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Only in OKC – Bricktown

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Oklahoma City has several unique areas that are great to visit, and one of these is Bricktown, the downtown area that the city has spent the past five years building up.  I remember a time when there wasn’t much to do in downtown Oklahoma City other than visiting the Civic Center for performances or walking around the Myriad Gardens.  Now, Bricktown has become a major hub in the city.

It all started with the building of the Bricktown Ballpark.  The ballpark is one of the major draws to the area, and it’s been rated one of the nicest minor league stadiums in the country.  Mickey Mantle Stadium, as it is properly called, lights up the area regularly with baseball games and other events.

Not far from the ballpark is Harkins Theater.  This new movie theater brings hundreds of movie fans down to Bricktown on the weekends.  It features a Cine-Capri theater, a huge widescreen that is the biggest movie screen in the state.  As a movie buff, I can definitely say that Harkins is one of the best theaters in OKC.  Pricing isn’t too outrageous, and there are almost always seats available in the large theaters.  The seats are pretty comfortable and feature lift-up arm rests and cup holders.  If you love going to the movies, I recommend picking up the Harkins movie cup and t-shirt.  The cup gives you free refills for a year, and the t-shirt snags you free popcorn if you wear it.  They easily pay for themselves in four or five visits!

Another great draw to the area is the Bricktown canal.  While it’s not quite as impressive as the river walk in San Antonio, Texas, it has turned into a nice little place to walk or sit and enjoy the day.  The canal winds its way through Bricktown, goes past Harkins, and ends near the river.  It’s closed and mostly drained during the winter months, of course, but starting around April, it comes alive again.

During these nicer months, visitors to Bricktown can take a ride on the canal and learn a bit about the area.  The open boats that go up and down the canal are piloted by tour guides who tell their passengers all about the history of Oklahoma City.  It’s a really fun ride, and I encourage visitors to Bricktown to pay the small ticket fee for it.  For visitors eighteen and over, a special “booze cruise” is available.  This boat sells alcoholic beverages and involves much less talking from the pilot.

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Two other major draws exist in Bricktown: restaurants and clubs.  There are a good number of places to eat in the area.  Abuelo’s offers some of the best Mexican dishes in town, and the open feel of their dining room makes you feel like you’re eating in an airy courtyard.  The Bourbon Street Café, on the other hand, is located downstairs and is almost cavern-like.  These two restaurants have very different atmospheres, but both have very good food.

If you’d rather eat somewhere a bit less pricy, the brand new IHOP in Bricktown is one of the tastiest pancake places around.  They serve the standard IHOP menu and offer free wireless internet, making it the ideal place for students or business professionals needing a place to work.  The IHOP is located near several of the new hotels located in Bricktown, so it’s very convenient for travelers.

The Melting Pot is a new restaurant in the area, and it’s heaven for anyone who loves fondue.  From appetizers to the main course to dessert, everything is dipped or cooked in a little pot right at your table.  It’s a really neat dining experience, and it’s perfect for those of you looking for something a bit different from a traditional restaurant.  Just be ready for a good sized bill; The Melting Pot is easily the most expensive restaurant out of the ones I’ve mentioned.

If you’re looking to dance after eating, Bricktown has a number of different clubs and bars.  Purely Sinful, The Wormy Dog, Skky Bar, and City Walk offer varying atmospheres and types of music.  If you’re dressed up, Purely Sinful might be the place for you (they have a very strict dress code).  If you’re looking for some place a bit more laid back, The Wormy Dog features a more relaxed atmosphere.  And if you just want to dance, City Walk is a huge place featuring six different rooms, each playing a different type of music. 

Of course, Bricktown offers much more than just the few things I’ve mentioned in this article.  There are more restaurants, a few more clubs, and some other great things to check out, including the Bass Pro Shop for those of you who fish and the OKC Museum of Art.  If you’re planning a trip to OKC anytime soon, I recommend you at least drive through Bricktown.  It’s truly become the heart of Oklahoma City, and no trip is really complete without visiting it. 

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