Like many large cities, Oklahoma City is comprised of many neighborhoods. In OKC the neighborhoods are referred to as “districts.” There are fifteen Oklahoma City districts, each with its own distinct attributes. During our 48-hour stay there, it wasn’t possible to visit all of the districts, but Skip and I did explore several of them.
Midtown, just north of the downtown area, was once a deteriorating neighborhood. It’s gone through a renaissance the past few years and is now filled with trendy restaurants and shops. We stayed in Midtown’s only hotel, the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City, and ate at two of the nearby popular eateries, Waffle Champion and Fassler Hall.
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Bricktown, east of downtown, is another revitalized area. The area’s past life as a warehouse district has been transformed to the city’s most popular nightlife area. Restaurants with al fresco dining line a canal that was built during the revitalization. Tour the area on the Bricktown Water Taxi, or use the water taxi as a means of transportation. The American Banjo Museum and the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, are located in Bricktown.
The Boathouse District, situated on the Oklahoma River, is all about adventure, including a zipline across the river, a 72-foot Sky Slide, climbing walls and kayaking. It is also a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. A man-made whitewater rafting and kayaking center opens in May 2016.
Although we didn’t make it out to the Boathouse District, we did see the related RIVERSPORT Adventure Park on the shores of Lake Overholser. The Adventure Park includes a zip line, climbing wall, extreme swing, jump stunt, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, pedal boats and more.
Cattle auctions take place every Monday at the Oklahoma National Stock Yards. Stockyards City is also home to shops that specialize in all things western. We enjoyed a great steak dinner at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, the oldest continually-operating restaurant in Oklahoma City. For years the restaurant was open 24 hours. I heard a story that when new owners shortened the hours, they had to have locks put on the doors. There were none previously, since the restaurant had never closed!
Uptown 23rd District
Part of historic Route 66 runs through the Uptown 23rd District. Many storefronts along 23rd Street are vintage Route 66 era. We ate lunch at the trendy Cheever’s Café. The building was originally Cheever’s Flowers, opened by the woman who was the very first baby born in Oklahoma City.
Paseo Arts District
If you like art galleries, head to the Paseo Arts District. The curvy two-block street is lined with art galleries, cafes and bars housed in colorful Spanish Revival buildings. During First Friday Gallery Walks (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month and Saturday noon to 6 p.m.), the district holds art receptions, gives restaurant and shop discounts, and provides street entertainment.
The Adventure District is where you want to head if you’re bringing the family. Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Science Museum Oklahoma and the National Cowboy & Western heritage Museum are all located here. We found the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to be a world-class museum that tells the story of the American West through art galleries and exhibits.
The Downtown Central Business District is where you’ll find the skyscrapers, including the 50-story Devon Tower, the tallest. The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and the Myriad Botanical Gardens are located downtown, as well.
More information on Oklahoma City Districts
We were able to cover a lot of the Oklahoma City districts in the two days we were there thanks to the ease of navigation within the city. Everything was much closer than we thought it would be. Of course, we didn’t have time to visit all of the districts or to do everything in any one single district. That’s what return trips are for.
For further information about Oklahoma City’s districts, see the Visit OKC web site.
Disclosures: Our visit to Oklahoma City was hosted by the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
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