The Great Plains are full of great drives, though most people assume they’re straight, boring, and flat. One such road trip route that will surprise you? The drive between Kansas City and Oklahoma City. Though Kansas certainly meets the criteria of being flat (and this part of Oklahoma is too!), there are also interesting towns, fascinating sights, and plenty of natural beauty if you’re willing to see it.
If you’re making the drive between Oklahoma City and Kansas City and have questions about the route, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or a bit o’ both, you’re about to discover that any road trip between these two cities can be fun if you decide to take advantage of it.
Read on to learn about the distance, travel time, your travel options, and sights worth making along the way when driving between Kansas City and Oklahoma City (or reverse).
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Washtáge Moⁿzháⁿ (Kaw / Kansa), 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒼𐓂𐓊𐒻 𐓆𐒻𐒿𐒷 𐓀𐒰^𐓓𐒰^(Osage), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Gáuigú (Kiowa), and Wichita peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Distance Between Kansas City & Oklahoma City
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 298 miles (479 km) between Kansas City and Oklahoma City.
When driving, the distance is a bit longer. The drive between Kansas City and Oklahoma City covers roughly 350 miles – without any stops or detours. That’s about 50 miles more than flying.
Remember that you should always consider your start and end points within each city to calculate the final distance you’ll have to cover on your drive from Kansas City to Oklahoma City.
Drive Time Between Oklahoma City & Kansas City
The drive between Oklahoma City and Kansas City takes around 5 hours via Interstate 35 South.
While it’s definitely possible to cover that distance without any stops – maybe one to fill up the gas tank – you will likely feel the need to take a break and stretch your legs.
With stops, on average, I would say that the Kansas City to Oklahoma City drive will take at least 7 hours.
9 Stops to Make on Your Drive Between Kansas City & Oklahoma City
So you’ve decided to make a road trip out of your Oklahoma City to Kansas City drive? Say no more. Here are nine fantastic pitstop you can make along the way.
1. Giant Concrete Teepee
It’s not really a road trip unless you stop at least one quirky attraction. The Giant Concrete Teepee is one of three quirky attractions you’ll find along the drive between Kansas City and Oklahoma City.
This 50-feet tall and 33-feet diameter teepee is a relic from a bygone era. It used to be the centerpiece of a roadside complex known as the “Indian Village” that included a gas station, restaurant, and motor court of smaller teepee cabins. The teepee also has water line marks on its side from the Kansas River floods that occurred in 1951 and 1935.
You’ll find the Giant Concrete Teepee on the south side of US-40 in Lawrence.
Truckhenge is one of those places that you just can’t define with only one word. It is a crazy combination of a farm with salvage, recycled art, and a nature sanctuary.
The creation of artist Ron Lessman, Truckhenge, consists of 6 upended antique trucks in the middle of an untended garden. Lessman has added other art installations, like “Beer-Bottle City,” a complex of beer-bottle sculptures and structures.
Ron and his wife, Linda, conduct tours walking visitors around his property and telling the craziest stories.
3. Equality House
Equality House is a rainbow-colored house in Topeka, Kansas. It opened in 2013 and sits (on purpose) right across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-LGBT hate group.
It has recently gained popularity and stands as a symbol of compassion, peace, and positive change. Today, it serves as the headquarters for the LGBTQ+ advocacy arm of Planting Peace, a nonprofit humanitarian organization.
Visitors can explore the property or simply take pictures. The house also has a community garden with vegetables up for grabs depending on the season.
4. Coke Can Silo
The Coke Can Silo is the third quirky attraction you can visit on your drive between Oklahoma City and Kansas City.
In the late 1980s, the local Coca-Cola bottler decided to paint a farm silo to resemble a giant Coca-Cola Classic can. The silo sits right next to a barn and has grown to become a landmark of Emporia.
If you ask me, the Coke Can Silo is the perfect place to snap a few photos. The towering silo creates a fantastic contrast against the flat lands of Kansas, while the old barn adds a stage aura that perfectly completes the scene.
5. Combat Air Museum
Are you a lover of all things aviation? Then the Combat Air Museum is the place to feed your passion.
This wonderful museum in Kansas features two hangars with over 42 military aircraft from WWI to the present day. There are also hundreds of missiles, rockets, aircraft engines, paintings, uniforms, and a flight simulator with an instructor (Captain John) ready to teach you how to fly. Visitors can also get inside two of the helicopters and sit in a plane cockpit.
6. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House
Whether you have any interest in architecture or not, The Allen House by Frank Lloyd Wright is a beautiful gem that you must see. Finished in 1918, The Allen House is a wonderful example of Prairie Style architecture. This style blends the Arts and Crafts movement’s ideals, emphasizing nature, craftsmanship, and simplicity.
You must book the guided tour in advance, but it’s worth it. You will discover the significance of the architect but also the history of Wichita and the College Hill neighborhood.
7. Old Cowtown Museum
History buffs will have a blast at the Old Cowtown Museum. This open-air history museum recreates the lifestyle of Wichita during the last part of the 19th century.
The museum has about 40 buildings, like the old Wichita Eagle newspaper office and the blacksmith shop. Visitors can see actors in period clothes throughout the town. The museum also hosts two gunfights a day, so make sure to check out their website for the times. If you can, combine it with a visit to the Wichita Art Museum, which is just across the street.
8. Pioneer Woman Museum
Don’t miss the chance to visit Pioneer Woman Museum on your drive between Kansas City and Oklahoma City. This museum is a window to discover all the fantastic women who have made significant contributions to the history of Oklahoma.
The exhibitions focus on pioneer women who settled the West in the late 19th century and then moved on to pioneering women and their achievements in the 20th and 21st centuries. All the exhibitions have a clear feminine perspective and show women’s struggle to break through in the different areas of society.
9. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial that honors the victims, survivors, and rescuers, who were involved in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.
The site features a museum and an outside memorial with numerous areas. Each one symbolizes different historical details:
- The Field of Empty Chairs contains 168 empty chairs and is a physical representation of the Murrah building victims.
- The Survivor Tree is a reminder of resilience in the face of turbulent times.
- The Reflecting Pool creates the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.
- The Gates of Time are twin gates that state the moment of destruction, the innocence before the attack, and the moment healing began. The 9:02 AM gate represents the moment of destruction; the 9:01 Gate represents the innocence before the attack, and the 9:03 Gate symbolizes the moment healing began.
Tips for your Drive Between Oklahoma City and Kansas City
Now that you know the basics of the drive and are inspired to make a few stops, here are some final tips to help you finish planning your road trip:
- The route between Oklahoma City and Kansas City occurs entirely within two states: Kansas and Oklahoma.
- The biggest city along the route is Wichita, which is close to the halfway point along the route.
- While you might not need to stop, there are plenty of rest stops and commercial truck stops to choose from along the way… literally dozens!
- There are also plenty of gas stations and truck stops along I-35 if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Kansas City & Oklahoma City Instead?
It’s never easy to choose between flying or driving as each means of transportation has its cons and pros.
As you read earlier, the drive between Oklahoma City and Kansas City is 349.4 miles long and takes approximately five hours to complete. When flying, the distance shortens to 298 miles. However, it can take between three to five hours to fly the route as most flights include one stop.
Cost-wise, you should spend around $120 on gas for a round trip, whereas a one-way flight ticket starts at $140. In short, it is more convenient to drive from Oklahoma City to Kansas City.
Have any other questions about making the drive between Kansas City and Oklahoma City? Let me know in the comments!