A visit to Oklahoma City is a treasure trove of new experiences to encapsulate the spirit of the American heartland. If you have never visited this metropolitan city in the South, you might be wondering if Oklahoma City is a good place to live. With a rich tapestry of history, culture, and modern allure, it’s hard to not be captivated by the city’s charm and begin imagining renting an apartment in OKC or buying a home in the city.
From grabbing a drink at a local brewery to creating your own work of art, Redfin reached out to locals to get their take on must-see and must-do activities to create the ultimate Oklahoma City Bucket List.
1. Experience the culinary delights of the South
Oklahoma City is home to a wide variety of rich foods and experiences. “One of our favorite places in OKC is Chicken N Pickle,” says Chad and Brie of Chad & Brie Photography, a local wedding photography business. “They offer a delightful blend of tasty cuisine and entertainment. A couple of our go-to menu items include the Chorizo Queso and Chicken and Waffles. The venue also provides a fun atmosphere with games like pickleball, bocce ball, and cornhole making it an ideal spot for a fun-filled experience with friends and family.”
Rae Lynn Payton of Naturally Oklahoma, an adventure blog about Oklahoma, seconds Chicken N Pickle saying, “Chicken N Pickle has become our current family favorite experience in the OKC metro area. Besides a delicious menu and access to both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, it has a variety of activities for all ages, such as cornhole and large wooden Jenga sets.”
Looking for something different than games and chicken? Grand House Asian Bistro at the heart of Oklahoma City’s Asian District has you covered. “Try the authentic dim sum experience available on the weekends or pop in for a quick bite during the weekday express lunch specials,” recommends General Manager Allison Tien.
If none of these recommendations strike your fancy, you can always get a steak at the famous Cattlemen’s Steakhouse or have an evening of shareables at Riserva Bar and Tapas. Other local favorites include The Side Chick, Mi Xian, and 74.
2. Get your coffee fix
Oklahoma City is home to several eclectic coffee shops that will quench your thirst for a good cup of coffee during your visit. Kathryn Lynn of Second Story Books recommends Mocha House, saying, “If you are a coffee lover and have never tried–or have tried and loved–Yemeni Coffee, Mocha House is a must. A delicious taste of Yemen, the birthplace of coffee, that serves delicious drinks and the most exquisite pastries–try them all, but especially the Honeycomb.”
3. Party the night away in Bricktown
While you’re out enjoying the cuisine that OKC has to offer, checking out the vibrant nightlife is another must-add to your Oklahoma City Bucket List. Bricktown is the hub of all things entertainment within OKC. With massive warehouses repurposed as hip restaurants and shops, there is bound to be something to catch your eye.
Once you’ve taken in the sights and sounds of Bricktown, take a water taxi ride down the canal before heading to Core4 Brewing on Film Row for a pint. Visiting May through October? Then you can’t miss the Fourth Friday Block Party. “Every Fourth Friday of the month, Core4 blocks off Lee Ave and throws a huge block party,” says Core4 Brewing Company co-owner Buck Buchanan. “There is always live music, food trucks, and a night market featuring 20 local artists and makers.”
Interested in a bar crawl? Make your way to Broke Brewing for a wide selection of traditional beer styles. “Our taproom is mid-century modern and we have a rotating selection of more creative brews in addition to our more traditional brews,” shares Charn Langford, president of Broke Brewing.
4. Take a stroll through the Farmers Market District
Take a trip down to Oklahoma City’s historic Farmers Market District to explore all that local groceries have to offer–such as Urban Agrarian. “Look to the freezer case, which is home to take-and-bake specialties from Urban Agrian’s own kitchen, like chicken pot pie and burritos,” recommends Chelsey Simpson, co-owner of Urban Agrarian.
5. Get your blood pumping
Traveling is always a good time for experiencing something new and getting out of your comfort zone.
If you’re willing to take a day trip out of the city, adrenaline seekers will love visiting Turner Falls. This 77 foot tall waterfall is the largest in Oklahoma, feeding into a pool of crystal clear blue water below. While there check out 777 Zip, which offers a unique and thrilling zipline experience high above Turner Falls and Collings Castle. In a similar vein as ziplines, Frontier City offers heart-pumping rides with the added bonus of live shows and entertainment in a western-themed ambience.
6. Try your hand at a new art
Not feeling roller coasters and ziplines? Take up a new hobby at Strange Earth Studio. “We offer a wide variety of classes in pottery, stained glass, fused glass, and more,” shares Strange Earth Studio owner Chlsea Eileen. Classes are a fit for beginners or those that want to spend several sessions developing the craft.
Another popular studio in OKC is Hideout Art, featuring Lisa Lampton Allen teaching Abstract Art lessons. With a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, this is the perfect place to get started if you’re nervous about putting a brush to canvas. In Lisa’s own words, “it’s a working art studio party place that rocks so hard!”
7. Dance the night away
Maybe you want to experience an art that is less about what you can do with your hands and more about how to move your body. If you’re visiting in September, check out the annual OKC Tap Dance Festival hosted by the Metropolitan School of Dance. “The OKC Tap Dance Festival boasts over 42 classes from beginning to advanced level tap workshops!” shares Frances Pitts of the Metropolitan School of Dance. If a tap dance festival isn’t your thing, stop by Range of Motion Dance Studio during your visit to take a free class from instructor CeCe Farha in a wide range of styles from hip-hop to ballet.
8. Enjoy incredible museums
If you’re into museums, OKC’s got you covered. From the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to the Osteology Museum and Science Museum Oklahoma, there are plenty of museums to add to your Oklahoma City Bucket List.
Also, be sure to check out the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the Centennial Land Run Monument, both important landmarks to remember the history of Oklahoma City.
9. Spend a day at a local arts festival
If you happen to be visiting in early May, you have to check out the Downtown Edmond Arts Festival. According to Michelle Schaefer, Festival Director, the festival features “over 130 artists from across the country, activities for the kids, live music and performing arts, and all your favorite food, all nestled in the charming Downtown Edmond shopping district.”
10. Experience OKC parks
Being in the city can get overwhelming, so if you need an escape to some greenery be sure to check out one of OKC’s stunning parks. You can’t miss the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Conservancy. Located downtown, this 15-acre botanical garden is home to not just a collection of plants and trees, but serves as a community center for art exhibits and concerts.
After visiting the botanical gardens, take a trip around the lake at Scissortail Park in a pedal boat or take a day trip to visit Collings Castle. Collings Castle was built in the 1930s as a private residence and exists today as a replica of old English architecture. Explore the rooms, peek through windows, and enjoy the views from atop a real castle.
11. Attend a sporting event
An Oklahoma City Bucket List wouldn’t be complete without a sporting event. Whether it’s cheering on the Thunder at Paycom Center or supporting the OKC Dodgers at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, attending a sporting event is an exhilarating experience that captures the spirit of the community’s passion for sports.
“As an Oklahoma City Thunder Girl Alumni, I will say that a newcomer to the area must catch an OKC Thunder game! From the thunderous cheers of our passionate fans, often hailed as the best in the NBA, to the electric atmosphere that pulsates through the arena, attending a Thunder game is an unmatched entertainment spectacle. The high-energy crowd creates an immersive and spirited ambiance, making every moment an unforgettable thrill,” shares LaTeshia Dockery, COO of the new company Her Community.
12. Visit the Paseo Arts District
Take a stroll through Oklahoma City’s most popular arts destination. Home to 18 art galleries, 10 restaurants, two bars, and nine shops, The Paseo makes for the perfect place to enjoy a day exploring on foot. New visitors can see what the district has to offer during First Friday Gallery Walk, a monthly event featuring new artwork, live music and extended shopping hours. Visiting in the spring? Then you can’t miss the Paseo Arts Festival. “Taking place every Memorial Day Weekend, the festival brings over 60,000 visitors every year and showcases artwork from over 90 juried artists from across the country,” explains Connor Albrightson of the Paseo Arts Association. This one is a must for any Oklahoma City Bucket List.