For a medium-sized city of over 680,000, Oklahoma City has plenty to do, see, and eat. Top experiences include stops at the new Scissortail Park, a 70-acre green space with food trucks, a farmer’s market, and recreational activities; Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Stadium; Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum; and Bricktown, where you can find a water taxi that takes you through a canal past restaurants, nightlife, and family-friendly attractions.
Stockyards City, home to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Langston’s Western Wear, Oklahoma Opry, McClintock Saloon, Oklahoma Native American Fine Art, Jewelry & Pottery (see horsehair pottery), and Oklahoma National Stockyards, led by the city’s first-ever female president, Kelli Payne, is also worth a visit.
And if museums and galleries are your thing, then you’re in for a real treat with a visit to The Modern Frontier. Choose from world-class institutions such as Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma Contemporary, Exhibit C Gallery, Porcelain Art Museum, Red Earth Art Center, Oklahoma Science Museum, American Banjo Museum, and Oklahoma History Center.
Exploring the Horse Show Capital of the World is easy: the Will Rogers World Airport offers nonstop service to 28 airports in 24 cities across the country, from Seattle to Orlando and everywhere in between. Whether you’re interested in arts and culture, dining, history or the great outdoors, here are the best things to do in 48 hours.
Morning, day one: the gilded acorn
Start your adventure off right with breakfast at an Instagram-worthy hot spot that just opened: The Gilded Acorn. Chef and co-owner, Andrew Black, is also the co-founder and executive chef of Black Walnut and Gray Sweater and has brought his expertise and style to this new concept at The Gilded Acorn. From smoked benedict to sockeye lox, champagne poached chicken, toast and caviar, and roasted beet and spinach salad, the lofty menu offers something new here.
Afternoon, Day One: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Unlike any other museum you’ve ever seen before, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is an Oklahoma City treasure. You will need a few hours to wander through each of the galleries. You will see a myriad of curated items that celebrate and honor our country’s unique Western history, art and culture. Check out the American Cowboy, American Rodeo, Art of the American West, Museum of the Frontier West, Native American, Prosperity Junction, Sculpture, and Western Performers galleries.
The museum also has three Halls of Fame – Hall of Great Westerners, Hall of Great Western Performers, and Rodeo Hall of Fame – that commemorate notable people in the American West.
Exhibits at the museum, which will be on view in 2023, include outLAWman (through May 7), Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale (through January 2), Sombreros Texanas, and Bosses of the Plaines (through January 8). January), Art of the Northwest Coast (through May 1), and Looking Through the Windows to the West (through February 19).
Evening, day one: The National and Stock & Bond
Check into one of the most beautiful hotels in the state: The National, Autograph Collection. Housed in what was once the First National Bank Building, built in 1931, The National at the First National Center offers tasteful, well-appointed guestrooms in a newly opened and restored historic building filled with antiques and gold delights. Borrow opera glasses from reception and get a closer look at the elegant murals and frescoed ceilings.
Before dinner, enjoy a craft European cocktail or glass of wine at The Great Hall, largely regarded as “Oklahoma’s Livingroom”. Full of brilliant Art Deco style, you will enjoy the atmosphere while connecting with friends or family, flanked by beautiful marble bench columns and surrounded by four large murals painted by Edgar Spier Cameron in 1931 depicting the Louisiana Transfer, Sunset Trail and the Oklahoma Land Run.
A modern sauce-and-ingredient steakhouse, Stock & Bond has become an Oklahoma City staple, which is really saying something considering the number of steakhouses in the city. Pair your meal with one of 300 American whiskeys, neat or in a craft cocktail. People rave about the carefully curated menu, featuring Black Angus USDA Prime beef, as much as the friendly service. Stock & Bond is the best way to end your evening and celebrate your first day in Oklahoma City.
Morning, day two: Counters
Located in The National near the original intricate ticket offices, Tellers is an experience you won’t soon forget. For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with homemade granola, avocado toast, crispy potatoes, and a hot cappuccino. Tellers is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and is the place to go for a reliable meal in a beautiful setting.
Afternoon, day two: the First Americans Museum and Thirty Nine
The First Americans Museum is likely to become a highlight of your time in Oklahoma City. The building itself is an architectural wonder, beautiful and full of references to the culture and history of the First American Nations. In this museum, you can roam around on a horseshoe-shaped map and learn about the collective history of Oklahoma’s 39 First American Nations. The signature exhibit, Okla Homma, located in the Tribal Nations Gallery, tells the stories of these tribes through art, interactive displays, and film in the 270-degree Origins Theater. Visitors are invited to sit and listen to stories in one of the Moving Fire audio pods. See also items from Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in the WINIKO: Life of an Object exhibit.
After seeing the galleries you are probably hungry and need a break. Located in the museum, Thirty Nine offers Native-inspired dishes using traditional ingredients found in Oklahoma’s 39 recognized tribes. Current menu options, expertly curated by regional chef, Brad Harris, and Emmy Award-winning chef, Loretta Barrett Oden (Potawatomi Nation), include hominy stew, bison burgers, and colorful salads.
Evening, day two: library of spirits
Located in the basement of the iconic bank vault, in the First National Center, the Library of Distilled Spirits is all the magic you’d hope for. Find a cozy seat and open the menu full of multicolored sketches of adult drinks presented in fun cocktail glasses. Choose your own adventurous experience with two inimitable spaces, The Vault and The Archive, that set the tone for a fun night out.