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Old 09-29-2009, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Seal Beach,CA
455 posts, read 833,215 times
Reputation: 112

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I am looking at relocating with my company. What is Oklahoma City really like ? I would like to hear from those who like it and those who don't.

 
Old 09-29-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
443 posts, read 795,230 times
Reputation: 571
I tend to fall into the category of those who don't have a favorable opinion of OKC compared to other cities. For a brief background I've lived in OKC or the immediate area for 5 years on and off...the longest continuous time was 3 years ( I don't live there now but still own a home there). My age was 23-28 when I lived there. My company took me there on and off...I had no family or any other prior connections to OK before moving there.

So...what is OKC really like?

OKC's best attributes...
1) Wide open spaces even in the OKC metro...even in the inner core most homes have nice backyards and plenty of land.
2) It's not as flat as people make it out to be...some parts of the city have rolling hills...more dramatic further east
3) CHEAP cost of living overall...I don't know of many other places in the US where $600/month will still get you 1 bedroom apts in decent areas.
4) Very friendly people
5) Traffic is nothing compared to major US cities
6) OKC Thunder...what a great addition to the community. I really enjoyed going to the games and thought it gave a good boost to downtown.

OKC's less desirable attributes...
1) Massive storms can happen any time of the year with hail the size of softballs (no joke, saw it several times!)...wind and potential tornados that cause major property damage/destruction. If you are coming from a part of the country where the weather is benign (most of the west coast) this can be quite a shock. OKC is well prepared generally for major events but it can be very scary to someone who isn't used to the "storm culture". Get ready to see Gary England breaking into your latest episode of Desperate housewives almost every night in March and April!
2) Lack of a major airport. This might not be a big deal if you don't travel by air of course. But I travel a lot and it was always a major hindrance getting to Europe or Asia leaving from OKC...and much more expensive too. I think the only airline that doesn't fly those annoying tiny regional jets from OKC anymore is Southwest. Many of the major airlines really scaled back their service in OKC...I was really sad when Expressjet went under last year!
3) General lack of services for such a large city. There are over 1 million people in the OKC area...where are the good grocery stores, large number of non chain restaurants, retail shopping in downtown, decent water/amusement parks, usable public transit in the inner core...did I mention good grocery stores?? I'm sure someone will write back critiquing each of these with a response but I still feel that on a per-capita basis OKC is sorely lacking in services that other US cities of similar size can offer.
4) Mixed downtown area. Hardly any (almost no) retail in the downtown area...there are a few decent restaurants and the area has dramatically changed in the last 10 years but it's still VERY quiet on most nights (crickets can be heard) and some areas immediately outside of the downtown revitalization efforts are really really ghetto.
5) Very limited outdoor activity options. There is really no good camping in the immediate OKC area...no good rock climbing...closest mountains are 10 hours away in Colorado (I'm sorry but the Wichitas don't measure up)...hardly any bike trails in the city (this might be changing)...god help you if you try to ride a bike from downtown to Penn Square during the day.

In summary, OKC has both good and bad attributes like any place. You'll have to weight them against your own situation. You didn't give any specifics on your age group, where you are coming from etc but for a person my age with travel needs and no kids it wasn't a good fit.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 05:09 PM
 
87 posts, read 157,655 times
Reputation: 60
Good

+Fantastic sunsets. Absolutely beautiful, this past Sunday night was one example.

+The landscape isn't bad as the OP said. Definetly better than Dallas. Although, I like East Texas better (especially if it wasn't so trashed and disected).

+One of the cheapest major cities.

+A sense of optimism as the city is expiriencing large growth, and lots of business and money coming into the city.

BAD

+The traffic in horrendous. I am sorry to disagree with the OP, but in the cities, Norman and Edmond, ect, the roads are entirely to small for the population boom (you see this all over the country though, in moderate sized booming cities like Shawnee, Ok, Tyler, TX, Springfield, MO, Fayetteville, Ark.) Filthy, broken streets, always under construction. Plus I-40 and I-35 have construction all along them.

+Not the best shopping. OKC is no Dallas or Phoenix when it comes to shopping and dining. There is plenty of GOOD food, but it is not the upscale-yet-affordable stuff you can find in other cities.

+The weather, extremely hot, humid. Then of course in the Winter every few weeks from late Nobember alllllll the way to April, there can be a day with wind chill into the 0's, followed by a warm day. High UV radiation too, so good for sunburns. I like the cold, but not with Flucations in the winter which gives me headaches, and nosebleeds. It is common to have 80 degree days in January.

+Lots of junked out areas. General complaint for all the south. Beautiful land, trashed and not taken care of by us. We have a right to be here and have our own land, but not to mistreat it.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Seal Beach,CA
455 posts, read 833,215 times
Reputation: 112
I am 40 and wife is 35. We have a 10 yr old child.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 09:08 PM
 
498 posts, read 949,116 times
Reputation: 494
Below is about the most balanced and accurate depiction of Oklahoma City I have seen on this board. Although I love Oklahoma City, your post is honest and truthful.

I am not going to critique, but add with some of my feelings and explanations...

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
I tend to fall into the category of those who don't have a favorable opinion of OKC compared to other cities. For a brief background I've lived in OKC or the immediate area for 5 years on and off...the longest continuous time was 3 years ( I don't live there now but still own a home there). My age was 23-28 when I lived there. My company took me there on and off...I had no family or any other prior connections to OK before moving there.

So...what is OKC really like?

OKC's best attributes...
1) Wide open spaces even in the OKC metro...even in the inner core most homes have nice backyards and plenty of land.
2) It's not as flat as people make it out to be...some parts of the city have rolling hills...more dramatic further east
3) CHEAP cost of living overall...I don't know of many other places in the US where $600/month will still get you 1 bedroom apts in decent areas.
4) Very friendly people
5) Traffic is nothing compared to major US cities
6) OKC Thunder...what a great addition to the community. I really enjoyed going to the games and thought it gave a good boost to downtown.

OKC's less desirable attributes...
1) Massive storms can happen any time of the year with hail the size of softballs (no joke, saw it several times!)...wind and potential tornados that cause major property damage/destruction. If you are coming from a part of the country where the weather is benign (most of the west coast) this can be quite a shock. OKC is well prepared generally for major events but it can be very scary to someone who isn't used to the "storm culture". Get ready to see Gary England breaking into your latest episode of Desperate housewives almost every night in March and April!
Storm culture. Never heard it being described in such a way but is very true and I am very much a part of it. Weather in Houston is a bit more boring but when severe weather does strike it is all guesswork. Just this year, a weak tornado grazed our neigborhood in Conroe (nothing but tree damage, though). No sirens, narry a peep from the local weather service. Just imagine if our house got hit. We wouldn't have been prepared. Then there is that hurricane that whipped through and knocked out all services within a 7,000 square mile area. Very unforgiving.

Yes, Oklahoma City is indeed well prepared, but it can be unnerving for many out-of-staters. But make no mistake, don't think picking Dallas makes things any safer. They are still very much in tornado alley, yet 6.5 million DFW residents seem to think otherwise. And an EF-5 is long overdue for DFW. It will be bad. Very bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
2) Lack of a major airport. This might not be a big deal if you don't travel by air of course. But I travel a lot and it was always a major hindrance getting to Europe or Asia leaving from OKC...and much more expensive too. I think the only airline that doesn't fly those annoying tiny regional jets from OKC anymore is Southwest. Many of the major airlines really scaled back their service in OKC...I was really sad when Expressjet went under last year!
Yupp. Lack of air service holds OKC back on many fronts. It's tough though because the airlines determine the hubs, and the days of new hubs are over. Hopefully one day Oklahoma City can become a major hub for high speed rail. As for air service, it will only improve with population growth, where OKC averages a steady 13% per decennial census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
3) General lack of services for such a large city. There are over 1 million people in the OKC area...where are the good grocery stores, large number of non chain restaurants, retail shopping in downtown, decent water/amusement parks, usable public transit in the inner core...did I mention good grocery stores?? I'm sure someone will write back critiquing each of these with a response but I still feel that on a per-capita basis OKC is sorely lacking in services that other US cities of similar size can offer.
Oklahoma City is a dastardly underserved market, and is very deserving of better shopping options. Hopefully this will change when Tuscana near Quail Springs Mall begins to take shape, as well as the outlet mall west of OKC. Crest Foods is working to provide OKC with the lack of good grocery stores when they open their first Crest Fresh Market location in far south OKC. As far as a large number of non chain restaurants? I see that improving in the forseeable future.

Public transportation is bad in OKC. However, should MAPS3 pass, there is hope. Mayor Cornett is pro-sustainable, and he knows OKC can't survive on cars alone forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
4) Mixed downtown area. Hardly any (almost no) retail in the downtown area...there are a few decent restaurants and the area has dramatically changed in the last 10 years but it's still VERY quiet on most nights (crickets can be heard) and some areas immediately outside of the downtown revitalization efforts are really really ghetto.
You hit the nail right on the head. Downtown OKC, Inc. has a new president that will be working closely with the C of C to create ways to bring retail back downtown. I can say if retail were to pick up pace, it would be along Automobile Alley, Film Row and in MidTown. The CBD remains doubtful. To cure the quiet nights between weekends, the solution is simple. More people are going to need to move downtown. The good news is, that momentum is picking up. When the medical corridor between St. Anthony's and OU Medical Center solidifies, it will change the dynamics of downtown.

But it is a work in progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
5) Very limited outdoor activity options. There is really no good camping in the immediate OKC area...no good rock climbing...closest mountains are 10 hours away in Colorado (I'm sorry but the Wichitas don't measure up)...hardly any bike trails in the city (this might be changing)...god help you if you try to ride a bike from downtown to Penn Square during the day.
Camping near OKC? Not really. One would need to head out to one of the major lakes an hour or two away from OKC. Lake Arcadia is about as good as it gets. My favorite camping sites were in Roman Nose State Park and the Cimarron River in Logan County, but it was on private property.

I love Lake Hefner. It serves me perfectly. But other people desire more options, and I can't blame them. If MAPS3 doesn't pass, and I emphasize if, then the bond issues will complete the trail system throughout OKC. MAPS3 will also add sidewalks to every major arterial in the city, something we've needed for a long time. And riding a bike down to Penn Square? Don't do that right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishlover View Post
In summary, OKC has both good and bad attributes like any place. You'll have to weight them against your own situation.
I agree. I guess it is different for me since I am an OKC native who knows very well its history, present and future. Even though OKC is spread out, it is more convenient than where we are in Houston. You have to drive miles for everything. Where my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City, within a mile we had three grocery stores, half a dozen 24 hour gas stations, Lake Hefner, quick access to downtown OKC for any event (I loved the OKC Blazers hockey team). Houston is a fine city, it's just that Oklahoma City is my home. Our friends, family and social circles are all there (her immediate faimly is in Houston) and it doesn't take much to miss home.

However, Oklahoma City still has ground to cover. I hope some of you newcomers can hang with us as the work continues. What makes me most proud of Oklahoma City is that city leaders 16 years ago stood up and said "let's bring this city back and move it forward". And they are actually doing it.

Last edited by okcpulse; 09-29-2009 at 09:16 PM..
 
Old 09-30-2009, 01:40 AM
 
9,179 posts, read 10,038,164 times
Reputation: 6792
Oklahoma City was not a good fit for me. I think it is a city that can be suitable for many people. Just like any city, there are pros and cons. I think most have discussed the positive attributes so I will discuss the negatives.

1. Racial attitudes: Oklahomans had an interesting approach to race. I never sensed an outwardly hostile attitude to minorities that you often find in the Deep South. However, there were certain boundaries that had to be observed. Interracial dating particularly between Blacks and Whites was strictly prohibited and frowned up. It was almost ridiculed if it occured. It was not a normal occurrence there. They can also be callous with regards to racial jokes and humor. They mean no offense but if you are going to live in Oklahoma City, you have to drop any notion of political correctness because OKC is about as far from being PC as you can imagine. The people in OKC don't have much exposure to people of different races. For example, in OKC, they wouldn't be able to distinguish between a Persian and an Arab. They often confused Indian people with people from the Middle East and assumed they all had the same religion because they looked similar (to them anyway). They did the same with people from Mexico and South America, often assuming they were all "Mexicans"

2. Religious Fundamentalism: Most Oklahomans are devout Christians to the point they are Evangelicals. Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Southern Baptists than any other state so it is a fact the majority of their population consists of conservative Evagelicals. This can be felt especially in the youth. I often found people got married younger and started families at younger age due to their faith. There wasn't a dating/singles culture there since many of the youth got married immediately during or after college. Many people don't drink alcohol. And even some types of movies were off limits. I remember a mother who wouldn't allow her children to watch the first Harry Potter film because they felt the witch theme was sacreligious. I knew another physician who wouldn't watch Goldeneye because of the sexual proclivity of James Bond. While I had respect for these people, I found it difficult to live among them.

3. Weather: OKC had hot humid summers and cold winters. Most cities that have a cold winter will usually have a mild summer and vice versa but OKC had both extremes. Their winters don't have much snow fall generally speaking but it isn't uncommon to deal with icy roads, hale and freezing temperatures. Occasionally, they would have bad winter storms that would shut down the major interstates and businesses. Their summer temperatures can reach up to 105 but with high humidity which can make the summer heat unbearable.

4. Boredom: I was bored. I enjoy football so watching OU play was very entertaining but outside of that, OKC is just too small of a city that lacks many big city attractions. Without going into detail, you just didn't see the same class of restaurants, bars, nightlife and outdoor recreational activities that is found in other cities. OKC is developing but it's still too small of a city to attract the amenities found in the largest cities. Bricktown offered the basics but having lived in LA, I craved fun and unique ammenities.

5. Airport: this has been discussed but it is not a major metropolitan airport that has direct flights to all the large cities in the country. I often had to stop to travel to a large city because it's rare that they have direct flights to the coasts. There are no direct international flights to Europe or Asia.

6. Lack of Diversity: There was little cultural and ethnic diversity. Most of the Native Americans are mixed blood and are mostly Caucasian. It just seemed like everyone was caucasian. I missed seeing diversity and enjoying multicultural restaurants and events.

I didn't think OKC was a bad city but it wasn't for me. If you are White, Christian and politically conservative who is seeking a very low cost of living and isn't concerned with unique features of large cities, OKC would be ideal for you.

Last edited by azriverfan.; 09-30-2009 at 02:22 AM..
 
Old 09-30-2009, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
443 posts, read 795,230 times
Reputation: 571
I want to add one negative to my original post...JIM INHOFE (state senator). What a loser. Just go to his wikipedia page or his own senate page to read in detail but suffice it to say he has perhaps the most right-winged, close-minded approach to political issues in the entire US (he has been voted the worst US senator in several polls). He thinks global warming is a hoax (he compared it to the Third Reich), his stance on homosexuality is downright offensive, and will come right out and say all his political actions are directed by the Bible and God.

Anyway, obviously Inhofe isn't just a negative for OKC but for all of OK. I think it says a lot about the population of OK if he can be elected, re-elected and re-elected again...especially the last time when Democrats won seats in most other areas of the country. OKC does have forward thinking leaders but, at a national level, Oklahoma leaders who could push for moving their state and cities forward only serve there own interests.
 
Old 09-30-2009, 07:40 AM
 
498 posts, read 949,116 times
Reputation: 494
Population by race in Oklahoma City proper... you decide for yourself how diversified Oklahoma City is.

European American: 346,226
African American: 77,810
American Indian and Alaska Native: 17,743
Asian: 17,595
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 360
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 51,368
Other: 31,382

Oklahoma City's population growth between 1990 and 2008 has largely consisted of Hispanic or Latino. African Americans trailed at second, and European Americans were the slowest growing of all races.

Just FYI.
 
Old 09-30-2009, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Midwest City, Oklahoma
3,931 posts, read 1,950,573 times
Reputation: 1491
On paper the diversity looks better than it really is, why? Because the ethnic groups are heavily seggregated, more-so than most large cities. The suburbs(that aren't del city) are very heavily caucasian. I don't think minorities frequent the bricktown area as much as whites. Probably because the minorities are usually the poorer. Anyone who has money buys their way out of OKC(other than the Hefner area/nw side).
 
Old 09-30-2009, 12:07 PM
 
498 posts, read 949,116 times
Reputation: 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redshadowz View Post
Anyone who has money buys their way out of OKC(other than the Hefner area/nw side).
Well, People in Heritage Hills and Crown Heights have money, as does Lincoln Terrace. And south of I-240, west of Moore is the wealthiest zip code in terms of per capita income.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redshadowz View Post
On paper the diversity looks better than it really is, why? Because the ethnic groups are heavily seggregated, more-so than most large cities.
Check out www.ersys.com and decide for your self if ethnic self-segregation is common in every American city. Granted, it's based on the 2000 census so the data is 9 years old, but all the same it paints a picture of how things are in every American city.

Take Chicago for instance... http://www.ersys.com/usa/17/1714000/ethnic.htm
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