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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Opening Night

Opening night in downtown OKC

Each new year is a time of reflection and resolutions. But first, you have to ring in the year in style. Are you still looking for that perfect place to welcome 2016? Well, we’ve got you covered. OKC is hopping with so many exciting events on NYE that it may be hard to choose just one.

Do you love, music, dancing, theater or fireworks? If so, you certainly won’t want to miss Opening Night, one of OKC’s premier New Year’s Eve parties. Put on by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, Opening Night offers fun for the entire family with performances on 16 stages throughout downtown OKC featuring acts such as Tequila Azul, OKC Improv, Michael King, Allie Lauren, Edgar Cruz, Urban Addiction and more. Trust us, there is absolutely zero chance of a less than stellar New Year’s Eve. Did we mention there’s fun for the whole family? The youngsters are sure to enjoy face painting, an interactive art project, and lively music performances. And the fireworks finale is a show-stopping spectacle that you won't soon forget.

Wristbands are just $8 in advance and you can pick them up at 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, metro Homeland stores, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and MidFirst Bank locations. You can also get wristbands for $10 at the event. Children under 5 are absolutely free.

And don’t worry about grabbing grub before heading downtown – seriously, they’ve thought of everything – the city’s best food trucks will be on-hand to serve up a variety of exciting food. Get your dinner on Finale Alley any time before midnight!

If you want to kick off the evening (or that 2016 resolution) a little early, make plans to attend the Opening Night 5k. Don your best costume of neon and glitter or dig out your superhero cape because the most festively dressed wins an original piece of art.

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



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:

live sporting events, Plaza District, restaurants, Thunder, Bricktown, downtown, festivals
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Looking back, forging ahead

OKC Energy Fans  [Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

[Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

2015 was an exciting year in Oklahoma City. We committed to the Oklahoma Standard, celebrated the inaugural season of the OKC Dodgers, welcomed two new elephants at the OKC Zoo, got fired up for OKCFest, went rolling on the river as we hosted national and international contestants during the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, cheered as the Energy made their first playoff run, shopped till we dropped at all the new retailers across the city and were inspired by the creation of Innovation District.

But if you thought 2015 was thrilling in OKC, buckle your seat belts and hold on tight because we are just getting started. With the completion of some MAPS 3 projects including improvements at State Fair Park and the world-class RIVERSPORT Rapids, 2016 promises to be an exhilarating year.

And our resolution for 2016: keeping you – our loyal reader – in the know about all of the cool, hip happenings in OKC. Don’t hesitate to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with questions or ideas. All our posts are also tagged by topic so you can easily find past blogs for information, everything from attractions to downtown and much more.

MAPS, OKC Energy, Oklahoma River, retail, State Fair Park, zoo, Dodgers, festivals, Innovation District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: December 29, 2015 - January 4, 2016

Snow Tubing at the ballpark

Tuesday, December 29
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
Robert Earl Keen; 8 p.m.; Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center; 733-7673; Ticket prices vary.

Wednesday, December 30
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 

Thursday, December 31
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Opening Night; 7 p.m.; Downtown; 270-4848; $8 in advance and $10 at the event.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Friday, January 1
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Saturday, January 2
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m. Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.

Sunday, January 3
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m..; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.

Monday, January 4
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

calendar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Have a holly, jolly dining experience

Friends eating in a restaurant

If entertaining guests is making you say, “Bah, humbug,” then why don’t you leave the cooking to the professionals? Oklahoma City has several area restaurants that are open on Christmas Day, meaning that you can give yourself the best gift of all: not having to do the dishes after everyone leaves.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has compiled a list of restaurants that are ready to entertain you. Have other suggestions that didn’t make it on our list? Let us know in the comments!

restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Last minute shopping? No problem.

A couple shopping in OKC

If you still have a few names on your shopping list this season, the Oklahoma City retail scene is here to help you share the holiday cheer – without turning you into a Grinch. From festive malls to locally owned shops, you can check off everyone on your gift list in no time. Local malls, like Quail Springs Mall, Penn Square Mall and the Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City are a one-stop shop for your name brand favorites. Oklahoma City’s local retail scene also has plenty of gifts to please even the pickiest on your list. Read our past coverage of Oklahoma City’s best shopping experiences, and let us know your favorite place to grab last-minute gifts in the comments!

local goods, retail, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Send your friends a taste of OKC this holiday season

If you have lived in Oklahoma City for long, you probably recognize all the awesome qualities that make this community such a great place to live. And since this is the season of giving, why not share the OKC-love with family and friends? Since it would be pretty difficult to wrap up the Devon Tower and place it under your Christmas tree (without the help of the North Pole, that is), we have an easier way to share Oklahoma City’s story.

VeloCity, the digital magazine of Oklahoma City, just launched its newest issue filled with info on OKC’s foodie scene, the abundance of adrenaline-filled activities throughout the city and more. Read the current issue at www.velocityokc.com and view all the back issues at www.greaterokc.tv.

velocity, attractions, food, Oklahoma City
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Things to Do & See: December 22 - December 28, 2015

Thunder Fans

Tuesday, December 22
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
The Nutcracker; 2 & 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.

Wednesday, December 23
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Trans-Siberian Orchestra; 4 & 8 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Thursday, December 24
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon & 2 p.m., Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Atlanta Hawks; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Friday, December 25
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Saturday, December 26
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m. Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Sunday, December 27
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m..; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
A Christmas Carol; 2 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets; 6 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Monday, December 28
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary. 

calendar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Seasonal shopping

Myriad Gardens pop-up Winter Shoppes

It’s after Thanksgiving and you know what that means. No, it’s not time to swear off all cranberries and pie until Christmas (because that would be madness). It’s time to get your seasonal shopping fix in OKC!

The Winter Shoppes return to the Myriad Gardens along with the carousel, Christmas lights and all sorts of local shopping merriment. Shop boutique vendors and maybe hit up the Devon Ice Rink while you’re at it.

Similarly, the Holiday Pop-Up Shops are back in Midtown, featuring a weekly rotating schedule of local vendors and the Bishop John Carroll School Christmas Tree Lot at the corner of NW 10th and Hudson.

Check out the cool Christmas lights on Automobile Alley while you hit up this month’s Shop Hop, this Thursday Dec. 17, from 6 – 9 p.m. Great food, giveaways and other celebratory gladdenings await you as you shop local like the hardcore Oklahoma Citian you are!

holiday, local goods, retail, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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New retail rundown

H&M opening day in Quail Springs Mall

It’s been a big-time year for the OKC retail scene. Following last year’s successful openings of new OKC retailers like Von Maur at Quail Springs Mall, West Elm in Classen Curve and Main Event on Memorial Road this year three new-to-market retailers opened that got everyone excited: H&M at Quail Springs, and Top Golf and Cabela’s in the Chisholm Creek development. Penn Square Mall and the Outlet Shoppes also added exciting names to an already impressive list of tenants. Women’s clothier Madewell came to Penn Square Mall while the Outlet Shoppes added a Northface and Charming Charlies.

What’s next? The announcement of a Trader Joe’s in Nichols Hills Plaza has us buzzing, iFly indoor skydiving in Chisholm Creek will have us breezing and a few more rumors that may have been floating around out there that have a chance to become reality have us brimming with more potential buying brilliance. What’s the one thing you can do to help OKC’s retail development scene? Keep your shopping dollars local!

retail, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Why is Retail Important?

Shoppers at Rant in Uptown

In short, retail is what makes our city go. Sales taxes in Oklahoma City fund the city’s core services and day-to-day operations. That’s important stuff like police, fire, street maintenance, the Zoo, parks, etc. While property taxes can be used to fund voter-approved bond issues for specific capital projects, Oklahoma law actually prohibits cities from levying property taxes for services. So, the more you shop in OKC, the more you help your community! So put down the mouse, get out of the house, and get to shopping for a new blouse, pet grouse, Westinghouse, a choice porterhouse, downspouts, bean sprouts or a new spouse (just kidding on that last one, obvi). But seriously, shopping in your community is not only fun and easy but important to maintaining a healthy city.

If you’re curious about how OKC’s sales tax rates compare to some others, just check out this previous blog post.

community, retail
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



OKCRetail.com

OKCRetail.com website

OK, prospective entrepreneur. Has all this retail talk made you wonder about maybe opening up your own shop and flipping the script from shopper to shoppee? You’re in luck: okcretail.com is a website dedicated to helping the world know about how easy it is to find retail success in OKC. With some of the online tools available, you can scout for locations, pull demographic reports, find out about permitting and even peruse property listings, among other info. Check it out!

entrepreneur, retail
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Things to Do & See: December 15 - December 21, 2015

OU Women\'s Basketball Team

Tuesday, December 15
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Reno Bighorns; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Wednesday, December 16
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trailblazers; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Thursday, December 17
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Atlanta Hawks; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Friday, December 18
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
Discover the Dinosaurs; 2 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
The Nutcracker; 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Saturday, December 19
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Discover the Dinosaurs; 10 a.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m. Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Austin Spurs; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
The Nutcracker; 2 & 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. L.A. Lakers; 4 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Sunday, December 20
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Discover the Dinosaurs; 10 a.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m..; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Big 12/SEC Challenge; 1:30 pm.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 7 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
The Nutcracker; 2 & 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.

Monday, December 21
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Tubing Winter Festival; Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; 218-1000; $14 to ride.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.

calendar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Serve the community and meet new people

a couple viewing art

Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the community and meet new people, but if you’re new here yourself, often it’s hard to know where to start. As the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits notes, there are more than 19,000 nonprofit groups in Oklahoma. They are filling important needs in their respective areas, but choosing where to spend your time and resources can be overwhelming.

To help get you involved, two umbrella organizations in the community support long lists of nonprofit agencies serving in various areas – arts and culture, health, education, quality of life and financial stability.

Both Allied Arts and the United Way of Central Oklahoma offer a good roundup of organizations that they have vetted and that fit with their respective missions. When people donate to these groups, their donations get distributed to their member agencies. You’ll hear most about these organizations during their respective campaigns and at certain events, but they also can give you an idea of ways to serve as a volunteer. Check out the United Way’s a Volunteer Center on its website, which includes lists of needs among its partner agencies (which number 61 in 2015). And see the list of Allied Arts’ supported agencies (there are about 40 of them) and ways to volunteer.

Allied Arts, which formed in 1971, has a mission to ensure that “a variety of local arts organizations have the tools and resources they need to remain strong and offer quality programming to the public.”

United Way has been around for nearly 100 years, and its mission states that it is “committed to improve the health, safety, education and economic well-being of individual families in need in central Oklahoma by connecting community resources with responsive and accountable health and human services agencies.”

While there are many other organizations serving the community, both the United Way and Allied Arts are a good way to jump in.

community, nonprofit, volunteer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Get your family involved

People volunteering at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

[Photo Credit: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma]

Once you find a niche, look for ways to get your kids involved in volunteering, too. It’s never too early to serve the community, and the holidays are a good time to start.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which combats hunger throughout the state, has a very well-organized volunteer program that offers opportunities for groups. All you do is sign up for certain times, and you might find yourself sorting and packing food or distributing it. Volunteers as young as 8 can sign up, so it’s a great opportunity for families to do together. Also, the Salvation Army, Central Oklahoma Area Command, has an “Adopt an Angel” program to provide gifts for specific families, and groups can also sign up to accept donations and ring bells in front of the familiar Red Kettles outside high-traffic areas.

Specific to the holidays, the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner has been a Christmas Day tradition since 1947 by providing warm meals and toys to around 5,000 or 6,000 people at the Cox Convention Center.

If you have a teen, there are opportunities for them to get involved all on their own. Here are just a few organizations that have teen boards and opportunities, most which require applications. The links go directly to the teen programs.

And Metro Family Magazine has a list of other opportunities for families this year, as does Revive, Inc.’s ServeOK.org website.

community, kids, volunteer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Nonprofit volunteer spotlight: Whiz Kids

Young students

One organization that consistently needs help with volunteers is Whiz Kids Oklahoma, a faith-based, one-on-one volunteer tutoring/mentoring programs. For the last 20 years, the agency has assisted metro-area children who need it most. Currently, the organization is serving around 900 kids by providing them with a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult to help them.

Find out more about volunteering on its website.

community, volunteer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Get involved in the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Vendors at SchmoozaPalooza

We at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber would love to have you volunteer with us, too, and there are opportunities throughout the year as a Chamber Ambassador that provide you with a chance to network and meet new people in the business community.

We love our volunteers who help us by attending business grand openings, welcoming new members and assisting at events throughout the year. These events include Metro 50, State of the Schools, State of the City, our Annual Meeting, Sunset Receptions and our twice-a-year SchmoozaPalooza, the area’s premier trade show, which gives business professionals a casual and fun networking event with live music, food tastings and a showcase of area businesses. It takes fun-minded volunteers to help us make that happen. For a list of Chamber events visit our site. While we would love to have you as a member most of our events are open to nonmembers.

Find out more about becoming a Chamber Ambassador in order to help with these activities by going online or contacting Amanda Bowen at abowen@okcchamber.com or (405) 297-8961.

business, networking
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: December 8 - December 14, 2015

OKCB dancer DaYoung Jung as Sugar Plum Fairy for The Nutcracker photo by Rocky Chen

Tuesday, December 8
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.

Wednesday, December 9
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Thursday, December 10
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Atlanta Hawks; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.

Friday, December 11
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.

Saturday, December 12
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m. Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
The Nutcracker; 2 & 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Santa Cruz Warriors; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.

Sunday, December 13
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m..; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
The Nutcracker; 2 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 297-2584; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz; 6 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 7 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Monday, December 14
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.

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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.)

downtown, MAPS, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Streetcar Stories

OKC streets 1900s

Speaking of streetcars, did you know OKC’s first streetcar system was actually installed more than 110 years ago? Putting in a streetcar system in the early “aughts” was difficult, but as a great man once said, “if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

All the “Back to the Future” streetcar jokes aside, in the city’s early days, OKC’s increasing density made public mass transit a part of its destiny. As Oklahoma City continued to experience ridiculous levels of growth after the Land Run (OKC’s population more than doubled – twice -- from 1890 to 1910), something other than horses and their requisite, er, “crab apples” was needed to get people and goods around the increasingly crowded urban environment in a clean, safe manner. City leaders had no interest in seeing citizens make like a tree and get out of here, so familiar names John Shartel and Anton Classen formed the Metropolitan Railway Company in 1902, and the following year electric-powered streetcars replaced beefarino-fueled raw horsepower as the transportation mode of choice for Oklahoma Citians. By 1911, interurban lines to El Reno, Norman and Guthrie were established, along with Moore and Edmond.

Want more? Our friends at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) have a cool interactive historic streetcar route map on their website, with equally awesome photos taken at different points along the various routes. Great Scott! Check it out, and get hyped for the MAPS 3 streetcar.

Oklahoma City history, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Hop on the Bus, Gus

Embark Bus

Go ahead and drop off the car keys, Lee. You don’t need to discuss much, because with EMBARK you can get yourself free, for minimal cost. The city’s bus system has added routes, frequency and even night service recently, so even if you’ve considered using the bus in the past, you may want to make a new bus-inclusive plan, Stan, because there must be something like “fifty routes to rediscover.” (OK, actually more like 22, but still!) Curious about how to ride? EMBARK has a handy web guide for that, in addition to a route planner and even an app. If you’re downtown, the Downtown Discovery (Route 50) is currently free and is a great way to get around and see some of the sights as you begin to see the light on the bus riding action, so check it out.

public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: December 1 - December 7, 2015

Tuesday, December 1
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Idaho Stampede; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.

Wednesday, December 2
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Brooklyn Nets; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Thursday, December 3
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Idaho Stampede; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 7:30 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Friday, December 4
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; All day; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
A Christmas Carol; 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.

Saturday, December 5
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; All day; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m. Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
A Christmas Carol; 2 & 8 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Blue vs. Westchester Knicks; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center; 602-8500; Ticket prices vary.
Greg Fitzsimmons; 7:30 p.m.; ACM&UCO Performance Lab; Ticket prices vary.

Sunday, December 6
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; All day; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Devon Ice Rink; 11 a.m..; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
A Christmas Carol; 2 p.m.; Lyric Theatre; 524-9312; Ticket prices vary.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings; 6 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena; 602-8700; Ticket prices vary.

Monday, December 7
Holiday Pop-Up Shops; All day; Midtown; Admission is free.
Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Regular museum hours; Oklahoma City Museum of Arts; 236-3100; Regular museum admission.
Winter Shoppes; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge; 445-7080; Admission is free.
Devon Ice Rink; 3 p.m.; Myriad Botanical Gardens; 445-7080; Admission prices vary.

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Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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