Thanks to booming energy markets, this heavily dependent oil and gas state capital (though it is attempting to diversify) is prospering. New downtown retail developments (e.g., Bricktown) and sprawling residential communities are emerging "Sooner" than later. (Local Oklahomans are nicknamed "Sooners" after settlers in the 1800's arrived in the state prior to-or sooner than-they were legally entitled, forcing Native Americans from the territory early.)
Even with all of the new economic development, Oklahoma City's most memorable and significant attraction will always be its National Memorial, built in remembrance of the lives lost and for those forever impacted by the events on April 19, 1995.
Visiting the OKC National Memorial should make your agenda, even if you have only five minutes to spare. It is an incredibly moving experience and one that parents, especially, may want to consider if school-age kids are in tow.
It's impossible to put into words how the Memorial tugs at one's emotions. Some how this simple, creative and thoughtful design perfectly conveys the gravity of the tragedy and the magnitude of loss. Walls made of black marble are the only feature visible from the street. These structures serve almost like stage curtains waiting to reveal the dramatic sadness inside. Past the black walls, 168 bronze chairs are aligned across a tightly-trimmed lawn and represent those who died in the tragedy. 19 smaller-sized chairs ("baby seats") memorialize the murdered children (the explosive-filled rental truck was parked outside the Federal Building's day care center). And, as its centerpiece, a black-bottomed pool filled with a few inches of water passionately exemplifies a sense of emptiness.
Oklahoma City certainly offers plenty of happier places to enjoy visits, workouts and meals, you'll see we've recommended many, but making a respectful stop at the Memorial is the only local experience that will provide food for your soul.