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Oklahoma City is a wholly unique destination. Once a part of the Dust Bowl, OKC has since been nicknamed The Cinderella City for successful revitalization efforts. Its Southwestern character, dappled with zesty, unexpected surprises, showcases the quirky, inspired side of life in the heart of tornado alley.Right on the famed Route 66, look to find one-of-a-kind cultural experiences in “The Big Friendly.”


Weird can be fun, and Oklahoma City offers a few quirky museums for all to enjoy. Expect to be captivated by the fantastic Mix-Tape art show, an immersive art exhibit created by Oklahoma City’s art collective, Factory Obscura. In a space formerly occupied by The Flaming Lips front man, colors and textures seem to pulse and breathe with life. Sensory rooms are designed to calm people with autism, and the entire space is also designed to be fully immersive for people with hearing and vision loss. Fans of the more well-known immersive installations created by the collectives behind Meow Wolf should definitely visit Mix-Tape.

Memorable exhibits don’t end there. Check out the unusual museum dedicated to an underappreciated bird at The American Pigeon Museum. Three main rooms make up a delightfully surprising hidden gem people can’t say enough good things about. You’ll learn that pigeons come in a dramatic rainbow of colors, not just storm-cloud gray or dusty brown many have learned to picture. Essential players in military history and world affairs, pigeons have earned medals of honor, carried messages, and much more.

BRICKTOWN, DOWNTOWN, AND PASEO ARTS Glimpse Oklahoma City’s updated historic district in Bricktown, the former warehouse district. Hop into a Bricktown water taxi for a 40-minute tour of the area through the Bricktown Canal, then watch a concert at The Criterion. Grab a bite at one of the dozens of nearby restaurants and enjoy the lively mix of locals and tourists. Catch a minor league baseball game at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark too. The downtown area is a hotbed for great food and live entertainment. Myriad Botanical Gardens offers free concerts every Sunday night starting in the summer, and The Colcord Hotel boasts lovely views from its patio at the American restaurant, Flint. Cheer on the popular Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team at The Paycom Center to round out a great itinerary.

The historic Paseo Arts District houses more than 20 galleries with over 80 artists contributing work. First Friday Gallery walks showcase the scene, but the bars and restaurants offer tasty ways to refuel as you get acquainted with the neighborhood. Try Southwest cuisine at Frida or the Picasso Cafe for a local haunt.

Only in OKC – Museums American Banjo Museum: Learn the fascinating history of banjos going back to the slave trade. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Rodeo history galore, barbed wire, and saddlery. First Americans Museum: While you are there, grab a bite at Thirty Nine, a “modern indigenous cafe.” Oklahoma City Museum of Art: Features a must-see collection of Dale Chihuly’s art. Myriad Botanical Gardens: Tropical plants on the plains. Science Museum Oklahoma: Especially for the kiddos. Think live-action science experiments.

WHITE WATER RAFTING You’ve heard that OKC is where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, but did you know that the city also offers white-water rafting in an urban setting? White water rafting is a big sport in the Sooner State. The urban, man-made Oklahoma River is a training ground for American Olympic competitors in rowing, canoeing, and kayaking, but non-Olympians can get in on the fun too. Stop by Riversport Rapids in the Boathouse District for this unexpected adventure. You’llfind nearby access to stand-up paddleboards, ziplines, hiking, biking, and jogging trails. To refuel, stop by the Big Water Grill from March to October.

SPLURGE-WORTHY HOTELS For a central location and easy access to attractions, the historic Skirvin Hilton is a beautiful option from the oil era in downtown. The Bradford House is an intimate but luxurious, jewel-toned boutique in Bricktown. With even more to do and see than we could list, choices are aplenty in this “Modern Frontier,” making it an ideal getaway for couples, families, or a trip with friends.

Route 66 Kicks Born in 1926, Route 66 ran from Chicago to California, with more miles through Oklahoma than any other state. The decommissioned highway transformed over the years, but these landmarks still offer a glimpse of decades gone by.

Tower Theater: Grab tickets to hear live music in this lovely little revived theater from the late 1930s. Pop’s 66 Soda Ranch: Spot the 66-foot soda bottle outside this modern roadside diner and try one of the hundreds of available soda pops. How about some root beer bread pudding? Hearty diner food rules the road here. State Capitol: Art and architecture are top attractions at this 1917-built statehouse. Check out Petunia, the oil rig on the grounds too. Milk Bottle Grocery: Snap a photo beneath the crowning milk bottle at this tiny 1930-built structure.


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