Things to Do

Photo by Jerry Hymer

We admit it: Oklahoma City may be the biggest small town around - the perfect blend of cosmopolitan advantages with a friendly style. No matter how you like to spend your down time, Oklahoma City has something for everyone.

Explore the galleries of our major museums overflowing with treasures or enjoy the organic creativity flowing from dozens of art galleries and performance venues. From sporting events and outdoor adventure, to theatre and ballet, Oklahoma City will dazzle you.

Community

If you think Oklahoma City has Western flavor - you're right. We are proud of the colorful cowboy heritage that resonates in our warm hospitality, sense of adventure, art and traditions. But here, the West has a new twist. Sure, you can stroll and shop along the streets of authentic Stockyards City and sit in on one of the largest weekly cattle auctions in the country. But, just blocks away, the clamoring of cattle is replaced with the clattering of silverware at dozens of trendy restaurants; Dell, Inc. operates one of its fastest-growing customer service facilities; and cocktails are served overlooking the skyline from the rooftop of the city's downtown art museum.

Our central location has lead to a diverse population, creating a mosaic of cultures and experiences. Currently under construction, the Native American Cultural Center will be located on the Oklahoma River just south of downtown. The complex will hold exquisite treasures and showcase the proud history and rich traditions of Oklahoma's tribes and American Indian experience. Every June, the city hosts the Red Earth Festival, the largest American Indian dance competition and art show in the country.

Oklahoma's Asian District, nestled north of downtown, bustles with exceptional restaurants, shops and cultural experiences. The historic Deep Deuce area, once a hotbed of jazz on downtown's northeast side, again resonates with music and activity as a newly-developed residential neighborhood.

A Creative Place

Oklahoma is definitely in touch with its creative side. With three major arts festivals each year - Festival of the Arts in April, Paseo Arts Festival in May and Arts Festival Oklahoma in September - and more than 50 independent galleries showcasing local artists, Oklahoma City's exuberant arts scene provides the perfect mix of main stream and off-beat art encounters.

The spectacular Oklahoma City Museum of Art anchors the city's up-and-coming Arts District. In addition to an amazing permanent collection and special exhibitions, the museum holds the world's largest, most comprehensive exhibit by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. With 15 galleries, the museum regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions, and offers the most comprehensive film and video program in the region, with weekly screenings of independent, foreign and classic films. Create your own masterpiece through the Museum School, which provides year-round camps and classes to people of all ages. A gourmet café and Cocktails on the Skyline served from the rooftop during the summer months ensure the museum pays tribute to the culinary arts as well.

Take in the mind-expanding exhibits throughout the year at several galleries around town, including Untitled [Art Space], Red Earth Gallery, and the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery.

Performance Art Abounds

The Allied Arts program of Oklahoma City provides more than $1.5 million in funding each year for the arts, collected from citizens through an annual workplace campaign. Oklahoma City ranks sixth in its individual giving to the arts and has one of America's largest artist communities, with more than 4,500 artists and 21 arts organizations.

In the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City, you can experience the performing arts in the splendor of the recently renovated Art Deco concert hall. The Civic Center is home to the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, Ballet Oklahoma, Canterbury Chorale Society, BLAC, Inc., and Lyric Theatre. It also plays host to touring Broadway musicals and an annual series of national artists.

Art takes center stage in Oklahoma City's many theatre experiences. Lyric offers year-round productions and programs, including special performances for young people. Also of note are Carpenter Square Theatre, Jewel Box Theatre, Oklahoma Children's Theatre, and Oklahoma Opry. With so many theatres and performance groups, there is truly something to entertain everyone in Oklahoma City.

Urban Adventures

Oklahoma City's list of stellar attractions covers it all - from western heritage and natural history to space, science and, most importantly, fun!

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum houses a vast collection of classic and contemporary western art, including works by Charles Russell, Frederic Remington and the awe-inspiring 18-foot "End of the Trail" sculpture by James Earle Fraser. The museum also has an amazing gift shop and restaurant, and serves as one of Oklahoma City's elegant special event venues.

The creation of a peaceful monument offers visitors from around the world comfort and hope at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The interactive learning museum honors the survivors and those who lost their lives in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995. The museum, and outdoor memorial with its reflecting pool, gives pause to all who visit and provides important insights through special exhibits.

Just 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City is the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. This museum boasts thousands of artifacts tracing Oklahoma's natural history, including dinosaur fossils and Native American cultural exhibits.

In its new home across from the State Capitol, the 215,000-square-foot Oklahoma History Center offers a chance to explore Oklahoma's unique story through interactive exhibits covering geology, transportation, commerce, culture aviation, heritage and more.

Oklahoma City also has its share of fast-paced, family-friendly attractions, such as the Oklahoma City Zoo and Science Museum Oklahoma with its Omnidome large-format theater. Fun and excitement during warmer months can be found at Frontier City or White Water Bay, where you can cool off on more than 30 water rides. The city also has 140 public parks offering a variety of family activities, including exercise paths, picnic areas, swimming pools and tennis courts.

Enjoy the Nightlife

Just a short walk from downtown, Bricktown is bustling with dining and nightlife. Once an old commercial warehouse district, the fastest growing entertainment and dining district in the Southwest is home to restaurants, clubs and shops. Bricktown is also home to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the Chevy Bricktown Events Center, Harkins Theatres and Bass Pro Shops.

Bricktown's restaurants, night clubs and lounges are constantly evolving to keep up with every taste. CityWalk features nine rooms, each offering a different music genre; Maker's is a quiet jazz lounge for the cigar-smoking crowd and SKKYbar Ultra Lounge is the place for a trendy evening. Dining adventures range from Chelino's and Abuelo's Mexican restaurants to Cajun specialties at Bourbon Street to Zio's and Spaghetti Warehouse for Italian. In between, you can sample custom brews at the Bricktown Brewery or get messy eating down-home barbecue at Earl's Rib Palace. If upscale dining is on the menu, a pleasant evening can be found at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse, The Mantel or Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante and Bar.

A little north of Bricktown you can find the up and coming MidTown area located between Classen Boulevard and Broadway. Renovations of classic buildings have made this a prime area for businesses, restaurants and shops.

Another popular MidTown area is Automobile Alley. In its heyday, this area was home to more than 50 car dealerships. Today, its filled with a variety of businesses, restaurants and shops.

Throughout Oklahoma City, you'll find cozy venues and clubs to enjoy the city's vibrant live music scene, and restaurants that serve up the best in local flavor. On Lake Hefner's East Warf, enjoy waterfront dining, while watching boats sail off into a famous Oklahoma sunset; or, savor sushi on historic Western Avenue. If you're hungry for more choices, try one of the nearly 100 restaurants that line Meridian Avenue, dubbed "restaurant row" by the locals.

Shop ‘til You Drop

Whether you are looking for art in the Paseo, or searching for treasures in one of our many antique malls, shopping is definitely a favorite Oklahoma City pastime. You'll find eight major retail shopping malls located in all corners of the city, with new shopping areas springing up all the time.

You don't have to be a cowboy to appreciate Langston's Western Wear and the other businesses in Stockyards City. And, for cultural finds, visit the shops in the Asian District along Classen Boulevard and N.W. 23rd Street. Colorful boutiques and quaint antiques stores line the streets along the Western Avenue District or North May Avenue, bordering several historic neighborhoods. Or you can discover an elegant shopping experience in the exclusive Nichols Hills area.

Pick Your Sport

Whether you prefer to be in the stands or on the field, Oklahoma City is a sports lover's paradise. From rowing to running and Frisbee golf to softball, Oklahoma City will keep you moving.

The downtown Chesapeake Energy Arena is home to the NBA's newest team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. And with the historic Cox Convention Center Arena just across the street hosting the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League, downtown is buzzing with people out on the town during game nights. In addition to the arenas, fans can also be found cheering on the Oklahoma City Energy FC of the United Soccer League at Taft Stadium or the Oklahoma City Dodgers Triple-A baseball team at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The "Brick" is recognized as one of the top minor league ballparks in the country.

For those on the quest for the unexpected, visit one of the most challenging skateparks in the region: the 26,000-square-foot Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park. The facility is designed for skateboards, in-line skating and BMX freestyle biking. If that isn't enough for you, just across the Bricktown canal is OKC Rocks, an indoor climbing facility built inside an old concrete grain silo.

Another sport taking hold in Oklahoma City is rowing. With the Chesapeake Boathouse on the Oklahoma River, Oklahoma City is gaining a reputation as a first-class rowing venue. The Boathouse provides a venue for several college varsity rowing teams and offers memberships for individuals that include access to equipment, boat storage and training facilities and services.

Urban Retreats

With more than 50 lakes within an hour's drive, 83 miles of trails and 33 public and private golf courses, Oklahoma City offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature in its urban landscape. And, the city's extensive park system provides attractive, well-maintained areas for tennis, swimming, biking, jogging and even horseback riding.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens, a 17-acre oasis of landscaped walkways, dancing waterfalls, sculptures and ponds, fills the heart of downtown. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory - a seven-story cylinder suspended over a lake the size of a football field - serves as the gardens' centerpiece. The "tube," as it is called, is filled with lush tropical plant life. Another quiet retreat in the city is Martin Park Nature Center. This 140-acre park in far northwest Oklahoma City is a protected natural wildlife refuge with hiking trails, as well as a nature center and a hands-on museum.

 

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