I had only been through Oklahoma City twice, but coming back from Texas one trip I caught a glimpse of a lively downtown. I told Crystal, who visits the city often because a family member lives there, that it might be fun to come with her and her husband one weekend and go out on the town. A good girls’ weekend needs to include three things for me – good food and drinks, interesting museums, and of course shopping. Add in a short road trip and the mini break was complete.
We booked a room in the Hilton Garden Inn at Bricktown, the entertainment district of Oklahoma City. It was cheaper to stay further from the downtown area, but we wanted to be in the center of the action. Bricktown is a former warehouse district, and after its revitalization is now home to many clubs and restaurants, a 16-complex movie theater, and numerous shops, among other attractions. It also boasts a mile-long canal where water taxis can take you to and from businesses if you chose to travel by water. For those interested in sports more than a girls’ weekend, it is home to the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, where the minor league baseball team, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, plays and Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder plays.
Because I had to work on Saturday, we did not get to Oklahoma City until about 9:30 p.m., but that is plenty of time to go out on the town for a girls’ night. After we settled into our hotel we walked around Bricktown searching for a good place to eat. We decided on the Spaghetti Warehouse, which had great reviews and sounded yummy. And of course it lived up to its expectation. Although we did not go clubbing, it was fun to watch the nightlife and people watch from the streets.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
On Sunday morning we walked to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast, before walking to the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
The 17-acre gardens are located in the downtown area. Within the gardens is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, which houses two distinct climates. There is a tropical wet and tropical dry zone. It was fun and interesting to walk through rain forest vegetation and then to an aired climate with cacti. I loved learning about and seeing the different plants. Outside the conservatory, the grounds are a manicured urban park with a waterway running through them.
In the winter they have an ice rink. Having very little experience with ice skating, my ankles were hurting right away. Lagena was the best one out of the three of us, zooming around the rink as Crystal and I clutched the side rails hoping not to fall.
After exploring the gardens and ice skating, we walked back to our hotel stopping at Abuelo’s for lunch.
For the rest of the afternoon, we drove to the Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City for some early Christmas shopping. Located off I-40, the shopping center is an outdoor mall of discounted name-brand shops. Coach, Columbia, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, and Nike are among more than 50 stores.
After a day of touring and shopping, were exhausted. We decided a movie and room service sounded like a perfect evening.
The Cowboy Museum
We woke to a cold and dreary Monday morning, so we chose to visit The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which is indoors. I thought it was odd that it is not located in the entertainment district or downtown, but when we arrived I realized the museum is much larger than I imagined.
Known as America’s premier institution for western history, art, and culture, the museum displays works of art, historic artifacts and western movie memorabilia. With both classic and contemporary works of art, it is also home to a interactive turn-of-the-century town. Collections of Native American culture, western performers, rodeos, Victorian firearms, and frontier military are also on display.
A unique exhibit of saddles and intricate leather work was also on display, and it was amazing to see all the craftsmanship that went into to making these pieces worth tens of thousands of dollars. I was a little disappointed we not allowed to photograph this exhibit nor much of the artwork, because it was so amazing.
Crystal and Lagena were not sold when I presented them the idea of going to a cowboy museum. Every time the subject of “what do we do next” came up, I was the only one enthusiastic about the museum. However, after seeing all the wonderful displays, they both said they were pleasantly surprised.
The OKC bombing memorial
One thing we did not have time for but probably should have made time for is The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 is one of the first news events I remember seeing on T.V. and being glued there watching, wanting to know more details. On my return trip, I will definitely visit this site.
The rain also kept us away because the memorial portion is an outside venue. The museum portion is an interactive learning museum that takes you through the events of terrorist attacks on April 19, 1995. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is on the site of the Murrah Building.
Much more to offer
Oklahoma City is an up-and-coming city that millennials are flocking to. It offers a plethora of things to do, and I wish we had more time to explore it. With only a six-hour drive from Hot Springs, I will definitely be making a return trip.