We bundled up (early spring is still chilly in most parts of the United States) and headed to Oklahoma, the Sooner State, no preconceived notions or even an inkling of a plan!
This, after spending a few days in the festal city of Dallas, TX, and promptly deciding to extend our stay in the southern part of the country.
Here’s a weekend guide, and your little helper, to Oklahoma:
Tulsa’s Blue Dome District
The streets of downtown Tulsa, a city situated on the Arkansas River, was a symphonic harmony of sights and sounds – spectrum of graffiti adorning the walls, quirky but bold designs of art-deco architecture, and a melange of aromas that hung in the air.
We parked at one end of the Blue Dome entertainment district, prominently based near the all-American Route 66, and began our long walk alongside the fine bars and artsy stores. Lunch was had in the city’s only rooftop restaurant, El Guapo’s Cantina, where the dreamy margaritas and the black bean tacos sent our senses into a tizzy.
Love the Sound of your Voice?
We spoke to some people at a local bookstore in the Brady Arts District of Tulsa, and they told us about this interesting little, mysterious spot, the so-called “Center of the Universe”. Here, when you’re delicately balanced at a particular point on the concentric circles on the ground, voices are echoed louder than they were originally made. Unabashedly, we amused ourselves silly!
A Peek into the Wild West – OKC’s Stockyards City
A 100-odd miles southwest of Tulsa is Oklahoma City, OKC, the capital city of the state, arriving at which we headed straight to the historic Stockyards City – “Where the West still lives!”
Started out as a public livestock market in the 1900s, Stockyards became the largest stocker and feeder cattle market in the world. Gradually, the community grew and it transformed into a business district, “Packingtown”, with a range of goods and services. Even today, the architecture and western-ness of this area has been preserved as a tribute to the great American culture.
We catapulted into an alternate reality what with all the rows of eye-popping western gear (read hours spent ogling at intricately-designed, to-die-for, cowboy boots!), along Main Street.
Oklahoma City National Memorial
April 19, 1995. A day marred in the history of Oklahoma, and the United States.
The memorial honors the victims and survivors of the bombing that affected men and women, and innocent children.
We took a languorous walk through the museum, visiting the ‘Gates of Time’, the outdoor pool, which is believed to be a reflection of “someone changed forever by what happened”, and the ‘Field of Chairs’ that represented each of the 168 individuals who lost their lives in this event.
There was a certain stillness in our hearts as we listened to the details of this dreadful, unimaginably gruesome, act of terror.
Howdy! Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Not known to many, OKC is also home to this gem of a museum. The dramatic tales of the people and the places of America’s West has been an inspiration all over the world. It was indeed a brief but mellifluous experience for us.
After a quick scan of the exhibits, we recalled a few words from Arthur Chapman’s poem:
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,
That’s where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins.
Streets of Guthrie
As the sun angled through the trees, we found ourselves headed to a city not far from OKC called Guthrie, that found its place in history as Oklahoma’s first capital. We wandered past vintage book stores, prolific music shops, quiet B&Bs, and cafes, only to find the avenues dotted with more inordinately beautiful Victorian pieces of architecture.
- A lot of retail stores and restaurants close early or remain closed in Oklahoma over the weekends. It is advisable to check their timings before you plan to visit.
- If you’re looking for western wear/cowboy boots (Langston’s) or the rodeo (Rodeo Opry), OKC’s Stockyards City is your destination, y’all.
- Many of the museums and activities around the state are discounted on Groupon.