Shawnee emerges as a captivating city in the heart of Oklahoma. The city brims with a rich history and diverse cultural attractions. With its blend of historical significance and modern charm, Shawnee has become a popular tourist destination, drawing in visitors worldwide.
Shawnee’s history dates back to the 1830s when it was established as a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail. It flourished as a crucial railroad junction during the late 19th century, shaping its growth and character.
The city’s name is derived from the Native American Shawnee tribe, who once inhabited the region. Its historical significance is evident in well-preserved landmarks like the Santa Fe Depot and Sacred Heart Mission.
Shawnee welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually, a testament to its alluring attractions and warm hospitality. Its unique blend of cultural offerings, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities consistently draws tourists seeking a diverse experience.
Shawnee’s popularity as a tourist destination lies in its multifaceted appeal. The city boasts an array of museums where visitors can immerse themselves in art and Native American history. The vibrant festivals, like the Firelake Fireflight Balloon Festival, offer a glimpse into the city’s lively cultural scene.
Shawnee experiences a moderate climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall months when the weather is pleasantly mild, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploration.
These seasons also coincide with several of the city’s festivals and events, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your visit.
Intriguing history, a wealth of attractions, and a welcoming atmosphere combine to make Shawnee, OK, a must-visit destination for travelers looking to experience the essence of Oklahoma’s past and present.
Whether you are drawn to its historical sites, cultural richness, or natural beauty, Shawnee offers an all-encompassing experience that will leave a lasting impression.
Let’s get you ready to make a trip to the city and learn about the best thing to do in Shawnee, OK.
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1) Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, stands as a captivating testament to artistic and cultural heritage. The museum was established in 1919.
The museum’s history spans over a century of enriching visitors with its diverse collection. Founded by Father Gregory Gerrer, a Benedictine monk, the museum aims to provide the community with art education and cultural exploration.
With over 4,000 art pieces spanning across various eras and regions, the museum offers an immersive journey through time and artistic expression. Its collection features ancient artifacts, European paintings, Native American art, and decorative pieces.
A highlight of the museum is its Egyptian mummy, “Annie,” a fascinating artifact that continues to captivate visitors. The Mabee-Gerrer Museum is a beacon of art appreciation and cultural enlightenment, engaging visitors of all ages.
Its dedication to preserving history and nurturing creativity makes it a cherished gem in Shawnee’s cultural landscape.
1900 W MacArthur St, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
2) Santa Fe Depot
The Santa Fe Depot in Shawnee, Oklahoma, holds a storied history as a testament to the city’s railroad heritage. Constructed in 1903, this iconic structure played a pivotal role in shaping Shawnee’s growth and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The depot facilitated trade and transportation across the region, originally serving as a vital stop along the Santa Fe Railroad. Today, the depot stands as a museum, preserving its rich history and offering visitors a glimpse into the past.
The museum’s exhibits provide insights into Shawnee’s railroad era, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia that highlight the significance of the depot in the city’s evolution.
With its architectural charm and historical relevance, the Santa Fe Depot continues to be a cherished landmark, honoring Shawnee’s connection to the nation’s railroad history.
614 East Main Street, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
3) Shawnee Little Theatre
The Shawnee Little Theatre, nestled in Shawnee, Oklahoma, boasts a rich history of fostering local talent and captivating audiences since its inception. This community theater was established in 1966 and has been a hub for theatrical performances, showcasing diverse plays and musicals throughout the years.
Initially operating in a converted chapel, the theater’s commitment to delivering quality entertainment led to the construction of a dedicated facility in 1986, further enhancing its capabilities.
With a mission to provide accessible arts experiences, the Shawnee Little Theatre offers a platform for both seasoned actors and budding performers to showcase their talents.
The theater’s engaging productions, ranging from classic dramas to modern comedies, attract theater enthusiasts from near and far.
Its focus on community involvement, coupled with its vibrant performances, has earned the Shawnee Little Theatre a cherished place within the city’s cultural landscape, leaving an indelible mark on Shawnee’s artistic heritage.
1829 N Airport Dr, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
4) Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, stands as a testament to the rich history and heritage of the Potawatomi people.
The center was established to preserve and share the cultural legacy of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and serves as an educational resource and cultural hub.
Founded in 2012, the Cultural Heritage Center offers a range of exhibits and programs that provide insights into the Potawatomi tribe’s traditions, art, and history.
The center’s architecture and design reflect the cultural significance of its contents, creating an immersive experience for visitors. Through interactive displays, artifacts, and storytelling, the center aims to connect visitors with the tribe’s past and present.
One of the center’s highlights is its traditional crafts program, where visitors can engage in hands-on workshops to learn about and create traditional Potawatomi crafts.
With a mission to promote cultural understanding and appreciation, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center is a captivating destination.
1899 S Gordon Cooper Dr, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
5) Glenn Collins Memorial Park
Glenn Collins Memorial Park, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, holds a significant place as a community gathering space with a touching history. Dedicated in memory of Glenn Collins, a local athlete, and advocate for parks and recreation, the park serves as a testament to his contributions.
The park was established in 1997, offering a range of amenities, including playgrounds, sports facilities, and picnic areas. Its expansive green spaces are ideal for outdoor activities and family outings.
The park also features a memorial plaza with a sculpture honoring Glenn Collins and his legacy of promoting healthy living and community engagement.
Glenn Collins Memorial Park stands not only as a recreational destination but also as a tribute to an individual who left a lasting impact on the city.
Its well-maintained facilities and serene atmosphere continue to draw visitors seeking a space for relaxation, play, and reflection, ensuring that Glenn Collins’ memory lives on through the park’s legacy.
33547-33559 Independence St, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
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6) Gordon Cooper Technology Center Farmers Market
The Gordon Cooper Technology Center Farmers Market, situated in Shawnee, Oklahoma, has evolved into a vibrant community hub for fresh produce and local goods.
Established as part of the Gordon Cooper Technology Center’s culinary arts program, the market provides students with practical experience while connecting local vendors with consumers.
Since its inception, the market has grown in popularity, attracting diverse vendors offering everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade treats. Visitors can enjoy a unique shopping experience while supporting local businesses and budding entrepreneurs.
The market’s location at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center adds an educational dimension, allowing visitors to witness the collaboration between students and professionals.
Open during select seasons, the Gordon Cooper Technology Center Farmers Market provides access to quality products and fosters community engagement and growth in the Shawnee area.
Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
7) Shawnee Mall
Shawnee Mall, situated in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a prominent shopping and entertainment destination with a history of serving the local community. The mall opened its doors in 1978 and became a thriving hub for retail therapy and leisure activities.
Shawnee Mall offers visitors a comprehensive shopping experience with a diverse array of stores and eateries. Anchored by well-known brands and local businesses, the mall caters to various preferences, from fashion and electronics to dining and lifestyle needs.
Over the years, Shawnee Mall has undergone renovations and expansions, enhancing its offerings and maintaining its appeal to shoppers. Beyond retail, the mall hosts various community events and gatherings, contributing to its role as a social and cultural center.
As a popular shopping destination, Shawnee Mall continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer demands, providing a convenient and enjoyable experience for locals and visitors alike.
4901 N Kickapoo Ave, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
8) Pottawatomie County Museum
The Pottawatomie County Museum, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a treasure trove of history, preserving and showcasing the heritage of the region.
Established in 1994, the museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and presenting artifacts that highlight the cultural and historical significance of Pottawatomie County.
With a diverse collection spanning from Native American artifacts to early pioneer items, the museum offers an insightful journey through the area’s past.
The museum’s exhibits shed light on the lives and experiences of the people who shaped the county, providing a deeper understanding of its evolution.
Visitors to the Pottawatomie County Museum can explore a range of displays, including period rooms, photographs, and interactive exhibits.
The museum’s commitment to education and historical preservation makes it a valuable resource for both locals and tourists interested in uncovering the stories and heritage of Pottawatomie County.
614 E Main St, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
9) Shawnee Splash Water Park
Shawnee Splash Water Park, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, stands as a popular oasis of aquatic fun and relaxation. Opened in 2006, the park offers a refreshing escape for both locals and visitors seeking respite from the summer heat.
Featuring an array of water attractions, including slides, a lazy river, and splash pads, Shawnee Splash Water Park caters to all ages. Its diverse offerings provide entertainment and excitement for families, friends, and individuals alike.
The water park’s development was initiated through a partnership between the City of Shawnee and the Shawnee Family YMCA, showcasing the collaborative effort to provide a top-notch recreational facility.
Since its inception, Shawnee Splash Water Park has welcomed countless visitors, becoming a popular destination during the warm months. Shawnee Splash Water Park continues to be a beloved spot for summer fun and relaxation in the heart of Shawnee.
101 E Highland St, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
10) The Pier Arcade
The Pier Arcade, situated in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a haven of entertainment and nostalgia, steeped in a history of family fun. Founded in 1947, the arcade has been a beloved destination for generations, offering a diverse range of classic and modern games.
Originally established as a bowling alley, The Pier Arcade evolved over the years to include a variety of arcade games, providing a space for friendly competitions and leisurely enjoyment.
With its collection of vintage pinball machines and contemporary video games, the arcade holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
The Pier Arcade’s commitment to preserving its rich history is evident through its well-maintained vintage games and decor. Beyond the games, the arcade’s welcoming atmosphere and sense of community have contributed to its enduring popularity.
As a cherished part of Shawnee’s entertainment landscape, The Pier Arcade continues to create lasting memories for individuals and families seeking a nostalgic gaming experience.
4901 N Kickapoo Ave #1182, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
11) Shawnee’s Annual Firelake Fireflight Balloon Festival
Shawnee’s Annual Firelake Fireflight Balloon Festival is a dazzling spectacle that lights up the Oklahoma skies with vibrant hot air balloons. This event, launched in 2012 and has quickly become a highly anticipated tradition, attracting locals and visitors to experience the magic of ballooning.
The festival occurs at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Powwow Grounds, offering a picturesque setting for the balloons to take flight. Attendees can witness the breathtaking “balloon glow,” where illuminated balloons create a captivating display against the night sky.
The Firelake Fireflight Balloon Festival has grown in scale and popularity over the years, featuring balloon glows, live music, local vendors, and family-friendly activities. It has become a celebration of community spirit, cultural appreciation, and outdoor enjoyment.
The Firelake Fireflight Balloon Festival has captured the imagination of all who attend, creating an unforgettable experience. The event showcases the enchanting allure of hot air balloons against the backdrop of Shawnee’s natural beauty.
1702 S Gordon Cooper Dr, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
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12) Dean Weigant Park
Dean Weigant Park, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a serene urban oasis that offers a blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Established in honor of Dean Weigant, a former Shawnee city manager, the park stands as a tribute to his dedication to the community.
Spanning over 60 acres, the park features walking trails, a fishing pond, and picnic areas, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families seeking a peaceful retreat. Its lush landscapes provide an ideal backdrop for relaxation and leisurely strolls.
Dean Weigant Park’s history is intertwined with its transformation from a city dumpsite to a picturesque park, showcasing the community’s commitment to revitalization and environmental stewardship.
The park’s welcoming atmosphere and diverse amenities have solidified its status as a cherished destination, allowing residents and visitors to connect with nature and enjoy a range of outdoor activities in the heart of Shawnee.
1741 W Rosa St, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
13) Firelake Golf Course
Firelake Golf Course, situated in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a scenic haven for golf enthusiasts that offers a unique blend of challenging greens and natural beauty. The course was established in 1983 and spans 18 holes and covers over 6,335 yards, providing an engaging experience for players of all skill levels.
Designed by architect Randy Heckenkemper, Firelake Golf Course takes advantage of the area’s rolling terrain, offering picturesque views and a dynamic layout. Its strategic bunkers, water hazards, and well-maintained fairways contribute to an enjoyable yet challenging round of golf.
The course is complemented by a pro shop, practice facilities, and a clubhouse that caters to both golfers and visitors. Firelake Golf Course also hosts various tournaments and events throughout the year, fostering a sense of community and friendly competition among players.
With its dedication to providing an exceptional golfing experience and embracing the natural landscape, Firelake Golf Course has solidified its reputation as a go-to destination for golf aficionados seeking a well-designed course in a scenic setting.
1901 S Gordon Cooper Dr, Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
14) The Black Hawk Casino
The Black Hawk Casino, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, stands as a dynamic hub of entertainment and gaming. Established in 2003, the casino offers visitors a vibrant atmosphere and a range of gaming options.
Operated by the Sac and Fox Nation, The Black Hawk Casino is named after Chief Black Hawk, a historic figure of the tribe. With a diverse selection of slot machines and table games, the casino caters to both casual players and avid gamblers.
Aside from gaming, the casino hosts events, promotions, and live entertainment, creating an immersive and lively experience for visitors. Its commitment to community engagement and cultural appreciation adds to its allure as a destination for both locals and tourists.
The Black Hawk Casino’s fusion of gaming excitement, cultural heritage, and entertainment has solidified its place in Shawnee’s entertainment landscape, offering an engaging and enjoyable space for those seeking a bit of excitement and fun.
42008 Westech Rd, Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
15) Shawnee Reservoir
Shawnee Reservoir, also known as Shawnee Twin Lakes, is a picturesque body of water nestled in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The reservoir was established in 1935 and is a result of damming the North Canadian River.
The reservoir is a vital water source for the city and offers various recreational opportunities. Boating, fishing, and picnicking are popular activities locals and visitors enjoy. The lake’s serene surroundings and well-maintained facilities make it an inviting destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Shawnee Reservoir spans over 1,000 acres, providing ample space for relaxation and water-based activities. Its history includes the development of a second lake, Twin Lake East, which was constructed in the 1970s to supplement the original reservoir.
With its tranquil waters and a range of amenities, Shawnee Reservoir stands as a scenic and functional landmark that continues to be cherished by the community as a source of both enjoyment and essential resources.
16209 Lake Road Shawnee, OK 74801, United States
16) Aerospace Career Museum
The Aerospace Career Museum, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a tribute to the region’s aviation history and the people who have contributed to the aerospace industry.
The museum was originally established in 1992 and showcases an array of artifacts, exhibits, and educational resources related to aviation and space exploration.
Founded by retired astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, the Aerospace Career Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the world of aerospace. It houses an impressive collection of memorabilia, including Stafford’s personal items from his space missions.
The museum’s exhibits range from historical aircraft models to interactive displays, providing insights into the evolution of aviation technology. It also offers programs and events designed to inspire future generations to pursue careers in aerospace.
With its focus on education and preserving aerospace heritage, the Aerospace Career Museum stands as a valuable resource for learning about the past, present, and future of aviation and space exploration.
Airport Terminal 2202 N Airport Dr. Shawnee, OK 74804, United States
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Shawnee, OK, is a hidden gem brimming with opportunities for entertainment, education, and outdoor enjoyment. From historical sites to modern attractions, the city offers a well-rounded experience that captures the essence of Oklahoma’s charm.
Whether you are interested in art, culture, nature, or adventure, Shawnee has it all. Plan your trip to this captivating city and immerse yourself in its rich offerings.