OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City has become a new contender in the arena of “great southern cities.” That’s at least according to a recent article from Southern Living.

“Like every overnight success, it really took 30 years to get here, you know?” said Oklahoma City’s Mayor David Holt.

Thirty years ago, Oklahoma City residents passed the first MAPS project. Now, in 2023, OKC is the 20th largest city in the U.S. and according to Southern Living, from 2020 to 2022, it was the 6th fastest growing city in the country.

“I really think we’re really only now just really hitting on the national consciousness,” Holt said.

In that same Southern Living article, it lists 35 reasons to visit OKC. From it’s dining scene, including iconic eateries like Cattlemen’s, to it’s local culture with the recently opened First Americans Museum, OKC offers a blend of history and innovation.

“The Thunder came and that was sort of our our entry into the upper tier of American cities,” Holt said.

Between 2010 and 2020, census data shows 100,000 people moved to Oklahoma City. That adds into the roughly 1,000,000 people who call the metro area home. The balancing act, though, is maintaining momentum and preserving quality of life.

“I mean, you have to keep, you know, applying the strategies that have got you here and the chief strategy that got us here was investing in ourselves,” Holt said.