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
Many old buildings from Shawnee's early years still remain, although most have changed facade and/or fallen into disrepair.
Notable Downtown Shawnee Buildings:
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:
Note: This use of funds has proved controversial.
"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.
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
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
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)
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.
As a classic example of middle sized town Americana, Shawnee boasts a variety of shopping opportunities , both budget and luxury oriented.
Books & Magazines
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 5, 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.
Other fast food chains set up around town include Quizno's, Wendy's, KFC, and Taco Bueno. Higher-end chains include Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, and Chili's.
If you're wanting something more special, authentic Italian cooking with menus that go way beyond pizza and spaghetti can be found at Frateli's, just south of OBU on Kickapoo. Also on south US 177 you'll find Jay's Classic Steakhouse. Perhaps the best Mexican menu in town is at Abuelita's, found at the corner of Harrison and Independence.
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.
Also on the menu is Robb's Smokehouse, the most popular BBQ place in town, located at 2321 N. Kickapoo, across from OBU.
Shawnee's surrounding area can offer almost as much to see as the city itself, if one knows where to look: