No matter where you vacation, it's likely that you'll want some photos taken of your time there, whether you post them on social media or simply keep them for the memories. Past this, you might even want some that look pretty, well ... cool. But you kind of have to know where to go to get these epic shots.
Oklahoma City has a lot of areas and places that would work for photos, but there are definitely some that stand out above the rest. So use this list — and find a category that matches your vibe — when you visit to make sure you capture those special memories in a way that reminds you how fun your adventure really was in OKC.
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You'll find some unique outdoor "landmarks" in Oklahoma City. Some of them are pretty big, and many of them light up at night. In fact, a few of them even look best when they're all aglow.
Skydance Bridge is a very popular tourist destination because this pedestrian bridge has a 197-ft sculpture on it. Inspired by the state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, this sculpture is kind of a white/metallic color during the day and then lights up into many different colors at night.
Tip: Try to go during the week when the bridge/park is less busy if you can. It will make it easier to get a shot of the bridge without the crowds.
Pops 66 Soda Ranch is an iconic stop when traveling Route 66. Located in Arcadia, which is just outside of OKC, the soda shop is known for its 66-ft tall soda bottle out front. Similar to Skydance Bridge, this structure is white during the day but lights up in neon colors at night.
Tip: The coolest way to take a photo here is to move far away, line up the shot and pretend you're actually drinking the soda.
The Hefner Lake Lighthouse is located on Hefner Lake, which is a popular place for walkers, runners and bikers. (Plus, there are restaurants on the water.) It's a small lighthouse, but a very cute one. It's a popular place for professional photos, but don't worry, normal people can take some incredible shots there too.
Tip: Go to Hefner Lake during sunset. In my opinion, that's when you get the prettiest background.
The Wheeler Ferris Wheel is located in the Wheeler district. It's pretty typical as far as Ferris wheels go, but what can make a vacation photo with it much cooler is the big "OKC" letters that sit in front of it. So not only will your photo show where you've been, but the Ferris wheel in the background will also give it a playfulness.
Tip: Head to the Ferris wheel at night to see it lit up because that will really give your photo an awe factor.
Despite the OKC area's lack of vegetation, there are a few gardens you should add to your list. They've been created specifically for tourists and for locals to escape the city for a time. And they're especially beautiful in the spring!
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is located in the heart of OKC and is a very well-loved destination. Not only is it a fun place for kids and adults, but it's also a great area for photos. You can look around the grounds for your favorite nature spot or go inside the Crystal Bridge Conservatory for a greenhouse aesthetic.
Tip: The most beautiful time to go to this garden is around Easter. The garden is green, and the tulips are out.
Will Rogers Gardens is often forgotten about, in my opinion (likely because the Myriad Botanical Gardens is so popular, and for good reason!). But truthfully, this outdoor area has a lot going for it, including the garden archways, greenhouse, bridge, fountains and other water features. You can tell a lot of thought was put into where everything was placed there and the design of some of the gardens.
Tip: I suggest you use a fountain in your photo. They're so beautiful!
Oklahoma City is known for its art, partially because there's so much of it! And a lot of the art experiences are also very photogenic. Here are some of the best colorful and creative spots to keep in mind.
The "Greetings From Oklahoma City" Mural is a hot spot to take a vacation picture. It can even turn into a travel tradition since these "greetings from" murals are all over the country. This mural isn't in a well-traversed spot in the city, but you can find it by looking up "Greetings from Oklahoma City" in your GPS or going to 318 NW 11th Street.
Tip: This is just one of the multitude of murals in OKC, so if you have time, go check out more of the city's street art.
Factory Obscura is an immersive art experience. Visitors can touch, listen to, look at and even climb on some of the exhibits. It is a bit of a crazy place, but this is what makes it such a great destination for photos. From a stuffed animal hallway to an under-the-sea-themed room, your pictures will look like you've gone to another world.
Tip: You'll want to take a lot of photos in here, so have your phone/camera ready!
OKC's Underground is made up of tunnels that stretch about a mile long and connect to various downtown buildings. But the coolest thing about these tunnels is that they're all lit by a neon color. There's a green hallway, a yellow hallway, an orange hallway, a blue hallway, etc.
Tip: Don't visit these tunnels during business hours if you don't want to deal with people walking through your photos. Evenings are probably your best bet for fewer disturbances.
Rainbow Row is a street with colorful houses on it. It's a cute and colorful spot that will make you feel like you're at the beach!
Tip: The middle of a weekday might be the best time to visit Rainbow Row since many people will be at work, meaning there will be fewer cars driving by.
Some of the buildings in Oklahoma in general are surprising because you don't really expect such majestic or detailed architecture to be in this state. OKC is home to many of these awe-inspiring places, and this section will showcase them.
The First National Center might not look too unique from the outside, but it's the inside that will really blow you away. It was built to have an Art Deco, Neoclassical style, and it's gorgeous! You'll also have many different rooms and angles to choose from, so explore the whole building. (And yes, this center could also go under "indoor aesthetics," but I decided that, for now, it fits better here.)
Tip: Use a drink in your photo to complement the luxurious Art Deco style.
The Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine is a church in addition to being a museum and gift shop. Finished in 2023, you can see its dome and steeple from the highway. The shrine is regal in every way and looks like it should be in another country. Be sure to snap some photos outside and inside because both offer great backgrounds.
Tip: If you're trying to get the dome in your photo plus the front of the church, go to the left side of the courtyard (facing the church and next to the museum/gift shop building). With the right angle, you can include it all!
Oklahoma City is a foodie town, which means a lot of the restaurants have put in the work to make their vibes as good as their food. Restaurants aren't the only locations that are big on aesthetics, though. Many of the boutique hotels in the area also make their city proud by being places where visitors love to take photos.
The Bradford House is a boutique hotel that has a bit of an old-school luxury vibe that's been done in a modern way. There are pops of color everywhere you look and a variety of seating that you could use to pose. You can find this aesthetic in the rooms (which are all different), but it's also very much so a part of the entryway, dining room, cocktail bar and sitting areas.
Tip: You'll have the best light to showcase the wonderful colors in your photos during the day.
Harvey Bakery & Kitchen is a café that screams "instaworthy." From its color palette to the various types of seating to the flowers on the tables to the food and the dainty plates they sit on, it's probably the cutest and coolest morning spot in OKC. Not to mention you can watch the baked goods getting made at a long, big window in one of the corners.
Tip: Harvey is busy all day long, but the best time to go to get seats and shots with fewer people is in the late afternoon/early evening before it closes at 6 PM.
La Brasa is a South American restaurant with a bohemian aesthetic. There are strands of flowers hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room, and each nook is a different "theme" with things like murals, seating, statues, etc. creating the vibe.
Tip: The drinks at La Brasa are always presented so well that they make for the perfect focus in your Instagram shot.
*I'll continue adding to this post as I visit more places in Oklahoma City. (I already have a few more locations on my mind that are musts that I don't have photos for yet.) However, after reading this, if you can think of another great place to take pictures, please don't hesitate to contact me and let me know. I'd love to add it to my list!