It may not be the North Pole, but there are some serious winter wonderland vibes to be found in Oklahoma City. What the Modern Frontier lacks in snow accumulation and reindeer, it more than makes up for in cozy bars, ice rinks, wintry comfort food and indoor recreation aplenty.
There’s so much to see, do and eat during the winter months in OKC that it wouldn’t even be possible to contain it to one season. But if you’ve got to narrow it down to a hit list of must-dos and must-eats over the course of a couple days, here’s a handy guide to making the most of 48 hours in OKC: winter edition.
Where to stay
There’s something so innately comfy-cozy about holing up in a former luxury mansion-turned-hotel, where each of the guest rooms are clad in bright pops of color and chic decor. Bask in the winter-friendly ambience at the Bradford House, one of the city’s most beautiful boutique properties nestled in the quaint residential neighborhoods of the northwest side. Not only are the rooms adorable and picture-perfect, but the abode is filled with snug nooks for snacking, sipping and reading. Quincy Bake Shop is the on-site bakery and cafe, doling out warm cups of coffee alongside morning buns, croissants, macarons and scones, and the bar and restaurant serve exceptional cocktails, dinner and brunch.
Get your boots on
Swing by the brand new Lucchese store in the First National Center to shop for some of the snazziest boots in town. The revered Western-wear brand, founded in San Antonio, recently made its splashy OKC debut in the downtown tower, and it’s brought a lengthy lineup of top-tier footwear along for the ride. Some of the most top of the line products on the market, men’s and women’s cowboy boots come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and patterns, along with numerous other shoes, apparel and accessories.
Enjoy some award-winning comfort food
OKC is a city that does comfort food so well, and we have awards to prove it. Such is the case at Florence’s Restaurant, a longstanding — and lauded — restaurant on the northeast side that earned Oklahoma its first James Beard award in 2022. The daytime-only restaurant is an essential stop for a decadent, hearty lunch, especially during the chillier winter months. Distinguished as “America’s Classic,” you’ll understand the hype when you tuck into heaping platters of fried chicken, oxtails, pork chops and hamburger steaks.
Geek out at a museum
With nearly 400,000-sq.-ft. of indoor space to explore and marvel at, the Science Museum Oklahoma is an idyllic winter playground for all ages. Home to a planetarium, numerous immersive galleries and a sprawling Science Floor, there are endless interactive exhibits and experiences to be had, covering topics from dinosaurs to space exploration. If the weather cooperates, peruse the expansive outdoor gardens, including the newly redesigned Japanese Garden, conceptualized by master gardeners who flew to OKC from Kyoto.
Transport to the tropics
If the weather outside is frightful, fear not: there’s a tropical escape to be had in the heart of the Paseo Arts District. Flanked by an impossible-to-miss hot-pink facade, Flamingo TIKI is a veritable oasis of island vibes, from the same hospitality masterminds behind nearby staples like FRIDA Southwest, OSO Paseo and Picasso Cafe. The bar, OKC’s newest tiki bar, boasts a deep menu of boozy libations brimming with tropical, fruity flavors, served up in fun mugs in a transportive space bedecked with hanging flamingos, lush greenery and reruns of Gilligan’s Island behind the bar.
Slurp the chill away
The winter forecast calls for flurries with a chance of broth. Prime ramen season means dinner is due at Goro Ramen, a soulful and soothing mainstay in the Paseo, where Japanese snacks, sips and noodles are at their most nourishing. Cozy up to the snug bar in the dark, cozy space, which feels like a hip watering hole out of Tokyo, and feast on fried Brussels sprouts, pork belly buns and ramen bowls in flavors like kare mazeman (thick noodles in curry sauce with chicken confit and beet-pickled ginger) and spicy miso (chicken broth with roasted garlic miso, spicy pork meatballs, and corn). Don’t finish up without trying the Japanese parfait, a sweet spectacle of matcha Swiss roll cake with sesame brittle, matcha ice cream, yuzu curd, ginger cracker, coconut quadratini and blackberries.
See live comedy
End the night on a belly laugh at OKC Improv, the city’s premier venue for comedy and improv in the Plaza District. The fun-for-all comedy club regularly hosts late-night shows, featuring comedians from all over the city, state and beyond. Shows and themes change regularly, so be sure and check the nightly schedule, but rest assured each and every outing will be hilarious, authentic and wildly original.
Rise and shine in Instagrammable style at one of OKC’s cutest and coolest coffee shops, Sincerely Coffee. This colorful Midtown cafe is an adorable place to sit down and sink into a mug of freshly roasted java, or a fun seasonal latte — espresso innovations rotate regularly, but examples might include butterscotch lattes, spiced apple chai or chocolate-rosemary cappuccinos. To snack, Sincerely also stocks cookies, scones and breakfast tacos.
Go thrifting in style
Get winter wardrobe-ready with a shopping spree in the Plaza District. The mural-clad neighborhood is as known for fashion as it is art, thanks to eccentric vintage shops like Dig It and Bad Granny’s Bazaar. Both shops are fully stocked with a dizzying array of unique accessories, clothes and housewares, from tiki mugs and cowboy hats to band tees, sequined shirts, crop tops, sunglasses and rings. Across the street, GRINMORE offers a more high-end line of vibrant streetwear and sneakers (including the most fashionable sweatpants you’ll ever see), while DNA Galleries features lots of shirts, socks and apparel inspired by OKC art and artists.
Satisfy your sweet tooth
At this point, it’s been too many minutes since your morning scone, and you’re in dire need of an immediate snack. Fortunately, Pie Junkie is just down the block in the Plaza District, beckoning your sweet tooth with the siren call of pecan, apple and pumpkin pies. The quaint cafe serves up a daily roster of whole pies and slices, in flavors both classic and beloved (e.g. apple, key lime, coconut cream) and novel (e.g. drunken turtle, Kentucky bourbon, red velvet). You can’t go wrong with any of the pies, including the Friday-exclusive whoopie pies, which also rotate flavors like cookie dough and cookies & cream.
Explore the new conservatory
No matter the temperature outside, it’ll feel like a jungle escape at Myriad Botanical Garden, which recently reopened its Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory. After a years-long closure and extensive renovation, the magical gardens have bloomed anew, with emphasis on new tropical plants along with add-ons like a reflecting pool, terraces and a two-floor waterfall feature. After you’re done, bundle back up and head south to explore the new southward expansion of Scissortail Park, linking the upper and lower sides of the sprawling downtown greenspace via the Skydance Bridge.
Catch an indie flick
As you’re heading south, keep going and make your way to Stockyards City, where Rodeo Cinema awaits. The arthouse theater, in a historic space reminiscent of an age-old Opry house, is a single-screen operation that screens unique indie films, reruns, and interactive events. In addition to buzzy new releases, like The Menu and The Banshees of Inisherin, Rodeo has a reputation for esoteric events and series, like an Indigenous film series and holiday movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and Scrooged.
Savor Latin flavors and vibes
Palo Santo is another happening hot spot that transports guests to warmer environs. It’s a sentiment true of both its decor and energy (a DJ occasionally spins tunes from a perch above the bar) and its masterful food and drinks. The eclectic food menu includes snacks like Oaxacan peanuts, okonomiyaki tots, black bean hummus and elote-style wings, while the drink list offers some of the best cocktails in town. Here, timeworn staples like an Old Fashioned and Boulevardiers share menu turf with seasonal sips and inventions like banana buttered rum and corn whiskey drinks with brown butter-washed Mexican corn whiskey and chipotle cacao bitters.
End the night on a blue note
Of the many live music venues, large and small, across OKC, one of the crown jewels is the iconic Blue Note. A longstanding entertainment fixture off the 23rd Street corridor, the jazzy bar recently reopened following renovations and rejuvenation. Now, the OKC Blue Note is back and better than ever, with nightly live music and entertainment, which runs the gamut from drag shows to burlesque.