OK y’all….if a Texan is going to venture north across the Red River, there’s bound to be a good reason. For me, my best two reasons have been my kids. My daughter attends Oklahoma City University, and my step-son attends the University of Oklahoma. My experiences in OKC have primarily centered around moving kids in and out of college dorm rooms.
Imagine how excited I was to be invited by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau to experience all the amazing Oklahoma City Attractions, Restaurants, and Hotels! I spent three days knee-deep in OKC…and y’all…this Texan is in LOVE with Oklahoma City!
The Curious Cowgirl was Hosted by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and their Partners. All opinions are my own.
Oklahoma City Attractions
As most of you know, I live in Dallas. Oklahoma City is a VERY easy 2.5 hour car ride North, straight up I35. It’s amazing how much easier it is to drive North than it is to drive South on I35.
My readers frequently ask me for good “road trip” destinations, and I’d highly recommend putting OKC at the top of your list!
One of the aspects of OKC I really appreciate is their commitment to revitalization of older neighborhoods and parts of town. As someone who loves history, cities that embrace their own history, and try to preserve it, are to be applauded. Maybe I’m getting more nostalgic as I get older, but I sure do love the character of older architecture, mid-century signage, and neighborhoods that actually feel like neighborhoods. Oklahoma City offers all that, and more!
Oklahoma City Museums
I love a good museum. Y’all know that about me. Big or Small, does not matter. The topic really does not matter to me either. I’m just interested in what cities have preserved inside their museums, and what those collections have to teach me. The Oklahoma City Museums are outstanding. I experienced the following:
- Oklahoma History Center: Open every day BUT Sunday, 10-5. Located on eighteen acres across from the Oklahoma State Capitol, the Oklahoma History Center is a beautifully designed exploration of Oklahoma—past to present. The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The Oklahoma History Center is also Smithsonian Affiliate. An excellent place to begin your visit to OKC! Admission.
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Open every day 10-5, Sunday 12-5. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a museum in Oklahoma City with more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts. The facility also has the world’s most extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, barbed wire, saddlery, and early rodeo trophies. I could have spend a WHOLE day in this museum! After all, I AM a Cowgirl! Admission.
- Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: Open every day 9-6, Sunday 12-6. The Oklahoma City National Memorial honors and remembers the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were killed and affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. Such a terrible day in American History, very honestly recalled in this museum. Admission.
- Oklahoma City Museum of Art: Open 10-5 Wednesday-Saturday, 12-5 Sunday, Closed Monday and Tuesday. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the leading arts institutions in the region. The Museum presents a dynamic range of exhibitions organized from prestigious museums and collections throughout the world. The Museum’s own diverse collection features highlights from North America, Europe, and Asia, with particular strengths in American art and postwar abstraction. The permanent collection also boasts one of the world’s largest public collections of Dale Chihuly glass. The Chihuly is AMAZING!! Admission.
- American Banjo Museum: Open 11-6 Tuesday- Saturday, 12-5 Sunday, Closed Monday. The American Banjo Museum is a world-class 21,000 square foot facility honoring the rich history, vibrant spirit and unlimited future of the banjo. The museum’s collection contains more than 400 instruments, recordings, film, video, printed music, instructional materials, ephemera and memorabilia associated with the banjo. The museum contains the largest collection in the world of banjos on public display. Talk about a delightful niche museum!! Admission.
- 45th Infantry Division Museum: Open Tuesday-Friday 9-4:15, Saturday 10-4:15, Sunday 1-4:15, Closed Monday. The 45th Infantry Museum is the nation’s largest state operated military history museum depicting the military history of Oklahoma and the 45th Infantry Division. With displays from 1541 through Desert Storm, the museum includes the country’s third largest collection of historic U.S. military firearms. Any fans of military history will enjoy this museum. Admission is FREE.
- Harn Homestead: Open Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30-4, Monday Thursday and Friday 10-4, Closed Saturday and Sunday. The Harn Homestead is an Oklahoma treasure that reflects the territorial history of Oklahoma City. The many buildings and grounds encapsulate the varied life experiences of the men, women, and children who settled Oklahoma territory. This is such a cute place to explore, and the staff is VERY helpful and knowledgable! Admission.
Oklahoma City Restaurants
Great dining is in abundance in OKC! There are wonderful Oklahoma City restaurants at every price point, and for every meal. Here’s my recommendations:
- Kitchen No. 324 Located Downtown. Also serves Lunch and Dinner. I LOVED the swanky vibe here!!!
- Holy Rollers Located in the Paseo Arts District. Donuts all day long, y’all!!!
- Buttermilk Paseo Located in the Paseo Arts District. It’s all about the biscuit!
- syrup Located on 23rd Street. Pancakes, y’all!
- Hatch Located in Automobile Alley and Chisholm Creek. AMAZING space!!!!
- Cafe Kacao Located on North Classen Blvd. Great Latin American food!
LUNCH and DINNER
- Bricktown Brewery Located in Bricktown. Large menu and craft beers in the heart of Bricktown.
- Museum Cafe at OKC Museum of Art Located in the Downtown Arts District. A lovely spot for a meal!
- Bar Cicchetti Located on 2nd Street. Literally, the BEST cauliflower I’ve EVER eaten.
- Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse Located in Bricktown. Totally and completely melt-in-your-mouth steak!
- Mary Eddy’s Kitchen and Lounge Located on Main Street in the 21c Museum and Hotel. One of my OKC favs!
- The Prichard Located in The Plaza District. Fun vibe with an excellent wine list!
- The Press Located in The Plaza District. BEST fried chicken!
Oklahoma City Hotels
Like most larger cities, OKC has all the big National Chains. But, if you want a really special experience, I can recommend two Oklahoma City Hotels in particular. They are totally opposite in feel and decor, but both are excellent!
- The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City: Located near the Bricktown Entertainment District, The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City hotel is a short walk to many local attractions. For a century, this hotel has been a base for influential Americans including past presidents and politicians. It has now been architecturally restored to ensure the building remains a grand landmark in the city. The rooms, amenities and staff are TOP NOTCH here! My room was beyond lovely, and the beautifully preserved lobby and historic details throughout the hotel are right up my alley!!!!
- 21c Museum Hotel: Building upon a strong foundation and a rich industrial heritage, 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City is a contemporary art museum, a 135-room boutique hotel with spacious guest rooms reminiscent of a loft apartment in New York’s Soho neighborhood. A little taste of NYC in OKC!
Holiday Events: OKC Christmas Lights
I hope you will bookmark this post for any time you plan to visit Oklahoma City. I had a LOT of fun being hosted by the OKCCVB in December, so I was able to experience an abundance of Holiday Cheer, and fill my eyes with festive OKC Christmas lights throughout the city. For those who like to Jingle All the Way….here’s my recommendations:
- The Devon Ice Rink: Located Downtown in the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Really fun and festive was to get your Jingle on! The Christmas lights surrounding the rink make for a really delightful experience!
- Automobile Alley: Located north of downtown along Broadway Avenue, the Automobile Alley district was originally home to the city’s car dealerships, a fact that is immortalized in the neon signs that still hang from its original buildings. Many buildings have colorful Christmas Lights displays!
- The Bricktown Canal: Canal cruises include historically-themed narrated cruises through the heart of downtown Oklahoma City’s Bricktown entertainment district!
- The Oklahoma City University American Spirit Dance Company’s “Home for the Holidays” : Dancers in the American Spirit Dance Company hail from the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment, the nation’s premiere musical theatre dance program that was ranked as the #1 BFA Dance Program in the nation by OnStage. This destination collegiate program has alumni credits in over 86 Broadway musicals and has produced 49 Radio City Rockettes and counting making it no wonder that PlayBill ranked Oklahoma City University among this year’s Top 10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway. (My daughter dances at OCU….you know this Mom is always going to give a shout out to her and her people! xoxo)
OK….so are you ready to pack your bags? Just typing this Blog post makes me eager to experiences all these amazing Oklahoma City Attractions all over again!
I’d love to know YOUR experiences in OKC….drop me a comment below!
And, thank you again to the incredibly hospitable folks at the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, for hosting me! I loved every minute!
Tags: 21c | American Frontier | Art Museums | Bricktown | Christmas | Cowboys | Family Fun | Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse | Museums | OKC | Oklahoma City | Rodeo | Skirvin Hilton | The Paseo | Western Art
Well sign me up for a road trip to Oklahoma!! Who knew there was so much to do!!
Totally agree! It’s a TON of fun!!!! Perfect Girl’s Trip Destination!!!!
I really enjoyed this article about OKC!!!!
I currently have a kid at OU and this article is really interesting and I’m totally excited about a bunch of the stuff that you highlighted!!!
I’m so glad! A great resource for OU parents!!!!
The 45th infantry museum is a really impressive museum. Must see! Kitchen 324 is fantastic! Appreciate the info as I was in Norman visiting the campus with kids and this was a really nice to do something with a little flexibility while visiting OU.
Boomer INDEED! OKC is a GREAT place to bring the whole family!
LOVE OKC & have suggested it several times for girlfriend getaways—-and NOW I have ammunition!! The Chihuly exhibit is, in and of itself, well worth the visit! Also, they have a world class rowing center right near brick town!! I can’t wait to go back!!
Could not agree with you more Lori!