Planning A Cross-Country Road Trip? Don’t Miss Out On Oklahoma City
With nearly 700,000 people living within its borders, Oklahoma City serves as the capital and economic engine of the Sooner State, offering a fascinating array of attractions for visitors to explore—and for anyone embarking on a cross-country road trip, it’s tough to find a better city to break up the mid-voyage monotony than OKC. From lavish hotels to fascinating museums to a highly-underrated drinking and dining scene, this bustling city is your one-way ticket to endless entertainment before continuing onward to the shining sea.
After a lengthy drive across America’s heartland, the 21c Museum Hotel is one of OKC’s top accommodations for some much-needed rest. While this polished venue is home to massive loft suites, a full-service spa, and its own outdoor pool, it’s best known as a paradise for art aficionados, offering a massive array of rotating exhibitions for guests to admire. While there’s no shortage of statues and paintings to peruse across the property, the 21C Museum Hotel is also a top-tier dining destination, equipped with the opulent Mary Eddy’s Dining Room. Specializing in hearty American fare, dishes around here range from lobster strozzapreti to rabbit and dumplings, with a wide array of complex cocktails up for grabs as well—and while Mary Eddy’s is certainly one of Oklahoma City’s most gorgeous dining destinations, it’s far from the only one worth visiting.
While Oklahoma is best known for its excellent beef, the capital has ventured far beyond the realm of just steak and burgers, offering a diverse dining scene that largely flies under the radar for non-residents. Over in the Plaza District, Ma Der Lao Kitchen has earned nationwide acclaim for its incredible Southeast Asian cuisine, offering traditional dishes like sai oua, moek paa, and both chicken and vegan larb, all carefully chosen by James Beard Award nominee Cheff Jeff Chanchaleune.
For fans of classic Colombian cuisine, El Fogón De Edgar is a fifteen-minute drive from downtown OKC, with hearty dishes like calentado, picada, and bandeja paisa all gracing the menu—but for those in search of a classic Oklahoma City dining experience in the heart of the city, it’s tough to beat Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse. A local favorite since 2014, this seasoned steakhouse is a top spot for a porterhouse or rack of lamb, and even comes equipped with a lengthy sushi and seafood menu for the beef-averse.
There’s not a whole lot of flora on display during a drive across Oklahoma, but fortunately, OKC is home to one of the state’s crown jewels of biodiversity—the Myriad Botanical Gardens, to be precise. Spanning fifteen acres, this prestigious institution is home to a wealth of both indoor and outdoor exhibits, with a children’s garden, artificial lake, and terrace loaded with indigenous Oklahoma plants all on display. After exploring the outer reaches of the space, be sure to head into the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, a dazzling enclosed garden that’s home to vibrant orchids, lilies, and bromeliads blooming alongside a massive two-story waterfall.
Whether you’re a hardcore history buff, a nature lover, or just want to kick back at the pool with a refreshing cocktail, Oklahoma City has the perfect attraction in store for you. While it’s far from the most visited city in the nation, this storied municipality has served as a particularly charming road trip destination for no shortage of travelers across the years. As you plan your bucket list journey from coast to coast, be sure to set some time aside to explore the Sooner State capital, an underrated urban getaway that gets better with each passing year.