Recently named one of the 50 Best Places to Travel in 2020 by Travel + Leisure, Oklahoma City is booming with culture, cuisine, attractions and amenities. There are countless ways to experience all that OKC has to offer in 2020 but here are 20 must-do's at the top of the list:
1. Warhol and the West
Kicking off the new year will be a first for OKC and the world, with pop art pioneer Andy Warhol’s love of the American West on display at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The collection of Warhol’s imagery concerning the West considers his treatment of cowboys, Native Americans, and Western motifs.
2. PBR’s Unleash the Beast
January 31 – February 1
3. Come From Away
February 4 – 9
The New York Times Critic’s Pick Broadway performance comes to OKC! A fan favorite around the country, this musical with punch and a heart tells the story of a Newfoundland town that welcomed stranded travelers in the wake of 9/11.
4. Oklahoma Contemporary
In March 2020, the beautiful new home of Oklahoma City’s community arts center will open at their Automobile Alley campus. The 54,000-square-foot building will include a main gallery, classrooms, studios, event space, outdoor installations and a café. Thanks to the generosity of donors, admission to the exhibit is free.
5. POP Power from Warhol to Koons
Yes, OKC gets two Warhol exhibits in 2020! POP Power from Warhol to Koons: Masterworks from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation will be displayed at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. This exhibit features more than 100 works on paper and sculptures by the biggest names in Pop Art, outlining the incredible transformation of the visual arts in the last half-century.
6. Oklahoma City National Memorial
Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Murrah Bombing, so the Oklahoma City National Memorial is expecting even more visitors than usual around the April 19 commemoration. Several events are planned leading up to the date, including a uniform debut with the OKC Thunder, so it’s a good time for a reminder that the Memorial was designed to be seen at night, too, and it’s stunning after sundown.
7. Festival of the Arts
April 21 – 26
One of the state’s largest arts festivals is located on the grounds of Bicentennial Park just outside the Civic Center every spring. More than one hundred artists from OKC and around the country join hundreds of performers and 750,000 visitors for a massive exhibition, art sale, outdoor concert and food truck party!
8. OKC Memorial Marathon
This will be the 20th anniversary of the Memorial Marathon and the Run to Remember theme. This year’s course will be the final version of the new course that includes Scissortail Park. And it being an anniversary year, the race will likely feature more than 25,000 runners.
9. Liichokoshkomo’ at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
The name is a Chickasaw phrase meaning “Let’s play,” and it refers to a new outdoor, hands-on learning and play place at the museum. The interactive day will include traditional games, learning about different cultures, creating art, hearing storytellers, and cooking out under the stars.
10. Paseo Arts Festival
Smaller than the Festival of the Arts but no less important to the OKC arts scene, this three-day festival includes nearly 100 artists, dozens of musical performers and food booths galore. Hosted in the city’s historic Paseo Arts District, this one features tons of local artists as well as regional and national artists in a juried exhibit and sale for the 65,000+ attendees.
11. NCAA Women’s College World Series
May 28 – June 2 (or 3 if necessary)
We love our Thunder here in OKC, but the WCWS is one of the premier sporting events in the world, featuring eight of the nation’s best teams in a double-elimination tournament to determine the national champs! (Our own Oklahoma Sooners have 12 appearances and 4 championships.) The growing popularity of the event has forced promoters to expand ASA Hall of Fame Stadium three times in 15 years, so it now has a capacity of 7,300 fans.
12. deadCenter Film Festival
This will be the 20th anniversary of the state’s largest film festival—there were more than 35,000 attendees in 2019. From local filmmakers to A-list celebrities, directors and film professionals, premieres, artist talks, technology demos and educational opportunities, deadCenter brings moviemaking magic, business, and science to downtown OKC.
13. Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival
This is without question the premier Native American arts and culture show in the country. The tribes parade through downtown in full regalia, and the event itself features elite dancers from all over the U.S. Native American art is on display, most of it for sale, in many genres: painting, sculpture, pottery, beadwork, jewelry, etc.
14. Pride Week
A series of events all over OKC usually culminates with a massive street party featuring music, dancing, food trucks and adult beverages. The Pride Parade winds through town the next day, with parts of the festive outdoor party moving along the old Route 66.
15. Oklahoma Regatta Festival
More than 1,000 rowers from around the country will be in the beautiful Boathouse District for three days of competition, including super sprints under the lights at night along the Oklahoma River. If spectating isn’t your thing, the Riversport Adventures will be home to a festival that includes food trucks, a beer garden and activities for all ages.
16. Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show
State Fair Park becomes a small town when more than 5,000 Morgan Horse enthusiasts from across the country gather for a week of competition in dozens of categories including reining, dressage, and jumping.
17. Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show
Thousands of quarter horse enthusiasts from around the world gather to compete at this event every year, featuring the world’s best in English, western and halter. All participants have been through a gauntlet of qualifying rounds, which means the world’s best compete in OKC for the championships.
18. Oklahoma City Convention Center
No official date has been announced, but we’re expecting the more than 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall and ancillary spaces to open late in 2020. The 45,000-square-feet of meeting space means OKC will be able to attract even larger groups to the city, and the location adjacent to the new Omni Hotel and across the street from Scissortail Park positions the center to be a hub in downtown’s entertainment options.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder
There are multiple opportunities to see our beloved Thunder play throughout 2020 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The team is in transition, having recently said goodbye to the last of our own Big Three when Russell Westbrook left for the Houston Rockets. Still, the new team is younger, feistier and perhaps even more fun to watch.
20. Stay in a covered wagon or teepee
Enjoy an unforgettable, American West glamping experience at the Orr Family Farm. Guests can choose to stay in an authentic Conestoga wagon or teepee and explore more than 50 acres of family fun, adventure and relaxation on the farm—without ever leaving OKC. Lodging is open year-round with temperature control options available.