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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Downtown in December 2018

Christmas Lights in Automobile Alley

Every December, downtown Oklahoma City transforms into a winter wonderland. You might think we are being a tad hyperbolic but Downtown in December brings everything from ice skating to pop-up shops in central Oklahoma City. Here is a rundown of things to look forward this year:

  • Quickly becoming everyone’s favorite Downtown in December event, the Devon Ice Rink is already open at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
  • Are you fan of holiday trees? Check out the fourth-annual Red Earth Treefest for a great look at Oklahoma’s native cultures.
  • Speaking of trees, don’t miss the Bricktown Tree Lighting Festival.
  • Automobile Alley’s annual Lights on Broadway is your chance to see the district’s breath-taking lights display for the first time this year. As an added bonus EMBARK will have a staged OKC Streetcar at the event so people can get a sneak peek of what to expect when it goes live later next month.
  • Looking for that unique or quirky gift for someone who has it all? You can’t go wrong with the Holiday Pop-Up Shops.
  • The Deluxe Winter Market is also a great place to do you holiday shopping.
  • Starting Nov. 23, Lyric Theatre will be putting on their annual performance of their classic A Christmas Carol.

Shockingly enough this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Downtown in December. For a full list of activities visit their site.

downtown, family-friendly, free, holiday
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MAPS 3 Update

Streetcar

The huge success of previous MAPS projects led to a vote in late 2009 that approved of a one-cent sales tax to pay for debt-free projects that improve our quality of life. MAPS 3 consists of eight different projects; several of the projects have been completed, and the last project is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

  • The MAPS 3 Convention Center to replace the current aging convention center is located directly south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. This new center will help the city stay competitive in the lucrative convention industry for years to come. A 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 45,000-square-foot meeting space and 30,000-square-foot ballroom are all included in the $288 million budget for the convention center. Construction is underway on this cornerstone of the ongoing Core-to-Shore renaissance in downtown OKC, and it is expected to open by June 2020.
  • Construction is also underway to the immediate west of the new convention center for a 70-acre urban oasis christened Scissortail Park. Design plans for the park call for everything from a café and sports facilities to a lake and nature trails. Scissortail features two sections, a 40-acre north section scheduled for completion in 2019 and a 30-acre south section projected to be complete in 2021.
  • In a transformative moment for public transit in OKC, a budget of $131 million is being put towards linking major employers, businesses, attractions and residences in the downtown area. Construction for the modern streetcar transit system can be seen at a number of route sections along with safety testing at others in preparation for the streetcar service to begin this December. The streetcar project will connect Midtown, Automobile Alley, Bricktown and the Business District.
  • The State Fairgrounds hosts more than 200 trade shows and other events throughout the year, including several equine events that helped Oklahoma City earn the title of Horse Show Capital of the World. MAPS 3 added to the appeal of Oklahoma State Fairgrounds with the Bennett Event Center. Its design makes for a state-of-the-art flexible facility capable of comfortably accommodating a wide variety of shows and events. The 279,000-square-foot event center was completed in 2017 and its operations are in full swing.
  • Senior Health & Wellness Centers will connect OKC’s seniors with important services and also with each other. Two of the four planned centers are completed, with the third to be completed in 2019 and fourth in 2021. The centers will be spread around the city and have experienced operating partners in senior services.
  • The Oklahoma River has become an Olympic rowing destination, so MAPS 3 expanded on current operations by building the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river with additional improvements to existing rowing facilities. The whitewater park is suitable for beginners enjoying a summer weekend or elite kayaking competitions.
  • Former Mayor Mick Cornett emphasized a healthier community during his tenure and the MAPS 3 trails and sidewalk improvements promote a more active lifestyle by taking advantage of OKC’s natural beauty. Three trails were developed using MAPS funds: West River Trail was completed in 2015, Will Rogers Trail was completed earlier this year and Lake Draper Trail is set to be complete this fall. The trails wind through wetlands, wooded areas, natural landscapes, neighborhoods and more urban settings. MAPS 3 sidewalks are planned for the areas with a high demand for pedestrian amenities.

Stay up to date on all MAPS 3 news by signing up for the MAPS 3 newsletter or following the efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

community, downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, public transportation, State Fair Park, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Coming “rail” soon

Streetcar Testing

If you’ve spent anytime near downtown recently you know that something big is happening. That something big is the OKC Streetcar and we are just months away from launch day. That is right, this December you will be able to ride the OKC Streetcar throughout downtown.

The Oklahoma City Streetcar will include five cars, each circulating to 22 stops along 4.8 miles of track, with an average time of 12 to 14 minutes between cars. Each car can carry 104 passengers through two main loops: a Bricktown loop and a Midtown-Business District-Automobile Alley cross-sectional. You can view a map of the routes here.

The streetcar will be an affordable, accessible, convenient alternative for office commuters, convention attendees, tourists and others visiting our great city. A single trip will cost $1, and a day pass will be $3. Monthly passes will be $32 and an annual pass will cost $384.

As of the beginning of July, 87 percent of track had been placed and 78 percent of stops had been completed. Six streetcars are currently in the maintenance facility with a seventh arriving at the end of October. Streetcar operation testing on the Bricktown loop is currently underway.

Construction and adjustment is still ongoing in several locations. Specific road and lane closures through Sept. 1 can be found in this report from the City of Oklahoma City MAPS 3 site. General information for the OKC Streetcar can be found on the EMBARK Streetcar page or on the City of Oklahoma City’s MAPS 3 Streetcar page.

You wanted it, you paid for it and now it’s time you got it. Keep your eyes on December: the OKC Streetcar is coming rail soon.

Bricktown, downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Downtown dreaming

Downtown OKC Housing

One of the most common reasons people love downtown OKC so much is that it gives you all the benefits of urban living without a lot of the more typical disadvantages. For city life, there’s nothing more ideal than downtown OKC! It’s full of businesses; it’s walkable (and will soon have a streetcar to help you get everywhere even faster!); it’s full of art, history, entertainment and culture; and you’ll never have to worry about finding a parking space if you’re in the mood for a Thunder or Dodgers game! To learn more about downtown living in OKC, you can check our site’s urban neighborhoods page.

cost of living, downtown, housing
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thirty, verdant and thriving

Myriad Gardens Crystal Bridge

When it comes to Myriad Botanical Gardens, 30 has never looked so good. Thirty years ago this month, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens opened to the public and, since that time, Myriad Botanical Gardens has served as the heart of downtown Oklahoma City and a breath of fresh air for all Oklahoma City residents.

The history of the gardens starts much earlier, however. This jewel of Oklahoma City was born during the downtown urban renewal project of the late 60s. Myriad Gardens was part of I.M. Pei’s plan for downtown Oklahoma City’s revitalization, and it’s one of the only parts of his plan to be fully realized. In order to win public support for the idea of a centrally located garden, city leaders made a trip to Denmark to study the Tivoli Gardens for design inspiration. A nation-wide search was made for the architects that would design the Myriad Gardens, which was named after “the Myriad,” the building now known as the Cox Convention Center. In 1971, the New York architectural firm Conklin + Rossant was chosen, and city leaders broke ground on the 17-acre plot for the garden on Nov. 17, 1977.

Unfortunately, construction was delayed as the oil bust of the 1970s and ‘80s diminished the project’s funding, so the area was constructed as money was available. In 1981, leaders formed the Myriad Gardens Foundation to raise private funds for the construction of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. Construction resumed from 1983-1985 and the building finally opened to the public on March 25, 1988.

More recently, Myriad Gardens and its Crystal Bridge received a facelift thanks to funds from the construction of Devon Tower and Project 180. This $176-million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas included new landscaping, a new children’s garden, a new restaurant space, and reglazed acrylic panels on the Crystal Bridge. Today, Myriad Gardens is stronger than ever and spring is the perfect time to explore all that it has to offer. Check it out for yourself by attending one of their upcoming events or classes.

attractions, downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Decembering up downtown

Devon Ice Rink

The calendar is about to change from November to December which means one thing…. Downtown in December! If you are new to our fair city, you might be wondering what exactly is Downtown in December. Basically, downtown Oklahoma City turns into a winter wonderland of holiday cheer.

The very best thing about Downtown in December is most of the activities and events are free. Here are some of our favorite events, but be sure to check out their website for more.

  • Devon Ice Rink
    The ice rink is open at Myriad Botanical Gardens and is ready for you and your friends, family and/or honey lambs to make some memories whilst making lazy circles in the ice and doing your best to stay level and off your backside. Click here for schedule and prices.
  • SandRidge Santa Run
    Run a 5K with various Santas, elves, reindeer and other assorted Christmasy characters as you work off some of that cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole (either in or out of a costume). It’s an all-ages event, with a Kid’s Dash and 1-mile Fun Run part of the festivities as well. Saturday, Dec. 9 is the day and activities begin at 8:45 a.m. at SandRidge Energy, 123 Robert S. Kerr. Get more info here.
  • Devon’s Saturdays with Santa
    Each Saturday in December the world famous Santa Claus will be at the Devon Energy Center to hear want toys your kids want under the tree. Learn more here.
festivals, holiday, kids, outdoor recreation, running, downtown, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Last one down

Snow Tubbing

Get ready to snow tube your colorful woolen socks off starting at the LifeShare Winterfest. One of our favorite holiday traditions is cruising down one of the country’s largest manmade snow-tubbing slides at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark each year. Check hours and prices here.

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



Free rides

Downtown In December

We’ve told you about some of our favorite Downtown in December activities already, but we would be remiss if we neglected to remind you to take advantage of the free water taxi rides offered Thursday – Sunday from 6-9 p.m. until December 31 (excepting Christmas Day, of course)! The narrated 20-30-minute rides allow you to check out the holiday décor as well as learn some cool facts about Oklahoma and OKC in a festive, fun-filled, family friendly atmosphere of fantasticness. If you’ve got an aversion to water, or just want to hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling jing-jing-jingaling too, don’t fret – perhaps it’s a great time to try out a ride in a horse-drawn carriage from one of the many such vendors around downtown.

Bricktown, downtown, free, holiday
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November in OKC

November is a busy month in OKC, but don’t worry because our friends at the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau have you covered with their November in OKC video. This month they even brought along a very special guest, Thunder defensive wizard Andre Roberson. Get fired up with six Thunder home games this month, Downtown in December festivities kicking off, Chris Stapleton at the Chesapeake Energy arena and so much more.

downtown, holiday, live sporting events, music, Thunder, attractions, concerts
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MAPS 3 update

Scissortail Park Groundbreaking

So we tend to talk about the MAPS projects a lot. A whole lot. Just type in MAPS to our search bar and you will see an abundance of content. In our defense, MAPS is a pretty big deal around these parts. The program helped jump start our city’s modern renaissance and a lot of great things around our city can be traced back to one of the programs (Oklahoma River, Thunder, Bricktown Canal, etc.).

If you are new to Oklahoma City here is a brief refresher on each MAPS program:

The MAPS 3 projects are well underway and they will help change the face of OKC over the next couple of years. We thought it would be a great time to give a quick update on all the projects. It is important to remember that MAPS projects are built debt-free. That helps keep our city in great financial shape, but also means the projects take a little longer to build.

  • Downtown Convention Center- The design of the new convention center has been approved and construction crews will break ground in early 2018. Also, an agreement was reached with Omni to operate an attached convention center hotel.
  • Scissortail Park- Construction has begun on the new 70-acre park. The park will include everything from a café to sports facilities and a lake. The name was chosen from an online vote of residents.
  • Oklahoma City Streetcar- If you have been downtown lately, you know construction on the streetcar lines are well underway. Service is set to begin late next year.
  • RIVERSPORT Rapids- One of the first projects to be completed, you can now whitewater raft in the heart of downtown.
  • Bennett Event Center- Completed earlier this year, the Bennett Events Center added 279,000 square feet of exhibit space to State Fair Park.
  • Senior Health and Wellness Centers- The first center has opened and membership has exceeded projections. Three more centers will open throughout the city over the next three years.
  • Trails- This $40 million project will bring three new trail systems to OKC’s already robust network. The West River Trail is already complete with two more trails finishing up before the end of next year.
  • Sidewalks- This ongoing project is bringing much-needed sidewalks to every part of the city. Click here for a map of the progress.
MAPS, Oklahoma River, Thunder, Bricktown, downtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The future is almost here. Excited yet?

Streetcar Ground Breaking

Last week, the first of seven streetcars came off the assembly line and will soon be painted and shipped to OKC. If you drive or do a bit of walking around Bricktown, you can see the freshly installed tracks where the streetcar will run. And, if you read or hear anything on the news about the streetcar, you can feel the palpable excitement OKCitians have for this groundbreaking project.

The installation and soon-to-be operation of the streetcar reflects the growth of OKC’s downtown core as a result of the booming success of the other MAPS projects. In fact, the OKC Streetcar itself will be transformative, as many city leaders are expecting its installation to result in greater sales and property tax revenue for the city like similar installations in Kansas City. But, even more important than positive economic impact, the OKC Streetcar will have a positive influence on OKC’s culture for years to come.

downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Downtown digs

Deep Deuce neighborhood

Everything is waiting for you downtown. Do you fancy the idea of being surrounded by community amenities and leaving the car in the garage and just walking to work, the movies, the museum, the Myriad Gardens or to your neighborhood “watering hole”* without having to worry about parking, traffic or all the other headaches inherent to getting behind the wheel? Downtown offers plenty of neighborhoods, both established and up-and-coming, to consider if you’re looking at a move. And you’re not alone, with downtown population increasing more than 15 percent since 2000 and more than 1,000 new units either under construction or planned.

Neighborhoods like Deep Deuce and Midtown offer a mix of housing types and are rapidly becoming well-developed and dense with lots of services and retail. Former entertainment-heavy areas like Bricktown have new housing coming on line soon. Linger on the sidewalk in Automobile Alley, where the neon signs are pretty, and maybe even get yourself a loft rental, apartment or a condo in a new development. Relish being an urban pioneer in all the new housing stock in Film Row and other areas in west downtown. Live modern in SoSA and take advantage of proximity to midtown and the central business district. Oklahoma City’s urban neighborhoods offer the best of the new urban vibe and excitement, without all the typical old urban grit. Learn more on our website.

*that’s code for “bar”

Automobile Alley, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, downtown, Film Row, housing, Midtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The neon lights of Broadway

Automobile Alley at Night

When we say “neon” and “Broadway,” you might have another city in mind. But no longer! Just north of the central business district in downtown Oklahoma City is Automobile Alley, a district centered on Broadway and aptly named for its history as the hub of auto dealers starting in the 1910s. That history is brightly on display today with the neon signs that shine over the district.

While some dealerships still call this area home, it is now known for its restaurants and retail options. Along this stretch of street, you’ll find everything from breakfast and coffee to whiskey and wine. And if shopping is your objective, some of the most unique stores in the metro are located along Automobile Alley and the nearby Ninth Street. For the full list of all to do and see, visit www.automobilealley.org, and be sure to follow Automobile Alley on Twitter at @AutoAlleyOKC.

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



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah

Oklahoma Health Science Campus

Earlier this year, The Brookings Institution and the Project for Public Spaces released a comprehensive study on innovation in Oklahoma City. The study in OKC centered around the Oklahoma Health Center and Automobile Alley area downtown, looking at ways to create and maximize opportunities for the wealth of entities and innovative assets in the area to interact and “percolate,” ultimately creating new ideas and business opportunities. At 843 acres, the innovation district study area represents less than 1 percent of Oklahoma City, yet almost 18,000 jobs! Bringing people together, even in disparate industries like bio, energy and tech/app development, can only result in greater synergy and long-term benefits to all. Check out more on the results of the study, including video of the study release event, and recommendations for next steps over at okcinnovation.com.

Automobile Alley, bioscience, business, downtown, energy, Innovation District, jobs, tech
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Quit your whining and drink some wine

Friends drinking wine

Beer is not the only thing you can ferment up to fabulous results, no siree. If you’d like to sample some local fruit of the vine, OKC has you covered. Put A Cork In It Winery describes itself as “the little winery in the heart of Bricktown” and is indeed located on the canal in the Miller Jackson building. Put A Cork In It offers a wide variety of wines including reds, whites and sweet wines, as well as tastings, gifts and souvenirs. Also downtown, Waters Edge Winery in Automobile Alley has more than 50 varieties of reds, whites, ports, dessert and fruit-based wines that are sure to please. Waters Edge offers tasting flights as well as bottles, and makes wines from grapes from all over, with an ever-evolving menu. Bottoms up!

Automobile Alley, Bricktown, downtown, retail, wine
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Celebrate the arts

Festival of the Arts

Henry David Thoreau once said, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” For the past 50 years, the Festival of the Arts has brought imagination to our own backyard as one of the largest and most successful arts festivals in the country. With hundreds of world-renowned artists from across the country, the Festival of the Arts is a must see event bringing imagination to life.

Here are just a few things you should know about the Festival of the Arts:

  • You have six days to enjoy the fun as the festival is April 25-30 at Bicentennial Park, situated between the Civic Center Music Hall and City Hall. Admission is free and hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field is just $2.
  • More than 450 artists applied and submitted work for the Festival jury process. The 144 chosen artists are some of the nation’s finest, featuring a wide array of art from oils, water, drawing and printmaking to photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture and more.
  • At the Festival of the Arts, art isn’t just what you look at, it’s what you eat too. From appetizers to desserts, the Festival brings 31 vendors to the International Food Row and throughout the grounds. Each food vendor is partnered with a local arts organization, so each bite you take supports the arts in central Oklahoma.
  • Art is also a performance. Nearly 300 entertainers will be donating their performances on three stages throughout the Festival to the 750,000 Festival attendees.

Whether you’re imagining buying a painting that you love, jamming out at a free concert or eating a piece of art you enjoy, the Festival of the Arts will bring your imagination, and your taste buds, to life.

arts and culture, downtown, family-friendly, festivals, food, free, live music
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MAPS 3 update

MAPS 3 Health and Wellness Center ribbon cutting

Milestone is the word of the week as three MAPS 3 projects have recently hit major landmarks in development.

First, the MAPS 3 Streetcar groundbreaking recently took place, and construction is underway with service projected to begin by the end of 2018. The streetcar will connect residents and visitors to downtown Oklahoma City districts and attractions, including Bricktown, the Myriad Gardens, Chesapeake Energy, Midtown and Automobile Alley. The main line and Bricktown loop will encompass 6.9 miles of track.

Second, the first of four MAPS 3 Senior Health and Wellness Centers recently opened, providing services that promote healthy and active lifestyles to Oklahoma City seniors. Construction on the second wellness center is underway and is set to open later this year with the third and fourth wellness centers set to open in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

Third, the preliminary design for the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center was recently approved, moving the project one step closer to its scheduled groundbreaking later this year. The convention center will be adjacent to the future MAPS 3 Park and south of Chesapeake Energy Arena with 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

Oh, and did we forget to mention the MAPS 3 Park will soon have its name? More than 3,500 name ideas have been submitted for the park, with a few already standing out from the crowd. The deadline to submit a name is April 7, so act now.

downtown, MAPS, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Deep Deuce

Deep Deuce neighborhood

Located in the heart of downtown, the Deep Deuce District is one of the most historically significant areas of Oklahoma City and now a key urban center for the metro.

First the history, as the Deep Deuce was the home for African-American culture in Oklahoma City for decades. The district was a regional hub for jazz music in the 40s and home to legends like Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing. Oklahoma City native and literary giant Ralph Ellison even wrote a tribute to the district in his poem entitled “Deep Second”.

Recently the district has seen remarkable investment and redevelopment. Today you can find great restaurants and much of the city’s urban housing developments, making it the center for urban living in OKC.   

Deep Deuce, downtown, history, housing, nightlife, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Getting around Downtown in December

Bricktown Water Taxi and Canal at Christmas

We’ve told you about some of our favorite Downtown in December activities already, but we would be remiss if we neglected to remind you to take advantage of the free water taxi rides offered Thursday – Sunday from 6-9 p.m. until December 31 (excepting Christmas Day, of course)! The narrated 20-30-minute rides allow you to check out the holiday décor as well as learn some cool facts about Oklahoma and OKC in a festive, fun-filled, family-friendly atmosphere of fantasticness. If you’ve got an aversion to water, or just want to hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling jing-jing-jingaling too, don’t fret – perhaps it’s a great time to try out a ride in a horse-drawn carriage from one of the many such vendors around downtown. If your horse sense is telling you to stay away from horses, Downtown in December is featuring Segway rentals as well, and of course, there’s always Spokies. Get down to Bricktown and check out all the ways to get around and enjoy all the festive holiday spirit in your downtown!

Bricktown, downtown, festivals, free, holiday
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What to OKC

The view from Vast

The holiday season is in full swing and whether you are a long-time OKCer who is looking to entertain guests or a visitor checking out the city for the first time, OKC has plenty of shopping, holiday lights, museums, events and activities to keep everyone bustling.

There’s no better place to get in the holiday spirit than Oklahoma City. Here are a few of our favorite ways to introduce OKC.

  • Take a Water Taxi Along the Bricktown Canal: Enjoy the lights, sights, and sounds and get a quick introduction to Bricktown during a water taxi ride this holiday season.  Free rides are offered on designated days in November and December. Nearby in Deep Deuce, Legends Night will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Dec. 17 and will bring some of the best jazz musicians in OKC back to Downtown in December.
  • Gaze at 55 Feet of Beauty: 2,400 individually hand-blown glass pieces make up the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s 55-foot Chihuly Tower, making it one of the tallest Chihuly structures in the world. In fact, Oklahoma City Museum of Art is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures in the world.  Art lovers will also enjoy the eclectic exhibits at 21c Hotel and Museum in OKC’s Film Row district.
  • Take a stroll through the gardens: During the holidays, the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a favorite destination among locals and visitors as they enjoy the Devon Ice Rink, Winter Shoppes and the holiday carousel. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory offers a beautiful balmy oasis featuring more than 750 varieties of plant life in two distinct climates: a tropical wet zone at the south end and a tropical dry zone at the north end.
  • Explore our history. Step back in time at the National Cowboys and Western Heritage Museum and discover the American West through one-of-a-kind exhibits, artwork and artifacts or check out the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to learn about the day that changed our city forever.

Of course, this is just a small sampling of the fun going on here in OKC. There are so many festivals, games and activities happening in various districts, you’re sure to find an activity to appease any guest. Our friends at Visit OKC offer a plethora of ideas on how to get out and experience OKC. Learn more at visitokc.com.

arts and culture, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, downtown, holiday, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, retail, shopping, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

These are a few of our favorite Downtown in December events

Santa Run

Your friendly neighborhood TBL writers do love us some Downtown in December events, and not just ‘cause we happen to be downtown… in December (and the other 11 months of the year, for that matter, not only because we work here, but also because downtown is awesome. But we digress.) Anyway, here are some of our favs (but of course, don’t limit yourself to just these— there are heaps!).

Bricktown Tree Lighting Festival Presented by Sonic
Mayor Cornett teams up with Santa Claus himself to fire up your holiday spirits as well as the lights on the big Christmas tree. Head to the 3rd Base Plaza at the ballpark (2 S. Mickey Mantle Dr.) on Friday, Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. to enjoy live music, face painting, food trucks, conversations with Santa (maybe ask what he wants for a change?) and general merriment. More info: downtownindecember.com/bricktown-tree-lighting/

Snow Tubing Winter Festival at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Get ready to snow tube your colorful woolen socks off starting Saturday, Nov. 26. In addition to two slides (big and little), other perks including Santa’s Workshop, a children’s train and plenty of holiday décor dictate that the Festival promises fun for all. Check hours and prices here: downtownindecember.com/snow-tubing-winter-festival/

Devon Ice Rink
The ice rink is open at Myriad Botanical Gardens and is ready for you and your friends, family and/or honey lambs to make some memories whilst making lazy circles in the ice  and doing your level best to stay level and off your backside. Check out downtownindecember.com/devon-ice-rink/ for schedule and prices.

SandRidge Santa Run / ego boost
A race with Santa? We’re betting you got this one in the bag. I mean, we’re not sure what kind of shape you’re in, but frankly, Santa just doesn’t look that fast. Anyway, run a 5K with various Santas, elves, reindeer and other assorted Christmasy characters as you work off some of that cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole (either in or out of a costume). It’s an all-ages event, with a Kid’s Dash and 1-mile Fun Run part of the festivities as well. Saturday, Dec. 10 is the day and activities begin at 8:45 at SandRidge Energy, 123 Robert S. Kerr. More info: downtownindecember.com/sandridge-santa-run/

Check out all the events at downtownindecember.com/.

downtown, family-friendly, festivals, holiday, running
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Digging downtown

Downtown Housing

With entertainment, arts, sporting events and nightlife all in your backyard, it is no surprise that downtown Oklahoma City living is booming. With housing options as diverse as the individuals that live in them, downtown Oklahoma City dwelling will give you the urban adventure that you’ve always wanted.

In downtown Oklahoma City, there are a total of 2,880 housing units, with nearly 2,000 more under construction or announced. Most of the construction is rental, but there are a few ownership units under construction as well. (Rental prices will range anywhere from $784-$3,000, while for-sale options start at around $180,000 for a one-bedroom condo.) For those with children, living in downtown Oklahoma City allows you to have first dibs on entrance to John Rex Charter Elementary School, a tuition-free elementary school that currently offers pre-K through third grade instruction. By the fall of 2018, the school will offer pre-K through sixth grade.

Below is a breakdown of downtown’s hottest spots for housing. For more on downtown living visit our website.

Central Business District/Bricktown/Deep Deuce
Oklahoma City’s renaissance is on display in the core of downtown, making it a perfect place to call home. Attractive to the young, the old and families in between, downtown offers plenty of choices and value for those looking for a true urban experience without much of the traditional hassle. Whether you choose to live in the heart of Oklahoma City in the central business district or you embrace the history and culture of the Deep Deuce neighborhood, new condos and apartments abound, as do newly-renovated rental units and fresh loft spaces. Whether you're looking to rent or to buy, downtown offers something for everyone in a hip, sophisticated upscale urban setting.

Midtown
One of the newest areas on the scene, Midtown is truly making a splash as a revitalization effort has taken hold and created multiple success stories. Full of fantastic housing options – from revitalized historic buildings to new developments – plus local restaurants and bars, Midtown is a great place to discover what’s new and hip on the OKC scene.

Bricktown, Deep Deuce, downtown, housing, Midtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Distinct downtown districts

Film Row

Fancy a night out on the town or local shopping just steps away from the central business district? Oklahoma City’s downtown area is made up of districts that each have their own unique flavor and fun.

  • Bricktown - Showcasing Oklahoma City’s renaissance comes naturally to this entertainment district. The former warehouses that once housed industrial goods now offer some of Oklahoma City’s best restaurants and nightlife. The easiest way to see all this district has to offer is by way of the MAPS-funded canal. This time of year, canal rides on the Bricktown Water Taxi take place every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (weather permitting).
  • Film Row - Film Row is just west of downtown and is on the cutting-edge of Oklahoma City developments. Equal parts historic and revitalized, Film Row was once home to the film distribution offices for Hollywood’s major studios. It’s now a mix of artistic businesses, locally-own restaurants and more. Be sure to check out the eclectic art collection of the recently-opened 21c Museum Hotel.
  • Automobile Alley - Located north of downtown along Broadway Avenue, Automobile Alley got its name from the number of automobile dealerships that were originally located here in the first half of the 20th century. Now local shops and restaurants make up this effortlessly walkable district. And the fact that the future Oklahoma City Streetcar will stretch through this district makes it even more exciting.
arts and culture, Automobile Alley, Bricktown, downtown, Film Row, museums, nightlife, restaurants, retail, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

70 acres of green, blue and you

MAPS 3 Central Park

One of the MAPS 3 projects we’re most excited about is the new downtown public park. Situated just south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena and going all the way to the river, the MAPS 3 park will give us 70 total acres of green space right in the middle of our community.

The master plan has been approved by the City Council, and designs are being fine-tuned. Current plans call for a lake, a café, nature walks, sports facilities and more.

The 40-acre north section is scheduled to be complete in 2018, with the 30-acre south portion ready in 2021. And if you’ve been wondering how you’ll get across I-40 to access both sides, that’s what the Skydance Pedestrian Bridge is for!

downtown, MAPS, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spring break camps cater to many interests and help with child care

If you have to work or want to stay closer to Oklahoma City, sign up your child for one of the area’s many spring break programs. Here are a few ideas, both for dropping off or participating with your children:

  • The Oklahoma City Zoo offers spring break day camps for children ages 4 to 11. You can go all week or select full days or half days (cost is $45 per day from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and $25 per day for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Kids will make tasty treats and deliver them each day to the animals, and the zoo will offer other ways to connect them with nature.
  • Sign your child up for Spring Break Science Camp at Science Museum Oklahoma, located in the Adventure District next to the zoo. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, elementary school kids will make things that fly; get dirty with chemistry, bugs and slime; play with water and more on different adventures each day. Cost for the week is $225 for members and $250 for nonmembers, but spots fill up quickly and as of this post, first through third grade slots are already full. But check out other activities at the museum as well.
  • The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63, is offering spring break activities that include weaving, metalworking, water color and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14-18. It is free with museum admission.
  • The Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City is offering Spring Break Pop-Ins from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 8 through 17. They’ll feature walk-up activities that include garden crafts, planting seeds or going on a scavenger hunt. Cost is a suggested $2 donation per child.
  • Oklahoma Contemporary is offering Spring Arts Camps over two sessions, March 7-11 and March 14-18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Tuition is $170 and $40 more if your child needs an extended time there. Depending on the age and session they choose, students will create sci-fi videos, create art projects based on a space theme, explore art and music, work with clay and more.
  • The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is offering spring break arts camps from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15-18 (Tuesday through Friday). Some are sold out, but children ages 6- to 8 can work with color and abstraction, while 9- to 12-year-olds will be photographing downtown.
  • The Lyric Theatre Thelma Gaylord Academy is offering Spring Break Theatre Camps from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 to 18 for the second through eighth grades. Cost is $225.
  • In the Boathouse District, kids ages 8 to 15 can take part in its Spring Break Adventure Camps either at the Oklahoma River or at Lake Overholser. A half-day option is offered at the Oklahoma River, but full days are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Two of the city’s parks, Martin Park Nature Center and Will Rogers Gardens are offering a Natural Resources Camp on weekdays from March 7 to 18 for children ages 7 to 12. Cost is $275 for both sessions and $175 for a one-week session. Camp will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The first week will be at Will Rogers Gardens, 3400 NW 36; the second at Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W Memorial Road.
  • Finally, look into the OKC Thunder Youth Basketball Camps, which is offering basketball workshops in different locations.

If you have a favorite local hangout for you and your children, check its website for spring break activities. Oklahoma City Public Schools are out for two weeks March 9-18, so some places offer two weeks of programs. Also, the local Metro Family Magazine has an even more comprehensive list of things to do throughout the metro. You can find all kinds of things to do each month at www.visitokc.com.

Boathouse District, camps, downtown, kids, museums, spring break, theater, Thunder, Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, basketball
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thundering up the new year in style …

OKC Thunder game [Photo Credit: OKC Thunder]

[Photo Credit: OKC Thunder]

Some might say that we here at Better Life Central suffer from Thunder-mania year-round and rightfully so. Anyone who’s seen KD and Russ this season can attest to the star power of this duo. So of course we will be enjoying the game this New Year’s Eve as the Thunder take on the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Find tickets here. Downtown restaurants including Park Avenue Grill, Flint, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Vast and many others will have special menus before and after the game to help you make sure that you and your special someone kick off 2016 with a bang.

Some of our favorite other places around town to ring in 2016:

Bricktown, downtown, festivals, live sporting events, Plaza District, restaurants, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Setting the Streetcar Scene

Streetcar Rendering

Ding ding ding, the new streetcar system will make us sing! (Or at least cut down on our downtown car driving.) But truly, one of our most-anticipated MAPS 3 projects is the modern streetcar and transit hub. The initial six-mile system is hoped to jump-start a new era of clean mass transit and help connect many of the downtown area’s up-and-coming districts, workplaces, public amenities, and more. The project also provides funds to renovate the Santa Fe station into a new intermodal transit hub, where riders can switch from one mode of transit to another, in addition to providing a new pedestrian portal to Bricktown.

Curious about the route? Here’s a map of the approved framework, and here is a cool animation of what it might be like to ride. Phase I is scheduled for completion by 2018, with Phase 2 in 2021. (Wait for it…) All aboard! (You knew we were going to go there eventually.)

streetcar, downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Downtown in December

Downtown in December Sandridge Santa Run

We know, we know … Winter doesn’t technically start for another month. The trees still have leaves but we can’t help but look ahead to one of our favorite times of the year in Oklahoma City. Nothing wrong with planning ahead right?

There’s no place like home for the holidays… isn’t that how the song goes?! At any rate, there’s no truer statement in Oklahoma City. Just because the temperatures are cooling off, doesn’t mean that the fun is slowing down.

Downtown in December kicks off in a few weeks and it will be chock-full of fun, family activities that we’re sure you and your little angels will want to be a part of. Just watch out for Santa as he makes his way through downtown on his Segway. He’ll be handing out treats for boys and girls of all ages.

Fun family activities include:

  • Free Holiday Water Taxi Rides: All aboard for a fun-filled cruise on a Bricktown Water Taxi! On designated evenings in November and December, everyone can enjoy a fun-filled float down the beautifully-adorned Bricktown canal.
  • Saturday with Santa: Bring the kiddos downtown on to the Devon Energy Center each Saturday in December, to visit meet Santa himself, make crafts, and participate in holiday-themed activities.
  • Prance, dance, jog or run through downtown as part of the SandRidge Santa Run. The ultimate goal is just to have fun! Events include a 5K race, a one-mile fun run or a free Santa Claus kids' dash. Did we mention this is also a fabulous chance to Rumble the Bison and the Thunder Girls?
  • We triple dog dare you to take part in Little Willie’s Triple Dog Dare. The stair climbing challenge will test your endurance and speed as you climb 138 flights of stairs or recruit a couple of friends to take part in the relay challenge.
  • Hit the slopes for a little snow tubing at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Choose either the bunny slopes regular slope for the true adventure seeker.
  • Get in the holiday spirit while you learn about Oklahoma’s diverse Native American culture at the Red Earth Treefest. Trees will be decorated with ornaments honoring tribes including the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Chickasaw Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Comanche Nation, Osage Nation.

There are plenty of indoor activities to get you in the holiday spirit as well. Check out the following family-friendly performances throughout the season.

holiday, kids, movies, music, outdoor recreation, running, theater, ballet, Bricktown, downtown, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Housing in Deep Deuce

With entertainment, arts, sporting events and nightlife all in your backyard, it is no surprise that downtown Oklahoma City living is booming. With housing options as diverse as the individuals that live in them, downtown Oklahoma City dwelling will give you the urban adventure that you’ve always wanted.

In downtown Oklahoma City, there are a total of 2,880 housing units, with nearly 2,000 more under construction or announced. Most of the construction is rental, but there are a few ownership units under construction as well.  (Rental prices will range anywhere from $784-$3,000, while for-sale options start at around $180,000 for a one-bedroom condo.) For those with children, living in downtown Oklahoma City allows you to have first dibs on entrance to John Rex Charter Elementary School, a tuition-free elementary school that currently offers pre-K through third grade instruction.  By the fall of 2018, the school will offer pre-K through sixth grade.

Below is a breakdown of downtown’s hottest spots for housing.

Central Business District/Bricktown/Deep Deuce
Oklahoma City’s renaissance is on display in the core of downtown, making it a perfect place to call home. Attractive to the young, the old and families in between, downtown offers plenty of choices and value for those looking for a true urban experience without much of the traditional hassle. Whether you choose to live in the heart of Oklahoma City in the central business district or you embrace the history and culture of the Deep Deuce neighborhood, new condos and apartments abound, as do newly-renovated rental units and fresh loft spaces. Whether you're looking to rent or to buy, downtown offers something for everyone in a hip, sophisticated upscale urban setting.

Midtown
One of the newest areas on the scene, Midtown is truly making a splash as a revitalization effort has taken hold and created multiple success stories. Full of fantastic housing options – from revitalized historic buildings to new developments – plus local restaurants and bars, Midtown is a great place to discover what’s new and hip on the OKC scene.

Bricktown, Deep Deuce, downtown, housing, Midtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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
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