When most people think about the arts, coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles are typically top of mind, but Oklahoma City is becoming a premier destination for entertainment. Whether you love theater, live music, or museums, don’t sleep on OKC’s art & entertainment offerings. Below is a compilation of the prairie city’s best attractions.
What to see
If you’re looking to get a feel of OKC, there’s no better way than strolling its various districts and taking in the street art. Oklahoma City has an extensive collection of murals, many of which are located along Western Avenue on the outskirts of downtown.
If films are your genre of choice, don’t miss one of OKC’s most iconic venues, the Tower Cinema. The Tower Theatre opened in 1937 and is one of the city’s original movie houses — complete with neon marquee! Over the years, the historic building has had its ups and downs, but in 2014 the space underwent a major renovation and is now better than ever.
With over 11,000 square feet of art, you’ll never run out of things to enjoy at OKCMOA (Oklahoma City Museum of Art). The museum has one of the largest Chihuly glass collections in the world and a special exhibition, Dale Chihuly: Magic and Light is on display until the end of 2021. In addition to special exhibits, the space also offers films, classes, and a permanent collection.
Opening in September 2021, the First Americans Museum will include 175,000 square feet dedicated to the 39 tribal nations of Oklahoma. Several galleries will tell the story of both the indigenous peoples of Oklahoma and those who ended up there through removal policies. One of the galleries will feature objects on a long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).
What to do
Along with OKC’s many unique art offerings, The Factory Obscura Art Collective hosts an immersive art experience, Mix-Tape, which engages visitors in a completely new way. Their modern take on the classic audio autobiography is not to be missed!
OKC has many vibrant neighborhoods to explore and one of the best places for art lovers is the Plaza District. Head to this vibrant enclave on the second Friday of every month for live music, special events, and shopping.
Another neighborhood that’s popular with art aficionados is the Paseo District. In addition to its iconic Spanish Revival architecture, the area is home to numerous art galleries, bookstores, jewelers, and pottery shops. The district’s history dates back to the roaring 20s when Oklahoma City’s first resident art studio and gallery was built at 27th and Walker. Later on, the area became home to jazz clubs, creative businesses, and counterculture. The first annual Paseo Arts Festival was held in 1977 and the neighborhood continues to be a haven for working artists. Head to this vibrant community on the first Friday of every month for an Art Walk and then enjoy dinner at one of its eclectic restaurants.
Where to stay
If you’re visiting from out of town (or looking for a stay-cation option), the 21C Museum Hotel is a must visit. The hotel is housed in a former Ford Motor Company assembly plant and that history has been incorporated into the current design. Part hotel and part museum, the 21C offers site-specific art installations, rotating exhibitions, and luxurious guest rooms.
What to eat
If your art adventures work up an appetite, head to Up-Down Arcade Bar for pizza by the slice and an extensive craft beer menu with over 60 brews on tap. While you’re enjoying the local fare, challenge a friend — or yourself — to a classic arcade game. All games cost just 25 cents and you can choose from classics like skee-ball, pinball, lifesize Jenga, and PacMan.
If you’re looking for a home in a growing arts and entertainment district, the new Highland Pointe neighborhood has everything you’re looking for. With Downtown OKC a quick commute away, you can walk or bike to countless restaurants, stores, and entertainment destinations. Learn more about the Highland Pointe community at Timbercraft Homes.