1 ALWAYS REMEMBER: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museumstands as a symbol of strength and remembrance in the wake of horrible violence and terrorism. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people and injured more than 680. With more than one million documents, artifacts and photographs, the touching memorial and museum tells the stories of those whose lives were changed forever. The outdoor memorial also offers a place of quiet reflection, healing and hope with 168 chairs lined up representing the dead, a survivor’s wall and tree, as well as a reflecting pool that offers a quiet setting for private thoughts. www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org
2 WILD WEST: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the country’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. More than 10 million visitors a year view a renowned collection of Western art and artifacts, including works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. The museum houses a turn-of-the-century town and interactive history galleries that focus on the American cowboy (and cowgirls), rodeos, Native American culture, Victorian firearms, frontier military and Western performers.
Opening in spring 2020 will be a new exhibition, Liichokoshkomó, a Chickasaw phrase meaning “let’s play.” The outdoor exhibit will have three themes: people, places and perseverance, and will include dwellings that represent seven indigenous groups as well as a sod home, interactive wagon, trading post and a railcar and train depot. www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
3 ICONIC HOTEL: The Skirvin Hilton Hotel has been a base for influential Americans visiting Oklahoma City for more than a century. This grand landmark hotel opened in 1911 with two 10-story towers; another tower was added in 1930. The Skirvin Hotel was a choice destination and entertained luminaries and dignitaries, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hoffa, Roger Staubach, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Bob Hope.
Like many grand hotels it came upon hard times and was closed for many years. After a $50 million renovation, it was re-opened as the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in 2007. In addition to the 225 spacious guest rooms and suites and 18,500 square feet of meeting space, the hotel features The Red Piano, a classic piano lounge perfect for cocktails, as well as the Park Avenue Grill, which serves a farm-to-fork cuisine. The Grill hosts a number of brunch events, including traditional holiday brunch buffets, as well as “Brunch on Broadway.” www.skirvinhilton.com
4 MUSEUMS GALORE: Oklahoma City offers a wealth of museums, including many traditional ones, but it also has museums that you can probably only find in The Big Friendly. For instance, there is the American Banjo Museum; the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum; Skeletons: Museum of Osteology; the 45th Infantry Division Museum; the Oklahoma Railway Museum and the National Softball Hall of Fame.
But perhaps our favorite is the American Pigeon Museum & Library that is dedicated to the glorious bird that inhibits our parks and carried life-or-death messages behind enemy lines. The museum celebrates 12 breeds of pigeons and its permanent exhibits include: Pigeons in Wartime; The History of Pigeon Racing; Project Sea Hunt: Pigeons and the Coast Guard, and A Shadow over the Earth: The Life and Death of the Passenger Pigeon. www.theamericanpigeonmuseum.org
5 COUNTRY’S BEST EATERY: Oklahoma City has a wide variety of fantastic restaurants but its best restaurant is Nonesuch. Says who? Well, for starters, Bon Apetit named Nonesuch the Best Restaurant in 2018. That’s right — the Number One restaurant in the country. Nonesuch is the brainchild of three chefs who turned dining in this Midtown eatery into an experience. It’s a 10-course tasting menu and all the innovative seasonal dishes are inspired by the fields, farmers and Oklahoma terroir. The 20-seat restaurant has wine pairings as well as non-alcoholic drinks suited to each course. Among past courses were a bison tartare wrapped in a potato crisp, bar-b-que quail, chicken liver mousse tart, mushroom cake and sweet potato bread. Although the restaurant has a fixed menu, it will adapt to personal food allergies and dietary restrictions if given enough lead time. www.nonesuchokc.com
6 HOORAY FOR OKC BROADWAY: As our Okie Covergirl Kristin Chenoweth will attest, bringing Broadway shows and other top-notch entertainment to cities and towns across America fosters an important appreciation for the arts. In Oklahoma City, OKC Broadway, a partnership between the Civic Center Foundation and the Nederlander Organization, is doing just that. In addition, the Civic Center Foundation, along with the city, provided funds that ensures the Civic Center Music Hall will remain a premier performing arts center for generations.
Today OKC Broadway offers the best of entertainment coming from the Great White Way with shows such as Miss Saigon, Come From Away, STOMP, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Oklahoma!.In addition, other world-class shows, such as Riverdance, Disney’s Frozen, SpongeBob Musical and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas provide memorable entertainment for all ages.
OKC Broadway also hosts “The Jimmy Award,” a national program that celebrates outstanding student performances in high school musical productions across the U.S. www.okcbroadway.com