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Things to do Near Oklahoma City
Welcome to OKC!
Oklahoma City is a young city on the rise. While, yes, is may be a bit bland as far as things to do compared to other major cities, there is plenty to do around town and the surrounding areas. When I first arrived, I thought the best thing was going to be a Bass Pro Shop. Apparently, that's a big deal around here. But the city is what you make of it. Getting out and exploring is part of the fun of a city that's growing rapidly.
Bricktown will probably be the first thing you'll be advised to go see, and for a good reason. Although extremely small, it's thriving as far as nightlife goes. There's plenty of bars for the 21 and over crowd. There's also a small river walk (similar, but smaller than the one in San Antonio, Texas) which is nice for a short boat ride. I'm not one for clubs, but there's Club 21, Club Albee, and City Walk available, but those are 21 and over. There are two 18 and over clubs near OKC, one is the Red Neck Yacht Club, and the other is Sooner's, but those aren't in Bricktown.
For food, there's Zio's, which is amazing, or In The Raw, for sushi lovers. There's also RedPin which is an extremely fancy little bowling alley. Mickey Mantle's steakhouse, while pricey, is really nice, too. There's Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar," which is awesome, and if you're military, you should stop in and get a free cheeseburger from there. To add to the ambiance, there's plenty of music being played during the weekends, and you should probably check out Michael Murphy's Dueling Piano Bar.
The bad part of it is that Bricktown is not very kind to the under 21 crowd. You can't even get in to most places, which is a shame for the Piano Bar. But if you're looking for food, or a movie, or just a night out in town, Bricktown is the place to go.
Oklahoma City National Memorial
While it's a sad part of history, you really should go visit the memorial, and bring a camera. There is plenty of symbolism here to capture, including "The Gates of Time," The Reflecting Pool, The Field of Empty Chairs, The Survivor's Wall, The Survivor Tree, The Memorial Fence, The Rescuer's Orchard, Children's Area, The Journal Record Building, The Heartland Chapel, and Jesus Wept. To explain each and every monument would completely deviate off the topic of this article, but it's best to go see for yourself. It's beautiful.
Find Something New To Do
Ok, so maybe this exactly isn't the most detailed advice ever, but you need to find what you like to do, and if you never try anything, you won't know what you like. For example, go paintballing if you've never done it before. Go indoor rock climbing. Go camping, there's plenty of that. If you're into it, try hookah. I highly endorse Hubbly Bubbly Hookah, which is in the Asian district. Speaking of the Asian district, there are karaoke bars which are a blast, even if they are... uh... Asiany? I guess that's the best way to describe them. For instance, they have videos playing while the words show on the screen, and the videos have nothing to do with the song. It's really funny.
A lot of people from the area have told me that the best thing about Oklahoma is the "underground" stuff. It's the things that aren't well known that you have to seek out and find them. In doing so, you expand your horizons and will hopefully find something new about yourself that you didn't know before.
There's plenty of wilderness surrounding Oklahoma City. While not directly next to the city, you don't have to go to far to find something. About 2 hours away, you can go out to Lawton and go hiking. Go head out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. There's miles and miles of hiking and rock climbing for all sorts of ages. Getting to the top of some of these mountains provides a breath taking view of the surrounding area, and with no cities in site, you really get a feel of how life used to be before everything became Americanized. You'll see herds of buffalo roaming, and on the drive out there, they'll actually be intimidatingly close. There's plenty to do out here to keep coming back for more.
On the other hand there's Turner Falls. Turner Falls has a park that covers 1,500 acres of land, and also contains nature trails, caves and other interesting geological features. It also has a walk-in castle which was built in the 1930s. Oklahoma's tallest waterfall (77 ft) can also be found here, and you can swim at the bottom of it. It's a bit closer than Wichita Mountains, and equally impressive.
Go Get a Cabin
Oklahoma is a relatively empty state, so getting away from everyone is pretty simple. To take it up a notch, you can always go rent out a cabin. Cabins in Oklahoma tend to get rented out pretty quickly, so if you want to do it, give yourself plenty of time (at least 3 months) to book one. A lot of them book years in advance. If you're able to take some time off during a weekday, it's a bit easier to get one.
My recommendation is to look around Broken Bow Lake, which is about 4 hours from Oklahoma City, and get a group of people, and split the cost. It'll make the price much more reasonable, and ensure a good time with a good group of friends.
It's up to you to determine how to spend your time in Oklahoma. You need to be a go-getter or you're going to wallow in misery, This is especially true for military folks (like myself) who are forced to be sent here. It is what you make of it. Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas of what you can get out and do. If you have ideas, feel free to leave a comment below. I've barely touched the tip of the ice burg as far as things to do. Just remember, Oklahoma can be an amazing place to be, if you allow it to be.