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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mapping the Future

So we’ve talked about the Oklahoma River and the great trail system in OKC. Those things didn’t just happen randomly. Thanks to the citizens of OKC passing the MAPS initiatives, we all get to enjoy world-class quality of life amenities like the Oklahoma River, Bricktown Canal, Chesapeake Energy Arena and much more. If you are new to Oklahoma City and not familiar with MAPS check out this quick refresher on the ground-breaking initiatives.

With all the construction and development announcements, even we have trouble keeping track of everything going on so we thought we would give you a little MAPS 3 construction update. For future reference bookmark the city’s website for the latest updates on the projects.

  • Sidewalks: Construction is well underway and you can already walk on MAPS 3 sidewalks in many parts of the city. All sidewalk construction should be completed this year.
  • Oklahoma River: The racecourse improvements have been installed and the Whitewater course is under construction. All phases of the river improvements should be done in 2020.
  • Downtown Public Park: The Master Plan has been approved and the land is being acquired. The park will be complete in 2020.
  • Oklahoma State Fairgrounds: Construction of the new expo center has started.
  • Convention Center: Additional site analysis is underway with an opening in 2019 or 2020.
  • Modern Street Car: Route framework has been approved. The plan is to have the streetcar operational in 2019.
  • Trails: Construction on the West River Trail is nearing completion and the I-44 Trail is in final design. The final phase of the trails will be completed in 2017.
  • Senior Health and Wellness Centers: Architects and operating partners have been identified for the first center. All four wellness centers are slated to be complete by 2021.
downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, State Fair Park
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Run, Settler, Run

Although we weren’t there, it is a pretty safe assumption that the first minutes of the Oklahoma Land Run were complete chaos with canons firing, hoofbeats pounding and eager pioneers as far as the eye can see. While we can’t go back in time to experience it, we can see the frenzied spirit of the day captured by the Centennial Land Run Monument at the south end of Bricktown Canal.

When complete, this monument will feature 45 larger than life sized figures of land run participants, including a soldier and a canon, 24 horses and riders, covered wagons – all giving the viewer an idea of what that day might have looked like. The artist Paul Moore will have created one of the largest freestanding bronze sculptures in the world, spanning 365 feet in length, when the installments are complete later this year. This monument is a city park and is open to the public 24 hours a day year round, but it is best viewed during daylight hours.  

arts and culture, Bricktown, downtown, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rock Around the Clock

This week we say goodbye to 2014 and usher in 2015. If you want to celebrate the New Year in style, the place to be in OKC is Opening Night. If you are new to our great city, you might be asking yourself what, exactly, is Opening Night? Well, it is an epic New Year’s Eve celebration all around downtown. Great music (of all kinds of genres), food, drinks, fireworks and even improv comedy performances – Opening Night has a little something for everyone.

Put on by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, Opening Night is OKC’s premier New Year’s Eve party. Wristbands are just $8 in advance and you can pick them up at 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, metro Homeland stores, Science Museum Oklahoma and MidFirst Bank locations. You can also get wristbands for $10 at the event. Children under 5 are absolutely free.

What are you waiting for? Go get a wristband and then check out the schedule and map online because what better way to say “hasta la vista” to 2014 than with thousands of your new best friends?

downtown, festivals
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Share the story of OKC

We love to show off our city to out-of-town guests and there’s no better time than the holidays. Once you finish your holiday feast, head out to explore some of the exciting activities in the city.

  • Treat the whole family to an unforgettable experience at the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.  We love the tranquil setting and the out-of-this-world playground area, but our favorite activity during the holidays has to be the ice-skating rink. Hours for the ice rink have been extended throughout the holiday season.     
  • Science Museum Oklahoma, one of our favorite destinations for family fun, houses so many hands-on science experiments that we have a hard time choosing where to start. From the Tinkering Garage and Gadget Trees to daily shows in the planetarium and dome theater, the museum allows your inner child to run wild.
  • We love to share the history of our great state, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the perfect locale to take an inside peek at the spirit, passion and grit symbolized by the American West. There are exhibits for the tikes, too, including the Chuckwagon and Prosperity Junction.
  • Come on, the wild is calling! Did you know the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens ranks among the top three family-friendly zoos in the nation? If you haven’t visited in a while, check it out. 2014 has been an exciting year as the zoo celebrated 110 years. 2015 is sure to be just as exciting as with the expected arrival of a baby elephant before the end of the year.
  • The 45th Infantry Division Museum, the nation’s largest state-operated military history museum, offers an inside glance at Oklahoma’s military history. Stroll through Thunderbird Park to see more than 60 types of equipment, including tanks, artillery, personnel carriers and aircraft.
  • Boot-scoot over to Oklahoma City’s Historic Stockyards City, one of the largest livestock markets in the world, to immerse yourself in authentic cowboy culture. This unique district offers a glimpse into Oklahoma’s cowboy scene. Satisfy your hunger at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, then head over to catch a live show at the Centennial Rodeo Opry.
  • Enter the Oklahoma History Center and let the fascinating lives of Oklahoma oil barons, pioneers, American Indians and Oklahoma’s famous citizens bring the past to life. From the mighty Land Run to nostalgic Route 66 lore and from the stirring Civil War to high-flying airplanes, there’s something for everyone at the Oklahoma History Center.
  • OKC 125: A Photography Exhibition provides an interesting perspective on downtown Oklahoma City. The exhibit features works by 125 individuals who captured their favorite downtown sites in 125 minutes.
Adventure District, attractions, downtown, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, restaurants, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Whack-a-Mall

OKC’s malls are certainly popular shopping destinations for many, especially during Christmastime, and for good reason. But if the food court freaks you out, the kiosks are confusing and parking lots induce panic, check out some of the pop-up retail locations around downtown and shop where no one has shopped before! Except for, well, the last couple years or so… Anyway, the Holiday Pop-Up Shops at Midtown feature a rotating mix of retailers every Thursday through Sunday until December 21st. Learn more at their website. Likewise, the Winter Shoppes at the Myriad Gardens are open Thursdays through Sundays, as well as Monday the 21st and Tuesday the 22nd. Check out their retailers and more deets at their website. Shop local boutique-style, and enjoy some of the downtown OKC holiday festivities while you’re at it.

downtown, local goods, retail, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year

The holidays are quickly approaching and there’s no better place to get in the holiday spirit than downtown Oklahoma City. Whether you love the twinkle of holiday lights, meeting Santa, the thrill of finding the perfect one-of-a-kind gift or getting your sweat on, Downtown in December offers an activity for everyone.

The official kickoff of the holiday season takes place during the Tree Lighting Festival from 5 to 7 p.m. this Friday when Mayor Mick Cornett lights the Christmas tree for the season. Local musicians will provide live entertainment and guests can feast on popcorn and cookies, courtesy of Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante. Little tikes will even be able to meet the jolly big guy himself and have works of art painted on their adorable faces. Festivities also include the Holiday River Parade as boats of all shapes and sizes adorned with holiday lights float along the Oklahoma River.

Enjoy the lights of the season throughout Oklahoma City. More than 4 million lights will adorn an eight-block area around the campus of Chesapeake Energy Corp. at NW 63rd Street and Western Avenue. The historic buildings of Automobile Alley offer an unforgettable experience as more than 180,000 colorful lights drape structures. A stroll down the Bricktown Canal offers a festive atmosphere for dining, shopping and enjoying time with family and friends. During the holiday season, water taxi rides are free each Thursday through Sunday.

downtown, festivals, food, free, holiday, live music, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Retail therapy

Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Downtown in December offers a plethora of opportunities for retail therapy. The Deluxe Winter Market in Leadership square will feature more than 60 vendors with local and handmade goods, crafts, home decor, art, food and other specialty items.

More than 30 Oklahoma-owned shops and an urban Christmas tree will be showcased at the holiday pop-up shops in Midtown. Shops rotate weekly through a set of geodesic domes at NW 10th and Harvey, next to Bleu Garten. The holiday shopping village is open each weekend, beginning this Friday.

The Winter Shoppes at Myriad Botanical Gardens offer a complete family experience including on-site ice skating, a selection of boutique-style vendors and the breathtaking views of the gardens and Crystal Bridge. You can even enjoy a carousel ride while you’re here. The Myriad Botanical Gardens is hosting a variety of holiday-related events from scavenger hunts to wrapping parties.

Of course, Oklahoma City offers shopping options that are incredibly diverse. From high-end shops at 50 Penn Place, Penn Square Mall, Quail Springs Mall or Classen Curve to funky local shops on Western Avenue or in the Plaza District, OKC offers more than you might imagine. Check out a listing of local retailers here.

downtown, family-friendly, holiday, Midtown, outdoor recreation, retail, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blades of Glory

The chill is definitely in the air in Oklahoma City and that means fall is in full swing. However, don’t act like a bear and disappear until the thaw of spring. There is still boatloads of fun to be had in OKC when the temperature drops, including the yearly Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The opening of the Devon Ice Rink is the unofficial launch of the colder seasons for locals.

Open until Feb. 1, the Devon Ice Rink gives you a chance to channel your inner Bonnie Blair or Brian Boitano in Downtown OKC. On weekdays the rink opens at 3 p.m., and runs until 9 p.m. During the weekends, the rink opens at 11 a.m., and closes at 11 p.m. (if you want to get wild).

Really want to get your figure skate on? Each Friday night is Rock N Skate night. From 6 to 9 p.m., a DJ will provide the soundtrack and all you have to provide are the moves (and a small entry fee).

Garden members skate for just $7, while nonmembers pay $12, including skate rental. Own your own blades? First off, that is awesome, and you only have to pay $8. Food and drink will also be available both indoors and outdoors.

So work on your axel jumps and free dances and we will see you on the ice.

downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It’s the Great Pumpkinville, OKC!

For the third year, Oklahoma City can enjoy a pumpkin paradise thanks to Myriad Gardens and OGE Energy Corp. Pumpkinville, presented by OGE Energy Corp., is an enchanting celebration of all things fall that includes more than 3,000 pumpkins filling the Children’s Garden from Oct. 10-31. Admission to Pumpkinville is $5 per child and $3 per adult (unless you are a member of Myriad Gardens, in which case admission is free).

In addition to fall fun in the Children’s Garden, Myriad Gardens will also host the Pumpkinville Halloween Party: Garden Monster Bash on Oct. 25 from 6-8 p.m. This ghoulish party will be more friendly than frightening, so have no fear about bringing your children or skittish friends. View the admission prices and RSVP for this event by Monday, Oct. 20 to reserve your spot!

downtown, family-friendly, kids, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Downtown OKC offers “new urbanism” for living

In recent years, Oklahoma City has seen a boom in downtown housing development.

So many people are choosing to call downtown home – nearly 7,450 downtown OKC residents these days – that the population has fueled demand for a new school in the area. John W. Rex Elementary School, a $14 million investment in the heart of downtown, is welcoming its inaugural classes this Fall.

If you want to live downtown, you’ve got plenty of choices and more to come, ranging from $784 to $2,250 per month for a one-bedroom housing unit; to $1,100 to $3,100 per month for a two bedroom/two bathroom unit.

So far there are nearly 3,000 housing units in the greater downtown Oklahoma City area, which includes the Oklahoma Health Center complex, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber estimates that there are nearly 2,000 more planned or under construction.

Downtown residents are within walking distance or very close to all kinds of arts, culture, fitness and sport opportunities, including the Chesapeake Energy Arena where the OKC Thunder plays, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and home of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, Civic Center Music Hall, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma River/Boathouse District, Bricktown, Red Earth Museum, American Banjo Museum, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Myriad Botannical Gardens, Cox Convention Center and home of the Oklahoma City Barons, Oklahoma River trails, Downtown Library, Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum and area parks nearby.

And there are more venues in the works, as well as ongoing infrastructure improvements, like a 70-acre downtown park, a new convention center, whitewater rafting facility, modern streetcar system, 50 miles of trails and senior wellness aquatic centers.

Welcome to the neighborhood. You’re not alone in finding OKC’s vibrant downtown appealing.

Find out more about downtown living here and Oklahoma City’s housing market here.

downtown, housing
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Explore downtown OKC whatever your interest

If you find yourself in downtown Oklahoma City with some time to explore, don’t miss the chance to stumble upon some places that you haven’t seen before.

For ideas, check out the downtown walking tour from the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau or go to Downtown OKC’s website to find various ways to make your time downtown interesting, special and fun, no matter what your interests are. From Downtown OKC, you can get the most out of your visit downtown by checking out itineraries for going on a date, listening to music, enjoying some family time or participating in health and fitness activities.

While you’re downtown, stretch your wings a bit and see many of the sites close by, such as those in Bricktown, Automobile Alley, Deep Deuce, Film Row, Stockyards City and the Boathouse District.

fitness, Automobile Alley, Boathouse District, Bricktown, downtown, family-friendly, Film Row
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stargaze Like Edwin Hubble (Not A.J. Hammer) at the Gardens

If you’re like us, you’ve had enough TMZ, red carpet coverage, various Kardashians and Joan Rivers to last through the main sequence of a low-mass star. Get some real stargazing in for a change at Astronomy Nights in the Garden at Myriad Botanical Gardens. The OKC Astronomy Club will be looking long and hard at the moon, stars and planets above Oklahoma City on August 21 at the Great Lawn. If you have a telescope, bring it, but you don’t have to have one to see some stars and have some fun.

Can’t wait for some space? The Gardens’ next Full Moon Bike Ride is August 10 at 8:30 p.m. Meet at the Band Shell with your bike, helmet and bike lights, and leisurely tour downtown under the light of the moon.

Not enough science for you? Confidently boast that the pollination process is, in fact, your beeswax by attending Buzzing Bees. The Gardens hosts this session about our favorite honey makers in the Children’s Garden on August 12 at 9:30 a.m. Find out what all the buzz is about (sorry, we just had to go there).

downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Make it a Work Picnic

Work downtown and don’t have time for a glamorous, relaxing picnic on International Picnic Day? No worries. That doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the great weather and food on your lunch break. Head over to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, grab a bite to eat and break up the grind of the workday at the 17-acre park. A couple of restaurants have just opened at the gardens making it the ideal location for a quick picnic downtown.

Park House is open for lunch and dinner and serves contemporary American food with a stunning view of the gardens. There is even a bar if you would like to have an “after-work” picnic.

Open seasonally from March to November, the Ice House serves burgers, shakes and salads. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill burgers either, they are world-famous Nic’s burgers. We aren’t exaggerating when we say world famous either. Nic’s Grill has been featured on Food Network and has had visitors from across the globe. So, head over to the Myriad Gardens and snatch a burger without having to wait in the line that always goes out the door at Nic’s Grill.

downtown, food, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gone Country

Some of country’s biggest artists will be in Oklahoma City for OKCFest 2014, a brand-new music festival in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. The main stage, which requires a ticket ($35 in advance, $40 at the door), will feature Dierks Bentley, Merle Haggard, Lady Antebellum and Scotty McCreery, to name a few. But even if you are “not into country,” this fest is still for you! There will be numerous musical events of all genres, and plenty of food, beverages and free family fun. Buy tickets or follow event updates on the OKCFest Facebook page.

downtown, family-friendly, festivals, food, music
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Arts Festival Insider

You’ll hear everywhere about the Festival of the Arts, but you may not get insider tips to enjoy the event like a true local.

This huge, fun community event always takes place the last full week of April. Besides two blocks of tents filled by some of the finest artists from around the country, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City brings together varied local restaurants with food booths and a huge variety of local music.

First of all, pick your days and times with care. You can join the big crowds enjoying the gorgeous spring evenings, but mornings at the Festival have just as much music, art and food with lots more space to walk. If it happens to be wet or cold, that doesn’t mean you should stay home. Go then and you’ll find the friendliest vendors ever.

Next: parking. Skip the pay lots and come from a few blocks south where many empty lots and quiet buildings sit. Don’t be intimidated by how vacant it is – just get a glimpse of where the future public downtown park and convention center will be (you’ll need your imagination).

If you’re with kids, check out the children’s activities located in the Myriad Gardens (amazing itself). If you would prefer not to have to watch your step for fear of tripping over little ones, steer clear of the joyful chaos by staying on the north or west end of the Festival.

Faves: Take a little time to see artists in action, actually creating the work at the Artful Experiences area. This is also an ideal picnicking area with tables, grass and trees.

Another idea to get the real insider view: volunteer. Look around while at the Festival and you’ll see teams of grinning volunteers everywhere. This event is run by thousands of volunteers pitching in and they’re so enthusiastic it’s like summer camp for adults. Let the Arts Council OKC know you want to help, and you could quickly be meeting interesting folks while guiding bands to the stage, helping the festival go green or driving golf carts to deliver ice to the drink vendors.

music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, volunteer, arts and culture, downtown, family-friendly, festivals, food, kids
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pedal Power

Show off your green side by leaving your parking and traffic worries behind and hopping on a two-wheeled, man-powered, moving machine (aka a bicycle). Still have no clue what we’re talking about? SPOKIES! Spokies is OKC’s official bike share program. You can check out a bike seven days a week between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., from any of seven kiosks located around downtown. And as an extra special gift to you during Earth Month (April), Spokies is giving away free memberships. Whoa, Nelly! That is awesome. So save your green and be greener by hopping on a Spokie and taking a spin around downtown.

cycling, downtown, fitness, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Myriad Gardens: A History

There is no better place to grab a slice of paradise in downtown Oklahoma City than the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which happens to celebrate its 26th anniversary on March 25. Here are a few facts that you may not know about one of Oklahoma City’s most popular green spaces:

  • This jewel of OKC was born as part of a downtown urban renewal project called the Pei Plan dreamed up by city leaders and legendary architect I.M. Pei in the late 60s.
  • Dean A. McGee, an oil pioneer and founder and CEO of Kerr-McGee Oil Corporation, was a huge proponent of building this centrally-located garden.
  • It was named after “the Myriad”, or what is now known as the Cox Convention Center.
  • Initial design of Myriad Gardens was based on Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and city leaders even made a trip to Denmark to study its design.
  • A nation-wide search was made for the architects that would design the Myriad Gardens. In 1971, the New York architectural firm Conklin + Rossant was chosen.
  • City leaders and members of the Myriad Gardens Authority broke ground on the 17-acre plot for the garden on Nov. 17, 1977. The area was constructed as money was available.
  • In 1981, leaders formed the Myriad Gardens Foundation in order to raise private funds for the construction of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
  • The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory was constructed from 1983-1985, but it did not open to the public until March 25, 1988.
  • Myriad Gardens and its Crystal Bridge received a facelift thanks to funds from Project 180. In addition to new landscaping, the park also received a new children’s garden, a new restaurant space, and reglazed acrylic panels on the Crystal Bridge.  

Check out the original landscaping and construction of Myriad Gardens, plus some insight on downtown OKC “before downtown was cool” in this retro-fabulous edition of the Mayor’s Magazine.

clientuploads/blog/_DSC1075.jpg

downtown, history, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City history, parks, Project 180
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Auto Alley: Required Reconnoitering

One of our city’s awesome districts worth seeking out, Automobile Alley, is easily accessible. Located downtown and just north of the central business district, it sports enough retail, dining, coffee and arts establishments to “drive” you to a new state of urban bliss. Contrary to the name, you don’t have to take a car, truck or an Explorer to explore this neon-lit, flourishing part of our city’s past, present and future.

Why is it called Automobile Alley? As you cruise past the brick storefonts and concrete- and stone-cast architecture you might notice signs reading “Buick,” “Vesper,” “Pontiac,” “Hudson,” and more. That’s because in the teens and 20s, this was home to more than 50 of OKC’s first “horseless carriage” dealerships, as well as other car service companies. (Luxury makes and Smart cars are still sold in the area today.) Pretty cool, eh?

And as if we haven’t piqued your curiosity enough, we’ve got a great feature in our VeloCity e-magazine on the district. Check it out, then put your right foot on the floor and head down to Auto Alley!

Automobile Alley, downtown, Oklahoma City history, restaurants, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Request for Proposals

Heads up, you unsuspecting but head-over-heels guys and gals! If your valentine has you headed to one of the following locations, make sure to do your hair in your finest tears-of-joy fashion and put on your best threads. Why? You may be in for the type of surprise that includes a bended knee. These spots have been identified by our love doctors as a few of the most intriguing places to pop the question in town. So go ahead, say yes to the request and make St. Valentine proud.

The Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory includes 17 acres of natural loveliness as well as a 224-foot long circular jungle with palm trees, exotic plantings, crashing waterfalls and nightly LED shows just perfect for a ring and prayer. Located at 301 West Reno, the Crystal Bridge is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the outside gardens are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Lake Hefner is another lovely urban oasis where gents are prone to find themselves on bended knee in front of their lady love. If you notice your beau taking your “spur-of-the-moment” leisurely stroll over near the lighthouse on the east side of the lake, you might find yourself wishing you’d gotten that last-minute manicure. (Maybe go ahead and schedule one anyways.)

Oklahoma sunsets are (we think) some of the very best the world has to offer. So don’t be surprised if your valentine wants to stop by the SkyDance Bridge to take it in. The backdrop of a bright downtown shining off the disappearing sun will take your breath away … as will the ring he places on your finger.

downtown, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Going Underground

When the cold winds are a’howling, we have a place downtown where you can not only escape the chill, but you can also acquaint yourself with one of the more unique aspects of downtown Oklahoma City. The pedestrian tunnels and skyways of The Underground, formerly known as the Conncourse (named for late civic leader Jack Conn), link 16 blocks and more than 30 buildings. Opened in 1974, the three-quarter-mile system is a welcome way to get around during times of extreme weather – or rack up some steps on your pedometer over lunch. Grab a map and check it out.

downtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Ring-a-Ding-Ding

It’s the shindig of the year: literally. You don’t need Times Square, and certainly not Ryan Seacrest, to bring in the New Year right. Opening Night is Oklahoma City’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza, an array of music, dancing, roller derby, theater, magic, family fun and fireworks. Hosted by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the annual party is also family-friendly, boasting a scavenger hunt, children’s area (at the Cox Convention Center) and more. Admission wristbands are $8 in advance and $10 at the event. Children ages 5 and under are free. You can purchase them beforehand at 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, metro Homeland stores, Science Museum Oklahoma and MidFirst Bank locations.

See the performers. Find out about the family fun. Check out a map of the festivities.

downtown, family-friendly, festivals, music, theater
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (1)



Run in the New Year

Race to the finish of 2013 with the first-ever Opening Night Finale 5k. Sign up and then come NYE, lace up those running (or walking) shoes and jet through a 5k in Downtown. Don’t think a 5k is for you? No worries. You can still enjoy the fun with a 1-mile run/walk through the Myriad Gardens. What a festive time that will be!

To sweeten the deal, sign up for the 5k (a $30 fee) and receive an Opening Night wristband (a $10 value). Score! And you get a t-shirt. Who doesn’t love a t-shirt?

[Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Oklahoma City]

downtown, family-friendly, outdoor recreation, running
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lotsa Lights

Who doesn’t love grabbing a mug of hot cocoa, getting in the car and taking a drive to look at lights, all while listening to holiday tunes? We’d change out raindrops on roses for that one as one of our favorite things.

For a grand site, we suggest you start off at the Devon Energy Center where super-sized ornaments have taken over the lawn and the outside of the Colcord Hotel. Venture inside the rotunda (it’s open to the public, remember) and glance up to see the giant (seriously, giant) silver pine cones hanging from the ceiling.

Head across Sheridan into the Myriad Gardens to check out even more lights. The 17-acre park is perfect for wandering and enjoying the bright sights. And while you’re in the gardens, you might as well strap on some skates and take a turn around the Devon Ice Rink.

Next we’ll take this holiday adventure over to Bricktown for more festive follies. Did you know that through the end of the month on Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 9:30 p.m. you can take advantage of free Water Taxi rides? It’s true! And there’s really no better way to experience OneMain Financial’s Bricktown Canal Lights. Once you’ve hopped off the Water Taxi, we suggest you head up the stairs to the corner of Reno and Mickey Mantle Drive to see the SandRidge Christmas Tree. Who knew there were so many great lights in OKC?! And we’re not done yet!

Hop on a Spokie (or you can get in your car if it’s nearby) and head up to Automobile Alley. All along Broadway Avenue between Northwest 4th and Northwest 10th Streets you can enjoy seeing the historic buildings of Automobile Alley all lit up for the holidays. So ho-ho-hop to it and experience the bright lights of this winter wonderland!

Bricktown, downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bundled Up

There’s definitely been a chill in the air and if you’re like us, you may be experiencing some cabin fever. Thankfully, there’s no reason to feel all cooped up. No matter the temperature, there are always great things to do and experience in Greater Oklahoma City. Here are just a few suggestions:

Visit a museum.
Warm up inside the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
Check out one of OKC’s great districts, filled with plenty of eating, drinking or shopping options. 
Do a little holiday shopping.
Curl up with a good book.
Catch a movie, in the not-so-usual way.

museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, shopping, Western Avenue, Adventure District, downtown, food, library, Midtown, movies
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Membership Has Its Benefits

[Zoo photo courtesy of Carl Shortt]

Stumped on what to buy a few folks on your list this year? Why not give a membership that will keep giving long after the tree is taken down and winter has gone?

Myriad Gardens Membership
Membership to the Myriad Botanical Gardens starts as low as $50 per year and includes discounts to the Gardens’ Gardening School, a printed newsletter, invitations to members-only events and more.

Oklahoma City ZooFriends Membership
ZooFriends get unlimited zoo admission for one year, discounted admission to other zoos nationwide, a quarterly newsletter, a 10 percent discount at zoo gift shops and concessions, a 10 percent discount on the zoo’s education classes and an invitation to Family Fun Night.

Science Museum Oklahoma Membership
Science Museum Oklahoma offers several membership levels ranging from $75 to $175 with varying benefits. All levels include unlimited admission to permanent exhibits, Science Live and the planetarium, plus much more.

Adventure District, downtown, family-friendly, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Deck the Halls Downtown

"What do you wanna do?"
"...I dunno. What do you wanna do?"
"I dunno."

If you find yourself having a similar conversation this month, look no further than Downtown in December, presented by Devon, to spice up your holiday season. Whether you're old or young, a thrill seeker or a penny pincher, there’s a Downtown in December activity on the schedule guaranteed to make you smile.

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Check it out:

  • The Devon Ice Rink returns for its third season in the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Lace up your skates for another great winter of outdoor ice skating at Downtown in December's premier attraction.
  • Devon’s Saturdays with Santa. Devon Energy invited Santa to OKC every Saturday in December. Kids of all ages will be welcomed to take free photos with Santa, write letters to the North Pole and enjoy holiday entertainment.
  • Chesapeake Energy Snow Tubing. Cruise down one of the country’s largest manmade snow tubing slopes at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Admission is $10 for a 90-minute session of tubing fun.
  • The SandRidge Santa Run will have guests prancing in the streets of downtown on Saturday, Dec. 14. The event includes a 5K race and a one-mile Fun Run, followed by a free Santa Claus Kid’s Dash.
  • Free Water Taxi Rides. On designated evenings, all ages are welcome to enjoy a fun-filled float down the beautifully-adorned Bricktown canal free of charge. The OneMain Financial Bricktown Canal lights will make your trip a little bit brighter.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1, the Deluxe Winter Market will offer an opportunity for guests to do their holiday shopping at more than 40 vendor booths.
  • See the historic buildings of Automobile Alley in a whole new light at Automobile Alley Lights on Broadway. More than 180,000 colorful LED lights will drape the buildings along eight blocks of North Broadway, making for a magical holiday wonderland.

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This is only the beginning! There are over 20 holiday events to choose from during Downtown in December. Click here for a full list of events and for more details.

running, shopping, downtown, family-friendly, festivals, free, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Art in the Heartland

Performing arts abound in Oklahoma City, but at the heart of it all is Civic Center Music Hall in Downtown. Home to seven of Oklahoma City’s professional arts organizations, the Civic Center hosts nearly 600 world-class shows each year.

This 1930s Art Deco building sits at the center of Oklahoma City’s Arts District and is surrounded by the recently renovated Bicentennial Park and the nearby Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Home to the best in Broadway, ballet, orchestra and drama, the Civic Center is the state’s premier performance venue.

Under One Roof
Here’s a rundown of the professional arts organizations that make their home at the Civic Center.
Canterbury Choral Society
Celebrity Attractions
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Ballet
Oklahoma City Philharmonic
Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre Company
Oklahoma City Theatre Company

[photo credit: Joseph Mills]

arts and culture, downtown, family-friendly, music, theater
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stroll along, stroll along like we know you do

Last week we told you about some great ways to get in some two-wheeled action around town, but maybe you prefer to stay grounded on your own two feet. Not to worry. We’ve got some great ideas for a leisurely urban stroll.

Myriad Gardens
If you’ve been checking out “The Better Life” for long, you know we are huge fans of the Myriad Gardens located in the heart of downtown. And when it comes to hoofing it, it’s one of our favorite places to explore and a great place to get a little exercise in. Take three laps around the outside and you’ll have gone a mile. 

Bricktown
OKC’s entertainment district is a great place to get in a walk combined with some splendid people watching. Located just east of downtown, you can walk along the Bricktown Canal down into Lower Bricktown or stay up on the streets and peruse past some of OKC’s most hopping restaurants and bars.

Automobile Alley
Great shops. Delicious restaurants. Historic buildings out the wazoo. Take a walk down North Broadway Avenue between Northwest 6th and Northwest 10th Streets to experience all Automobile Alley has to offer. We also suggest you head east off of Broadway down Northwest 9th so you can check out the super cool 9th Street District.

Martin Park Nature Center
Take a walk on the wild side through. Tucked away off of Memorial Road in north OKC, Martin Park Nature Center is 144 acres of wild-feeling, urban awesomeness, and with 2.5 miles of gentle hiking trails, you can get in a serene stroll without having to venture outside the city.

Oklahoma River
The Oklahoma River has transformed from a drainage ditch into one of OKC’s most glistening sites, and it makes the perfect path for walking. There are 13 miles of trails along the River (both on the north and south sides) so you’ll have plenty of space to stretch those legs.

Automobile Alley, Bricktown, downtown, free, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Downtown’s pumpkin patch

[Photo credit: Carl Shortt]

Join a gaggle of scarecrows, straw creatures and gorgeous mums at the second annual Pumpkinville. This year’s fantastic festival kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, and it open daily through Oct. 31, so you can enjoy all of the fall festivities. The Children’s Garden will be transformed into a fun, wonderland, complete with a hay bale maze, arts and crafts activities, games, storytelling and more – perfect not-too-spooky fun for kids and kids at heart.

But wait, it gets better. Opening day (Oct. 12) will be filled to the brim with great activities like a corn toss game (bring it on), bobbing for apples (who doesn’t love that?), pumpkin decorating (yes, please), cider pressing (mmm), story times (you’ve got our attention), corn husk doll making (you can’t do that every day), tasty treats (more yum!), evening ghost stories (spooky, scary!) and more!

There’s more, and we’re sure that when you see this sight, you’ll say “WOW” twice (front and backwards, of course). Artist Hugh Meade of Oddfab Design Lab has created a centerpiece for this year’s Pumpkinville – a 9-foot-tall owl constructed of straw and other natural materials.

And one last thing we want to make sure you mark down on your calendar – the Pumpkinville Halloween Party. On Saturday, Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m., gather at the Gardens for “A Woodland Adventure” where you can sample spooky witches' brew and other haunted treats and take part in a variety of fun games and activities while jamming out to seasonal favorites like “Monster Mash.” Children and adults are encouraged to come dressed in costumes to really make the party spooktacular! The party is free for members, and is $10 per child and $8 per adult for non-members.

Drilling down the details:
Dates: Oct. 12-31, 2013
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.-Thur.); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.)
Cost: Free for members of the Myriad Gardens; $5 per child; $3 per adult
www.myriadgardens.org
445-7080

downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We dig Downtown

There is always a plethora of awesomeness happening in Greater OKC – and in particular in downtown OKC. New restaurants, new shops, new ways to spend your time. It can be difficult to keep track of it all. Thankfully we’ve got some friends over at Downtown OKC who are experts in that area. You can check out their website for great info on any and everything Downtown OKC. And if you really want to stay in the know, we suggest you sign up for their weekly “What’s Up Downtown” newsletter.

downtown, restaurants, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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