Oklahoma City has spirit. The official home of cowboy culture and some of the most creative cocktails we’ve ever seen, this Midwest metropolis will impress anyone looking for an exciting slice of contemporary Americana. Easily combined with neighboring hotspots Dallas and Tulsa, Oklahoma City is quickly becoming a can’t-miss capital with a rising cool factor.
It would be a mistake to miss out on Oklahoma City’s long tradition of Wild West showmanship. Consider attending one of the city’s free horse shows, promising cattle wrangling and plenty of lasso tricks. Also stop by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which holds seasonal art shows in addition to a large collection of Western ephemera.
Don’t leave town without seeing the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. A testament to those who lost their lives in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the monument features a solemn reflecting pool and rows of white chairs, one for each victim. Softly-lit water and the silent city as backdrop make a nighttime visit particularly moving.
Thrill-seekers will love Riversport Adventures. Located near the Devon Boathouse, a training center for thousands of Olympic hopefuls, Riversport offers a multitude of ways to get in the water. Take whitewater rafting lessons, kayak with kids, rent a stand-up paddleboard, or try out dragon boating at this all-inclusive complex. Landlubbers can also try their luck at the SandRidge Sky Trail, an 80-foot ropes and challenge course with a zipline at the top.
Eats + Drinks
OKC has no shortage of top-tier establishments. Dress down at Leo’s Bar-B-Q, where you’ll pair your main with sides like fried okra, coleslaw, baked beans, or French fries. Portions are generous and the meat juicy, all the better when topped by in-house sweet or spicy barbecue sauce. Save room for a slice of World Famous Strawberry-Banana Cake.
Feeling fancy? Barrios offers innovative Mexican cuisine and an excellent spread of salsa paired with the best chips we’ve ever tried. The restaurant’s outdoor terrace is perfect for chowing down on Sweet Potato Sofrito while sipping a selection from Bebidas menu. We recommend the Guava-Habanero Margarita, lightly spicy topped by creamy foam, and the Cactus Fruit Slushie, tart and boozy with a sour kick.
For brew buffs, there’s no better selection than the draught-happy Tapwerks, boasting hundreds of varieties of beer. Try an imported lambic, seasonal ale, or one of the limited “firkins” from local brands like Prairie and Iron Monk. Staff is knowledgeable and happy to give a recommendation and Tuesday night trivia (8-10pm) brings in patrons from across town.
Take advantage of the weather at Myriad Botanical Gardens. Inside the Crystal Bridge Conservatory you’ll find a tropical menagerie featuring 750 varities of plants nestled amongst waterfalls and a skywalk permitting a bird’s-eye view. After you’ve said hello to Muffin the parrot, take a pleasant stroll around the grounds. Multileveled flowerbeds, lots of green grass, and a duck pond full of koi make the Gardens the perfect spot for an outdoor picnic.
Oklahoma City is home to the first Tru by Hilton. Tru, a line of colorful mid-range hotels, is aimed at young-at-heart travelers who will enjoy the hotel’s modern design and affordable price tag. Rooms painted in poppy colors feature spacious bathrooms and large windows flooding the space in natural light. The hotel is tech-savvy, offering 55” flatscreen TVs, mobile key-cards, and plenty of outlets. Tru’s cheerful 2,800-foot lobby hosts a creative breakfast bar and pool tables as well as designated work and lounge areas. When the weather’s nice, munch on a local snack from the hotel’s market while playing giant Jenga on the outdoor patio. From $94.
Getting around OKC without a car is not impossible. Use EMBARK to find a local bus route or travel on two wheels with the city’s Spokies bike-sharing program. In a pinch, take advantage of a ride-sharing app, such as Uber or Lyft, to reach your hotel or travel longer distances across town.
Thanks to RiverSport Adventures, Choate In-House Photography, and Tru by Hilton.