There’s no doubt that 2021 is the year for road trips.
When you can’t fight the urge to travel anymore, hit the road and head to 1-40, the third-longest interstate in the U.S. Since Oklahoma City is centrally located at the crossroads of I-35, Route 66, I-44, and I-40, getting to and around Oklahoma City is a breeze.
Along OKC’s stretch of the interstate, you’ll discover hidden gems, outdoor adventures, and unique sights that decorate the route. No matter where your final destination is, make a stop to explore these must-see destinations that are just one mile or less off the route.
Skydance Bridge & Scissortail Park
As one of OKC’s most Instagramable spots, the Skydance Bridge soars over 1-40 and pays homage to the Oklahoma state bird, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. The bridge lights up at night for evening photo ops and its unique and modern design pairs well with the ever-growing city skyline in the background. The bridge also connects to Scissortail Park—Oklahoma City’s expansive downtown park that provides ample room to roam for the day and get some fresh air. In addition to a variety of dining options nearby at Social Capital and the all-new Omni Oklahoma City hotel, visitors can enjoy paddleboat rides on Scissortail Lake, explore the children’s play area, skate around the seasonal roller rink, and much more.
Once located on the famed Santa Monica Pier, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel was purchased on eBay in 2008 and placed on the south shore of the Oklahoma River just west of downtown. Standing 100 feet high, it offers amazing views of the skyline and OKC’s famously beautiful sunsets. Take a ride on the Wheeler Ferris Wheel then grab a local brew at Big Friendly Brewery or find a cozy outdoor space for a picnic. Don’t forget to snap a few pics in front of the giant OKC sculpture before you depart.
Home to a number of shops and restaurants specializing in all things western, Stockyards City provides a colorful view of history unique to present-day activities. Head to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse or McClintock Salon & Chophouse for a traditional cowboy meal, then explore the various authentic Western shops throughout the district. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore OKC’s Rattlesnake Museum that offers a safe viewing of a selection of rattlesnakes, venomous snakes, and lizards of Oklahoma.
During the warmer months, you can catch all the action at Riversport—a mecca for outdoor activities of all kinds. With the new additions of Surf and Ski OKC, Riversport is the first facility in the world to offer snow skiing, surfing, whitewater rafting, and a six-level ropes course all in one location in the Boathouse District.
Embellished with Art Deco architectural details, the Arts District is a mix of historic and revitalized and is home to beloved art venues of all kinds. Stroll through historic Film Row and check out OKC's newest wine pub, The Study, then take in contemporary art the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and 21c Museum Hotel. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at the Jones Assembly, or choose from one of the several locally-owned restaurants in the district, then stop by Cafe Disco for delectable macaroons.
Bricktown Entertainment District
Energy and excitement abound in Bricktown! From exploring Bricktown by water taxi to dining al fresco by the canal, there are a variety of activities to keep the whole family entertained. Stop by Bricktown Brewery for lunch or a crafted brew, shop for premier souvenirs at Painted Door, view the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world at the American Banjo Museum or head to Brickopolis for ultimate family-friendly fun.
First Americans Museum
Opening on Sept. 18 along 1-40 on the Oklahoma River, the First Americans Museum will feature top-notch contributions of the 39 First American Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today, serving as a dynamic center promoting awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and authentic history. The future-focused museum's Oklahoma City location positions it as the gateway to First American Nations to the east and west.
Since you can’t pack all of this action into one afternoon, stay a little longer in OKC and continue exploring all that the Modern Frontier offers before you depart on your next adventure. Find historic hotels and unique lodging options, or book one of the hotels located along the 1-40 route. Happy road tripping!