Four central OKC districts rose to the top in our annual reader-voted Family Favorites Awards. Here, local moms share their families’favorite features in Bricktown, Midtown, the Plaza District and Paseo District. An added bonus from our staff picks, discover the delights of a day-trip to El Reno.
Bricktown is how we fell in love with Oklahoma City years before we moved here in 2018, and the district provides a great opportunity for our family to create lasting memories. Our most recent visit was one of our favorites. As usual, there was a debate on whereto eat lunch but the original Bricktown Brewery won. We walked the canal after lunch and landed at Brickopolis where the girls played a round of putt-putt golf and climbed the rock wall. We jumped on the water taxi for a quick tour on the canal before ending our trip, the way we do every time, at Marble Slab Creamery.
Britanie Ramirez and husband Adrianare parents of Leila (13), Landyn (12) and Liviana (11), as well as foster parents. Britanie is director of Whiz Kids.
Midtown is home to us because we enjoy the active culture and strong sense of community we feel here. A nice Saturday for our family could include a bike ride to Commonplace Books for story time, coffee and gourmet donuts or riding our bikes to Bleu Garten, playing outdoor games and eating dinner from a food truck.The downtown library or Myriad Gardens splash park and carousel area streetcar ride away, and we enjoy stopping at Capitals Ice Cream or Elemental Coffee on the way home.
Stephanie Schmidt and husband Lanceare parents of Solomon (9), Theo (6)and Stella (5). Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom.
Centered around NW 16th Street, offbeat arts, culture and local shopping come together for a memorable day of family fun in the Plaza District. We first visited in October for the Magic Lantern Festival and came back for a show at Lyric Theatre in January. That made fora fun afternoon complete with pie slices at Pie Junkie and a nice walk around cute shops with merchandise that isn’t available anywhere else. My husband is a Spanish teacher from Costa Rica and we love a lot of the decor and handcrafted items featured in Folk.Life. We enjoy brunch or lunch in Aurora’s vibrant,welcoming atmosphere, where the kids’ menu is more imaginative than just mac ‘n cheese.Families can play tourist around the Plaza District on a zero-spend budget. Window shop, check out the area’s famed murals and chat with local artists at pottery studios and art galleries.
Callie Collins and husband Mario are parents of Samuel (12), Isaac (7), Gabriel (4) and Jacob-Peter (1). Callie is MetroFamily’s marketing director and writer of our Weekend Warrior blog.
A trip to the Paseo Arts District is always a unique experience for our family. Galleries with ever-changing art and the diverse mix of restaurants keep us coming back to this historic area with our two boys. OSO Paseo and Red Rooster are two of our new favorite dining spots, both offering ridiculously good food, including gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly entrees. Holey Rollers is a must when we get a craving for delicious donuts that boast creative flavors. The Paseo Arts Festival is held every Memorial Day weekend and is the perfect opportunity to shop and let the kids create their own art in the heart of this vibrant community.
Pictured above: Debbie Murnan and husband Patrick are parents of Mason(7) and Aiden (6). Debbie is an optometrist with Variety Care.
More in Central OKC
Extend your central OKC explorations further with visits to other notable districts, like Deep Deuce,known historically for jazz music and hosting pop-up concerts the last Saturday of the month spring through fall. Homemade cake by the slice, fluffy marshmallows and shaved ice hit the spot on the patio at Katybug’s in Automobile Alley, also home to Factory Obscura, inspiring wonder among all ages with immersive art experiences. Ignite adventurous spirits with zip lining, tower climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding and rapids riding in the Boathouse District. Stomp your feet to family-friendly Saturday night shows at the Rodeo Opry in Stockyards City, where you can also shop for Western wear or enjoy a hearty breakfast or steak dinner at Cattleman’s Steakhouse. Expand taste buds in the flavorful Asian District by shopping for Asian fare at Super Cao Nguyen Supermarket, sampling Vietnamese food like Pho, Guatemalan-style food at Cafe Kacao or vegetarian fare at The Red Cup.
Short drive for small-town fun
Families seeking a quick getaway or day trip outside central OKC should look no farther than El Reno, just 30 minutes west of the metro. In the aftermath of the devastating May 2019 tornadoes, the community’s resilience and commitment to warm hospitality and small-town charm have never been more apparent.
We love the walking trails at Lake El Reno, where the kids climb on the giant chair and play on the playground. Downtown we love to shop at Allie’s Baking Boutique, visit Iron Tree Coffee and play at the little splash pad in the summer. El Reno’s bowling alley is very kid friendly, and the Centre Theatre has flashback movies once a month where they show great old movies for kids for only $1! Visit a pirate ship park, the Canadian County Historical Museum where you can ride an old-fashioned trolley and historic Ft. Reno.Our favorite restaurants are Sid’s Diner for fried onion burgers and milkshakes, Pecina’s and Troncoso’s for Mexican food, Our Glass where mom and dad can have a glass of wine and we even have a sushi bar (my son’s favorite). Come visit!
Jill Phillips and husband Justin are parents of Graham (8) and Caroline (6)and live in El Reno. Jill is a partner and agent with Farmers Insurance.