Channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, filled with captivating exhibits on rodeos, movie cowboys, a pioneer town, Western art—even barbed wire designs.
Continue the theme with lunch at the legendary Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Stockyard City, where you can savor a perfectly cooked steak and a slice of creamy coconut cream pie. Then take some time to browse Stockyard City’s shops, which sell a colorful array of boots, saddles, hats and other cowpoke gear.
For a look at another, more sobering part of Oklahoma City history, drive downtown to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to immerse yourself in a moving tribute to those who died, those who survived and those whose lives were changed by the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Experience downtown’s renaissance by staying at the luxuriously renovated 1911 Skirvin Hilton and strolling to neighboring Bricktown Entertainment District, where you can choose from more than 40 bars and restaurants, including Earl’s Rib Palace (hearty portions of ribs and brisket at reasonable prices).
Bricktown Water Taxi’s drivers narrate sights along 1-mile canal. Sports fans will applaud the RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the NBA’s Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, or the Barons at the Cox Convention Center.
Click ahead for Day 2.
Nearby Colcord Hotel’s Flint restaurant serves fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes with papaya chutney, a delicious way to start your day.
It’s free to wander the 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens across the street, but we recommend paying to enter the lush Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
A short walk gets you to the Oklahoma Museum of Art and its stunning Dale Chihuly glass exhibit; color swirls overhead in the Oklahoma Persian Ceiling.
Cheever’s serves contemporary twists on comfort food (think Cowgirl Benedict) for lunch or brunch. Then tour the nearby Oklahoma State Capitol to find out why the 1917 building didn’t get a dome until 2002.
For the rest of the afternoon, pick from a variety of activities. Into bones? Visit the Museum of Osteology. Music? Head for the American Banjo Museum. Outdoor activity? Rent kayaks, water bicycles or paddleboards in the Boathouse District. Art? Explore galleries in the Spanish-style stucco buildings of the Paseo Arts District, where the charming Picasso Cafe serves excellent, inventive fare (try the Frito Pie!).
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More information: Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau; (800) 225-5652; visitokc.com