Discover Endless Arts and Culture in Oklahoma

Discover the heart and soul of Oklahoma with these seven ideas. Perfect for the first-time visitor or locals alike, these suggestions will round out any weekend trip and give you ideas for your next visit.
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For many, the words “art and culture” in Oklahoma bring to mind the timeless melodies of Woody Guthrie and cowboys and farmers dancing merrily across a stage. But past and present, there is so much more to uncover. From outdoor folk art to museums big and small, the guide below is a great place to get acquainted with the vast amount of art and culture in Oklahoma.

This story was created in partnership with Travel Oklahoma.

1. Share Campfire Stories at the Honobia Bigfoot Festival  

Collage of images of camping, festival food, and trails in Oklahoma.

The Honobia Bigfoot Festival is an Oklahoma tradition dating back nearly a decade. Each fall, bigfoot fans from near and far gather in the beautiful Kiamichi Mountains in Southeastern Oklahoma to swap stories, take helicopter rides, and enjoy classic festival highlights like food, crafts, and music. There is even a Bigfoot 5K that takes place on a thickly wooded trail. This free, family-friendly festival welcomes all lovers of folklore—regardless of your belief in the missing link.

2. Know all the Words at the Woody Guthrie Center

Oklahoma history is bubbling over with famous characters, but none of them left such an impression on the American psyche as Woody Guthrie. Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie, named after the 28th president of the United States, was a singer-songwriter and legendary folk musician hailing from Okemah, Oklahoma. His songs inspired millions and promoted unity and healing during the great depression era. Today, his message lives on at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa and during the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, a week-long celebration of Guthrie’s legacy held each spring in his hometown of Okemah.

3. Step Inside the Life of a Legend at the Bob Dylan Center

Located less than 200 feet from the front doors of the Woody Guthrie Center, the Bob Dylan Center is an ode to the life and work of the one and only musician Bob Dylan. It’s here in Tulsa that over 100,000 archival items spanning Dylan’s career, from notebooks to mixed media and instruments, are on display. But why Oklahoma? Visitors can thank Guthrie for his longtime mentorship to Dylan, a relationship that inspired the placement of this immersive, three-story display of Dylan’s life and art.

4. Satiate Your Curiosity at Oklahoma’s Top Tier Museums

Collage of images from museums in Oklahoma

Travelers could spend an entire week–or longer–exploring Oklahoma’s top tier museums. In fact, building your itinerary around any number of these educational centers is a great method to plan your journey to the Sooner State. Wonder at a giant wooly mammoth statue at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, fly a spaceship simulation at the Stafford Air & Space Museum, or explore a frontier cattle town at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. No matter which topics interest you and your family, Oklahoma has a museum for you!

5. Dive Deep in One of Oklahoma’s Small Museums

For those with an interest in the quirky, Oklahoma delivers with a wide assortment of small museums. Peppered throughout the state, these hidden gems offer a great way to break up a road trip or satiate your interest in a number of topics, from archaeology to pop culture. Browse the grounds at the significant Fort Sill National Historic Landmark, discover 10,000 miniature heroes at the Toy and Action Figure Museum, or feel the wind in your hair at the Shattuck Windmill Museum & Park. After exploring one or more of these archives, you are sure to depart with an expert-level knowledge in the topic at hand!

6. Stand Beneath the World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole

The world’s largest concrete totem pole, created by artist Ed Galloway, is located just four miles south of Route 66 outside of Chelsea, Oklahoma. Standing at 90 feet high, this colorful tribute to Native American culture makes for an excellent rest stop. Visitors can stretch their legs while checking out this and other totem poles throughout the park, and peek into the Fiddle House—a collection of Galloway’s hand-crafted fiddles. This unique destination is on the National Register of Historic Places and certainly earns a spot on our list for art and culture in the Sooner State.

7. Travel Along the Oklahoma Music Trail

We’ve already hinted at Oklahoma’s extensive folk music history featuring beloved singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie. But travelers with a deeper interest in the sounds of Oklahoma could spend a lifetime experiencing the tunes of Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and beyond—what we like to call the Oklahoma Music Trail. And while this part of the country has a decidedly twangy tendency, it’s not all fiddle and mandolin. From Jazz in June to Rocklahoma, year-round music festivals draw visitors from near and far. You can even craft your entire trip based on your favorite band.

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