El Reno is a historic community with many historic buildings, is the county seat of Canadian County, and the only city in Oklahoma to have a streetcar in operation in the downtown area. At one time it possessed a terminal and repair facility for the CRI&P (Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, or "Rock Island") railroad, which employed a large number of people.

El Reno is located at the interchange of I-40 and U.S. Route 81. Redlands Community College is located in El Reno as is Canadian Valley Technology Center, which opened in 1970 and is directly on famed Route 66 (about three miles east of the city). El Reno is also home to a Federal Prison.

It was originally located about five miles 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 was flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno.

The town is noted for its annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival, which is always the 1st Saturday in May. Burger Day is where you can witness the cooking of the world’s largest fried onion hamburger, weighing over 850 pounds.

Historic Fort Reno was built in 1874, and first commanded by General Phillip Sheridan. He named it 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 preservation of the great plains of North America.