While normally not on the sight-seeing itinerary of those who do not know someone already living there, Shawnee could prove to be an interesting day trip.
In recent days, Shawnee has become increasingly known for its numerous Native American casinos.
Practically the only method of getting in or out of Shawnee is on the highway. Taxi cabs can be hired by calling a taxi service to have them pick you up, although doing so from another city could prove expensive.
There are no rental car agencies in Shawnee or at Shawnee Airport, so car rentals must be made before hand. Many times this is done at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
Most traffic enters and exits Shawnee via Interstate Highway I-40, although State Highway 3 and US Highway 177 pass through Shawnee as well.
Greyhound buses make daily stops in front of the American Colony motel on the far north side of Shawnee.
From there you will have to either call a taxi or arrange another form of pickup.
Originally established as a railroad hub, Shawnee still has many infrequently used rail tracks. While logistically difficult as well as illegal, it could be feasible to stow aboard a freight car inbound to Shawnee. Not recommended.
Chartered flights can be aquired to fly you in to Shawnee airport, most likely originating from Oklahoma City or Tulsa. There are no commercial flight charter services based in Shawnee, so arrangments for your eventual pickup would have to be made as well.
While towns in Oklahoma are quite spread out, some have been known to hitchhike especially along I-40. Not preferred.
If you are a tourist, getting around in Shawnee means either calling a taxi cab service to pick you up or using a rental car.
Shawnee is very, very spread out and if you will quickly abandon any thoughts of walking if you ever want to get where you're going.
Historical Places of Interest
Downtown Shawnee see section below
Log Cabin- 19th century log cabin built by early settlers. Has been moved from original location. Partially demolished.
Burial Plot of Brewster Higley- The now deceased author of the western epic "Home on the Range" has his final resting place in Fairview Cemetary located next to McDonalds on Harrison Street. 1500 North Center Avenue, (405) 878-1529
Many old buildings from Shawnee's early years still remain, although most have changed facade and/or fallen into disrepair.
Aldrige Hotel- Once renowned hotel tower that has been internally restored by federal funding as housing for the indigent elderly. 20 East 9th Street, (405) 275-9500 (Apartments), (405) 273-3030 (Barber Shop)
Round House® Building- Three story manufacturing site of Round House® bib overalls for over 80 years. (Business moved outside city limits in 1995 when city code enforcement precluded expansion.) Round House® slogan still visible on side of building.
Sante Fe Depot- Old railroad station turned museum. Has working railroad tracks. East Main St., (405) 275-8412
Immanuel Baptist Church- Towering stone and brick sanctuary built ca. 1917. 1101 East Main Street, (405) 275-7729, Singles Ministry: 1125 East Main Street, (405) 273-2248
In recent years, Shawnee has spent over a million dollars "revitalizing" a three block section of Bell Street, one of Shawnee's oldest roads and site of the Aldrige Hotel and former Round House® Building.
Visitable improvements consist of:
Replaced brick in the road
Three jumbo sized potted plants which also serve to narrow the road
Small group of plantings in front of Municipal Auditorium
Hornbeck and Penthouse movie theater (Still commonly, and now incorrectly, referred to as the "Dollar Movie", despite a recent price increase to $1.50), 125 North Bell Avenue, (405) 275-0963, (405) 275-0964 (Office)
Mabee-Gerrer Museum and Art Gallery, 1900 West Macarthur, (405) 878-5300
Movies 6 (located at Shawnee Mall), 4901 North Kickapoo, (405) 275-6666
Noah's Ark Petting Zoo
Oklahoma Baptist University Sporting Events
Oklahoma Baptist University Theater (405) 878-2347
Shawnee Airport Jogging Trail 4-mile track built in mid 1990's courtesy federal grant, 2202 Airport Drive, (405) 878-1625 (Airport Manager)
Shawnee Bowl Family Fun Center (formerly Tri-County-Bowl; colloquially "Ghetto Bowl" although recent facility upgrades may have rendered this pejorative a misnomer), 701 North Harrison Street, (405) 275-4064
Shawnee Little Theater, 1829 Airport Drive, (405) 275-2805, Theater Website
Shawnee Public Library, 101 North Philadelphia Avenue, (405) 275-6353, (405) 273-3334 (Administrative Services)
St. Gregory's University Sporting Events, 1900 West Macarthur, (405) 878-5100
Star Skate Roller skating rink, 37303 45th Street, (405) 273-2030
Veterans of Foregin Wars (VFW) Headquaters Weekend concerts and annual Super Bowl parties, 811 East Macarthur Street, (405) 273-7098
Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Gyms, fitness facillities, youth sports, Saratoga & Hornet Street, (405) 273-4386, Shawnee YMCA Website
"Cruising the Poo"
One of the most common entertainment venues for tourists, and a local tradition that has been going on for more than 50 years, is known to residents as "Cruising the Poo". (Note: "Poo" is short for Shawnee's Kickapoo Street.)
Those wishing to "Cruise the Poo" generally enter Shawnee in groups leaving their home town via car, or more often, pickup truck. Once in Shawnee, these "Poo Cruisers" park in front of local businesses that are closed for the evening- generally on the mid to north side of Kickapoo Street.
Once there, a Poo Cruiser will meet and interact with visitors from other towns who have parked close by, although it is common for groups from the same town to merely interact amongst themselves and/or passing cars of other Poo Cruisers or Shawnee locals.
Unfortunately, underage drinking is known to occur, sometimes accompanied by drunken arguments and fisticuffs. Whether instigated by members of another group of Poo Cruisers, or by Shawnee locals passing by (who have been known to make derogatory and/or offensive comments toward Poo Cruisers), these activities are swiftly and handily halted by local police on neighborhood patrol.
Pooh Cruising activities mainly start around sundown on Friday and Saturday nights.
Note: While participants of "Poo Cruising" are generally youth from nearby communitiies, Cruising the Poo is always open to the general public, and many Shawnee locals get involved as well.
Shawnee Golf and Country Club (Collared shirt and appropriate golf attire required)
18 hole course, Pro Store, and Club House dining available. 2501 Augusta, Shawnee, OK, (405) 273-4076 , Golf Shop (405) 273-2764, Greens Keeper (405) 273-0784, Office- 2300 East Highland (405) 273-1763
Fire Lake Golf Course
18 hole course; usually considered to Shawnee's budget golfing: "Golfing for the price of a gordita", Minature Golf located nearby. 1901 South Gordon Cooper Drive, (405) 275-4471
The Elk's Golf Course
Driving range and batting cages also available. Shawnee Lodge 657, (405) 275-1060
Since Shawnee's many public parks are used infrequently by locals, a quiet and serene environment can usually be expected.
(Exceptions noted below)
KidSpace children's outdoor play equipment (adult supervision strongly reccomended)
Lions Club Park (has baseball field)
Briscoe Rotary Boy Scout Park (lighted public tennis courts, great place for pick-up style basketball games) (not recommended after dark)
Weigant Park aka "Slide Park" (not recommended after dark)
Woodland Park (public swimming pool available in Summer months) (lighted public tennis courts)
Shawnee's Twin Lakes
Shawnee's Twin Lakes offer enjoyable avocation and adventure to anyone who likes to experience the outdoors and water related leisure.
One lake is reserved for fishing and angling.
Its counterpart lake is for those who wish to swim or take part in non fishing related activities such as water skiing, jet skiing, or drinking.
(Consuming alcohol while fishing can be dangerous to yourself and those around you; it is strongly discouraged.)
(Note: Due to pervasive droughts and low water levels, Shawnee Twin Lakes are often closed during the summer)
In recent years, Shawnee has been surrounded by gaming establishments who advertise to be "just like Vegas". For smokers, these establishments offer the convenience of having their own smokeshops, which are not subject to local tobacco tax statutes.
Since the passage of the 2005 passage of a Tribal Gaming Amendment, Native American casinos can now offer card games along with their slot machine mainstays.
Thunderbird Wild Wild West Casino, 15700 East State Highway 9, Norman, OK 73026, (405) 360-9270 (Self-description: A whole lot of Vegas and gold rush fun.)
Tonkawa Casino, 10700 South Allen Drive, Tonkawa, OK 74653, (580) 628-2624
As a classic example of middle sized town Americana, Shawnee boasts a variety of shopping opportunities , both budget and luxury oriented.
Books & Magazines
Bibliotech Books & Comics specializes in sci-fi and fantasy literature, 123 East Main Street, (405) 275-9494
Book Barn used book exchange
Waldenbooks, Shawnee Mall, (405) 273-1599
Like most towns of any size in Oklahoma, Shawnee is inundated with most of the fast food restaurants you can think of and also has many all-you-can-eat buffets (mostly Chinese food).
Most places to eat are located either on the northern edge of town along interstate highway I-40, sprinkled along Harrison and Kickapoo Street, or downtown on the south side of Shawnee.
You cannot go very far in Shawnee without running into a Sonic Drive-In of which there are 4, Braum's hamburgers and ice-cream (3), McDonald's (3), Arby's roast beef (2), Pizza Hut (2), or a Taco Bell (2).
Shawnee is home to what has been labled as "Sonic number 3000". This label is up for debate however, as some state that it was not the 3000th Sonic drive-in to be erected.
Shawnee also has many pizza kitchens, although many of these are carry-out/delivery only.
Don't forget to try Dip's Frozen Custard, a local favorite, located on N. Kickapoo St.
Fireworks stands Just outside city limits in almost every direction,(Usually open around the Fourth of July)
Buddhist Temple located approximately 20 miles outside Shawnee off I-40, an extreme rarity in the Oklahoma area
Curtis Watson's Restaraunt can be found off of I-40 between Shawnee and Oklahoma City.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!