Admittedly, I am not a born-and-raised Okie, but I did spend the majority of my adult life there! Oklahoma often gets a bad rap for being a flat, unprogressive state in the middle of nowhere. I actually shared this opinion before moving there for school. However, I quickly discovered a revitalized Oklahoma City with many up-and-coming attractions that make for fun weekends. Recently, I found myself reminiscing about all the things I miss about the Sooner State so naturally, I had to create a post. There are so many things to do on a weekend in Oklahoma City, and these are genuinely the first places I will be stopping at on my next return home!
The Food is SO Amazing
I didn’t realize until I left how much I loved the food culture in Oklahoma City. There are definitely several places I took for granted living there that I now find myself craving on a weekly basis.
- Cultivar is absolutely number one on my list. Farm to table, fresh and authentic, there is really no topping this restaurant. If you are going to order anything, let it be the chips and queso with a Mexican soda from their Maine Root fountain drink machine. It will be the best you’ve ever tasted. Best of all, Cultivar is located right on Broadway in the up-and-coming Automobile Alley district with a patio view of the Oklahoma City skyline.
- McNellie’s is next on my list because of the amazing location, not to mention amazing pub food. The heart of Midtown Plaza, McNellie’s is a fun tavern complete with dart boards, multiple floors, and a great atmosphere. If you are lucky enough to extend your stay in OKC don’t miss Burger Night, a Wednesday tradition I miss dearly!
- Insomnia Cookies tops my list off because I have a major sweet tooth. The name says it all: hot, fresh-baked cookies. Best of all, they are open until 3 am to satisfy cravings at any hour. Grab a cold bottle of milk or get a scoop of ice cream to melt on your oven fresh order- my mouth waters just writing this.
Watersports… in Oklahoma?
As a landlocked state, not many people associate watersports with Oklahoma. Believe it or not, watersports actually brought me here. Thanks to the manmade Oklahoma River, an array of sports like kayaking, simulated white water rafting, stand up paddleboarding, dragon boating, and rowing now thrive here. I actually rowed for the University of Oklahoma’s Women’s Rowing Team as a student-athlete. No weekend in Oklahoma City would be complete without checking out one of Riversport OKC‘s state-of-the-art adventures.
Just north of the Oklahoma River is Lake Hefner, another place for fun watersport rentals. My favorite is stand up paddleboarding, but you can also watch windsurfers and kite surfers here.
Visit a Revitalized Downtown
Myriad Botanical Gardens is the heart of Oklahoma City. Surrounded by iconic hotels and located at the foot of the Devon Tower (the tallest building in the OKC skyline) this park offers beautiful walking trails, artwork, and water features. Best of all, the outdoor amenities including the trails, bridges, dog park, children’s playground, and large koi pond are completely free. But if you can, I highly recommend touring the beautiful and unique Crystal Bridge. And if you are visiting during the winter, don’t miss the ice skating rink set up right in the park!
While you are downtown, stroll over to Bricktown just a short walk from Myriad Gardens. With endless restaurant and bar choices, Bricktown is a popular spot on weekends. There are even an arcade and mini golf course in the center of all the historic buildings. However, the real highlight of Bricktown is the array of transportation options. From carriage rides to bike cabs, there is even a water taxi and a bike bar.
Enjoy a Sunset with a View
Wheeler Riverfront Plaza is a must-see on a weekend in Oklahoma City. This spacious riverside park offers lawn games, the iconic “OKC” art, hammocks, murals, refurbished train cars, wicker swings, picnic benches, and a cute bocce ball court. However, it is no question that the Wheeler Ferris Wheel is the highlight of the park. It coincidentally offers one of the best views in Oklahoma. The best time to ride is during sunset when you feel like you can reach out and touch the colorful sky.
Funny enough, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel is actually the historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel that was purchased and refurbished in 2008. I feel a little connection to this Ferris Wheel because we essentially traded states. I do not meet many with a California-Oklahoma connection. There are even fewer who have ridden both the Wheeler Ferris Wheel and the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel.
My other favorite sunset spot is on the opposite side of the skyline. Directly above the aforementioned Insomnia Cookies and McNellie’s is the perfect rooftop view of Oklahoma City. End your weekend right with a fresh cookie from Insomnia, then head up the parking garage ramp to the Midtown sign. Although access to the actual sign is closed now (due to obvious safety reasons) the parking garage top still offers a great spot to enjoy dessert with a million dollar view.
As a bonus, if you have time for a 2-hour road trip, don’t miss the Blue Whale of Catoosa on the Historic Route 66 up in Tulsa!
What do you think? Did I miss any adventures for the best weekend in Oklahoma City?