As someone who loves big cities, walkable streets, and cultural districts, Edmond wasn’t an obvious first choice of where I would ultimately raise my family. At first, drawn to the city for the fantastic schools and quiet neighborhoods, we continue to discover so many reasons why moving to Edmond was one of the best moves we could have made.
Most known as a suburb of Oklahoma City, I think Edmond, itself, should be recognized for everything it has to offer parents, families, and college students. If I could choose one word to describe this place I call home it would be “growth” Here are some of our favorite (new and established) reasons to love Edmond:
1. Historic Downtown
In the heart of Edmond is the Downtown District, which includes walkable rows of restaurants, shops, and businesses. Many of the city’s most popular restaurants are located downtown, and I have been known to spend a whole day getting some lunch, checking out the shops as our family strolls down Broadway, and relaxing with some coffee and a dessert.
The pandemic has also brought “streateries” to the downtown district, and I’m not sad about it. Many of the restaurants have expanded their patios to take over former street parking, and those who know me well know that I would never pass up a good patio! Some of our family’s favorites are The Mule, Othellos, Hideaway Pizza, The Blues and Jazz Care, Sunnyside Diner, Café Evoke, and Café 501.
If you have young kids or enjoy the outdoors, you know how important well-maintained parks are to a city, and Edmond has plenty of them. For 5 miles of paved trails, wildflowers, and a large playground, check out Mitch Park. Hafer Park offers wooded trails, multiple playgrounds for different ages, and a duck pond and relaxing lookout. There are over 30 parks in Edmond and each one has its own appeal.
3. Armstrong Auditorium
This performing arts venue, located in North East Edmond, is kind of a big deal. For world-class music, ballet, and theater performances you owe it to yourself to check out this venue. They have a concert series that draws some of the best-known performers, and the acoustics in the auditorium is described as “Utterly Stunning” by Edmond Monthly.
4. Arcadia Lake
Located on the East side of Edmond, and bordering the town of Arcadia, is Arcadia Lake. This lake has something for just about anyone who enjoys being outdoors. There is an extensive trail system (that is continuing to expand and grow) with a convenient trailhead behind Integris Hospital Edmond. There are multiple parks and camping entrances, and Central Park offers pavilions and a playground. The lake is popular for fishing and boating, and our family has enjoyed many days walking the trails and getting lost in what our preschooler calls the “forest” surrounding the lake.
5. Farmers Market and the Railyard Dining District
Every Saturday morning, from April to October the Edmond Farmers Market offers fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and baked goods that were grown or made in Oklahoma. Many of the farmers are working the booths, and it a great opportunity to learn more about local agriculture. There is a real community feel at this market, not to mention incredibly fresh food.
When you are done shopping, go across the street to the Railyard Food District for a truly unique experience. Enjoy the multiple restaurants, craft bar, and ice cream shop that are housed in a former lumber yard. There is a vast patio with yard games and lots of space for the kids to play.
6. Edmond Historical Society Museum
As a city that sprung up in 1889, Edmond has a fascinating history that is well-preserved and told by the Edmond Historical Society. The museum offers programming for kids and adults, and skillfully explains a complicated history of land runs, racial tensions, how Edmond faired during the roaring ’20s, and of a city finding its way into the modern era. And, if you have ever heard the (controversial) term “going postal” I would recommend checking out some Edmond history.
Although sometimes seen as a place to settle down, Edmond has been a surprising gem of culture and entertainment for our family. We find ourselves discovering more and more reasons to stay close to home and have even found our friends traveling north from Oklahoma City to check out our newest restaurant discovery. If you have the chance, I highly recommend spending an afternoon, or a whole day exploring this city. And keep an eye out for my crew taking over a patio somewhere.