8 Things You Absolutely Cannot Miss in Oklahoma City
One of the most popular series here on ckanani is something we call 8 Things, a collection of eight things you absolutely cannot miss in a handful of my favorite places around the world.
I started this series after noticing a trend in articles like “100 things to do in XYZ”. I don’t know about you, but I have never been in an awesome city with unlimited time, looking for a list of every single possible thing — good or bad — I could do there. I do not have the time to read a list of 100 things, let alone actually do them.
However, I have been in an awesome city with very limited time, wondering what handful of things I absolutely cannot miss. And that is the problem 8 Things solves!
If you’ve read my post about what to do in Oklahoma City then you already know I love OKC. I visited with the OKC Visitors Bureau and spent sunrise to well after sunset everyday running around this fantastic city. During which I uncovered a long list of things to do - so much so that after my recommended weekend itinerary I included a list of even more recommendations that I couldn’t fit into my three days worth of suggestions.
If it’s not clear by now: OKC is SO great, guys! Even under their bridges is great. I bet you’ve never heard someone say that about anywhere else, huh? You probably had to read the statement twice because it seems so outrageous.
Normally one of the most unappealing places in a city, this is what it looks like under the Main Street railroad bridge in OKC, for example:
I bet you’ve never wanted to take photos under a bridge more than you do now! OKC is the coolest, a must-visit, and that is why they’ve landed a spot on my 8 Things series.
So while I do highly recommend doing everything mentioned in my What to do in Oklahoma City - The Perfect Weekend Itinerary post, if you want to know what things you absolutely cannot miss, here you go!
8 Things You Absolutely Cannot Miss in Oklahoma City
Dinner at Grey Sweater
Oklahoma City is full of fantastic dining options, but none I recommend more than Grey Sweater. It’s the latest creation from Chef Andrew Black, a popular local chef, offering a three-tiered tasting menu that is out of this world.
During my visit, each tasting went more or less like this: Chef Andrew Black would tell us every detail of the dish. I would listen to the explanation, take a bite once he finished, and say “oh my gosh, WHAT is this?!” because it was all so unusual and fantastic. My taste buds couldn’t quite comprehend what I was eating, even immediately after being told in great detail what it was.
Honestly even the grilled cheese garnish tasted like the most amazing bite of food I have ever tasted. I don’t even like grilled cheese! It’s bread and cheese. But this grilled cheese I liked.
Grey Sweater is so good that I find myself not able to properly put it in words because I worry they won’t be adequate (I’m a photographer, not a writer after all). Just go trust me and try it, please.
For more information on Grey Sweater, click here.
Chef Black also has two other restaurants, conveniently located next door to Grey Sweater: La Baguette and Black Walnut. I unfortunately did not make it to either due to time restraints, but I’ve heard they are fantastic, too. If you can’t get into Grey Sweater, I would give one of these a try.
Above rafting photos by Phillip Fryman of Southern Fatty
Whitewater Raft at Riversport OKC
If you are like me and always looking for as much outdoor adventure as possible on a trip, this is for you! OKC is home to a $45.2 million whitewater rafting and kayaking center, Riversport Rapids.
One of the best things about Riversport is that it’s located in OKC. In the actual city! It’s not one of those things like people who claim “I live in San Francisco!” but actually live in Alameda. It’s really in the middle of OKC! Because of this, travel time to Riversport is minimal so time constraints shouldn’t be an issue. Yay!
I personally recommend whitewater rafting which you can do even if you have no experience. The rapids are class II-IV (translation, according to me: big enough but not too big!) and you get to go down them numerous times. The guides are super fun too and they are very serious about safety so you have nothing to worry about.
For more information on whitewater rafting at Riversport Rapids, click here.
If you aren’t up for whitewater rafting, there are other options at Riversport as well. Click here for more information on those.
Stay at 21C Museum Hotel OKC
I highly recommend staying at 21C Museum Hotel Oklahoma City, as I did, while in OKC.
Why? Here’s the gist:
The vibes. It’s a boutique hotel built in a former Ford Model T assembly plant designed in 1916.
The rooms are quite spacious!
It’s also a museum. Not only is there a full contemporary art museum on the first floor but there is also art throughout the hotel.
Their restaurant, Mary Eddy’s Kitchen + Lounge, is fantastic!
There are plenty of other great places to eat and drink nearby within walking distance. Don’t miss Stitch, Bar Arbolada, and Cafe Disco.
It’s centrally located.
They offer complimentary shuttle service downtown. You can probably get almost everywhere I recommend for free!
The employees are all so nice. Everyone in OKC is, really, but still worth noting.
I loved it so much that I told my mom to be on the look out for 21C hotels in general while traveling, and to stay there whenever she sees one. I plan on doing the same!
For more information and to book your stay at 21C Oklahoma City, click here.
Visit the OKC National Memorial & Museum
I typically try to stay away from insanely obvious things when I make my 8 Things lists, but it didn’t feel right to exclude the OKC National Memorial & Museum. It’s an important part of the city and you shouldn’t miss it.
I recommend you visit both the indoor memorial museum (tickets required) and the outdoor symbolic memorial (free). The outdoor memorial I also recommend returning to at night when it’s lit up.
For more information on the OKC National Memorial & Museum, click here to visit their site.
Tour the City via Ride OKC
In almost every city I recommend starting with a bike tour, and OKC is no different! Except that this one just happens to also include some beer drinking.
The reason I always recommend bike tours is because it’s a great way to get a city overview, and it’s much faster than a walking tour. It’s best to do this as early in your trip as possible so that if you uncover places you want to go back to you still have time to do so.
Ride OKC’s Bike + Brews tour is great because, like I said, it includes visiting breweries plus some notable stops along the way. It’s three hours long and is very leisurely and relaxed.
Ride OKC also offers a cookie tour and an art + architecture tour, in case you are not interested in visiting breweries.
For more information on Ride OKC, click here to visit their site!
Grab Drinks (and Views!) at O Bar OKC
O Bar OKC is an upscale, rooftop bar on the top floor of the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City in Midtown. It made my list because it has both great cocktails and the best views in Oklahoma City! Two very important things, of course.
In addition to drinks and photo opps, O Bar offers small bites, too. We tried the charcuterie and cheese Combo Board which was lovely.
For more information on O Bar, click here to visit their site.
O Bar is a great spot to head to before or after dinner at The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen or Bleu Garten, an outdoor food truck park. Commonplace Books, a place you’ll learn more about below, is very close to O Bar as well. You may want to walk around Automobile Alley before or after, too!
Explore Plaza Walls
Plaza Walls is a rotating mural project with a mission to increase public art throughout Oklahoma, establish the first mural district in the state, and create an easy way for artists to paint murals. If you like art, photogenic backdrops, being outdoors, and supporting nonprofits making a positive impact on the community, do not miss this.
Plaza Walls is a collection of 30+ murals from 25+ artists on a canvas longer than a football field in the Plaza District of OKC. There’s also an indoor gallery in the same location where you can purchase high quality prints of the murals.
For more information on Plaza Walls, click here.
Want even more murals? My friends over at Camels and Chocolate know a thing or two about that. Click here for their guide to the best murals in Oklahoma City and where to find them.
Hungry? Stop at Aurora for made-from-scratch food and craft coffee.
Anything else? Yup, there’s some other cool stuff in the Plaza District if you have the time. Click here for more info.
Eat at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books
I have a thing for healthy food served in beautiful spaces and because of that The Kitchen at Commonplace Books is my 8th item! The Kitchen at Commonplace Books is great cafe attached to an equally beautiful bookstore.
They are open all day Monday through Saturday, from 8am to 9pm specifically, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee, tea, wine, and cocktails! On Sundays they open from 10am to 4pm, with brunch offered until 2 followed by coffee, wine, cocktails, and snacks until 4.
Long story short: you can stop here for basically anything, whether it be a full meal or just a quick drink or snack. I personally visited for lunch and ordered the avocado and egg on toast (plus iced coffee, of course). Whatever you have time for is what you should stop in for, just don’t miss it!
For more information on the Kitchen at Commonplace Books, click here to visit their site.
This post was done in partnership with Visit OKC. Thank you so much for having me! Everything above is my own opinion, as always.