I lived in Eastern Europe for four years and run an entire website and podcast about travel in Europe…but I still haven’t been to Prague in Czechia (the Czech Republic). However, I’ve been to Prague, Oklahoma, which is basically the same thing, right?
Here are the best things to do in Prague, Oklahoma, plus things you should know about the town before your visit…like why it’s named Prague!
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How to Get to Prague, Oklahoma
Like most places in Oklahoma, you will need to drive. If you won’t be driving your own car, I have tips below for renting a car in Oklahoma that you can pick up at the start of your journey.
The drive from Oklahoma City to Prague, Ok is about an hour. You will take I-40 eastbound out to Exit 200 for US-377/OK-99 toward Prague/Seminole.
To get to Prague from Tulsa, the drive is also about an hour. Leave Tulsa on I-244 W, then take exit 179 for OK-99 toward Drumright/Stroud. From here just follow US-377 S to E Main St in Prague.
If you’re coming from another part of the state, just keep your GPS or navigation on. Prague is well-marked.
Do You Need a Car for Your Trip?
It’s awfully hard to get around Oklahoma without a car. If you need to rent one, I use Discover Cars. You’ll be able to pick up a car at the airport or in your hometown.
5 Reasons to Visit Prague, Oklahoma
If you don’t know why Prague should be on your Oklahoma bucket list, then here are a few reasons that you need to visit yourself!
First, the town’s name has made it famous! However, it’s not pronounced like the capital of Czechia. That city is pronounced Prague (/prɑːɡ/) and rhymes with frog. In Oklahoma, even though the town was populated by Czech immigrants (you can learn the history here in the book From Praha to Prague), the name shifted over time to Prague (/ˈpreɪɡ/) and rhymes with vague.
Second, as I am obsessed with travel puns, the fact that their town website tells people to Come Czech Us Out! has me in utter awe.
Third, one of the best places in Oklahoma to go to a European-style bakery. The Prague Bakery proudly features Czech kolaches, and there’s an entire kolaches festival here every spring. (More on kolaches later).
Fourth, there may be fifteen times as many protestant churches here as Roman Catholic ones (because there’s only one Catholic church here…), but the one that is here is a must-see since it’s an official National Shrine.
And finally, while many (many) places in Oklahoma love to claim a piece of Jim Thorpe, Prague likes to brag because he was born near the town. Though to be honest, it’s very confusing.
The Best Things to Do in Prague, Oklahoma
In no particular order…
Visit to the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church
Prague was one of the first Roman Catholic centers in the future state of Oklahoma. The Czech immigrants coming to the area brought their religion with them, and they also maintained their reverence for the Infant Jesus of Prague, a a 16th-century wax-coated wooden statue of the child Jesus holding a globus cruciger that is famous in what is now the Czech Republic.
This lead to the eventual establishment of a National Shire to the Infant Jesus of Prague to be founded in the town. According to the shrine:
The Association of Confraternity of The Infant Jesus of Prague was erected in 1913 under the guidance of the Carmelite friars by Pope St. Pius X. The purpose of the Association is to pray to The Divine Infant, to place all members under the protection of the Divine Infant, to promote devotion to The Infant Jesus of Prague, and to evangelize.
At the request of Rev. George Johnson and the recommendation of Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness, Bishop of the diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, permission to establish The Association of The Infant Jesus of Prague in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Prague, Oklahoma, was given from Rome by the Carmelite General on August 16, 1949.
Since this time, people from around the world have been accepted into The Association of The Infant Jesus of Prague, at Prague, Oklahoma, and public devotions to The Infant Jesus of Prague have been offered at The National Shrine. From its establishment in 1949, The Shrine of The Infant Jesus of Prague in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church has been designated The National Shrine of The Infant Jesus of Prague.
Take a Walk Down Jim Thorpe Boulevard
Like many towns that sprang up during the days when the area was a territory, the main drag of Prague is covered in brick buildings that date back to the late nineteenth century. While there are cars and other modern accouterments on the street now, it’s not too difficult to appreciate what the town would have looked like when it was shiny and new.
Get Locked Up in the Kolache Jail
There’s not just one jail on this list, there are two. But the more fun of them is definitely the Kolache Jail located on Jim Thorpe Boulevard in front of The Kitchen. Not only is it one of the best Instagram spots in Prague, but it’s also a great year-round nod to Prague’s heritage.
What’s a kolache? Well it’s actually pretty important that you know what one is before you get here, otherwise A LOT of this article won’t make sense.
a type of sweet pastry that holds a portion of fruit surrounded by puffy dough. It is made from yeast dough and common flavors include quark spread, fruit jam, and poppy seeds mixed with plums.
These originated in what is Czechia today (previously known as the Czech Republic and part of the former Czechoslovakia and the really defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire). In Oklahoma, there is a larger emphasis on local fruit flavors instead of quarks, etc.
So why would someone from Prague throw you in the Kolache jail? i have no idea, but I do not want to find out!
Stop by the Jim Thorpe Birthplace Marker
Okay, so Oklahoma loves Jim Thorpe, and you can find bits of his history all over the state. Prague has a marker to Jim Thorpe located on…Jim Thorpe Boulevard next to the…Prague mural with Jim Thorpe in it. Yes, we really do love him here.
I wrote up a bit about him on my post on house to visit the Jim Thorpe Home in Yale. When in town, you can learn about him more at the Prague Museum as well as seeing the other spots mentioned above.
Czech Out Bohemian Hall
A Czech town obviously needs a Bohemian Hall! One of two places in Prague listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bohemian Hall originated as the meeting house and was originally known as the Z.C.B.J. Lodge No. 46. Built in 1917, it is owned by the Western Fraternal Life Association which is the modern-day incarnation of the Czech-Slavic Benevolent Society), the first Czech fraternal lodge in Oklahoma.
While the building is privately owned, there are occasionally events held here. Otherwise, you can swing by and see the building during your time in town.
Eat Your Face Off at the Kolaches Festival
As the mural advertises, the Kolaches Festival, which celebrated the town’s Czech heritage, is held the first Saturday in May every year (though always double-check on their website before booking anything). The festivities include a parade, Czech cuisine (over two thousand kolaches!), the selection of Kolache Queen, and more!
Or Stop by the Prague Bakery
If you want to get a taste of the motherland, come to the Prague Bakery for a kolache or a klobasenek. This is the bakery that supplies the kolache for the festival, so if you’re missing something delicious that you ate at the festival in the past, this is where to go!
Admire the City Hall and Jail
The second of Prague’s two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, the City Hall and Jail is an example of Mission Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, and it was built by the PWA in 1936 as part of the New Deal.
According to The Living New Deal:
The building was originally constructed as a Police Court, Jail, Fire Department Garage, City Clerk’s office and a large Council Chambers. The building is in excellent condition and retains almost all of its original construction features.
Since it currently is home to the town’s police department, you cannot tour the inside. However, swing by the outside and appreciate the beautiful architecture.
Find the Best Prague Murals and Public Art
Prague has several Insta-worthy murals, many of which are the work of renowned local artists. The most prominent are the Kolaches Festival Mural and the Prague Heritage Mural (both featured above). However, don’t stop at those! There are more murals around town, so keep your eyes peeled!
Go on a Photo Walk to Prague’s Most Instagrammable Places
The town is very photogenic. You can find some of the most famous Prague Oklahoma photo spots already on this list, but don’t skip spending time just walking around (or driving) and finding your own Instagram spots in town. A few of my favorites are the Laundry Building, the Broadway Apartments, and the gazebo at the park.
Grab Some Grub
There are a few famous spots to eat in Prague, and you can’t really go wrong. You can stop at Cowpokes for bbq and down home Oklahoma cuisine, The Kitchen for fried chicken, and Destinations for burgers.
Indulge in Dessert
On my last trip to Prague, I had a stop at The Creamery planned for the afternoon, but we had to skip it because our son threw up…um…everywhere. So alas, I won’t get to try it until my next visit. However, this place is so highly recommended I feel completely confident telling you to stop by. You can go in or utilize their drive-thru!
Reconnect with Nature on Prague Lake
Oklahoma is full of (mostly manmade) lakes and beaches! If you’re in Prague and want to get out on the water, head over to Prague lake! You can enjoy the six-mile trail that goes around the lake and even go on horseback rides (just make sure to arrange it beforehand).
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Stephanie Craig is a born-and-bred Oklahoma mom and travel expert who has been to over fifty countries. After traveling all over the world, Stephanie moved back to Oklahoma to explore more of her own backyard. Her favorite things to do in Oklahoma include visiting the Blue Whale of Catoosa, the Arcadia Round Barn, and the Talimena Scenic Byway.