I’ve been hearing lots of great things about Bricktown in Oklahoma City for a few years now, but we’ve never had the time to make a trip up and check it out, but lately my husband has been doing more work there, and when he had a Monday morning meeting on what was a 3 day weekend for the kids and me, we decided to make a family trip out of it! Since we couldn’t control the timing of the trip, we had to content with a cold and rainy February weekend, but we still were able to have a blast!
Bricktown is built in a refurbished old warehouse district of Oklahoma City, just a few blocks from the Oklahoma River, which is really a portion of the North Canadian River that flows through Texas’ panhandle. A canal through Bricktown offers waterside dining, as well as water taxis, entertainment complexes and shops. Known for it’s live, primarily Red Dirt music and nightlife, the area is fairly busy year round, and several well known musicians have restaurants, bars and even recording studios here, such as Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar! The Chickasaw Ballpark, home of the Dodger’s AAA Farm Team, is also in Bricktown.
We arrived late afternoon on Saturday Night, after eating way too much in Davis, OK at one of my favorites, Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch! While the kids loaded up on ribs, we went straight for the Rib Eye, and really needed a nap afterwards!
Once we arrived in Bricktown, I discovered I had made a couple of errors that even most novice travelers couldn’t pull off! Since I had made the reservation for my husband first at the Hilton Garden Inn, I accidentally booked a different hotel for the 2nd night of our trip, at the Hampton Inn almost right next door, at the same price! At least I did get my Hilton Points for both stays!
While it was an inconvenience to change rooms, as a travel writer it gave me a nice opportunity to compare the two hotels!
The Hampton Inn told us that although we had reserved a room with 2 beds, they were out of 2 bed rooms. That’s why it’s always a great idea to call to confirm you room and online check-in if possible. However, Hampton Inn was amazing, giving us 2 King Size rooms with upgraded ballpark views! The rooms didn’t have a connecting door, but were side-by-side! Thanks, Hampton Inn!
I’m all about valet parking the car, but my husband prefers to self park. I think it’s a man thing, but he likes knowing where his car is and making sure it’s locked, etc. Plus, our kids always forget their ear buds or something, and it is nice to just be able to run down and grab them. One of the big differences is the Hampton Inn has self parking, and the Hilton Garden Inn has valet.
The view from our room of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, where the Dodger’s AAA Farm Team plays, so you can see some great games and players here. On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon, it was empty, but if you listened hard enough, you could imagine the sound of the cheers in the stands!
Once we got unpacked, we headed out to explore a little of Bricktown! The restaurants and bars in Bricktown were all busy, but we headed down to the Harkins Bricktown Cinema to watch a movie. At about 2 blocks, it was an easy walk.
Another big plus for the Hampton Inn is the complimentary breakfast the next morning! If you’re a long time reader, you know I usually avoid big-brand hotels and complementary breakfast, but I really enjoyed this! Click HERE to visit the Hampton Inn Website.
We headed down Flaming Lips Alley, which runs between the ball park and the hotels, to see more of Bricktown! Our first stop was the Chickasaw Ballpark! Again, the weren’t playing during our visit, but what a nice ballpark! I love minor league games, even more than major league games a lot of the time. The parks are smaller and much more casual, usually with activities for kids, too! My son immediately spotted the big playground at the ballpark! Click HERE to visit the website of the Oklahoma City Dodgers for their schedule, and more information!
Long time readers will also know that I have an appreciation of unique bike racks, and this was a neat one outside the ballpark!
Across the street, we headed down to the canal. It was still early Sunday morning, and the weather was keeping most of the shops closed, but we enjoyed doing some sight seeing before the assured crowds would fill the vacant walk ways!
Bricktown was begun soon after the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, as a center for trade and commerce. Click HERE if you’d like to visit the Oklahoma’s Historical Society and read more about the Land Run of 1889.
Water taxis will take you up and down the canal. We didn’t get to ride in one during our stay, but it really looked fun! Click HERE to visit their website for more information, pricing, hours, etc.
A view from the bridge.
We wanted to see a little more of Bricktown, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, so we opted to ride a bike! Spokies is the city’s bike share program, and for $9 we were able to purchase a 2 day pass/person.
We’ve used the Bike Share App, BCycle, for most of the Texas city’s where it’s offered, so I already had the FREE App downloaded, but it only takes a second to download and find hubs for where to find and leave a bike.
A few things to know:
The bikes were low enough my 10 year old could ride, which isn’t always the case with bike shares.
Bike Helmets are not offered, and you wouldn’t want to wear it if it was. Bring your own. Since we were also planning to stop at a few locations that didn’t have hubs, and these bikes are expensive, I had a couple of bike locks in my backpack. It’s not often I plan ahead, and this victory was downplayed by the fact that I forgot our bike helmets. I don’t know the laws in OKC, but we weren’t stopped, not even my 10 year old.
Parking at the Museum was only $10, so we definitely spent more on the bikes than we would have if we had taken our car, but it’s such a better way to experience a city than fighting traffic in a car!
I was afraid there wouldn’t be 5 bikes at the hub when we were ready to leave the museum, but it was fine. Whew!
Click HERE to visit the Spokies website.
We picked up our bikes in Bricktown and rode to Downtown to the National Memorial Museum, passing the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Once again, we didn’t have time to do everything, but these gardens looked beautiful. Click HERE to visit their website.
Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum
The Memorial Museum recounts the events that took place before, during and after the Federal Building Bombing on April 19, 1995.
This statue, And Jesus Wept, is located across the street at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Behind the statue is a wall with 168 holes in it, each hole representing one of the lives lost in the bombing.
Outside the museum, the reflecting pool stands where there was once a street, where the truck carrying the explosives was left.
A thin layer of water sits atop black granite, creating a reflection for anyone who looks into the pool, who is said to forever be changed by the events of what happened here. At the ends of the reflecting pool stands the Gates of Time, one marked with 9:01 and the other 9:03. The explosion took place at 9:02am.
168 Empty chairs stand where the Murrah Building once stood. Each chair represents someone who lost their life that day, and their names are etched on the base. The base lights up at night, and the grounds of the memorial are open 24/7, 365 days a year. There are 19 smaller chairs representing the 19 children who were killed in the bombing.
The Survivor’s Wall list the Survivors of the Explosion. The wall is all that is left standing of the Murrah Federal Building.
A view from across the reflecting pond.
The Survivor Tree was growing outside the parking lot of the Murrah Building during the bombing. Most of it’s branches were destroyed, it was black from the fire and glass and pieces of metal were embedded in it, but it surprisingly survived and became a symbol of the survival from the blast.
Click HERE to read a heartwarming story of the Survivor Tree seeds and saplings that are collected each year.
The Outdoor Memorial is FREE and open to the public 24 hrs. a day, 365 days a year.
The Journal Record Building sat across 5th St. from the Murrah Building, and was heavily damaged during the bombing. It now houses the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The tiles in front were done by children.
A box of chalk is offered for anyone to use to write their feelings.
We did go inside and tour the museum. I was already a mess of tears before we entered, and I decided to put down my camera, be there for my kids and answer their questions. I’ll be honest, I wept a lot as I searched to answer some of the hard questions my kids asked.
I did take a few pictures that were personal to me while we were inside. One was of the children at the day care, taken just a few days before the bombing. As a church preschool teacher, this really resounded with me. Each morning before our children arrive, we pray for our day, and I’ve never really appreciated it until standing there that moment, looking at those faces.
I did have myself pulled back together enough to take a picture in the gift shop, mainly because I loved these words.
Click HERE to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum’s website.
Starving, my daughter wanted pizza, and we picked up our bikes and made the very long ride over to the Historic Deep Deuce District to Wedge Pizza! Deep Deuce is known for their jazz roots in the 1920’s, and offers restaurants, shops and bars with live music in the evenings. Click HERE for more information.
We loved the pizza at the Wedge, which is actually a wedge shaped building, and was super cute! Most of the food in the Brickyard was your typical tourist fare, and this was definitely our favorite meal!
Thank Goodness for late check out! The kids headed down to the great pool at the Hampton Inn, while we packed up and moved everything over to the Hilton Garden Inn, which is really just next door! The pool at the HGI wasn’t anywhere as family friendly as the one at the Hampton Inn, although it did have a nice hot tub. I liked that guest were able to use either pool at the hotels.
A quick picture of the fitness room at the Hampton Inn, which I never used!
The lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn. Even with a late check out we still had a few hours before we could check in at the Hilton Garden Inn, but they held our luggage so we could go back out!
We rode down to Climb Up Climbing Gym! Located in an old grain silo, it reminded us of North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center in Carrollton, and the kids and I had a great time climbing while my husband had to catch up on some work! Click HERE to visit their website for hours, prices and more!
Exhausted, we got checked into our room, and changed for dinner! It was just starting to rain as we headed down the street to Bricktown Brewery for dinner, a suggestion of the hotel. Like all the restaurants in Bricktown, it was good and fun, with tourist pricing.
After dinner, it was starting to rain harder, so we RAN the several blocks down to Hey Day Bowling, which was surprisingly crowded bowling alley on a Sunday night! I was glad we had made reservation that morning! We had a great lane, with a curtain we could pull back to separate us from the other lanes, a waiter and the automatic scoring also had a few fun games, like HORSE! The fun lights helped me channel my inner bowler and I won the game with a rockin’ 119! You know that’s pretty low, but we are just tourist bowlers! Click HERE to visit the Hey Day website, which also has food, drinks, a fire pit outside overlooking the canal and an arcade!
Monday Morning, my husband was off to his meeting, and we were set loose on Bricktown. The rain has slowed down overnight, and after the kids chose IHOP to eat, we set out for breakfast, then walked down to Bass Pro Shops, where they played some of the arcade-type games while I did a little shopping.
Finally, my 10-year-olds dreams were answered when we were able to play miniature golf at Brickopolis on the Canal! As the clouds were parting, the people were coming out and the canal was suddenly a VERY busy place! We had a great time, and the highlight was a fun little water feature on one of the holes!
Anyone that complains about Texas weather really needs to visit OKC, where the weather changed from cloudy to sunny to a chilly wind and rain all during one little putt putt game! We actually had to run inside while a little storm passed over us, taking maybe 10 minutes! Click HERE for more fun things to do at Brickopolis!
I didn’t get any pictures because of the rain, but we loved the Bricktown Candy Shop! It’s definitely not to be missed when you’re visiting!
Starving, we headed to Toby Keith’s Restaurant, I Love This Bar and Grill. It’s absolutely huge, we had fun just looking at everything and the food was good, too! Click HERE to visit their website.
Did you know Sonic first opened near OKC, and their home office in located here? They also have a HUGE, sit down restaurant in Bricktown!
Remember the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 I mentioned earlier? There is a huge bronze statue of it at the south end of the canal! The Oklahoma Land Run Monument has is a not to miss photo op! Click HERE to read more!
As we were leaving Bricktown and Oklahoma City, I wanted to take advantage of the finally blue skies and head over to the Boathouse District on the river!
At the boathouse, people were already heading out on the water! There were several sculling teams taking out boats, as well as kayakers and paddleboarders! I couldn’t believe we were leaving, even if we did all have school the next day!
They also rent kayaks and paddleboards!
The Sandridge Sky Trail is the tallest adventure course in the “world”, according to their website! It wasn’t open, and we couldn’t have stayed, but it looked like so much fun! They also have an incredible zip line that takes you ACROSS THE FREAKIN’ RIVER, and a white water experience! We will be back, but click HERE to visit their website.
More Things To Do in Oklahoma City
Our adventures were more or less confined to Bricktown, but there’s lots more to do in OKC!
The Oklahoma City Zoo has a red panda, and that’s enough for me to want to visit! Click HERE to visit their website.
The Oklahoma Science Museum has lots of fun, hands-on exhibits! Click HERE to read more!
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
Having Fun in the TEXAS Sun is on PINTEREST! Use it as a quick resource to find activities in different Texas towns! Click HERE!
© Having Fun in the Texas Sun, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Having Fun in the Texas Sun with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.