OKC VeloCity | A day out in Midtown

A day out in Midtown

By Kaylee Terracina / Lifestyle / July 19, 2019

When it comes to a district that has it all, look no further than Midtown. On the northern edge of downtown and just west of Automobile Alley, the Midtown district connects the hustle and bustle of downtown with the stately historic neighborhoods to its north. With a mix of local restaurants, neighborhood pubs and unique shops, it’s the perfect place to spend a day experiencing the best of OKC’s recent urban renaissance.

Where to stay

The perfect home-base for any Midtown staycation is the Ambassador Hotel, a boutique concept in the historic Osler Building. The Art Deco building was originally constructed in 1928 and served as physician offices and a medical clinic as part of the University of Oklahoma Medical School until 1965. Today, the hotel is part of Marriott's prestigious Autograph collection and has earned a four-diamond rating from AAA. And as an added bonus, Ambassador's rooftop bar has great drinks and one of the best views of the Oklahoma City skyline.

What to do

At one square mile total, the Midtown district is extremely walkable and public transit-friendly. The OKC Streetcar operates on both 10th and 11th Streets, and Midtown conveniently connects with the rest of downtown. Spokies dockless bikes also make it easy to tour the historic residential area of Heritage Hills along with the nearby Oklahoma Hall of Fame at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. This interactive museum tells the story of Oklahoma through the eyes of its people and includes the stories of both famous and everyday Oklahomans whose lives have had an impact on the state. After your Oklahoma history lesson, you may want to burn off some steam at Dust Bowl, a fun and funky tribute to the bowling alleys of the 1970s (but with a full bar and extensive menu).  

Where to shop

If retail therapy is your preferred method of relaxation, then Midtown is the place for you. The district has everything from quirky stationery to bar supplies. We suggest starting your retail pilgrimage on the north side of Midtown on N Walker Avenue, working your way south from Commonplace Books at NW 13th Street to The Black Scintilla on W Park Place.

Where to drink and dine

Midtown has options for every meal of the day and every budget, so there is no shortage of ways to get your fill. For early mornings, try Oklahoma City staple Brown's Bakery for doughnuts, pastries and the best sausage rolls you can buy (but we're not biased). Waffle Champion also offers both savory and sweet takes on the restaurant's namesake that will hit the spot for both breakfast and lunch. 

If you need a dose of caffeine to start your day, find your coffee fix at Elemental Coffee Roasters, a long-time favorite in the OKC coffee shop scene. Elemental's small-batch and hands-on approach to the curation of their menu lead to the freshest roasts available. (Pro tip: They roast their coffees every Monday and Wednesday.) They also offer grab-n-go breakfast items and a smaller menu of made-to-order foods if a one-stop breakfast is more your style. Other coffee shops worthy of your first cup of the day in this district are Hank's and Coffee Slingers. 

If you want one stop with many options, then check out Bleu Garten, one of Oklahoma City's food truck parks. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the opening of The Collective, Oklahoma City's first food hall with 11 kitchens, a bar and a rooftop patio. 

For a more upscale dining experience, Packard's New American Kitchen offers seasonal and eclectic takes on classic American cuisine, all in the historic 1920s Packard Automobile showroom. (Pro tip: Visit Packard's on Tuesday nights, where they offer a rotating dinner feature for $10.) Other white tablecloth dining options include Stella's Modern Italian Cuisine and Café Cuvée, a French-style bistro located in the Ambassador Hotel.

Of course, no time in Midtown is complete without imbibing at one of the many watering holes in the district. Start your evening sampling the rotating brews and creative beer slushies at Elk Valley Brewing (and be sure to hit them first, because they close at 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m. on the weekends). For the beer aficionados out there, you'll appreciate the large selection (and tasty pub favorites) at James E. McNellie's Public House.

For a cozy speakeasy vibe, grab drinks at the Basement Lounge at Nic's Place or at R&J's Supper Club. Several bars have stellar rooftop vibes (alongside perfectly crafted cocktails), including Bossa Nova, O Bar, and the rooftop at the aforementioned Packard's. 

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