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Positive Things to Do in OKC During the Pandemic

Schools closed, restaurant dine-in banned, most sports events and concerts cancelled…what is there to do during this pandemic season in OKC? While this may be shaping up to be the strangest Spring Break Oklahoma has ever seen, you can still enjoy and support OKC. So take a moment, turn off the news or your social media feed with the latest COVID-19 update, and check out these ways to make the most of your time at home.

Support local restaurants!

burger and fries from the FIxx in Edmond available for takeout
Many OKC restaurants have delivery or takeout options, including the Fixx in Edmond where you can get this incredible burger. Support local!

While it may not be possible to dine-in at your favorite restaurant right now, many places are offering delivery or pick-up services. It’s so important right now that we support local businesses that won’t be able to make it otherwise in these circumstances.

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Talimena National Scenic Byway: Tips for Your Trip

winding road up a hill framed by trees in color (Talimena National Scenic Byway)
The Talimena National Scenic Byway

I don’t know how I lived so much of my life in Oklahoma without ever hearing about the Talimena National Scenic Byway, but that is unfortunate.  The 54-mile parkway that stretches from Talihina, OK to Mena, Arkansas and the somewhat-adjacent 192-mile hiking trail are gorgeous and especially popular in the fall when the leaf colors start changing.

Unfortunately, as Talihina is about 3 hours from OKC, it does not make for an easy day trip, though it’s certainly not impossible. My friends and I decided to do a long weekend there: driving down on a Friday and having a relaxing night in, doing a day of hiking and scenic driving on Saturday, and then heading home after breakfast on Sunday.

Here are the tips and tricks we learned from our amazing weekend there!

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Prix de West: An Artistic Peek into Life in the Wild West

the opening hallway to the art gallery of the Prix de West

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has long been one of my absolute favorite art museums in Oklahoma. I especially look forward every year to the Prix de West.

The Prix de West is a prestigious nationwide Western art competition hosted annually by the Museum and it involves more than 300 pieces of art. At the beginning of the summer, the competition is held and winners determined. Then the art is displayed in a special exhibit for the rest of the summer.

From life-size portraits of animals to sweeping scenery, this masterful artwork transports you to different times in history and tells the story of people and their lives in the Wild West.

If you haven’t had a chance to go yet, August 11, 2019 is the last day to see this year’s competitors! But the Purchase Award winner will join a permanent Prix de West exhibit in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

This year’s art did not disappoint. So I thought I’d share some of my favorites from this stunning exhibit. The great thing about visiting a competition like this annually is that you get to know the artists and see how their work develops over the years!

Big disclaimer: my photos don’t do this art justice! Please go visit yourself to get the full effect!

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The Inside Scoop on Ice Cream in OKC!

the gelato case displaying 7-8 of their 24 options at Il Dolce in Norman
Gelato at Il Dolce in Norman

From ice cream and gelato to Thai rolled ice cream and Italian ice, OKC has a wide array of fantastic frozen treats! It’s National Ice Cream Month, so what better time to explore all of these delicious cold and creamy options? Though, to be honest, I can eat ice cream all year round!

Support local businesses and cool off with this list of 7 different kinds of icy sweets! You’ll even find tasty dairy-free and healthier choices! Plus, learn about local events going on to celebrate the month!

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American Banjo Museum: Foot Tappin’ Fun for All!

an exhibit hall full of exquisite banjos
These beautiful instruments at the American Banjo Museum in OKC are part of the world’s largest collection of banjos on public display.

“Pickin’ and grinnin’” is a phrase often associated with banjo playing. I have to admit that my experiences with the American Banjo Museum have only left me smiling!

I had wanted to visit the Banjo Museum in OKC’s Bricktown for a while before I finally got a chance. The Museum admission is already quite cheap ($8 for adults). But it is free at their Christmastime event to those who bring a toy for the Red Andrews dinner. This meal is served to the underprivileged here in OKC on Christmas day.

That’s a win-win, if you ask me: free admission to a fun museum and a chance to help others!

The holidays tend to be crazy with everything piled up on the few weekends in December before Christmas. I convinced my friend to go with me on one such chaotic weekend, because I had wanted to go for such a long time.  I have to admit that we were pretty tired on the drive there. So I was really hoping it would be worth it.

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RIVERSPORT: OKC’s Top-Notch Adventure Park

six rafters plus a guide go whitewater rafting in the course at RIVERSPORT Adventures in OKC
Photo Provided by RIVERSPORT Adventures OKC

It’s the middle of another hot Oklahoma summer. What better time to get into the water? In OKC’s Boathouse District, we’ve got Olympic training-quality water sports, alongside amazing ways to get in the water or climb to the sky for the whole family at RIVERSPORT Adventures OKC.  Plus, read on to learn about how to celebrate the 4th of July in style right there in the heart of OKC!

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The Best Middle Eastern Food in OKC: Sharing My Heritage

bechamel covered eggplant dish mussaka served with yellow rice and a cucumber/tomato salad at Couscous in OKC
Mussaka at CousCous Cafe’ in OKC

Because of my own Middle Eastern heritage, I tend to be very picky about Middle Eastern food.  I once asked a Korean friend where the best Korean restaurant was in OKC. She responded, “my house.” 

I get it.  It’s difficult to find a restaurant that makes your culture’s food as well as your mother/aunt/grandmother did. Plus there’s the added pressure that you want the restaurant to represent your culture well to those who don’t share your background and haven’t tried the food before.

That being said, I have found some great dishes in the restaurants of Oklahoma City that remind me of my family’s food. So here are some of my favorite places for particular Middle Eastern foods in OKC.

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Oklahoma Day Trip: “Little Italy” and Robber’s Cave

Lush greenery around a creek at Robber's Cave State Park, Oklahoma
The beauty of nature at Robber’s Cave State Park

I’ve been blessed to travel many places, but it’s only in the last few years I’ve gotten more of an opportunity to explore my own backyard – Oklahoma beyond the OKC metro. I had no idea there were so many cool places nearby!  If you have a free day, you should definitely take an excursion to some of Oklahoma’s gems.

When I travel, I like to combine good food with fun exercise, whether that’s pounding the city sidewalks or traversing the great outdoors.  With that in mind, once I decided to visit the “Little Italy” of Oklahoma, I wanted to also explore the nearby Robbers Cave.  

Quick Facts:

Distance from OKC: just over 2 hours

Location: Southeast Oklahoma (in Pittsburg County)

Handcrafted Italian cheese and sausage, beautiful scenery, and a peek into Oklahoma’s past are all part of this fantastic day trip experience in Oklahoma! This area would definitely be a great long weekend location, as well!

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Exploring OKC’s 90+ Miles of Trails

winding trail through forested area (Spring Creek Trail)
Spring Creek Trail, Edmond, OK

Did you know there are over 90 miles of trails in OKC? It’s part of Oklahoma City’s initiative to get people outside into a healthier lifestyle.

With the Memorial Marathon this weekend and the weather warming up, I thought this was a great time to give you a guide to some of the these trails! Whether you’re training for a marathon, enjoy biking, like exploring nature, or want a safe place to walk at night, there’s a trail for you here in OKC! I’ll even recommend a great park for walking your dog!

We’d be here all day if I described every OKC trail. So I’m just going to give you the lowdown on my personal favorites.

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5 Amazing Ways to Celebrate Easter 2019 in OKC!

Easter cross with "He Is Risen" on it near purple flowers

Easter Week or Holy Week (as it’s known in the Church) is my favorite week of the year.  As a Christian, I relish the time to take a step back from the chaos of life and remember what Jesus did for me, culminating with the celebration of His resurrection on Easter Day. Plus it’s a beautiful time of the year to see the world come back to life after winter!

Whether you are a Christian or not, here are 5 amazing ways you can celebrate Easter this year in OKC! In the order that these events are happening, the first one is with…

1. Engaging Easter Music: Saviour Production

Crossings Community Church's Saviour oratorio logo "Saviour: The Story of God's Passion for His People"
Crossings Community Church’s Saviour oratorio takes place this Sunday, Apr. 14 in OKC.
Logo Provided by Crossings Community Church, OKC.

Incorporating more than 150 voices, a 50-piece orchestra, and 18 dancers, Crossings Community Church’s production Saviour will tell the story of the Bible from beginning to finish in the format of a modern-day oratorio.

An oratorio is a large-scale work that expresses a text, usually Biblical, using vocal and instrumental music. The most famous oratorio is likely Handel’s Messiah. (Think Hallelujah Chorus!) This oratorio at Crossings will have a contemporary musical twist within the classical format.

Saviour will feature Oklahoman Christian recording artist and 5-time Grammy winner Sandi Patty and guest artists Veritas. The five-voice-strong male group Veritas‘ versatile background in opera, musical theater, rock and gospel has given them the opportunity to sing in places like the prestigious Carnegie Hall in NYC to cruise ships in the Caribbean.

Joining them will be dancers from Ad Deum Dance Company of Houston, Texas and Arrows International of Oklahoma, alongside Crossings’ very own choir and orchestra.

This impressive performance is already sold out for its Saturday performance on Apr. 13. So get your tickets soon for the Palm Sunday, Apr. 14 performance at 6PM! 

(Tickets are free, but you do need them to reserve your seat.)

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