About This Place
Oklahoma City is notably different today than it was 20 years ago. In about every direction, the city has undergone a noticeable transformation, and it’s easy to feel the area’s palpable energy. While Oklahoma City continues to progress, visitors to the capital city can experience an unchanged frontier spirit.
In the early 1990s the area just east of downtown was a cluster of abandoned brick warehouses, built at the turn of the century for railroad freight operations. Today this area, known as Bricktown, is one of Oklahoma City’s most popular hotspots, busting at the seams with restaurants, shops and nightclubs lining the mile-long Bricktown Canal.
Another top downtown Oklahoma City attraction is the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. The Myriad covers 17 landscaped acres of plants, blooms, fountains and foliage. The Crystal Bridge is actually a seven-story, cylindrical conservatory spanning the grounds, with exotic plants, water features, lizards and fish.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, also downtown, boasts the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly glass in the world, as well as noteworthy European and American art. From the museum, travelers can head to the Red Earth Museum and Gallery, five blocks east. This unique venue exhibits Native American art, pottery and artifacts. Every year in June the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival attracts more than 1,200 American Indian artists for a three-day celebration that includes a parade, juried art show and market, and performing arts.
Just west of downtown is Stockyards City. Founded in 1910 and listed on the National Historic Register, the area features authentic Western shops for custom-made boots and saddles, as well as Oklahoma City’s all-time favorite Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. In this western district, visitors can watch real cowboys working in the Oklahoma National Stockyards, the world’s largest live cattle auction.
Northeast of downtown stands Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, a poignant tribute to the 168 lives lost in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Outside the museum, a field of 168 empty chairs faces the reflecting pool that occupies what once was North West Fifth Street.
A must-see Oklahoma City attraction is the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Visitors can explore the legends and the realities of life in the Old West with historic artifacts, a lifelike rodeo arena and cattle town, and a nationally renowned collection of Western art. Another must-see spot for kid-friendly fun is the Oklahoma City Zoo, routinely ranked among the country’s top ten zoos. Visitors can take their time exploring innovative habitats for about 1,900 animals, or take the Safari Tram for a guided tour.
Oklahoma City’s outstanding eateries include the landmark Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Other popular restaurants include Musashi’s Japanese Steakhouse and Mahogany Prime Steakhouse. Fresh seafood and a fine dining ambiance await patrons at the Deep Fork Wood Grill. Cheever’s Café offers contemporary comfort food and specializes in American cuisine with Southwest influences. The Metro Wine and Bistro offers elegant dining with a choice of more than 400 hand-selected wines.