Did you know that there are more existing drivable miles of Route 66 in Oklahoma than in any other state? It’s another one of those weird-but-true facts, much like 24 percent of Oklahoma is actually covered by forest. But we digress. The well-known Mother Road comes with a mother-load of nostalgia and history, attracting folks from all over the world. Now that you’re an OKC resident, you may be interested in a short road trip on the Main Street of America yourself, both in and outside of Oklahoma City. Here are our main picks of stuff to see along 66:
Milk Bottle Grocery and Gold Dome in OKC: See these iconic sights caddy-corner (or is it kitty-corner? Whatever. Diagonally opposite) to each other right in the heart of OKC’s Asian District. While there, grab some delicious phở or a banh mi sandwich for powering you along to your next destination.
Tower Theater in OKC: The heart of the Uptown 23rd District has done quite the Lazarian maneuver of late, transforming into a neon-emblazoned center of live music, film and general merriment. Surrounded by popular local watering holes and eateries, Tower Theater should be on your “to-do” list.
POPS in Arcadia: If you’re not a fan of classic diner-style dining and fun old-school soda pop from all over the U.S. (and world, for that matter), most of which contains real sugar instead of corn syrup; well, we just don’t know what to tell you, apart from “sorry about that, weirdo.” BONUS: Instagram your brains out at the iconic giant LED-emblazoned pop bottle.
Rock Café in Stroud: Named for its building material, native sandstone rock, Stroud’s evocative Rock Café is also known for its role in the development of the character Sally Carerra in the Pixar movie “Cars”. Director John Lasseter and crew visited the Rock Café multiple times for research during preproduction and owner Dawn Welch was purportedly the inspiration for the character.
Route 66 Museum in Clinton: If you’re doing a Route 66 drive, you’d be remiss in not partaking in its namesake museum, no? See displays on the history of the route and the changing experiences of those that traveled upon it from the ‘30s through the ‘50s and more. Finish up with a trip to the diner.
Coleman Theatre in Miami: Constructed as a climate-controlled (unusual in its day) film and vaudeville theater in 1929, numerous noted names have performed at the Coleman, including “Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Sally Rand, Bing Crosby, Jim Thorpe, the magician Harry Blackstone and Moscelyn Larkin,” according to its website. A true architectural marvel inside and out, constructed in a Spanish Revival style with lots of unique flourishes and touches on the exterior and an interior that’s described as a “gaudy Louis XV décor” (that’s super fancy and frilly for those of you not as well-versed on your pre-revolutionary French design movements). The theatre attracts visitors not only due to the mystique inspired by the transposed “r” in its name but also the design and care that went into initial construction (as well as a very fine recent renovation).
Catoosa’s Blue Whale: As TravelOK.com puts it, “visitors are invited to stop by and say ‘Hello!’ to the jovial cement mammal.” We conferred and decided we just can’t do any better than that description, so there ya go.