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Small Town Travel Guide

Cushing, Oklahoma Travel Guide

Cushing is a city steeped in history and brimming with unique charm. Nestled in the heart of Payne County, Cushing holds a special place as the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.” Situated at the crossroads of several major oil pipelines, Cushing has played a pivotal role in the energy industry for decades. This small city’s significance extends beyond its energy heritage, offering visitors a glimpse into its rich past, vibrant present, and promising future.

Cushing’s history dates back to its establishment in 1891, during the Oklahoma Land Run by William “Billy Rae” Little. It was named for Marshall Cushing, private secretary to U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker.

Visitors to Cushing will find a range of attractions that pay homage to its storied past. From historic landmarks that capture the essence of early Oklahoma to local businesses that bring the community together, Cushing offers a warm welcome to all who explore its streets. 

Getting to Cushing

From Tulsa

If flying, you can reach Cushing from Tulsa International Airport (60 miles). By road, take I-44 or US-412 to access the city.

From Oklahoma City

If flying, you can reach Cushing from Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City (80 miles). By road, take I-44 or US-412 to access the city. Cushing’s central location also makes it an ideal stop for road trips along historic Route 66. Whether by air or road, Cushing is easily accessible and ready to welcome you.

History of Cushing

The land that would later become Cushing was originally part of the Sac and Fox Reservation. With the Land Run of 1891, Billy Rae Little, a former government trader for the tribe, laid claim to the area, established a residence, and plotted town lots. Cushing earned its post office designation on November 10, 1891, named in honor of Marshall Cushing, who served as private secretary to U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker.

In 1902, the construction of the Eastern Oklahoma Railway line to Cushing marked a pivotal moment in the city’s development. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway later introduced its own line in 1903, further connecting Cushing to the region.

An oil boom ignited on March 17, 1912, thanks to the efforts of wildcatter Thomas B. Slick, who struck a gusher east of Cushing. This discovery led to the creation of the Cushing-Drumright Oil Field, as additional wells were drilled in the vicinity. Cushing rapidly transformed into a hub for oil exploration, production, and refining. By 1913, Consumers Oil Company established a refinery, solidifying Cushing’s position as a refining center.

While the oil boom experienced a peak in 1915 with 8.3 million barrels of oil, production dwindled by half in 1916. Despite this, the city maintained its significance due to the Shell pipeline terminal. Boasting 39 storage tanks and a network of pipelines capable of transporting up to 1.5 million barrels daily, Cushing rightfully earned the moniker “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.”

Although the oil fields gradually declined from the 1940s onwards, the town’s historic legacy and strategic importance endured. The closure of the Kerr-McGee and Hudson refineries in the 1970s and 1980s signaled the end of refining operations, while rail service concluded in 1982. Yet, the imprint of Cushing’s dynamic history, intertwined with the energy industry, continues to shape its unique identity.

Attractions and Things to Do

From landmarks that narrate the city’s dynamic past to contemporary destinations that celebrate its vibrant present, Cushing offers a diverse tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. Delve into the heart of Cushing’s captivating attractions, each one offering a unique glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and promising adventures for all who visit.

Cushing Murals

Downtown Cushing comes alive with a burst of color and creativity through its captivating murals. These artistic expressions adorn the city’s walls, offering a visual journey into Cushing’s culture and heritage. 

As you stroll through downtown Cushing, keep an eye out for these remarkable murals that add a vibrant touch to the city’s streets. Each mural is a testament to Cushing’s unique identity and its dedication to preserving its past while embracing its future.

Centennial Park

Located in the heart of downtown Cushing, Centennial Park is an oversized courtyard nestled between two historic red brick buildings. The park features quaint picnic tables, string lights, garden spaces, art, informational signage, and an old oil derrick. 

Centennial Park is the perfect space for a picnic or to sit back, read a book, and sip some coffee on a cool summer day.

The Frontier Bowl

For a spirited dose of entertainment, look no further than the Frontier Bowl. This family-friendly bowling alley offers a lively atmosphere where strikes, spares, and laughter are the order of the day. 

With modern lanes, interactive arcade games, and a cozy snack bar, Frontier Bowl provides a perfect setting for a memorable outing with friends and loved ones. Whether you’re a seasoned bowler or just looking for a good time, Frontier Bowl promises hours of enjoyment in the heart of Cushing’s vibrant community.

Buffalo Rock Golf & Venue

Buffalo Rock Golf and Venue invites both golf enthusiasts and nature admirers to experience an unforgettable fusion of outdoor recreation and breathtaking scenery. This picturesque golf course offers a challenging yet enjoyable play, where rolling fairways, well-maintained greens, and strategically placed hazards create an engaging round of golf.

Beyond its golfing allure, Buffalo Rock Golf and Venue serves as a versatile event space, making it an ideal location for weddings, corporate gatherings, and special celebrations. The venue’s enchanting surroundings provide a picturesque backdrop, enhancing the ambiance of any occasion.

Whether you’re aiming for a birdie on the course or seeking a splendid setting for your next event, Buffalo Rock Golf and Venue captures the essence of Cushing’s natural beauty while offering a diverse range of recreational and celebratory opportunities.

Buckhorn Bar

This thriving downtown bar isn’t your typical small town hole in a wall. Play a game of pool, throw some darts, compete in cornhole, watch football on the big screen, or enjoy a stiff drink and a stiff breeze on one of the two outdoor patios. Buckhorn Bar hosts live music, karaoke nights and affordable food and drinks with an upscale but welcoming vibe.

Cushing Community Theatre

Step into the world of captivating performances and artistic expression at the Cushing Community Theatre. This local gem offers a platform for both aspiring and seasoned actors to showcase their talents and bring stories to life on stage. 

From classic plays to contemporary productions, the theater’s diverse repertoire promises entertainment and engagement for audiences of all ages. With each production, the Cushing Community Theatre fosters a sense of community and appreciation for the arts, making it a cultural hub that enriches the vibrant tapestry of Cushing.

Outrun Games

Step into the world of adolescent nostalgia and collect some of your favorite video games from your childhood. Buy, sell, and trade both new and used games from modern and classic consoles. 

Outrun Games also carries a large selection of disc golf discs and accessories so you can bring your A-game to one of Cushing’s two disc golf courses.

Disc Golf

Cushing has two public disc golf courses within its parks system. Memorial Park features a full 18-hole course with concrete tees and West Park, just down the road, features a 9-hole course with natural tees.

Cushing Alumni Hall

Take a stroll down memory lane at the Cushing Alumni Hall in the heart of downtown. Whether you’re a Cushing alum, the descendent of one, or you just enjoy immersing yourself in the culture of the towns you visit, this place is an absolute gem filled with Tiger memorabilia.

Copper Penny Trading Company & Backroom Cafe

Browse an eclectic assortment of antiques and vintage collectibles in this three-story resale shop in the heart of downtown. Don’t forget to stop by the Backroom Cafe and enjoy some homestyle cooking and daily specials inside of the antique shop.

Dunkin Theatre

Originally opened in 1926 and long since remodeled to give visitors a state-of-the-art facility, the Dunkin Theatre is a combination movie theater and live music venue. Catch a concert or a matinee and don’t forget to stop at Godofredo’s Pizzeria & Tap Room next door.

Dining in Cushing

  • Chilly Willy’s – Cool off on a hot summer day with the finest shaved ice around. Located on Main Street, Chilly Willy’s has convenient picnic tables and delicious pineapple whips.
  • Cafe Indigo – Sample the artisanal coffee and fresh pastries as you enjoy a unique boutique shopping experience. 
  • Godofredo’s Pizzeria & Tap RoomGodofredo’s prides itself on their Neapolitan-style pizzas, inspired salads and appetizers, delicious desserts and ambiance. Plan your visit ahead of time to catch a free live music performance.
  • Homestead Family RestaurantHomestead has been serving up delicious homestyle cooking since 1953. Make sure to try their famous cobblers and cinnamon rolls. 
  • Naifeh’s Deli & GrillSince 2004, Naifeh’s Cafe has been serving up mouthwatering burgers, wraps, soups, sandwiches, salads, and desserts that turn everyone into a loyal customer.
  • Steer Inn RestaurantFamily owned for three generations, the Steer Inn is the fine dining experience in Cushing. Try all the comfort food classics at their weekend buffet or try their famous hand cut steaks.

Lodging Options

Cushing boasts comfortable lodging options to suit every traveler’s preference. The highly rated Best Western Inn & Suites provides modern amenities and excellent service, ensuring a relaxing stay. If you’re traveling in an RV, Cushing offers welcoming RV parks with convenient facilities. Alternatively, consider the charm of local Airbnb rentals for a unique and personalized experience. Whether you’re seeking hotel comfort, RV convenience, or a cozy home away from home, Cushing has the perfect lodging choice for you.

Festivals and Events

BBQ N Blues Pipeline Appreciation/Oil & Gas Trade Show Festival

This festival has been held annually in June since 1995 and is a celebration of Cushing’s oil and gas heritage. The festival features a BBQ cook-off, a blues festival, a trade show, a clay shoot, and a variety of other events.

Festival in the Park

This festival has been held annually since 1988 on the last Saturday in September and is a family-friendly event that features rides, games, food, and live music. The festival is held in Memorial Park, which is located in the heart of Cushing.

Grappler’s Gallop 5K & Fitness Walk

This event is held annually on the morning of the Festival in the Park and is a fundraiser for the Cushing Wrestling Takedown Club. The 5K run and fitness walk start and end at Memorial Park.

Cushing Christmas Festival

This festival is held annually in December and features a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a parade, and a variety of other Christmas-themed events. The festival is held in downtown Cushing.

Other Events

In addition to these annual festivals, Cushing also hosts a variety of other events throughout the year, such as car shows, art festivals, and rodeos. There is always something going on in Cushing, so be sure to check the Chamber of Commerce website for a list of upcoming events.

Nearby Day Trips

Venture beyond Cushing’s borders to uncover a realm of captivating attractions. Just a short drive away, the unique charm of nearby communities awaits. Immerse yourself in the historic allure of Guthrie, where Victorian architecture and cultural treasures abound. For outdoor enthusiasts, Keystone Ancient Forest offers scenic trails and a world-class hiking experience. Explore the fascinating Rock Café in Stroud, a Route 66 landmark with a rich history.

Whether you’re seeking cultural exploration, outdoor adventure, or a taste of nostalgia, the attractions near Cushing promise a diverse and enriching experience, making your journey through this captivating region truly unforgettable.

List Your Cushing Business

Are we missing a restaurant, hotel, or exciting tourist attraction? If you’d like us to feature your business, please fill out the form below and we’ll be in contact shortly! 

Small towns are always changing. Please let us know if any of the attractions in this guide have closed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cushing

How far is Cushing from Tulsa?

Cushing is approximately 50 miles from downtown Tulsa via I-44 and OK-33. 

What is the elevation of Cushing?

Cushing is approximately 930 feet above sea level.

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