About the City of El Reno
Proud of our Routes
Welcome to El Reno, Oklahoma!
Established in 1889, El Reno is located in the heart of Oklahoma, where Interstate 40, Route 66 and the Chisholm Trail all meet. We got our start as a home to a historic fort and then boomed as the Rock Island Railroad moved into town. Our small town charm and easy access to big city amenities have contributed to a steady stream of new businesses and events. With extraordinary museums and historic sites, the only rail based trolley in the state, beautiful architecture and one-of-a-kind cultural events, there is plenty to discover in El Reno. Whether you’re passing through or staying a little longer- you can fill your visit to El Reno with historic attractions, retail therapy, live music, and family-friendly events. Come spend the day with us and you’ll understand why we’re so proud of our roots (and our routes).
Our City's Rich History
The City began as a railroad town and was home to 3 Land Runs. It’s a festival town and boasts many heritage celebrations, historic properties and the only rail-based trolley operating in the State of Oklahoma.
The prairie was Cheyenne and Arapaho country when Fort Reno was built to keep peace on the plains. Constructed in 1874 and first commanded by General Philip Sheridan, Fort Reno was named in honor of his friend, Gen. Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War. Today, the grounds of the old fort are home to a research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The laboratory studies environmentally sustainable forage and livestock production, contributing to the preservation of the great plains of North America. For more information on Historic Fort Reno visit here.
Formerly Reno City
With the run of 1889, a town was born and named Reno City. El Reno was originally located about five miles (8 km) north of its present location, on the banks of the North Canadian River, bearing the name Reno City (which caused its mail to get mixed up with mail for Reno, Nevada). After the second time the town flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno.
A Leader in Energy
While steeped in rich history, El Reno sits on the leading edge of oil, gas and wind technology for the State of Oklahoma with major plant sites and specialized training accessibility.
From scenic campsites at Lake El Reno to a suite at one of our many hotels, El Reno has something for every budget. Whether you’re in town for work or enjoying a weekend getaway with your family, our accommodations and hospitality will make you feel right at home. In El Reno, we are known for our ability to make visitors feel like old friends so come stay with us and see for yourself. Visit here for more information on where to stay in El Reno.
A visit to El Reno wouldn’t be complete without one of our world famous fried onion burgers.
Perhaps El Reno’s biggest claim to fame is our Fried Onion Hamburgers and like all great inventions, this local delicacy was born from necessity. In Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story, author John T. Edge describes the history of El Reno’s fried onion hamburger. Edge tells of Ross Davis who owned and operated the Hamburger Inn on Route 66 in Downtown El Reno. Davis began making fried onion hamburgers in the twenties during the Great Depression. Since onions were cheap and the meat was expensive, Davis would add a half shredded onion atop a five cent meat patty and smash the burger with the back of his spatula. It made the burger look bigger while adding a tremendous amount of flavor. Today you can find the famous fried onion burger in three of our downtown diners and the world’s largest fried onion burger (now over 850 lbs.!) has been cooked in El Reno on the first Saturday of May every year since 1988.
For a list of burger joints as well as other great places to eat check out our list here.
Where else can you participate in a ghost tour of a historic fort and cemetery, catch a ride on Oklahoma’s only rail-based trolley and take a bite of the world’s largest fried onion burger? From classic car cruises on Historic Route 66 to drag boat races at beautiful Lake El Reno- there’s always an experience to discover in El Reno. For a list of upcoming events check out our calendar of events.
El Reno is full of opportunities to play! You can boat, kayak, fish, or sleep under the stars at Lake El Reno; go park hopping at one of our newly updated community parks, or catch some major air at the skate park. Enjoy an afternoon at the RC airpark, Crimson Creek Golf Course or the disc golf course, the ATV park or enjoy a leisurely stroll on our lake trails. You can stay inside if you wish ... catch a movie and enjoy a family fun night at the bowling alley, watch a show at the historic Centre Theatre downtown, or try your luck at Lucky Star Casino. There is something for everyone! For a full list of our parks visit here.