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Oklahoma City
  • $460   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $612   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $988   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southwest US)

42% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
tornadoes, guns, urban sprawl
dog friendly, few traffic jams 6
tornado alley, yoga pants and wind surfers, car lots everywhere, gayborhood, rich democrats, come out to the gun show!, and the mall everyone in Edmond is afraid of are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Oklahoma City roommate rundown:

Many residents of OKC insist their city is a unique character . . . while others cheerfully describe that character as "An Extension of Texas," or "Little Dallas North."

Little Dallas North is accurate in terms of how residents of both tend to zip back and forth between. For work, for school, for entertainment, for whatever's clever.

(It is about 3 hours away, which isn't exactly just down the road? But both OKC and DFW drive a lot.)

How else is OKC like DFW? While both feature most of the cultural amenities you'd expect from their sizes, there's a special focus on cowboy boots and country music, along with residents that are rated a bit more friendly. Proud locals say both cities feature a "small town atmosphere," even though neither are literally small.

DFW and OKC are both more conservative and Christian than many other metros on this list. Both are Bible Belt, with more than the national average of religious residents. In particular, a significantly higher percentage of self-declared Christian adults.

Meanwhile, if you're in OKC, out and about on a Sunday, but not at church? You'll quickly realize there are many others not in church too. And they're fine? Not like they're getting hassled or anything; not going to church is obviously allowed as well.

But if you'll be offended just hearing about church from your roommates or neighbors, OKC might not be the best fit for you.

Also like DFW, you can live a somewhat simpler lifestyle with a lower cost of living. Simpler in part because you can drive most places for free, or at least extreme parking fees are relatively rare. And that's the glass half-full version.

The glass half-empty version: In both, can drive actually means you'll have to drive if you require a reasonably wide range. Downtown OKC sort of pretends it has public transport? But in truth, it's really limited. There are buses around downtown, to the airport, and a few other attractions. Mostly you'll need a car.

Still like DFW, OKC is also not walkable due to massive size. At 620 square miles (!), it's the nation's third largest city geographically . . . which means it SPRAWLS. You will need a reliable and reliably air-conditioned car to be anything like comfy driving across it.

Helpfully, OKC's streets are laid out in the simplest possible grid, with named streets running north and south, and numbered streets east and west.

Like DFW, great BBQ and steakhouses abound.

And the parkland is abundant!

But back to its own unique character, how is OKC not DFW?

OKC features an even lower cost of living, mostly because many OKC homes are less expensive. Dallas has a reasonably low cost of living as well, but housing costs are so dominant that just that one factor makes OKC more affordable for most roommates.

Oklahoma has even less restrictive gun laws. Reflecting their even more gun enthusiastic culture? It is easier to carry handguns in OKC than most places in the country in terms of lenient gun laws.

OKC faces more extreme and unpredictable weather. It's the largest city in Tornado Alley. That means it's one of the most tornado prone cities on the planet. Running for your life is not out of the question, but hopefully you won't need to if you pay attention to the tornado sirens and reliable local media.

So you're getting that OKC is windy? Famously so!

It's cold and extremely windy in the winter, then hot and extremely windy in the summer. Violent thunderstorms, frozen hailstorms harsh and heavy enough to take down power lines, and occasional earthquakes due to fracking happen occasionally. All this extreme weather also creates extreme potholes, so watch out for those!

Unlike action movie stars, you probably can't outrun or outdrive a tornado. Even if it seems you're getting away, tornados often move faster than you could ever drive safely, and change direction suddenly. Get out of your car and take shelter, just like the tornado sirens and all the local media will strongly encourage you to do.

Accordingly, storm shelters add significant value to a home, and are sometimes tax deductible.

Otherwise, the safest place is the interior (no outside walls or windows) of a basement.

But those are just a few tips, you would actually need a whole tornado safety plan, including the best place to seek shelter when you must, starting from school or work or home and/or any other place you'll likely be when the sirens go off.

Having an advance plan will make it more likely you'll know how to maintain . . . when the wind comes sweeping down the plain? (Terrible?)

So OKC is full of friendly reasonable people living with some of the least friendly, least reasonable weather? Is that insane?

But then when you get to know some locals, inevitably you'll find long-term residents. On one level, maybe it's insane. But then so many succeed in spite of the weather . . . so?

It's also hard to find gridlock, hardly anywhere in OKC, hardly ever. Downside of massive urban sprawl = it's tough to live here without a car. Upside = you're more likely to accidentally drive into a muddy pothole than a traffic jam.

What's less subjectively insane though? Speeding in OKC. It's dangerous! OKC really disapproves of speeding, or they're just rustling up some dough for those potholes. Or both! Take home point: OKC patrols are known for giving out lots of tickets, and repeated speeders may face jail time.

Safety first!

The rest of the Oklahoma City roommate lowdown:

  • capital and largest city located near the center of Oklahoma
  • 620 square miles, third largest in land area (behind Anchorage (#1) and Jacksonville (#2))
  • about 650,000, greater metro about 1.4 million
  • founded in the Land Run of 1889
  • largest city in the Great Plains, located in the Southern Plains . . . not flat and treeless (like High Plains) but rolling hills with low trees, shrubs and grass
  • A few neighborhoods are reasonably bicycle-friendly, but they might not connect.
  • OKC hosts a lot of petroleum-product industries, featuring a number of active oil fields.
  • home to Langston University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, Southern Nazarene University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • hosts Tinker Air Force Base, the largest US military air depot
  • Three large lakes: Hefner, Overholser, and Stanley Draper
  • July and August have average highs in the 90s, but the humidity is lower than the nearby Deep South. Almost everything is air-conditioned. Winter rarely snows more than a few flurries, but if more should happen while you're driving, pull over and stop immediately until the snow stops completely!

    That's because everyone will not stop acting crazy until then! Don't get in a wreck!
  • at the intersection of two of the country's longest interstate highways, I-40 and I-35
  • on historic Route 66



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Oklahoma City's:

  • Oklahoma City Museum of Art: More Chihuly glass than anywhere in the world, including a 55-footer in the atrium. Also a restaurant and theater with a variety of foreign and classic films.
  • Oklahoma City Zoo: Many natural habitats including Cat Forest and the Herpetarium, plus an amphitheater with concerts in summer.
  • American Banjo Museum: No, probably not for everyone, but for those for whom it is? More than 400 banjos along with all associated instructional materials, historic ephemera, and Halls of Fame. This is the largest display of everything crucially banjo on the planet.
  • Myriad Botanical Gardens: 7 story botanical garden and urban park - water sculptures, trails, a carousel, interactive exhibits, and a koi pond.
  • SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology: Would you and your roommates like to see 450 real skeletons from all over the world? Also Forensic Osteology. (That's humans.)
  • National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum: "America's premier institution of Western history, art, and culture." Home to the Hall of Great Western Performers.
  • Cattleman's Steakhouse: Would you like some "lamb fries?" (Important Tip: Not made of lamb.)
  • Stockyards: Whole neighborhood revolving around one of the largest cattle markets in the world, and stores selling everything Western you'd ever need.
  • First Americans Museum of Oklahoma: On the banks of the Oklahoma River, honoring the 39 distinct tribal nations now inhabiting Oklahoma, not by choice but now interwoven. Wide variety of cultural programs including IndigiPopX, bringing IndigiNerds together. Also the Winter Holiday Art Market features a curated selection of some of the best First American artists in the country, some available for gallery viewing or purchase.


Here's the city of Oklahoma City's official .gov for residents, here linking to their storm shelter registry. You and your roommates could help or be helped in case of an emergency.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.