This post is in partnership with Hotels.com.
Oklahoma, also known as the Sooner State, may not be the first destination you think about visiting for a weekend getaway. However, regardless of your location in the US, we think this is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing 48 hours, yet filled with plenty of adventure and things to do that will keep you intrigued and likely wanting to book a return trip. Spend a morning exploring the best of Tulsa before taking the short drive across the state to Oklahoma City. From Tulsa to Oklahoma City (and everything in between), we want to share why we think Oklahoma is the perfect weekend getaway destination.
You could be forgiven for thinking that both cities deserve at least 48 hours in each and you would certainly be correct. However, why not experience the best of both during a weekend break? If you have been following our adventures over recent years, you will know we are all about making the most of a weekend getaway.
We are not all blessed to have unlimited vacation time and sometimes you just have to book a late night flight after work on Friday and experience as much as possible across the weekend before heading back to work Monday morning!
Let’s take a look at you can maximize a full weekend in Oklahoma City (and Tulsa) and perhaps you will be inspired to book a trip to the home of the Sooners in the near future.
Tulsa to Oklahoma City – The Route
The beauty of visiting Oklahoma for the weekend is that you can experience the best of two cities during the same visit. We strongly encourage you to stay overnight in Oklahoma City and we will share details on some of our favorite accommodation options later, but with only 100 miles separating these two cities, it’s definitely feasible to enjoy the best of both during an action packed 48 hours.
The “direct” route between these two cities is along I-44 and at only 106 miles, you can easily drive this in 90 minutes.
- Tulsa to Oklahoma City – 106 Miles – 1 Hr 37 Minutes – Click Here for Google Maps Route
For those of you that are really adventurous and want to capture a glimpse of real Sooner State life, why not add a quick detour and take an “indirect” route via the city of Stillwater, home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This will add around 30 minutes to the journey but it’s well worth it if you have any interest in exploring college campuses – OSU is certainly one that is worth exploring!
- Tulsa to Stillwater to Oklahoma City – 134 Miles – 2 Hrs 16 Minutes – Click Here for Google Maps Route
When it comes to college life, there are not many more states that can share the passion of the rivals that are OSU in Stillwater and OU in Norman (just south of Oklahoma City). Regardless of which route you choose to take, trust us when we say it’s worthwhile visiting both Tulsa and Oklahoma City if you want to truly experience the culture and norms of Oklahoma.
Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
While there are hotels all across the state of Oklahoma, including Tulsa, we can 100% attest that the plethora of amazing hotels in Oklahoma City makes the capital undoubtedly the best place to stay for a weekend getaway. In addition to having a collection of attractive hotel options, ranging from budget friendly to high-end luxury (yet still affordable), OKC is a great place to enjoy nightlife and also experience great breakfast options.
Two of our favorite hotels that we have stayed in that we thoroughly enjoyed are the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City, Autograph Collection and also 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City. Both are incredibly unique but with plenty of character that we think makes these the ideal places to stay to enjoy the very best of Oklahoma’s capital.
- Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City – If you love boutique establishments, the Ambassador Hotel is the perfect place to stay. Located in the heart of Midtown, this is perfectly situated to explore the very best of downtown Oklahoma City. One of OKC’s iconic breakfast spots, Waffle Champion, is next door and after you sample these decadent waffles, you will know that this hotel is the perfect place to stay when visiting the Oklahoma capital.
- 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City – Does the sound of staying in the former home of the Ford Motor Company appeal? Regardless of your answer, when you head inside 21c Museum Hotel, you will quickly realize that this is a place you will want to explore and likely stay. Home to a modern art museum combined with a trendy, vibrant hotel, 21c Museum Hotel is the ultimate accommodation option for those that enjoy chic establishments with plenty of character.
Best Things to Do in Tulsa
From performing arts to retail therapy, and from local breweries to historic Art Decon architecture, Tulsa is a vibrant city that you can easily spend several days exploring. But of course, a weekend getaway to both Tulsa and Oklahoma City means that you need to enjoy as much as possible in one day.
Here are some of our recommendations on highlight attractions you won’t want to miss, regardless of how much time you spend in Tulsa.
Explore Downtown Tulsa
For the architecture aficionados out there, downtown Tulsa is an area you are not going to want to miss. Full of Art Deco style architecture, the downtown neighborhood is the perfect place to enjoy a self-guided walking tour, visiting some of the iconic buildings in the area such as the Philtower, Atlas Life and Tulsa Club buildings.
While exploring the downtown area, head over to the “Center of the Universe” for a rather quirky yet unique experience while in Tulsa. Standing on a circular slab of concrete surrounded by bricks may lead you to believe that you are going crazy but this is renowned as an acoustic anomaly, so any sound that you make here will echo back much louder than the initial noise you made. Weird and wonderful…but that’s Tulsa!
What better way to sample the finest local craft brews in the state of Oklahoma than by taking a guided bus tour with Pearl Brewery Tours in the heart of Tulsa. Learn all about the production process at Tulsa’s finest micro breweries and sample some of the best brews in the state. A four hour tour will take you around four iconic breweries in the state.
If you are short on time, head over to Marshall Brewing Company for a much shorter 30 minute tour, yet still learning about the brewing process and the best part…it’s completely FREE!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Tulsa may be known in the state of Oklahoma as being the second largest city and an urban gem but as always, we prefer to look at some of the lesser known reasons for visiting such a destination. Tulsa is a great option for those that love exploring nature and spending time in the great outdoors.
With 23 public golf courses, 50 miles of scenic trails for biking enthusiasts and 135 urban/rural parks, there are endless opportunities for locals and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy the natural surroundings of Tulsa. 750 acres of public space can be found in the four country parks in the city limits of Tulsa – LaFortune, O’Brien, Haikey Creek, and Chandler Parks.
Best Things to Do in Oklahoma City
From creative street art to lively coffee shops, Oklahoma City is home to not only a collection of awesome attractions but also some lesser known gems that are worth experiencing. 24 or 48 hours in Oklahoma City is barely enough to scratch the surface but the beauty of staying in one of the aforementioned hotels is that you right in the heartbeat of the city and within short walking distance of a myriad of attractions.
If time is of the essence, here are a few of the must see attractions that will not only give you an insight into why we think OKC is such an amazing destination but also it will inspire you to book a return trip. Let’s take a look at our favorite attractions, coffee shops, murals and of course, local cuisine establishments.
Oklahoma City Memorial & Museum
A trip to Oklahoma City wouldn’t be the same without paying tribute to the tragic loss of 168 residents and workers at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. In what was a horrific example of a domestic terrorist attack, the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum pays a fitting tribute to the emergency responders, OKC locals and a myriad of outside assistance that came together to help during this catastrophic day.
Visitors to the Museum can take a self-guided tour through the timeline of events before heading outside to experience the Reflecting Pool and granite towers that collectively create a poignant and appropriate tribute to honor the victims. There is a field of 168 empty chairs that represent each of the individuals that were tragically lost.
From the poignancy of the OKC Memorial & Museum to the vibrancy of Bricktown, a former warehouse district that has been transformed into a collection of restaurants, bars, shops and of course, the highlight attraction, the water taxi that offers guided tours through this neighborhood.
Hop on the Bricktown Water Taxi to take a narrated tour through the heart and soul of Oklahoma City’s entertainment district. While admiring how the architecture has been transformed and renovated into modern-day restaurants and bars, you can also learn about the “Western” culture and heritage associated with this area.
45 life size sculptures depicting the Centennial Land Run Monument can be enjoyed at the south end of the Bricktown Canal. Combined with a number of waterfalls scattered along the banks of the canal, this is one of the most attractive places to visit, particularly if you are able to visit during the Golden Hour at sunset.
Oklahoma City is blessed to have a collection of amazing restaurants, offering local and global cuisine options across a myriad of neighborhoods around the city. Whether you prefer to indulge at breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can be sure there is something that will entice your taste buds.
One of our favorite spots that we think everyone will enjoy is Waffle Champion. Be prepared to arrive early or wait in line outside, because this is one of OKC’s popular eateries for locals and visitors alike. Satisfying those with a sweet tooth or folks that prefer savory options, this trendy, local eatery offers a variety of menu items for breakfast or lunch (and even has late night offerings on Friday and Saturday).
The difficult choice at Waffle Champion is always what to order because there are so many options. From the traditional Southern fare option of “Chicken and Waffles” to the ultimate indulgence of a Banana Cream Pie Waffle, we are convinced you will find something that intrigues you.
Explore the Street Art Scene
Oklahoma City is never likely going to be the first city you think about when thinking about a creative street art scene. But after visiting, you will quickly realize that all of the neighborhoods in Oklahoma City are home to a vibrant collection of murals that epitomize the creativity not only from visiting artists but also locals that are enable to showcase their creative side.
Exploring street art is always a great way to capture a different side to a city. Frequently it will represent the city’s style and I think the myriad of murals scattered across the city certainly do this. Many of the most popular murals in Oklahoma City are associated with “love” and I think this perfectly represents how the city welcomes visitors with open arms and correlates directly with the togetherness of the city, particularly following the tragedy in 1995.
Take some time to visit some of the neighborhoods around downtown and also further away from the central business district to truly get a feeling of this city’s undoubted creative side. Enjoy a coffee at one of the local coffee shops in Oklahoma City while enjoying the street art.
If a trip to Oklahoma hasn’t been on your radar, we hope after reading this post you will be inspired to consider booking a trip to the Sooner state. Two of the iconic locations, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, are perfectly located to enjoy both during the same weekend getaway. If you are fortunate to be able to spend longer in either location, we encourage you to check out more amazing attractions.
From the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum to Pops 66 Soda Ranch just outside of Oklahoma City, there are plenty of things to do within a short distance of the downtown area. Whether you start in OKC or Tulsa, both epitomize the beauty of Oklahoma and you can be sure that locals will welcome you with their friendly, warm nature.