50 Things You Can Do in OKC for $50 (Or Less)

Oklahoma City lies in the center of the state, with two major interstates crisscrossing near its core. But Oklahoma City isn’t just a focal point geographically: it’s a place where work and leisure connect, with something for just about everybody. And most of that entertainment is easily within reach, whether you’re looking for art, culture, or cuisine. If you’ve got $50 in your pocket, there’s no end to the fun you could have for relatively cheap (or in many instances, for free.)

Starting from a central point in downtown Oklahoma City and working our way outward, here are 50 things for you to try.

At your fingertips

If you work downtown, your daily view might be that of gray office buildings. But there’s more to downtown and Bricktown than work. Whether you’ve punched the clock for lunch or the end of the day, here are some things within easy distance to eat, see and do.

The Chevy Bricktown Events Center, which has seen a number of big-name music acts come through, can add another distinction to its list this year: it’s the site of our 2017 Confluence Conference! The conference, which takes place on Sept. 14-15, will give digital marketing professionals the chance to connect with innovative speakers as well as with one another. Snacks, lunch, and lots of interesting swag will be included in the cost of the ticket. Get your tickets early and let Confluence treat you to the best Bricktown has to offer.

Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City Dodgers

Catch a show at The Criterion where, in months past, you’d see anything from alt-rockers My Morning Jacket to rapper ScHoolboy Q. Their walk-up box office makes it as easy as a five-minute trip to get tickets to your favorite upcoming show. The Criterion is within easy walking distance from restaurants and Bricktown parking, so you can have dinner and a show.

Play ball! At the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, you can enjoy an Oklahoma City Dodgers baseball game with family or friends. The 2017 season is particularly special because it marks the 20th anniversary of the first game played in downtown OKC. Whether you come for a love of the game or a love of concessions, you’ll enjoy a night under the stars – and fireworks on Fridays.

Once chilly days give way to spring, that’s your cue that the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts is almost here. Situated between the Civic Center Music Hall and City Hall, the late-April festival offers kid-friendly activities throughout the grounds, including a kids-only shopping area – essentially, a miniature Festival of the Arts for children. Hundreds of vendors, artists and performers participate in the festival each year. Whether April is here or long past, visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens, 15 lush acres that will satisfy even the greenest of thumbs. Not to mention, if you work downtown, the gardens make for a fun lunchtime picnic spot.

For an informative, yet sobering look at a defining moment in Oklahoma City’s history, visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, a must-see for visitors and resident Oklahomans alike. Take a self-guided chronological tour of the events of the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995, and the moments that changed Oklahoma City forever. In the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial, 168 chairs, brightly illuminated at night, represent the lives lost in the attack. The Museum is only open until 6 p.m. and closed on some holidays, but the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is free, and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and National Park Service Rangers are on site daily to answer questions from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Outdoor
Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

Hungry? Check out Dekora on the Bricktown Canal. They offer lunch specials on some of their sushi rolls and on Bento boxes, plus their patio seating overlooks the Bricktown canal, so it’s lunch with a view. Or you can try nebu on the ground floor of the Devon Tower, where the healthier your lunch option, the less you pay. For dessert, or for a mid-afternoon coffee, stop by Aravalli next door to nebu to try one of their rotating monthly specials or sample some gelato.

For art aficionados, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art serves as a cultural anchor, offering up film, art, and music selections for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re most interested in a particular medium or a specific art movement, the OKCMOA’s many exhibitions, along with the drop-in art and yoga events, ensure there’s something everyone in your group can enjoy. Their Museum School also offers classes and art camps for students of all ages.

For libations, and a blast to the past, look no further than FlashBack RetroPub on Film Row. There aren’t many places where you can grab a beer and play free arcade games at the same time, but with more than 60 games to choose from and 80’s music videos playing in the background, FlashBack is the perfect place to bring a group of friends – which is why it’s the designated happy hour spot for 2017’s Confluence Conference! What could be better than blowing off some steam after day one of Confluence’s informative, engaging presentations, than some rounds of your favorite arcade game?

Photo courtesy of Bleu Garten

Also on Film Row are a number of entertainment options, from the Carpenter Theater to the Individual Artists of Oklahoma gallery, to the KOSU Studio – the site of The Spy FM’s City Sessions OKC. City Sessions is an intimate, acoustic performance series much like that seen on VH1 Storytellers, where local musicians perform songs and discuss the stories and inspirations behind their songs to a room of 60 people.

The events are 21+, and each ticket will also get you complimentary beer and wine samples from Prairie Artisan Ales and Artisan Fine Wine and Spirits.

The changing of the seasons, from spring to summer and again in summer to fall, also brings perfect “patio weather.” At Bleu Garten, you can sample fare from a number of food trucks, enjoy live music or a movie, and the best part? It’s pet-friendly, so man’s best friend is welcome to come along and be part of the fun, too.


On the Plaza

On Northwest 16th Street nestled between Classen and Penn, the Plaza District is a once-blighted neighborhood that’s been revitalized over the past 20 years into a walkable area easy to browse on a weekend afternoon. Culinary delights for a range of preferences abound, as well as a handful of eclectic shops and even a historic theatre with long-standing tradition.

Photo courtesy of Goro Ramen

At Empire Slice House, you can choose by-the-slice from a revolving selection of specialty pizzas with names like the Fungus Among Us, the Brussell Westbrook, or the Figgy Stardust.

Check their website ahead of time to make sure they’ve got your slice of choice. Or, try their one-pound meatball – but be sure to bring a friend.

When the weather is gloomy and you want to warm yourself up, Goro Ramen offers a unique take on Japanese-inspired street food, noodles, and drinks. Their broth will warm you right up.

Not in the mood for ramen? How does grilled cheese sound? Well, at The Mule, it’s not your mom’s grilled cheese. The Mule offers a gourmet take on an old staple, with selections like the Macaroni Pony or the Cortez.

On the appetizers menu, you can even get a cup of tomato soup with classic grilled cheeses to dip. And yes, the croutons in the tomato soup are grilled cheese croutons.

After you’ve had your fill of dinner, step on over to Roxy’s Ice Cream Social, offering numerous delicious flavors to choose from, floats and cookie sandwiches. Their special flavors change often, so you’ll want to stop by again and again to satisfy your sweet tooth.

If ice cream’s not your dessert of choice, try Pie Junkie, where you can enjoy homemade pies made from fresh, seasonal ingredients by the slice, or you can order an entire pie – for special occasions, or just because.

For those of you looking for unique thrift store finds, check out Bad Granny’s Bazaar, home to multiple vendor booths showcasing finds from used prom dresses to handmade jewelry, and a back room with rows upon rows of vinyl records. At the opposite end of the Plaza (near The Mule and Goro) is Tree and Leaf, just one of a few shops in the Plaza boasting uniquely Oklahoman apparel and accessories.

Photo courtesy of the Plaza District Association

For your entertainment, attend a show at the historic Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma’s leading professional theatre company. Past productions include classics like The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, and, of course, Oklahoma!

Lyric Theatre even offers inclusive performances, most recently a sensory-friendly performance of “James and the Giant Peach.” Bring a date, or bring the family, and enjoy a night at the theatre (and conveniently close dining before or afterward).

All of these delights convene once a month on second Fridays with Live on the Plaza, which revolves around a different theme each month and offers a chance for families and even pets to get out and enjoy fun, family-friendly events. From face painting and food trucks, to artist booths set up along the sidewalks and unique events at each retailer, everyone can find something to enjoy at a Live on the Plaza event.

In September, the annual Plaza Festival is the best of the Plaza District, but in a day-long Saturday event with even more vendors, sponsors and food trucks than Live on the Plaza.

There are also opportunities to volunteer at each event.

Uptown 23rd

The 23rd Street corridor has experienced explosive revitalization in just a short time, with multiple venues, bars and restaurants opening in recent months and years. Whether you live in the area, or you’re simply passing through, make it a point to stop and check out what the Uptown area has now to offer.

Photo courtesy of Bunker Club

If you’re looking for your new favorite watering hole, give Bunker Club a visit. It’s a newcomer to 23rd Street, owned and operated by Ian and Hailey McDermid (who also brought us The Pump, one of the best patios in the area to post up on sunny days or on Monday nights, to sing karaoke under the stars.)Boasting a retro 1950s theme inspired by the Cold War era, Bunker Club also hosts Tuesday karaoke and is a nice smoke-free place to wind down.

Or you could try the recently remodeled Savings and Loan nearby, to hang out after a show at the Tower Theatre. Ask about their often-changing drink specials, which consistently raise the bar (pun intended).

You might have noticed that the Tower Theatre, once shuttered and dark, is now brightly lit at night and has been coaxed back to life. Now under new management (one of whom is local rapper Jabee Williams) the Tower has lined up a number of local shows that you can read more about and buy tickets for here.

If you’re looking for food, not just libations, visit Chae for a modern take on Korean cuisine. They offer a different daily special during the week on some of their most popular menu items.

Photo courtesy of The Drake

Got a date with someone you think is quite the “catch”? Make your reservations at The Drake, where you can dine on seafood fare like grilled sea scallops, fresh oysters, or a slew of phenomenal specials like the shrimp and andouille pasta pictured here.

Not a seafood fan? Try one of their “land and air” offerings like steak or a burger instead.

There’s also Pizzeria Gusto, which has a $10 pizza and half-salad special, or if you’re up to it, you can try the chef’s special. Whichever slice entices you, they’ll make it to order.

Need someplace quiet to study? Look no further than Urban Teahouse, offering more than 100 different loose leaf teas in a variety of flavors for you to enjoy. Cozy up with a book or your homework, and have a tea on their secret patio.

If you’d like to brush up on your history, stop by the Oklahoma History Center, located near the Capitol. The OHC has 2,000 artifacts in exhibits that reflect Oklahoma’s history for you to explore and take part in. It’s a little taste of the Smithsonian (they’re a Smithsonian affiliate) right here in OKC.

A little farther …

On almost any given night, you’re bound to find something for the whole gang at the 51st Street Speakeasy. Order something from their menu (you can never go wrong with the chicken quesadilla) and catch your favorite sports team on TV, or shoot some pool upstairs. On Tuesdays, you can test your skills and compete for cash prizes at team trivia; every other Wednesday, tickle your funny bone at the Divine Comedy showcase. On the weekends, the Speakeasy hosts a variety of local bands – usually with no cover charge.

At the Speakeasy’s 90s and 2000s dance party, going strong one Saturday a month for more than a year, you could easily hear Britney Spears, the Killers and Kanye West all in the span of five minutes. All the songs you knew and loved (let’s be honest, still love) from childhood to now are fair game. Each dance party draws enormous crowds of people, all clad in colorful glowsticks that illuminate the dance floor. Show up early for pre-party music and to beat the drink lines, remember to wear comfy shoes and stay hydrated, sing along if you know the words (you know you do), and most importantly – have fun!

For the vinyl lovers among us, satiate your appetite by hitting Guestroom Records, where you can sift through thousands of records, cassettes and CDs by artists from ABBA to Zappa, and everything in between. There’s even shelf space dedicated to local artists, as well as some other rare finds. You might dedicate a few moments to the marked-down records in the front corner – you never know what vintage treasures you might uncover.

After you’ve snagged your favorite finds at Guestroom, check out the nearby Paseo District. Their 1st Friday Gallery Walk, which takes place rain or shine, gives you a chance to admire work from more than 80 artists in more than 25 businesses (many of which offer snacks while you browse). Many of the Spanish Mission-style buildings also have patios for you to enjoy the weather as it permits.

Fitness enthusiasts can spin their wheels at CycleBar, a cycling center located in Classen Curve. Not sure if spin is for you? First-time visitors can attend a free introductory 30-minute session. After attending that first session, your next ride will be free, too. They offer a variety of classes, from a Throwback Thursday class with fun tunes from years past to a Brunch class with mimosas served afterward.

Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City Zoo

If you visit and fall in love, CycleBar offers multiple different ride packages to choose from – or if you prefer to drop in, the price for one class is only $20. No shoes or prior experience necessary, but for the more popular class times, you might want to reserve your bike ahead of time.

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Scope out and learn about your favorite animals at the OKC Zoo, from apes to zebras. Visit the petting zoo for a hands-on experience, and at certain times of the day, you can even feed the giraffes or stingrays. Throughout the year, the Zoo has some free admission days, so keep an eye on their website and social media to plan ahead. Regular adult admission is only $8 each and they’re open most days of the year, but if you’re a zoo regular, becoming a ZOOFriend will set you back a little more than $50, but also get you unlimited visits for a year.

Next stop on your educational adventure: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, just on the opposite side of I-44 from the Zoo. The museum’s exhibits give a glimpse into the American West and into Native American culture and history. Upcoming exhibits include a celebration of the works of Oklahoman artist Jerome Tiger, and “We the People: A Portrait of Early Oklahoma,” a selection of Henry Wantland’s photos taken over the two decades after his family’s arrival in Oklahoma Territory in 1892.

Fore! At TopGolf in north Oklahoma City, you can try your hand at golfing with a twist. Bring some friends and enjoy snacks and drinks in the climate-controlled bays. Before 6 p.m., it’s only $20 per bay, per hour. In their “signature” game, your putt game doesn’t matter – you simply try to hit the ball into any target, whether that means driving the ball into one of the holes near the rear fence, or the holes closest to the bay area. At night, the holes light up, making it a colorful, fun way to spend an evening. Just beware; you may be a little achy the next morning.

A hop, skip and jump (to the south)

Crimson and cream may fly in Norman year-round, but there’s more to Norman than football. If you’ve got the time and inclination to drive south on I-35, this busy college town offers art, music, food and community – most of it easily walkable along downtown Main Street.

For starters, there’s 2nd Fridays, where you can walk Main Street and check out all that downtown Norman has to offer. Almost every business along the way holds special art showcases or other events during 2nd Fridays.

Stop for a drink at the Red Brick Bar and put your vocal chops on display at karaoke night, offered every Friday.

If 2nd Fridays are a little too busy for your taste, McNellie’s hosts events throughout the week, like Vinyl Thursdays and $4 Burger Night on Wednesdays that are worth your while, too.

STASH is your one-stop shop if you’re looking for unique, locally made stationery, candles, decorations, jewelry, or more. The back room is a comfortable space for live music on 2nd Fridays, and a display room for local vendors to set up space and showcase their wares, from rare vinyl finds to delicate, colorful plants grown in the countryside east of Norman.

Norman Music Festival 9 (2016) Photo by Stephen Tyler

It would be remiss not to mention the event that brings thousands from all over the Oklahoma City metro to town: Norman Music Festival. 2017 is the three-day festival’s 10th year, and rockers Thee Oh Sees will be headlining, along with hundreds of Oklahoman bands in venues all along Main Street and nearby.

In years past the festival has seen headliners like the Dirty Projectors, Of Montreal, and the Walkmen, to name just a few. Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of musical acts to see? Don’t be, they’ve got a handy smartphone app to help you plan out your schedule.

If one Friday of fun a month isn’t enough to satisfy you, whet your appetite for fun and food at Food Truck Fridays, which take place from 11 a.m. to sundown. If you’re stuck at the office on Fridays, check out its sister event, Sunday Funday Fest.

Both events, which are family- and dog-friendly, take place in the lot directly east of STASH, soon to be known as “The Hive.”

The brainchild of photographer Dylan Johnson, the events are meant to spotlight local talent: musical, artistic, and culinary, and encourage residents to support community-based businesses.

For you night owls out there, check out Hurts Donut, which boasts they’re open “25/7”, meaning you can get your donut fix even when the craving strikes at 3 a.m. Grab one of their delectable donuts topped with candy or cereal, or whichever catches your eye, at any hour of the morning or night. They give away a free dozen regularly on social media, so keep your eye on their Facebook – because possibly the only thing tastier than a donut is a free dozen of them.

Scratch your post-Norman Music Festival music fix at Opolis, which hosts an eclectic lineup of everything from on-the-rise local bands and national acts like Car Seat Headrest, to a talk-show format comedy show. They also host karaoke nights, but blink and you’ll miss them – watch their website or their Facebook to keep up-to-date on karaoke and shows. They’ve also recently rolled out a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu. Come early for the food, but stay for the show.

Finally, entertain your curiosities about the “land before time” at the Sam Noble Museum, dubbed the “Dinosaur Museum” by locals. It’s more than 50,000 square feet of space dedicated to natural history exhibits, with more than 10 million specimens and artifacts. OU students and alumni association members get in free, as do active duty military and veterans. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, active duty military and veterans’ families get free admission, too. For those budding history buffs in your family, children 17 and under get free admission on the first Monday of each month.


Didn’t see your favorite Oklahoma City place or event on this list? It’s possible – there are so many great things to eat, do, and see in Oklahoma City that we couldn’t possibly include them all.

No matter where you turn, there are plenty of things to satisfy you – and Oklahoma City is still growing – so get out there and explore! You just might find some new favorites.