It’s an understatement! If you’ve ever noticed a car from Oklahoma while you’re out riding around you’ve probably seen the cute slogan that the state’s license plates carry: “Oklahoma is OK.” The punny motto is a good clue that Okies like to have fun and when you roll into Bricktown, Oklahoma City’s downtown entertainment district, you’ll get your first indication that Oklahoma is a lot more than just “OK.”
The approximately five square blocks of Bricktown are packed with places to eat, drink and hang out, and this is OKC’s chosen place for nighttime socializing. It’s kind of tough to pick just one place to party in Bricktown; should it be a munch at Bricktown Burgers then over to Rok Bar, or a kingly nosh at Earl’s Rib Palace then a mug of suds at Tapwerks Ale House & Cafe? More than 40 eating and drinking establishments cram Bricktown and should you really want to lay out the dog stop in for some Oklahoma beef at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse where, if you also like baseball, you can see some Mantle memorabilia (“The Mick” was a native Oklahoman.)
A really fun place to hang out in Bricktown is the RedPin Bowling Lounge, and musicians will love seeing the treasure trove of banjos at the American Banjo Museum; just make sure you get to the banjo museum before you settle in for the night because they close early.
An absolute must in Bricktown (and a great way to top off an evening) is a cruise on the mile-long Bricktown Canal. Water taxis depart from a dock in the heart of Bricktown and sail on roundtrips through the shopping area then out into quiet nearby spaces where impressive Western-themed sculptures line the canal banks and vistas of the downtown skyline loom. Of course, there is also plenty to do in OKC beyond Bricktown.
Does a place called the Oklahoma History Center sound a little stuffy to you? Well it’s not. The permanent exhibits here depict the history of the state through displays featuring Native Americans, the oil industry, famous Okies and basically everything else having to do with this state’s culture. Everything’s displayed in a bright and open setting that’s easy to negotiate and a real highlight here is the selection of temporary exhibits. Recent exhibits have focused on everything from the corny old TV show "Hee Haw" (star Roy Clark who lived in Oklahoma) to an in-depth spotlight on cartoonists from Oklahoma (Alley Oop, Dick Tracy, Wolverine and the scary Twilight Avenger all have Okie connections.) Currently the museum has among their many temporary exhibits a display looking to the big screen: “Oklahoma @ the Movies.”
Maybe using the word “fun” in conjunction with a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is inappropriate, but this is a place you’ll want to see. Set on the site of the former Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that was destroyed by a domestic terrorist attack in 1995, the memorial and museum offer a chronological history of what happened the day of the bombing. Multi-media displays offer the stories of those who died, survived and played a part in rescue operations. You’ll see pieces of twisted metal salvaged from the building and all kinds of artifacts and personal belongings that survived the blast, albeit in pretty bad condition. Perhaps the most poignant of exhibits is outside alongside a huge reflecting pool: The sobering Field of Empty Chairs is where a series of 168 bronze and stone chairs, one for each person killed in the blast, sit in a forlorn field. Keeping watch over the chairs is the Survivor Tree, a magnificent 90-year-old American Elm that managed to remain unscathed.
For information visit www.visitokc.com www.travelok.com