Accolades for Oklahoma City
We're not the only ones who see OKC for its undeniable appeal and massive potential.
General Manager of the Year - Matt Cowden of The Ellison Hotel
Marriott International – November 2022
Matt Cowden, General Manager of The Ellison Hotel, has been honored as General Manager of the Year by Marriott International at the Autograph Collection/Tribute Portfolio Hotels conference. Cowden and The Ellison were crowned victorious over 53 other Tribute Portfolio hotels across the nation after the OKC hotel lead all 54 locations in staff service, hotel cleanliness and food & beverage, based on guest survey responses.
Great American Beer Festival – October 2022
OKC's Big Friendly was named the nation's best brewery in the 251–500-barrel category at the Great American Beer Festival. The Big Friendly also took home a gold medal in the Session Beer or Belgian-Style Table Beer category for their craft, Oblique and Bent, and a silver medal in the Specialty Saison category for their beer, Textured Fabric. Located in the Wheeler District, The Big Friendly has been serving Oklahomans high-quality craft beer since 2015.
USA Today 10best –September 2022
Pumpkinville began in the Myriad Botanical Gardens' Children's Garden in October 2012 with only 3,000 pumpkins. Since then, Pumpkinville has grown exponentially. There are 40,000 pumpkins and almost 30,000 people who attend the festival each year. Today, it's the biggest annual event at the Gardens and a favorite fall tradition for locals and visitors. Pumpkinville was voted best Pumpkin Patch by a panel of experts who partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees. The top 10 winners were then determined by popular vote over four weeks.
CNN Travel – September 2022
For many years, Oklahoma has been a state that people fly over or drive straight through. But in 2022, OKC was named one of the USA’s most underrated destinations. OKC has been turning heads and shattering expectations with its surprisingly rich and varied food scene and attractions like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and Riversport OKC, which offers whitewater rafting, tubing, ziplines and sky trails in the city center.
50 Best New Restaurants 2022 – Ma Der Lao
Bon Appetit – September 2022
The new restaurants on this list are stepping into the next chapter in the culinary world. After years spent cooking Japanese food around Oklahoma City, Chef Jeff Chanchaleune has turned his considerable talents to the Lao food he grew up eating.
Top Western Museums 2022 - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
True West Magazine - September 2022
True West looked at the best exhibits and museums representing the history of the west across the country. OKC’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum, located in Oklahoma City, collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West.
National Phoenix Award - First Americans Museum
EPA Brownfields National Conference – August 2022
The First Americans Museum received two awards during the Phoenix Awards Ceremony at the EPA Brownfields National Conference. The Phoenix Awards recognize organizations and individuals who have contributed to the progression of the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program to help clean up development sites from hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
Clever – August 2022
For this study, Clever measured the amount of BBQ restaurants per capita, average Yelp rating, major BBQ events, the average distance between each BBQ spot and multiple other data-driven factors. These qualifications lead Clever to slate OKC as the eighth best city for BBQ in the country.
10 Best Immersive Art Experiences – Factory Obscura
USA Today 10best – August 2022
Factory Obscura crafts immersive experiences made to “awaken wonder, build community and make the world better.” The 6,000-square-foot space houses rotating installations. Mix-Tape, a one-of-a-kind experience, took nearly a year to design and install by a team of some 30 artists. These experiences were voted on by USA Today readers.
20 Best State Fairs Around the US – Oklahoma State Fair
Wide Open Country – August 2022
Nearly one million people come out to attend the annual state fair taking place in Oklahoma’s capital every September. The horse shows, rodeos and memorable music acts provide attendees with an unforgettable experience. The Oklahoma State Fair ranks among the top 20 best state fairs around the U.S.
USA Today 10best – July 2021 & 2022
Urban art gives insight into a city's culture and personality, OKC was deemed “Best City for Street Art” two years in a row by a panel of experts who partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees. The top 10 winners were then determined by popular vote over four weeks. Oklahoma City might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about street art, but OKC has become a veritable outdoor gallery. Start your explorations in the Plaza District before continuing to the Western Avenue corridor and Bricktown.
11 Best New Independent Restaurants – Ma Der Lao
FSR Magazine – July 2022
The restaurants on this list represent the best of what independents have to offer. James Beard semifinalist Jeff Chanchaleune has been cooking delicious, multicultural food in Oklahoma City for over 20 years. When COVID shut down much of the hospitality industry, Chanchaleune felt a tug to create a restaurant that honored his Lao heritage.
Reader’s Digest – March 2020
Reader’s Digest’s Best American Cities for Live Music looks at the quality and quantity of live music venues in municipalities across the nation. There are a lot more opportunities to see great live music in OKC these days. OKC has transformed into a multi-genre city where everything from jazz to hip-hop can be found daily.
Top 100 US Restaurants- Café Kacao
Yelp – March 2022
Yelp ranked the number of votes each restaurant received, ratings, reviews and geographical representation to determine its top 100 restaurants. Among the top 100 was Cafe Kacao. Founded in 2010, Café Kacao serves an eclectic menu of Guatemalan breakfast and brunch items, with influences from Central and South America. Its generous portions and homecooked meals have made a reputation for this family-run business, not to mention the amazing flavors it brings to the table.
America’s Classics Winners – Florence’s
James Beard Foundation – February 2022
The America's Classics Award is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community. In 2022, Florence’s was one of six restaurants across the country to receive the award. Three OKC chefs have earned solo nominations on the foundation’s previous two semifinalist listings. Chefs Andrew Black and Zach Hutton of OKC have earned spots on the award’s 2022 semifinalist list. The list’s previous iteration included Oklahoma City’s Jeff Chanchaleune.
Tourism Sentiment Index - 2022
To name the most loved travel destinations around the world, the Tourism Sentiment Index completed an intensive study of Tourism Sentiment Index data, aggregating information from 1.6 billion sources across the world about 21,330 global destinations. In 2021, among the top 100 was Oklahoma City.
Travel & Leisure – December 2019
In 2019, Oklahoma City was named one of the 50 best places to travel by Travel & Leisure. They agree that Oklahoma City is “red-hot” and a must-visit vacation destination because OKC is officially hitting its stride as an arts and culture destination.
America’s Best New Restaurants - Nonesuch
Bon Appetit – 2018
What sets these 10 restaurants apart from the countless other openings is the ability to take a timeless concept and turn it on its head. The food at Nonesuch looks beautiful, artistic and progressive, the kind of dishes you might find in Copenhagen, Tokyo or New York.