Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Road to OKC: Guide to Oklahoma City

I was born in Texas, but got to Oklahoma as quick as I could. I grew up in and around Oklahoma City and have seen it grow into an excellent place to live. When friends come in from out of town, they are usually surprised by how much there is to do and how good a time they have.

OKC may have a boring reputation outside of the state, but it's home and I think there's plenty to do and see here. I hope the Hokies that make the trip for the WCWS leave feeling the same way.

Where to Stay

Don't stay near the softball complex. It isn't the best of areas and the hotels near the stadium aren't great. Your best options are Downtown, Northwest Expressway and Broadway Extension in Edmond. From Downtown, you can access I-35 from I-40. From NW Expressway, you can access I-44, which gets you to I-35 in about three minutes. I work at NW Expressway and May Ave., and made the trip from there to the softball complex for the game against Team USA. The total drive time is 10-15 minutes. From Edmond, you can access I-35 from the Kilpatrick Turnpike in minutes.


Courtyard by Marriott OKC Downtown
- $190/night
Residence Inn Oklahoma City Downtown/Bricktown - $210/night
Sheraton Bricktown - $185/night
Renaissance Oklahoma City - $210/night
Historic Skirvin Hilton - $170/night

Northwest Expressway
Comfort Inn at Founders Tower - $75/night
Country Inn and Suites Oklahoma City - $70/night
Marriott Oklahoma City - $180/night
Extended Stay America OKC - $70/night

Broadway Extension (Edmond)
Fairfield Inn Edmond - $110/night
InTown Suites Edmond - $170/week

What to See

Those of you coming to OKC have to stop by the Oklahoma City National Memorial. On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed, killing 168 people. The memorial is beautiful and stirring and worth taking the time to visit.

If you went to public school in Oklahoma, like I did, you've been to the Omniplex about 20 times. It's a science museum that also has a dome-shaped theatre similar to IMAX. If you have kids, this is the place to go between sessions. The Zoo is kind of average and the Cowboy Hall of Fame is interesting if you're unfamiliar with the history and culture of the West.

National Memorial - Downtown
Oklahoma City Museum of Art - Downtown
Omniplex - near softball complex
Cowboy Hall of Fame - near softball complex
OKC Zoo - near softball complex

What to Do

OKC boasts one of the best minor league ballparks in the country in AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. The RedHawks have a homestand that starts May 31. Also, Oklahoma has Indian Casinos. Lots of 'em. The two biggest are Riverwind in Norman (25 minutes south of OKC) and FireLake Grand in Shawnee (25 minutes east of OKC). You won't find craps, but you'll find slots, poker and blackjack.

Oklahoma RedHawks - downtown - homestand starts May 31
Remington Park - horse racing and casino - near softball complex
Frontier City - amusement park - Northeast OKC on I-35
White Water Bay - water park - west of downtown on I-40
Chesapeak Boathouse - rowing and kayaking - downtown
Riverwind Casino - Norman
FireLake Grand Casino - Shawnee

Where to Eat

If you stay downtown, you'll find plenty of chain restaurants on the canal like Zio's (Italian), Chelino's (Tex-Mex) and Hooters. But there are plenty of others worth checking out.

Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse - on the canal - upscale dining
The Mantel - Sherridan and Mickey Mantle - great for lunch
Bourbon Street Cafe - Cajun food on the canal - my favorite restaurant in OKC
Crabtown - on Sherridan in Bricktown - seafood
County Line - near softball complex - BBQ

If you're feeling adventurous, you can stop by my mom's restaurant, Deer Creek BBQ in Edmond. It's on the corner of MacArthur and Covell. It's about a 20 minute drive from downtown, but if you E-mail me before you show up, I'll be sure you enjoy a free meal.

Where to Drink

If you're downtown, you'll want to go to Bricktown. It's where most of the nightlife is. If you're 21-35 and a douchebag, you'll want to go to Skyy Bar, above Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse. If you're looking for a more relaxed atmosphere with a large beer list and live music on the weekends, you'll want to go to TapWerks. If you want a sports bar, Coach's and Bricktown Brewery are where you'll want to go. And if you're looking for cougars (or are a cougar), Drinkz is your spot.

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