Oklahoma City (OKC) is a driver of unprecedented growth and change. City leaders and citizens had a far-reaching vision that has led this city into a new frontier of urban innovation. The capital of Oklahoma, it's also the most populous city in the state, with a metropolitan population of over 1.2 million. Places Rated Almanac cited Oklahoma City as one of the "Best Places To Live In North America."
A pioneering work in progress, a billion-dollar renaissance has seen sweeping changes and improvements across nearly every sector. This is an active, activity-filled city that enables its residents to enjoy an exceptional quality of life. The mild climate offers year-round sunshine, and there's low traffic congestion and low pollution. Plus, there is an abundance of arts, excellence in education, and variety of recreation and an ever-broadening cultural landscape. Oklahoma City is going places: Off to the ballet, museums, the theater, golf courses, the philharmonic, malls, to the lake, the zoo, a theme park or the big game. Landmark projects such as the mile-long Bricktown Canal have infused a new life and vibrancy into the Southwest's fastest-growing entertainment district, and neighborhood programs citywide have helped restore historic homes and buildings to their original luster.
Oklahoma City has a large and increasingly diverse economy. What was once a city known for energy exploration and a huge center of government has now diversified to include sectors such as biotechnology, information technology, health services and administration. The size and impact of the Oklahoma Health Center (OHC) makes it a city within a city that includes 22 medical entities: hospitals, foundations, private biomedical companies and a university medical school. The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is producing breakthrough research in immunology, aging, and cardiovascular biology. INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center pioneered transplants and ranks among the nation's top 10 institutions for transplants of all kinds. St. Anthony Hospital was Oklahoma City's first hospital and continues to provide quality care today. All this means Oklahoma City residents' access to hospital care is phenomenal, with over 4,400 beds available.
More than 35,000 people, or 6.5% of OKC's workforce, are employed in the field of aviation. Tinker Air Force Base is as elite as it is vast. Among many distinctions, it's the biggest aircraft and jet engine repair center in the U.S. The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is the largest facility in the U.S. Department of Transportation. It trains all U.S. Air Traffic Controllers and, since 1946, has trained controllers from 167 countries. The Will Rogers World Airport is undergoing a hundred million-dollar renovation that will double its current size.
With industry leaders Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy, plus Mustang Fuel, Louis Dreyfus and others, OKC has a legacy of oil philanthropy, and possesses abundant natural resources, including high-quality electrical power, natural gas and a water supply many cities and states envy. Oklahoma City is also a fast-growing technology capital, with more than 400 technology companies and 30,000 technology employees. High-tech manufacturing, information technology and software companies are all a part of the mix.
Oklahoma City is one of the largest artist communities in the country. A downtown arts district is emerging, with a new Oklahoma City Museum of Art and renovated performance hall joining the Oklahoma City Arts Council and Stage Center. A Professional Philharmonic and ballet company lead a diverse group of arts organizations that contribute greatly to the quality of life.
The Omniplex Science museum and the Oklahoma City National Monument honor the victims, survivors and rescuers of the April 19th, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. There is also the Myriad Botanical Gardens (highlighted by the famous Crystal Bridge, designed by I. M. Pei), the Oklahoma Zoological Park, and Frontier City amusement park.
OKC's population is diverse, with a substantial Asian, Hispanic, African-American and American Indian populations. In the Oklahoma City Public Schools alone, students speak 49 different languages at home. OKC is home to the world-class National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and a record number of national championship horse shows are held each year at State Fair Park. In fact, there's a saying: Any horse that hasn't been to Oklahoma City is trying its best to get here.
There are also country music clubs, rodeos, Stockyards City, and Remington Park. Oklahoma City has the best barbecue recipes in the South, world-famous Tex-Mex creations and famous chicken fried steak. The Northwest Expressway corridor, the Meridian "strip," Western Avenue's "restaurant row" and many other locations offer such a variety of dining experiences -- no one will leave Oklahoma City hungry.
If you're looking for a unique nightlife experience, you'll find it at Oklahoma City's Bricktown district, conveniently located one block east of downtown. Enjoy great seafood or spicy Mexican fare, dance the night away or simply relax in a horse-drawn carriage as you ride through downtown Oklahoma City.
OKC has a great many higher education opportunities like the Oklahoma City University, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Science and Art of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City has one of the lowest costs of living in the nation. The bulk of homes range from $36,000 to $359,000, according to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and townhouses and condominiums go from $39,000 to $120,000, depending on the area of the city. The metro is very spread out, contains several distinct areas and is outperforming many larger cities where homes are losing value. OKC is expanding due to the growth in downtown, and with the gains in various business sectors figures to help the market, and keep rates at relative lows.