Oklahoma City is proving to be more than just an O.K. city. New developments have made the once small town a booming meetings destination, an epicenter of everything a planner could dream—including cheap prices and centralized venues.
Here’s what you can expect to find in this Midwestern nook in the next two years.
Gear Up with Ease
Getting to Oklahoma City shouldn’t be much of a problem nowadays. Major airlines continue to add nonstop flights, departing from major cities such as Denver, Atlanta and San Francisco. In the heart of the United States, the city is also accessible by car. In fact, MSN.com deemed it the sixth most drivable city in the country.
A Helping Hand
The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitor Bureau recently launched a website specifically for meeting professionals heading to the metropolis. MeetInOKC.com provides helpful information about venues, suppliers and tips for traveling around.
New Venue on the Block
There is a plethora of shiny meeting venues downtown, such as 21C Museum Hotel and Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown-Bricktown. Castle Falls, built with city building remains and modeled off a Normandy Castle, is an honorable mention. It has 4,000 sq. ft. of regal meeting space, including the rustically ornate Grande Hall. It also boasts a landscaped garden with whimsical waterfalls and cedars.
But don’t miss out on the hot new thing—a $288 million convention center set to open in 2020. The CVB just broke ground on the project on June 15. The urban-designed building featuring trapezoidal patterns will offer a 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 30,000-square-foot ballroom with a terrace and 45,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space.
The building will overlook the growing downtown skyline.
In addition to the convention center, a new Omni headquarter hotel, Oklahoma City Omni, will open. A skywalk will connect the two for easy transfer from bed to ballroom.
There will be no shortage of food for attendees in the Omni’s six restaurants and bars. The AAA Four Diamond Three- to Five-Star-rated dining will cater to attendees on the run, with quick bites they can enjoy at the small lobby bar and grab ’n’ go options. Outdoor bars and cafes serving breakfast, lunch and dinner will also line the hotel.
If you didn’t spend quite enough on your event, you can indulge in the retail space in-house.
When it’s time to rest, Omni’s 600 guest rooms can accommodate any size group. Omni plans to welcome NBA players into its home.
Room to Build
With a rising destination comes opportunity for exhilarating recreation—especially team-building activities. Go west of the convention center and you’ll be greeted by the new Scissortail Park. The 70-acre piece of land will host concerts, picnic sites and interactive water features. The park connects downtown to the Oklahoma River and is set to open in 2019.
If attendees are itching to get out of the area, Oklahoma City is launching a new streetcar system that will connect downtown to the other dynamic neighborhoods.
Tap into the beer scene, and drink your way through the city’s recommended beer tour. Coop Ale Works, the oldest craft brewer in the state, provides free tours and samples every Saturday. Many breweries in the area offer the same comfort.
Don’t miss out on the city’s growing food scene, either. Bleu Garten, a food truck park in Midtown, offers a variety of ethnic and American cuisines. Examples include spiced-up Latin plates, soul food and gourmet ramen.
Oklahoma City is home to many outdoor festivities, as well, such as white-water rafting and a wildlife refuge, complete with hiking trails and ethereal marshlands. The interactive Myriad Botanical Garden is just steps away from the convention center.