There are a lot of cool things happening in Oklahoma City right now. (For starters, we live here now!). But when people ask us what all there is to do here, Tom and I often look at each other and shrug because we just don’t know where to start. So we thought we’d lay some of it out right here. Here’s what a jam-packed weekend full of awesomeness looks like for us in OKC.
A weekend in Oklahoma City should start with some local flavor, and there’s no food with as much local charm as the onion burger. Although onion burgers originated in nearby El Reno, they’re still very well represented in OKC. For us, that means a trip to Tucker’s.
Tucker’s Onion Burgers
I grew up eating onion burgers at a tiny little restaurant in the tiny little town I grew up in, but it’s been years since I’ve had one. In that time, they’ve gained national acclaim, Food & Wine even calls them a “national treasure”. The onion burger originated during depression times when eateries were looking for ways to reduce costs. One solution was to press a pile of thinly shredded onions into a beef patty. Not only were onions cheaper than beef, they also imparted their own juicy flavor. Thus, the Oklahoma delicacy was born.
I went with a single onion burger with cheese and Tom got the double. The man loves his burgers. Both burgers were appropriately massive and are stuffed with a healthy pile of grilled onions and cheese. The onions lived up to the billing and added generous flavor to an all-around delicious burger that’s not stingy on cheese or pickles. Don’t miss out on the hand-cut fries either!
Our onion burgers left us a little parched, so it was time to check out one of our favorite local breweries. I’m always telling my beer nerd friends about OKC’s seriously great craft beer scene in order to lure them here for a visit. We’re huge fans of them all, but one of our favorites for both beer and atmosphere is Stonecloud Brewing Co.
Stonecloud typically has as many as 15+ of their beers on tap at the brewery. The beers range from big, hoppy IPA’s to barrel-aged sours to imperial stouts and everything in between. We are big fans of the variety and creativity, especially since Tom and I essentially have polar opposite beer preferences. If you get hungry, they’ll often have one of OKC’s best food trucks parked out front. To top it all off, the brewery is dog friendly so you know its a hit with us.
The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen
Our love for The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen knows no bounds. We’ve pretty much been eating it nonstop since we moved here, and we believe any visit to OKC should include a dinner date on The Hall’s rooftop. Bonus, if you’re lucky you’ll get to watch a the sun set as you dine. Trust us and make a reservation for an unforgettable meal at Hall’s!
After dinner, head to the Wheeler District to see the city a little bit differently. This new neighborhood in OKC is the perfect place for a little romance or fun with the kids. You can take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, which is actually an historic Ferris Wheel from Santa Monica purchased off Ebay in 2008. Weird? Yes. Awesome? Double yes. Over $1 million was spent updating and restoring the ferris wheel and to install it as a fixture in Oklahoma City with iconic views of the downtown skyline. If you prefer to stay on the ground, you can lounge in a hammock, play bocce ball or get dinner from a food truck.
The AC Hotel Bricktown
Of course, you need a fabulous place to stay while you’re exploring the city. We were lucky enough to take a staycation in the beautiful new AC Hotel in Bricktown. The AC Hotel is OKC’s first modular hotel, and is all sleek lines and modern finishes. We really enjoyed getting away and resting our heads in these super stylish digs.
We have quickly discovered that breakfast and brunch are taken very seriously in this city. Some of the hardest restaurants to get into and the ones that draw the longest lines are focused on the day’s first meal. One of the most prominent of these, and a must visit when in OKC, is Waffle Champion in midtown.
Waffle Champion has turned the everyday breakfast staple into a swiss army knife of delicious dishes. With options including waffle fries, chorizo eggs benedict, fried chicken sandwiches and s’mores, the menu at Waffle Champion will make your mouth water.
We came pretty early to beat some of the lines on a Saturday morning and were pleased to see the line wasn’t quite out the door yet (it can stretch around the corner if you wait until noon). We decided to try a savory and a sweet option with the chicken and waffles sammie and a banana cream pie. You can read the full recap here, but rest assured they are both absurdly delicious.
So yeah, OKC has an entire river sport and adventure park right in the city. At Riversport OKC you can go kayaking, white water rafting, stand up paddle boarding, sliding, zip-lining and more. It’s the coolest way to get your adrenaline pumping in the city, and you’ll get a killer workout to boot!
We started off with the zip line and slung ourselves across the Oklahoma River. No phones allowed, but you can see from our gear that it was serious business. The ride is fast and exhilarating, the perfect warm up for the main event of white water rafting.
Riversport Rapids lets you experience Class II-IV whitewater rafting in the heart of Oklahoma City. The city put $45.2 million into the whitewater rafting and kayaking center and it’s truly a sight to behold. We met our rafting guide and were shown the ropes of how to handle our paddles and the rapids.
The rapids are no joke and you get a great workout paddling your way around the course. Our guide was awesome and directed us all around the water while also keeping us safe.
After several runs on the course we had worked up quite an appetite again. Luckily for us, the on-site restaurant Big Water Grill just revamped their menu. After hitting the locker rooms to change into dry clothes, we hurried over to the grill for lunch. To start, we shared an order of pretzel bites served with a delicious beer cheese made with local Coop DNR brew. We happily dunked our way through every last bite.
For something more substantial we went with the fish tacos. They battered cod was delightfully crispy and topped with a Caribbean slaw that had a hint of piña colada flavor to it — genius.
If there’s one activity you absolutely can’t pass up on your trip to OKC, it’s definitely Riversport OKC! With the only man-made rafting course in the U.S. it’s a truly unique experience.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Because the rapids are located right downtown, we were able to zip right over to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art after rafting. If you don’t think of OKC as a destination for the arts, think again. The Museum of Art features acclaimed rotating exhibits, an impressive permanent collection and one of the largest collections of Chihuly glass in the world. The museum also features a delicious cafe, art education classes and $5 admission on Thursdays for Art After 5. We love it so much we’re considering a membership so we can be sure to catch all of the new traveling exhibits and special events.
Looking for more art? Head to Untitled Art Space to check our their latest free exhibit or head to the Plaza District to check out an ever-changing outdoor gallery of murals. OKC is also home to the Paseo Arts District, a working artist community offering several art galleries and creative shops.
After being out all day we decided to head back to the AC Hotel to clean up and get recharged. And what better way to recharge then with a mixology class at the hotel bar.
We pulled up a couple chairs and watched as Perla, the head bartender, walked us through a few cocktail creations. She started with the Landrun that included vodka, Montenegro amaro, strong hibiscus tonic syrup, fresh lime juice and cinnamon bitters. The drink was delicious and refreshing and had a hint of smokiness to it that came from a charred piece of cinnamon added to the glass. She also detailed the House Old Fashioned for us. Their version included some Olorroso sherry, tying back to the Spanish roots of the hotel owners. This style of sherry is on the darker side and mixed in well with the bourbon and bitters. It was certainly educational, but we decided to leave the mixology to the experts and stick to what we do best — drink the finished products.
For dinner we had reservations at the iconic Bricktown restaurant Mickey Mantle’s. Named after the Oklahoma-born baseball legend, his family created the space in the then-deserted area downtown that would eventually become Bricktown. But don’t confuse this place for a sports bar. Sure, they have some memorabilia and decor paying homage to the Yankee great but this place has long held a reputation for high end dining and being one of the most romantic spots in OKC. Read our full recap to see why Mickey’s is one of favorite places to make memories in OKC.
Sundays in OKC for us are all about brunch and getting in touch with nature. May we suggest the perfect way to conclude your weekend getaway to Oklahoma City?
Kitchen 324 has one of the best and most reliable brunches in Oklahoma City. They offer both healthy and heartier options featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients that are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the palate. We suggest making a reservation, as this place definitely fills up fast on the weekends!
Myriad Botanical Gardens
The Myriad Botanical Gardens, located in the heart of downtown, provide an urban nature oasis in the middle of the city. We love walking to the gardens on nice days to see what’s in bloom. If the weather doesn’t happen to be on your side, there’s always the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, home to thousands of tropical and desert plants.
Elemental Coffee Co.
So it’s been an awesome weekend, but with all that running around a person needs their caffeine fix. Our go-to for great coffee is almost always Elemental Coffee in Midtown. They offer a full array of coffee and tea options as well as breakfast and lunch. It’s a great place to catch up on work or just relax and recharge.
And there you have it! A perfectly jam-packed weekend of Oklahoma City fun and adventure. But honestly, this is only a taste of what we love about this city. The newly added OKC Streetcar, which serves the greater downtown area, makes it even easier to explore.
This post is part of a collaboration with Visit OKC. All opinions and ideas are completely honest and unique to The Tasty Escape.