If I’m being honest, growing up I had no idea how cool Stillwater is! Since moving back to Oklahoma from Europe, I’ve already been to the city three times because there are just so many things to do in Stillwater. We keep finding new fun things to do every time we get here!
Here are my favorite things to do in Stillwater, OK, including local roadside attractions, cute Stillwater Instagram spots, delicious places to eat in Stillwater, and more. Don’t worry, I’m sure we will be back soon, and I’ll add my new favorite Stillwater activities to the list as well!
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Where to Stay in Stillwater, OK
If you are looking for things to do in Stillwater because you are planning to visit, here are options for where to stay for every budget category and an Airbnb option for someone looking for something more private.
Best Budget Option (Under $75 a Night)
If you’re looking for something that’s comfortable and convenient, check into the Holiday Inn Stillwater. Located three miles from the OSU campus, you save a bit of money by being further from campus, but you’ll still be within a few minutes’ drive from most of Stillwater’s best sites.
Check reviews and availability here.
Best Midrange Option ($75-125 a Night)
If you want a few more amenities like a pool, check out the Home2 Suites by Hilton. Less than a mile from the football stadium, this is a great place to stay if you’re planning on doing campus activities or sporting events during your trip.
Check reviews and availability here.
Best Budget Luxury Option (Under $100 a Night)
If you want to stay somewhere truly lovely, make reservations at the Atherton Hotel at OSU. With Instagrammable gardens and a restaurant on site, this is as close to true luxury as you’ll find in Stillwater.
Check reviews and availability here.
Best Airbnb Option
If you’re looking for something that’s comfortable and private, stay at theFern Cottage of 1915 near downtown and OSU. This cozy Airbnb is modern yet historic and cozy. It’s perfect for someone looking for rustic charm without over-the-top Western vibes.
Check reviews and availability here.
The Best Things to Do in Stillwater, OK
In no particular order…
Explore Downtown Stillwater
The heart of most towns in Oklahoma are their original, pre-statehood downtown buildings. If you want to see some of the original non-campus buildings in town, this is where to go.
You’ll find public artwork and murals, fun shops, kitschy Oklahoma souvenirs, and more, all within a short stroll of one another.
Walk the Oklahoma State University Campus
Even if you aren’t a student, you can appreciate the beauty of the Oklahoma State University campus. Check out Library Lawn, Theta Pond, and Old Central, but don’t stop there! See what cool corners you will discover on your own.
See the Twin Transformers
The city boasts not one, but two of the best roadside attractions in Oklahoma! On one end of town, you will find an Optimus Prime statue that’s over twenty feet tall, while on the opposite end you can see the equally imposing Bumble Bee transformer.
You can read up on their history and see their exact addresses in my guide to the best roadside attractions in Oklahoma.
See the Magruder Plots
To be perfectly honest, I found out about the Magruder Plots when I got lost driving in a field. But there they were!
What are the Magruder Plots? They are a long-term agricultural experiment done at OSU. They have produced winter wheat every year for over a hundred and thirty years! According to Oklahoma State:
In 1892, A.C. Magruder initiated a soil fertility experiment that would be continued for more than 100 years.
The Magruder plots were initially established to evaluate wheat production on native prairie soils without fertilization. Although several changes have been made to the initial trial, the Magruder plots remain the oldest continuous soil fertility wheat experiment west of the Mississippi River.
One of the key findings of the Magruder Plots has been the sustained wheat production…
They were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The plots are located on Western Road between West 6th and West Virginia Avenues.
Pay Homage at the First Sonic Drive-In
As one of the world’s most zealous Sonic fans, I was thrilled to get to visit the site of the first Sonic Drive-In! The original building is gone, but the sign is straight vintage. Get your pic with the founder’s statue before you order your Ched ‘R’ Peppers with Ranch.
Check Out Stillwater’s Murals
The city has quite a few murals, ranging from fun to beautiful to historical in nature. Some of my favorites, like this Marilyn Monroe mural, are right downtown. Keep your eyes open to see what you’ll find while you’re in the area!
Experience Game Day at OSU
My earliest memories of Stillwater are from going to an OSU football game with my Dad (his alma mater). The town simply transforms on Game Day. Whether you come down for a home football game, basketball game, or another sport, dress up in Orange and Black and come on down!
Grab Some Grub
Stillwater has a few must-eat restaurants to choose from. Granny’s Kitchen is a popular breakfast spot (check out the cinnamon rolls!), while Bad Brad’s and Fuzzy’s Tacos are great options for later in the day. You can also roll the dice and try whatever local establishment piques your interest.
Enjoy Stillwater’s Rooftops
Stillwater is not known for its rooftop bars, but there are a few to enjoy! We ate (and drank) out on Coney’s Bar, but it’s not the only game in town. Is it just me, or does a drink just taste better when it’s drunk from a roof in the sunshine?
Hit Up the Local Brewery
If you want to check out the local craft beer scene, head to Iron Monk Brewing to enjoy a beer in the tap room. Options include their typical beer selection as well as small-batch and seasonal beers!
You can also pick up growlers and kegs to go. Check their events schedule, as they have food trucks and live music available during specific times.
Check out St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
You don’t need to be a Roman Catholic to appreciate the beauty of St. Francis Xavier. Driving down the road, the church on the horizon felt more like being in Slovenia or Ireland than in the middle of Oklahoma. There’s just something about a steeple poking out above the trees!
See the Baby Farm Animals
Oklahoma State University is an agricultural school, and ag schools have animals! There are sheep, cows, horses, and even a goat or two, spread across different departments. You can drive by and see them out in the fields. Time your visit right and you can see a calf, lamb, or even a baby goat!
National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum
Okay, so this is a big one. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Stillwater. So popular that it has its own signs from the highway.
…But, I didn’t go. My husband really wants to, so I’m sure we will go on our next trip. I will report back once we do. Until then, I’m sure it’s awesome?
Throw an Axe or Two
A history-inspired activity with a modern twist, ax throwing really gets that Stillwater Cowboy vibe just right. Head down to the Stilly Axe Pit to get your toss on.
Find the Best Stillwater Photo Spots
There are some places in Stillwater that I love to see because they have their own charm and photographic interest. I even have a guide to my favorite Stillwater photo spots here. You can use it to plan your Stillwater photo walk or photo session, or go out and look for your own spots!
Pay a Visit to the Ghost Town of Ingalls
The town of Ingalls is the site of one of the most notorious shootouts in the Old West – and it’s just fifteen minutes east of Stillwater!
You can read about what to do in Ingalls, including a history of the town and how to see the various sites and monuments related to the shootout in my guide to Ingalls, Oklahoma.
See One of Oklahoma’s Civil War Sites
Just fifteen minutes east of Stillwater is one of Oklahoma’s Civil War sites. The monument to the Battle of Round Mountain is sitting next to a cow pen.
I have some of the history (and links to better resources) for the battle and monument in my guide to what to do in Yale, Oklahoma.
Tour the Jim Thorpe Home
Jim Thorpe was known as the World’s Greatest Athlete during his day. While several Oklahoma towns are worth visiting for Thorpe history, the only home he ever owned is in Yale, Oklahoma.
Just twenty minutes Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit to the Jim Thorpe Home.
Why I’ve Been Skipping Eskimo Joe’s
I’m really sad to list this, and I mostly am adding it as a caution that I no longer would promote the restaurant. However, leaving the most famous restaurant in Stillwater off this list of things to do here seems weird, so I decided to update this post and add it with an explanation.
You can read the details of the controversy here. Essentially, Native American groups are asking the restaurant to stop using a Native American as a mascot, stop using the term Eskimo which is considered a slur by many Indigenous Americans and Canadians, and stop using exaggerated drawings of both Native Americans and Mexicans in their restaurant artwork. See below:
The restaurant considered changing its name and then issued a statement that they would not be making a change.
On a personal level, I was really saddened to read this. One of my fondest childhood memories is eating at this restaurant with my Dad when we went up to OSU (his alma mater) for a football game.
I won’t be eating there again until the name is changed. The official statement reads:
“We received more than 30,000 heartfelt comments from our customers and the general public about our name and log,” a statement reads. “The overwhelming majority – more than 90% – encouraged us to keep our bracing of 45 years. They love Eskimo Joe and Buffy, who have always represented fun and excellent service while welcoming and respecting all people.”
As a company, we pride ourselves on giving our loyal customers what they want, so we currently plan to make no changes to our name or logo.”
To put online customer comments above real pain felt by Indigenous Americans seems insane to me, but we will see how long it takes them to change.
What to Wear in Stillwater
While you can buy as much Cowboy, Cowgirl, and Cowperson gear as you want once you get here, you might want to know how to dress before you arrive.
If you’re planning on having a girls’ trip, wear cute brunch clothes with a casual flair. Similarly, if you’re away for a couple’s trip, wear clothes that are comfortable yet stylish enough that you will enjoy looking at the photos for years to come.
Of course, if you’re here for a game or sporting event, wear your team gear!
The town itself is pretty casual, and you won’t feel underdressed if you show up in gameday clothes for a nice dinner.
Pro Tip: No matter what, wear comfortable shoes! The best parts of the town and the surrounding area are reached on foot!
How to Get to Stillwater
Technically you can fly into Stillwater Regional Airport from Dallas, however, Oklahomans usually get to Stillwater by car. If you don’t have your own wheels, I have tips for renting below.
If you want to fly into Oklahoma and then rent a car, you can fly into either OKC or Tulsa. You can also get a taxi or an Uber from either city, though the cost might be prohibitively expensive.
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.
What to Pack for a Trip in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Travel Resources
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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.