This post originally appeared on XOXO, Lib. I’ve included it here with permission.
We didn’t give each other gifts this Christmas, promising that we’ll take a road trip soon instead. Well, “soon” turned into a few months later but we finally made good on our promise to one another. When I would tell people that we were using our quick vacation to visit Oklahoma City, most people said something along the lines of, “why, do you like have family there or something?” or “are there, like, things to do there?”
Answers: No, and of course! There are things to do anywhere. Just ask the Google machine!
We decided on OKC because we wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t more than 4 hours away and we wanted somewhere that neither of us had ever spent too much time before. Usually if we want to take a vacation trip anywhere, we settle on Kansas City. Kansas City is incredible–possibly my favorite city in the land–but we were hankering for some newness. So, Oklahoma it is!
After almost no deliberation, we decided that we wanted to go to the botanical garden that I’d found on Instagram. We also really wanted to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, too. I’ve dedicated a whole post to what we experienced there. But in this post I’ll let you know about a few places that we ate and a few places that we visited. My hope is that after reading this post, you’ll be tempted to visit a new city, too. Or maybe you’ll even be inspired to visit OKC! I hope you do. It was full of so much color and beauty.
Places to stay
We stayed in a very cool Airbnb. The apartment that we stayed in was really gorgeous. It was above a garage in someone’s back yard in a lovely old neighborhood in town. All the surrounding houses were huge and beautiful and colorful. Big trees in the front yard, massive porches perfect for swings and lemonade–the kind of place that makes me yearn for a lottery win. Airbnb is usually our go-to route for lodging–though we do love a hotel stay, too. What I love about Airbnb is that it’s generally quite affordable–I like that we’re putting money into the pockets of regular people, and we usually stay in places that have full kitchens so that we don’t necessarily have to go out for every meal. As soon as we got to town, Ryan got sick. Fevers and chills and a lack of appetite. I was grateful that we were in an apartment instead of a hotel room so that there was space for him to sleep while I read or watched TV and I could make myself a dinner of steamed veggies and cheese while he sat on the couch drinking his TheraFlu. (If you have never used Airbnb before but want to give it a try, use the “Airbnb” link in this paragraph and you’ll go to my referral page where you’ll get $40 off your first booking)
Places to eat
Breakfast: Kitchen No. 324 was dreamy! So beautiful. From the minute that we walked in, as they took us to our table, I was overwhelmed (in the best way) at how they let you see everything. Everything is bright white and clean with few benches clad in a deep, gorgeous forest green–a statement piece of furniture for sure. The menu is inventive but approachable. I ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes Eggs Benedict with a latte. Ryan ordered an open-faced breakfast sandwich. I tried everything–so good. I wanted to bring home one of their gorgeous pastries but by the end of breakfast, I was too stuffed to even think about a kolache.
Lunch: We went to this gourmet hot dog place called, wait for it… Mutts. Look, this wasn’t a place that I had researched and found far in advance or anything–all those places were full and we were hangry and tired of looking for parking. So Ryan just pulled this up on Google maps and I was like, “take me anywhere, I don’t care.” But… dude… this was the greatest choice. And it wasn’t far from our apartment at all! I definitely toyed with the idea of maybe just eating here for every meal. Ryan ordered the Windy City Dog and I got something called Hogs Gone Wild. Now, ordinarily I would never order something with a name like that but this dog had all of the things that ring my bell: spinach, pesto, cherry cream cheese? I know–it sounds crazy right? It was made on a wild boar sausage and topped with grilled onions. It! Was! So! Good!
Dinner: Oak and Ore (check out that website because my pics don’t do it a bit of justice). This was the first place we went to once we got into town and it got me so excited about what was ahead of us. This place is cool. It’s got a super industrial feel with the typical reclaimed wood, steel beams, and exposed brick. But what sets this place apart is the super long bar featuring thirty six beers on tap. The beers are listed on chalkboard signage hung on the subway tile behind the bar. It’s all very chic and clean. One of the most interesting parts of this bar, to me, was the clientele. You’ve got dude bros wearing backwards ball caps drinking pineapple hard cider next to sophisticated grandpas wearing sweater vests and drinking 16 year old single malt scotch. Everyone fits in here. I had the pork loin and succotash. It was quite yummy and the leftovers held up, too.
Places to visit
Myriad Botanical Gardens: Even though Ryan wasn’t feeling well, he insisted that we go sightseeing anyway. And this was such a great, low-key treat! It’s smack dab in the middle of the city. There are skyscrapers all around you but you’re standing here feeding ducks and looking at waterfalls. Obviously since we were here in February, there wasn’t that much to see on the main, outdoor grounds but you can tell that in the spring and summer and probably even in the fall, this space is gorgeous. The first thing that I loved about this place is that there’s so much to see and take in before you pay a dime. You can come here and spend a lot of time without spending any money at all. It’s just a gorgeous, soothing space. But if you want to go inside it’s $7 for adults. Which, if you ask me, isn’t that bad at all. Especially since you’re walking into… how do I explain this… So, it’s a greenhouse and the building itself is long and cylindrical and it’s a bridge that crosses a river. In the middle of a city. At one end of the greenhouse it’s all jungle plants and humid. At the other end of the exact same space, it’s dry and there are dessert plants–cacti and enormous agave. This space was incredible. There’s even another bridge inside so that you can see the whole place from up above. It wasn’t *great* for this girl who is terribly afraid of heights but at least the bridge didn’t wobble or anything.
In the end, our trip was incredible. It was so much fun and affordable and I’m so glad that we went. More people should check out what Oklahoma City has to offer! We’ll definitely go back.
Have you ever gone somewhere that was magically more delightful than you could have imagined?