Discover OKC's Latino History and Culture

In Oklahoma City, we're proud to have a vibrant Latino community comprising 20% of our population. Our city is eclectic because of our Latino residents' dynamic traditions and cultural expressions. From engaging events and savory cuisine to diverse cultural experiences, OKC offers countless ways to explore and celebrate the Latino heritage that brightens our community. 

A Look at Oklahoma City’s Latino History

Latinos have played a big role in shaping Oklahoma City's history. It all began with early Mexican explorers who ventured into the region. Their influence extended to the local cattle industry, where the vaqueros' (Mexican cowboys) expertise shaped ranching practices. Significant migrations, fueled by the Mexican Revolution and the promise of economic opportunity, further enriched the community. 

Our city bursts with traces of Latino heritage because of this history. Local restaurants offer a delightful variety of Latin cuisine, while vibrant festivals celebrate Mexican, Guatemalan and other Latino cultures. Spanish fills the air in many neighborhoods, and cultural centers pulsate with music, dance and art, keeping traditions alive.

You’ll also find several landmarks and attractions highlighting Latino culture, like the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine, a pilgrimage site dedicated to an Oklahoma-born priest and martyr, Stanley Rother. The shrine's architecture is designed in the Spanish colonial style, mirroring the Guatemalan church where Father Rother served. This beautiful building is a testament to Oklahoma's strong Catholic faith and Latino connections.

For more Latino history, check out the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which expanded its American Rodeo Gallery to include a special section on charrería, a festive Mexican event similar in style to that of an American rodeo. This new exhibit highlights the influence of Mexican vaqueros on cowboy traditions and rodeo events. Don't forget to check out the museum's Cowboy Gallery as well, where you can delve deeper into the fascinating world of the vaquero.

And don’t miss the Oklahoma History Center! Among its treasures is a display honoring World War II hero Manuel Pérez. This Mexican-American army soldier displayed incredible courage against the Japanese and was killed in action in Luzon, Philippines, earning him a Medal of Honor posthumously.

Latino-Owned Restaurants

Breakfast food and coffee at Café Kacao

Ready to eat your way through Oklahoma City? Our Latino-owned restaurants will give you a taste of authentic cuisine that's as rich and diverse as the culture itself. 

For a memorable brunch, Cafe Kacao and Cafe Antigua are must-visit spots, celebrated for their delicious Guatemalan dishes. For those with a sweet tooth, La Oaxaqueña Bakery delights with Mexican pastries alongside savory meals. Dive into the authentic flavors at El Potosino and Taco Empire, where traditional Mexican dishes are served with a healthy dash of spice. Looking for a late-night bite? Don't miss out on Taqueria Los Desvelados, which will have you transported to the streets of Mexico City with every mouthful.

Latino OKC Events

In OKC, every Latino event is a fiesta for the senses. Colorful street festivals like the Fiestas de las Américas during Hispanic Heritage Month showcase the diversity and vitality of the Latino community. Then there’s the Festival de Vida y Muerte at Scissortail Park honoring Day of the Dead traditions with art, music and dance. Additionally, the Cinco de Mayo Festival and the Guatemalan Festival highlight Central American food and cultural performances. Check out our event calendar to see if your visit lands on one of these exciting cultural moments.

Fiestas de las Americas

Historic Capitol Hill District

The Historic Capitol Hill District, also known as Calle dos Cinco, is a lively enclave that invites visitors to explore Latino heritage through unique shops and authentic dining experiences. 

Established before Oklahoma reached statehood, this district invites visitors to step back in time with its historic buildings and classic early 1900s facades. Amidst the echoes of its storied past, Capitol Hill is also looking to the future with several revitalization projects, such as the construction of a new Festival Plaza, destined to be the heart of community and cultural festivities. Its historical charm and forward momentum make Capitol Hill a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience the authentic spirit of Latino OKC.

SW 29th District | La 29

In the heart of OKC's thriving Latino community, the SW 29th District is a bustling commercial hub. Stretching over three miles along SW 29th Street, from S. May to S. Shields, this corridor shows off the area's significant Hispanic growth over the past two decades. Known for its diverse dining and shopping experiences tailored to the Hispanic community, La 29 invites visitors to explore its rich culture.