Walking through the streets of downtown Guthrie, Oklahoma you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The small town’s old western charm and history is beautifully preserved in its century-old buildings. Those buildings now house many of the best things to do in Guthrie, Oklahoma. In them, you’ll find museums, quirky art galleries, coffee and chocolate shops, and antique stores.
This travel guide to the coolest, fun things to do in Guthrie, Oklahoma will have you wanting to visit this unique and picturesque town considered one of the best small towns in the state.
How to get to Guthrie, Oklahoma
Guthrie is located just north of the much larger metropolis of Oklahoma City. It is considered one of the northernmost suburbs of the greater Oklahoma City area.
With a population around 11,000, Guthrie, Oklahoma is a quintessential small town and one of the best places to visit in the state.
From Oklahoma City, you’ll drive north on I35 until you get to Highway 33. For those road tripping down historic Route 66, a detour to Guthrie will add just a few minutes to your drive, and it is the perfect place in Oklahoma to stop and spend an afternoon, or stay the night for an even more relaxing experience.
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History of Guthrie, Oklahoma
Guthrie was established in the late 1800s, before Oklahoma was even a state. The town grew quickly during the Oklahoma Land Run, a historical event the state is famous for.
In 1907, when Oklahoma became the 47th state in the USA, Guthrie was named the capital. But the town only held the title until 1911 when a special election and a state supreme court ruling ultimately transferred the capital to Oklahoma City.
From that point on the population of Guthrie started to dwindle as many moved to Oklahoma City for better jobs and business opportunities.
Despite its struggles, the town maintained much of its original character. In 1999, downtown Guthrie was named a National Historic Landmark for its rich history and early 1900’s architecture.
Only 2,600 places in the United States have been given this recognition by the National Park Service, which is just one more reason Guthrie is one of the best small towns in Oklahoma.
Looking for other historic Oklahoma towns to visit? Check out Medicine Park – Oklahoma’s first resort town.
Things to do in Guthrie, Oklahoma
Beyond offering a picturesque backdrop, the former state capital has a surprising amount to do. Yet, you won’t find many tourists roaming the streets. In fact, for ten years I have lived less than an hour away from this delightful town but rarely visit.
Yet, every time I do, I discover more and more fascinating things to do in Guthrie. It is definitely one of the undiscovered small towns in the United States that remains somewhat of a hidden gem.
Guthrie makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway from Oklahoma City, especially if you are wanting to experience small town life in the central plains.
Within the historic downtown area, you’ll find several points of interest and fun things to do in Guthrie.
Step Back in Time at the Frontier Drugstore Museum
The Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum offers a look back at medicinal practices of those early Oklahoma pioneers in the American West.
The museum houses artifacts and tells the stories of healthcare professionals during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s a fascinating glimpse at life of early settlers during the western expansion.
After touring the museum, you’ll be baffled at some of the archaic medicinal practices once thought to cure or treat various diseases. It’s no wonder people didn’t live very long during that era.
Wander through the Apothecary Garden
Directly adjacent to the Frontier Drugstore Museum is the lovely Apothecary Garden.
Established in 2006, it is a peaceful place filled with a variety of different plants. It is equally as fascinating as the museum itself. Each plant has a small sign explaining its past medicinal use.
For example, boxwood, a popular shrub found in front of a lot of homes and businesses in the United States, was once used to treat Syphilis and Leprosy. Who knew?
Our toddler enjoyed exploring the small garden and looking at the plants, especially those that grew in the man-made pond in the center of the garden. Adults will enjoy reading the different signs and learning about the various uses once associated with common plants.
Get a unique Oklahoma history lesson in the streets of downtown
The town of Guthrie has done a great job of making its quaint downtown an educational experience for all who visit.
Throughout the area you will find signs highlighting the different buildings and their historical significance.
What I loved most about the signage throughout Guthrie is that the signs don’t just give factual information. All of them told an interesting story, as well.
While walking through the streets, I found myself looking for these signs because I wanted to know more about the town, the buildings, and those who settled there long ago.
Tour the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library
Another great place to learn about Oklahoma’s history and heritage is at the Oklahoma Territorial Museum.
The museum features exhibitions from the Land Run of 1889, life in the territory, and Oklahoma’s move toward statehood. Plus, you’ll find some unique exhibits on the history of the corset and other social norms that were expected of women at that turn of the century.
The Carnegie Library is part of the museum complex.
The beautiful library, with its original Renaissance Rotunda and preserved furnishings, has served as the site of many events – including the inauguration of Oklahoma’s first governor.
Check out the Memorial at Honor Park
Directly across from the old Oklahoma State Capitol building in Guthrie, you’ll find Honor Park.
It’s a small, nicely done memorial park dedicated to the men and women of Logan County that have been killed in action while serving in the US military.
The memorial consists of four rifles and military helmets presumably representing the soldiers who are no longer with us. The names of those killed in action are also listed on a granite slab behind the memorial.
While Honor Park is small, it is worth a brief stop to see the memorial and show respect to our soldiers.
Eat, shop, and visit local art galleries
The red brick buildings in downtown Guthrie may have once housed banks, grocers, saloons, and stables, but many are now storefronts, cafes, theaters, and art galleries.
A personal favorite of ours was Rick’s Fine Chocolates and Coffees. Two of my favorite things on the planet under one roof! You can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering in and out of the different shops, galleries, and antique stores.
Make sure to grab a bite to eat in a small café while you’re there. For a unique dining experience that will make you think you’re back in the early 1900s, step into The Blue Belle Pizza Parlor and Saloon.
Located at the corner of S 2nd Street and Harrison, the original Blue Belle Bar was one of the most popular saloons in Guthrie’s territorial times.
Much of its original charm has been preserved, so you’ll feel as though you’ve walked through the swinging doors of a Wild West saloon.
Visit one of the largest Masonic Temples in the World
The small town of Guthrie is home to one of the largest Temples of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the world.
You can tour the massive Guthrie Scottish Rites Temple and its 14 artistic rooms and learn about what it means to be a freemason from one of the masonic tour guides.
While it is possible to tour the temple Monday through Friday at 10am, scheduling a guided tour in advance is recommended. Tours cost $10 per person, and children and masons are free.
As the daughter of a freemason, I personally find the history and mystery of the fraternal order fascinating. So, seeing this impressive building and its incredible architecture was one of the most unique things to do in Guthrie.
Go on a fun photo shoot
One of the real highlights of visiting Guthrie and the main reason I consider it one of the best small towns in Oklahoma is the sheer beauty and aesthetics of the downtown area.
If you like old buildings, you’ll love the architecture in Guthrie.
But beyond the turn of the twentieth century detail, you’ll also find fun murals painted on buildings and even electricity boxes.
It’s a great place to simply walk around and take photos. In fact, there is so much to discover just walking down Oklahoma Ave. and the small streets surrounding it.
A self-guided discovery tour of the historic area is one of the best things to do in Guthrie.
Go on a Guthrie Ghost Walk
While a self-guided walking tour is a fun way to explore the town, another great option is to join a guided ghost walk!
Considered one of the best ghost tours in the state, the Guthrie Ghost Walk takes you to some of the most haunted places in downtown Guthrie.
During the 90 minute tour, your knowledgeable guide will share entertaining and historic tales and stories of paranormal activity and ghost sightings in the historic town.
View the largest collection of Oklahoma Sports artifacts
If you’ve ever spent much time in Oklahoma, you likely already know the state loves its sports! From college football to Oklahoma City’s NBA team and even rodeo – there is one place to learn about it all – the Territorial Capital Sports Museum.
Located on West Oklahoma Avenue, the museum houses a huge collection of Oklahoma sports memorabilia and artifacts which are on display.
Here, sports fanatics can learn about some of Oklahoma’s greatest athletes, coaches, and inspirational figures in the state’s sports history.
Take in the natural beauty near the town
While the town of Guthrie is lovely in its own right, the area surrounding it is equally beautiful. Just south of the town, Guthrie Lake is popular for fishing, kayaking, or simply relaxing on a weekend.
The surrounding area also has some of the most beautiful agricultural areas in the state. In late spring you’ll find stunning canola fields that paint the landscape yellow.
You can also find small, local farms where you can shop for produce, fresh milk, and eggs right on the farm.
What makes Guthrie, Oklahoma one of the best small towns in Oklahoma
Guthrie, Oklahoma is extremely underrated. It is not only one of the best small towns in Oklahoma, in my opinion, it beats out many of the larger cities, as well.
Its charm and character are unmatched. And while many people outside of Oklahoma have probably never heard of Guthrie, the quaint town is definitely worth visiting if passing through the state.
And if you happen to be in Guthrie during one of the town’s annual events, like its 89ers Day celebrations or Bluegrass Festival, you’ll be in for an extra special treat!
LOOKING FOR OTHER FUN OKLAHOMA DESTINATIONS? ALSO READ: WHAT TO DO IN TULSA WITH KIDS
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This guide to the best things to do in Guthrie, OK was first written in May 2018, but was most recently updated in May 2023 for accuracy and current information.