures dipping as low as 20°F (-7°C) in the coldest month of January. This variability in temperature gives Oklahoma a diverse range of weather patterns and leads to occasional extreme conditions.
Oklahoma is located in the infamous Tornado Alley, with an annual average of 62 tornadoes, making it a hot spot for these violent storms. The state is also prone to severe thunderstorms, which can bring damaging winds, and large hailstones, leading to potential property damage. Furthermore, it also experiences occasional flash flooding due to heavy rainfall, and droughts become more frequent during periods with below-average precipitation. Overall, Oklahoma's location and diverse climatic conditions contribute to a range of weather patterns and natural disasters, keeping residents and visitors on their toes throughout the year.
Economy & Job Market
Aerospace and defense
Agriculture and biosciences
Information and financial services
Transportation and distribution
Oklahoma's economy has deep roots in agriculture and energy, with a long history of oil and natural gas production. Over the years, the state's economic landscape has diversified, and Oklahoma made its mark on other industries. In the 21st century, aerospace and defense became one of the state's thriving sectors, home to major players like Boeing and American Airlines. Agriculture and biosciences have also maintained their importance, with Oklahoma being one of the nation's top wheat producers and a leader in livestock production. Additionally, information and financial services, as well as transportation and distribution, have seen expansive growth and now contribute a significant share to the economy.
If the allure of Oklahoma's productive and diverse economy has you considering a move, you'll want to know the lay of the land before job hunting. The state generally boasts a stable employment rate, with most job opportunities concentrated in the urban areas, particularly Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Both these cities have a growing tech sector, offering more opportunities for IT professionals. The energy industry is a major employer, with many oil and gas companies headquartered or operating in the state. And if you have an interest in aviation, Oklahoma's thriving aerospace and defense industry provides a healthy job market with skilled and well-paying positions. So whether you're drawn to the fields of agriculture, the skies of aerospace, or the digital realm of tech, Oklahoma's job market has something to offer.
Traffic and Transportation
They say you gotta keep 'Oklahoma rollin' along', and with the interesting world of traffic and transportation options in The Sooner State, it sure keeps things moving! Big city dwellers, take note, because the average commute time in Oklahoma City and Tulsa is around 20-25 minutes - not too shabby for getting around town, right?
If you're feelin' more sociable, give Oklahoma City's EMBARK buses a spin or hop aboard Tulsa Transit. Public transportation users can take a load off and crack open a book, or sit back and scroll through the latest cornfield memes on their phones while cruising to their destinations. Yeehaw!
Need to catch some air? Oklahoma has you covered (naturally)! With Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport - the state's primary commercial airports - you'll be ready to soar through those Okie skies faster than you can say "boomer sooner"!
Things to Do
Welcome to Oklahoma, where the plains meet the hills, and history meets modernity. Perhaps you have just moved to this great state or are considering a move, and you want to know what makes Oklahoma a special place to call home. Well, buckle up, friend – we have got you covered! Here is a list of 7 top things to do in Oklahoma that will make you fall in love with your new home.
1. Explore the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is an emotional and enriching experience that commemorates the lives lost and forever changed during the tragic Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a beautiful and solemn space, featuring a reflecting pool, the Field of Empty Chairs, the Survivor Tree, and more. The museum offers interactive exhibits that tell the story of that fateful day and its aftermath, as well as a look into the resilience and heroism of Oklahomans.
2. Discover the Great Salt Plains State Park
A unique gem hidden in northwestern Oklahoma, the Great Salt Plains State Park is known for its natural salt flat and the crystal digging area. With a valid permit, you can get your hands dirty and dig for the selenite crystals exclusive to this area. In addition to this rare activity, the park offers hiking, fishing, camping, and bird watching opportunities. Eagle watching, in fact, is one of the highlights during winter months. Don't forget to pack your binoculars!
3. Stroll through Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art
Located inside a beautiful Italian Renaissance villa, the Philbrook Museum of Art is a must-visit destination with a collection that spans from European to North American artworks and sculptures. This visually stunning museum is an ideal place to spend a day admiring the beautiful indoor art or taking a tranquil walk through its perfectly manicured gardens.
4. Encounter Exotic Wildlife at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
For nature and wildlife enthusiasts, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a prime destination. Spanning over 59,000 acres, the refuge is home to several free-roaming species such as bison, elk, and longhorn cattle, as well as birds, reptiles, and fish. Explore the magnificence of nature by hiking through its picturesque trails, going rock climbing, or picnicking with your family in this scenic landscape.
5. Marvel at the Azalea Festival in Muskogee
Each April, the city of Muskogee bursts into colorful life with its annual Azalea Festival. One of the most vivid celebrations in Oklahoma, this month-long event held in Honor Heights Park showcases over 30,000 blooming azaleas, tulips, and dogwood trees. A beautiful backdrop for the countless springtime activities – including garden tours, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and more!
6. Traverse through the Great American Road Trip on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66, the iconic highway that stretches nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica. Oklahoma boasts the most drivable miles of this storied road, with various roadside attractions like the Blue Whale of Catoosa, the Round Barn of Arcadia, and the historic Coleman Theatre in Miami. So grab a map and set out on a journey to explore the rich heritage along this legendary highway.
7. Unravel History at the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center
Delve into Oklahoma's past at the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, an ancient Native American site dating back over a thousand years. The twelve grass-covered mounds once served as an important ceremonial and political center. Today, visitors can explore these sacred grounds and gain an understanding of the sophisticated Caddoan culture that once thrived here.
These are just a few of the incredible experiences that Oklahoma has to offer. No matter your interests, you'll find something to love in this captivating state. So go ahead; dive in and embrace the Oklahoman spirit!
Find Movers for Your Oklahoma Relocation
As you prepare for your exciting relocation to Oklahoma, Great Guys Moving is here to help ensure a smooth and stress-free move. With strong connections to reputable, licensed, and insured movers in the industry, we make finding a moving company an effortless experience. A seamless transition to your new Oklahoma home awaits – simply submit your move details and let Great Guys Moving connect you with the perfect fit for your moving needs. Don't delay and request your free moving quote today!
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