As spring and summer get ever closer, we’re looking ahead to the days when we can take a quick trip without the kiddos. Sure, there are a ton of places to check out in Texas, but what about heading north to the cute, up-and-coming town of Oklahoma City for a short getaway?
The city has grown a lot in just the past 10–15 years, so there’s a good chance that if you’ve been before, you’ll be surprised at all the newer things to do and see when you go back.
OKC is a quick drive north on I-35, about three hours from Dallas and close to three and a half hours from Fort Worth. You can drive up for just a one-night stay or make a whole weekend out of it.
Here are some of our suggestions on what to do while you’re there:
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re going to a big city with a great downtown area, you already know there are plenty of hotel options to check out. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same or that they’re great for a couple’s trip.
The Skirvin is a historic hotel—it’s been around since 1911—and is definitely upscale. It’s also located right in the heart of everything; it’s just three miles from the Capitol. 21C is located in the Film Row district. It’s super modern and even has an art museum on the first floor. The Ambassador, also in a historical building, has more of a boutique feel and gets major bonus points for being located in Midtown (where you’re within walking distance to some restaurants and shops).
If you’d rather not stay in a hotel, check out Airbnb or VRBO for a great location rental in one of the city’s fun districts.
WHAT TO DO
We know Oklahoma isn’t always the first state you think of when you think of artistic destinations, but OKC actually has a really great, thriving arts scene. Oklahoma City Ballet is worth a show, and you should definitely take a stroll around the OKC Museum of Art. If you want something a little more traditional, check out the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
Want to check out some art that’s not in a museum? Head over to the Paseo Arts District. There are over 20 art galleries here and the district feels very similar to Santa Fe (think stucco buildings and clay roof tiles with colorful walls). If you’re there at the right time, you should check out the Paseo Arts Festival too. There’s always lots of food, music, shopping and it supports the district and its galleries. (Of course, with COVID, you’ll need to check to see if any changes will be made this year.)
If you’d rather spend most of your time outside, take a stroll around Scissortail Park or the Myriad Botanical Gardens. (Food trucks tend to be parked nearby in case you get hungry.) There’s also Wheeler Park which has a Ferris wheel along with hammocks to relax in. Or, hop on and off the OKC Streetcar to see more of the city and its districts.
Speaking of districts, if you’re planning to spend any time in Automobile Alley, check out some of the breweries that have popped up recently. A few that were recommended to us include Twisted Spike and Prairie OKC.
Want to get in a little activity while you explore the city? Consider taking a bike tour with Ride OKC. They have a bunch of options with different themes depending on what you prefer to see. There’s a cookie tour, an arts and architectural tour, and a bike and brews tour. You can even put together a custom tour.
Will you be visiting in the summer? Riversport OKC has some fun water-based options such as kayaking, SUP boarding, zip lines and water rafting.
And, of course, you can’t spend time in Downtown OKC without hitting up Bricktown. This area, which sits just south of Deep Deuce, is the entertainment district. And it’s such a cool area—repurposed warehouses turned in to restaurants, piano lounges, wine bars, boutiques, you name it. It is definitely a hopping part of town. You can also get on the Bricktown Water Taxi for a tour or dinner cruise while you’re there—you’ll forget you’re in Oklahoma, for sure.
WHERE TO EAT
OKC has a plethora of great spots to find some grub, and when you’re on a couple’s trip, you might be looking for a few date-night options.
Looking for a spot to grab a drink after dinner—and take in the view? Check out Social Capital. It’s not a fancy spot, but it has a rooftop that gets rave reviews and overlooks the downtown area. Another place you might consider hitting up is Bar Arbolada. Think marble, hanging plants and gold accents. We hear it’s popular, so be prepared for a wait.
Of course, you’ll need some spots to eat for other meals of the day; here are some places we’ve heard great things about: Iron Star for barbecue, Picasso Café for healthy eats, The Mule for lunch (the grilled cheese comes highly recommended), The Garage for a burger, Katiebug’s Sips & Sweets for dessert, Elemental for coffee and Packard’s New American Kitchen for brunch.
Have you visited OKC lately? Let us know your favorite spots around the city by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of iStock.