"Something called 'the Oklahoma Standard' became known throughout the world. It means resilience in the face of adversity. It means a strength and compassion that will not be defeated." - Former Governor of Oklahoma, Brad Henry
Oklahoma sits in the center of the US, and just a bit to the south. Its geography, along with the fact that it was considered a frontier territory well into the 20th century, make Oklahoma a blend of Southern, Midwestern and Southwestern cultures and terrains. Much of the state is in the Great Plains, but it's not as flat and wide open as you might think. Oklahoma has forests, rivers, rolling hills, lakes, and yeah, a lot of plains. It also has two big, modern cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, along with farming communities, ranch land, oil fields, and national parks. The state is known for football, but Oklahomans also have many ways of entertaining each other without bone-jarring hits, including a tradition of music and art.
Oklahomans are friendly and helpful, it's true, but most apartments here will still require proof of income, a credit report, and maybe your rental history and a background check as well, so get it all organized ahead of time. Also, read the lease carefully, and remember that the details are often negotiable, but only before you sign.
Sometimes you have to move in a hurry, but if you can help it, avoid arriving here in winter, as it can get quite cold. Oklahoma weather is unpredictable most any time of year, and midsummer is hot and humid, but that sounds better than a blizzard.
Don't forget to change your address with the post office, apply for an OK driver's license at the nearest DMV, get a fishing license and register your motorboat. If you don't have a motorboat, well, what are you waiting for?
You can no longer just claim land in Oklahoma. You would have had to get there much Sooner to do that. (Get it? Okay, lame joke.) The good news is that rental homes in Oklahoma are not hard to find. But you'll still want to do your research, and give yourself 4-5 weeks to find the ideal place, especially if you're looking for something more difficult, such as a month-to-month lease.
About two thirds of the people in OK live in either the Oklahoma City or Tulsa metro areas, so we'll start with the bigger of those two cities first.
Downtown Oklahoma City: Finding a condo for rent in Downtown OKC is getting easier all the time as the neighborhood continues its renaissance. No, you won't find Leonardo and Michelangelo here, but in addition to swanky hi rises, old buildings are being turned into trendy apartment homes.
Bricktown in OKC: You've got to admit the name alone is cool, like a combination of the songs "Brick House" and "Funkytown." Just to the east of Downtown, Bricktown is also undergoing its Sistine Chapel phase, with old warehouses becoming new dance clubs, boutique shops, music venues and dining, including Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. Like Venice, Bricktown even has canals, or at least it has one canal, a one-mile waterway that flows past red brick buildings to the Oklahoma River.
The Arts District in OKC: On the other side of Downtown, you'll find fun places to live in the Arts District, such as condos constructed inside an old Montgomery Ward. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, an Art Deco-designed courthouse from 1937 and the Myriad Botanical Gardens are also here.
Boathouse District in OKC: Another cool name that lives up to its billing. Just south of Downtown, the Boathouse District has riverfront homes and an Olympic training complex for kayaking and rowing. If you're more into land-based sports, the Mac Hoffman Action Sports Park is one of the biggest sites for skateboarding, BMX biking and other extreme sports in the country.
Stockyards City in OKC: This is the place for those who love steaks and blue jeans. Stockyards City is a historic neighborhood home to the biggest stocker-feeder cattle market on the planet, as well as the famous Cattlemen's Steakhouse and Langston's Western Wear.
Downtown Tulsa: Downtown Tulsa is not in the center of the city as you mind guess, but the northwest quadrant. The oil boom years of the early 20th century left behind many Art Deco buildings in Downtown, including the Mid-Continent Tower, with its white terra cotta facade and copper roof. The Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra are all headquartered in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Blue Dome District in Tulsa: This area is named for a building with a blue dome. You might think the structure is a religious temple, but it was built as a gas station in 1924 and is now an information center.
Uptown Tulsa: Just below Downtown is Uptown. Um, okay. There's a popular bar district here called SoBo (Oh no, you too Oklahoma, using those goofy acronyms?) on Boston Ave.
Midtown Tulsa: No funny business here, Midtown really is more or less in the middle of Tulsa. Well, there is one twist, instead of being a business district, it's a mostly residential neighborhood. That's good for you, because the one and two-bedroom apartments here allow you to live in suburban style in a central location.
Norman: 20 miles south of OKC, Norman is part suburb of the big city but also a solid sized city of its own, with over 100,000 residents.
Edmond: This community is on the other side of Oklahoma City and is even more residential. In 2011, CNBC named it among the "Perfect Suburbs in the U.S." CNBC has been wrong before, but we'll take this as a good sign anyway.
Broken Arrow: Wasn't that a movie with John Travolta and Christian Slater, or was that just a bad dream? Well, don't blame the city, which is only 16 miles from Tulsa, but like Norman, a worthy city in its own right, including a Historic Downtown, that is, of course, revitalizing.
Lawton: Okay, this one is a pretty good ways off from the two metropolises, in southwest Oklahoma. It's right next to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the oldest protected areas in the U.S. The refuge is home to buffalo, prairie dogs, armadillos, elk, and more than a thousand other animal and plant species. Lawton also hosts the Arts for All Festival.
Enid: Another town far from OKC and Tulsa, Enid is the the north of the state and had nearly 50,000 people in the 2010 census. Fans of bread and pasta should know that this small city, nicknamed "Queen Wheat City," has the third largest grain storage capacity on Earth.
Spavinaw: Not a lot of people in Spavinaw, just 437 or so, but we have to mention it, because Mickey Mantle was born here.
Football is huge, though Oklahoma doesn't have an NFL team. The University of Oklahoma Sooners and the OSU Cowboys are the two biggest college football programs in the state. In recent years, OK got its first major pro sports team, the wildly popular Oklahoma City Thunder basketball squad. If that's not enough, The Mick was born here.
The weather isn't always great in Oklahoma, but all in all it's not bad. When there aren't any twisters or snowstorms, many residents flock to the many rivers, streams, and lakes in the state to fish and boat.
Be sure to visit an amusement park after you move here. Others like to splash around like fish at OKC's White Water Bay, which has water slides, a fake beach and a wave pool. Frontier City is a dry amusement park with a Western theme. Wild Bill Hickok rode roller coasters, didn't he?
There have been hundreds of songs and even a hit musical written about Oklahoma. Besides being such a direct inspiration, the music scene in the state continues to build on its history of blues, folk, jazz and country with active venues across OK for both local and national bands. Held in Bartlesville, the Oklahoma Mozart Festival is one of the largest classical music events in the U.S. Mozart probably never heard of Bartlesville, but we're sure he'd approve.
Apartment List has released results for Oklahoma from the second annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. The survey, which drew on responses from over 30,000 renters, provides insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the 105 million American renters nationwide.
“Renters in Oklahoma expressed general satisfaction with their state,” says Andrew Woo, Director of Data Science at Apartment List. “They gave a mix of above- and below-average scores.”
Key findings in Oklahoma include the following: