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|Amber Brooks • 12/14/17|
The Short Version: Oklahoma City maintains a friendly atmosphere that’s as straightforward as its name. Although it’s home to over 1.3 million people, the big city still feels like a neighborly small town because everyone is just so gosh-darn nice to one another. But what do you do when you want more than someone’s friendship? How do you turn up the romance? Active daters in Oklahoma City can set themselves apart by escorting their dates to memorable destinations such as festivals, museums, or adventure parks. The capital city of Oklahoma offers an eclectic assortment of date activities — from the Adventure District to Film Row. Once you know where to go, you can keep your date entertained for years to come in Oklahoma City.
When I first saw “Oklahoma!” as a kid, one song had me giggling for days afterward. “I Cain’t Say No” has a lot of self-deprecating humor and flirtatious undertones. Throughout the play, Ado Annie Carnes playfully invites the romantic advances of two men, and she claims she just can’t help herself.
“I always say ‘Come on, let’s go!'” Ado Annie explains in the song. “Just when I [oughta] say ‘Nix.'”
If you’re feeling similarly swept up in romance and want to run off with a cowboy or cowgirl in Oklahoma, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got eight top-notch date recommendations for Oklahoma City residents and visitors hoping to spice things up with a night on the town. Let’s get to it!
The Jones Assembly has to be at the top of our list because it’s a flexible, beautiful, and exciting place to spend time. “The Jones Assembly is considered more of a destination paired with a restaurant,” said Tabbi Burwell, the Communications Manager for Oklahoma City’s Visitors Bureau. “It’s the perfect Instagrammable spot.”
The spacious bar and restaurant has couches, picnic tables, and an open-air terrace where visitors often split a wood-fire pizza or an upscale appetizer, including octopus for adventurous eaters and made-from-scratch biscuits for more traditional folks.
You and your date can go to the warehouse-like dining hall or intimate outdoor patio to savor an inventive cocktail along with locally sourced cuisine listening to live music.
It’s hard to imagine saying no to a date at The Jones Assembly. This place has got it all. Whether you enjoy twirling your partner at a country jamboree or sipping high-quality spirits at a table for two, you can kick back and enjoy the company of a hot date at The Jones Assembly.
Oklahoma City may reside in the Great Plains region of the US, but that doesn’t mean it’s all grassy prairies and dry flat lands. Actually, the Oklahoma River runs for seven miles, cutting through the city’s downtown area from Eastern Avenue to Meridian Avenue, before feeding into the winding North Canadian River. This part of the city is known as the Boathouse District.
Because motorized boats aren’t allowed on these waters, the Oklahoma River is a favorite for man-powered boating activities, including paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. US Olympic athletes have come here to train on recreation-style courses with stadium lighting.
What’s great for daters is the whitewater rafting and flat-water kayaking offered by RiverSport Adventures. Date activities on the water give you a chance to cool off in the summer months and share a unique experience working together to tackle the waves.
Oklahoma City’s $45.2 million dollar whitewater rafting and kayaking center provides an exciting and safe date venue for outdoorsy couples.
At the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, visitors can stroll through a 110,000 square-foot facility boasting art galleries, a rooftop terrace, a cafe, and a cinema. The museum sees over 125,000 visitors each year and is a popular date destination in the downtown area.
The thought-provoking glasswork, paintings, photography, and other exhibited works give daters something to talk about as they go from gallery to gallery.
Museum admission costs $10 for seniors and students ($12 for adults), so it’s a uniquely affordable option for daters on a budget. You could also get a dinner and movie package for $30 per person to upgrade your experience with a two-course menu and film screening. Sounds like an ideal date to me!
Oklahoma City supports a thriving community of artists and art lovers and has hosted a week-long Festival of the Arts every April since 1967. Over 750,000 attendees crowd the downtown streets to enjoy art demonstrations, culinary sensations, and live musical performances. If you really want to wow your date, make space in your calendar this spring for the Festival of the Arts.
Oklahoma City got the nickname Big Friendly because it’s the largest city in Oklahoma, and the people who live there are some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet.
At the city’s community events, you’ll see many smiles being shared between friends both old and new. Residents love coming together to celebrate good food and good company, so its events attract a lively crowd.
Held on the first Friday of June every year, the H&8th Night Market sees around 40,000 people frequenting 40+ food trucks that serve everything from Latin cuisine to frozen ice pops. This volunteer-driven event has been going strong since 2011.
You can go from truck to truck sampling flavorful dishes and browsing through the original works of non-food vendors. Whether you fancy mini donuts or colossal burritos, the Food Truck Festival’s irresistible fare will tempt your taste buds and give you something wonderful to share with your date.
“We’re known as a friendly city,” Tabbi said. “There’s always something going on and something fun to do here, so you have a lot of options from pottery-making classes to food-truck festivals.”
The Flashback RetroPub combines drinking, game-playing, and nostalgia to create an all-around amazing experience for people seeking a good time in Oklahoma City.
This classic arcade bar plays ’80s music to get people in the mood from the moment they walk in. The bar charges a $5 cover fee, but the 50+ arcade games and gaming consoles are free so it’s well worth it. They even have board games like Connect Four and LIFE! From the graffiti decoration on the walls to the regional selection of 70 craft beers, the Flashback Retropub stands out as one of the most colorful dive bars around.
You can take a trip down memory lane by playing the games you loved as a kid and challenging your date to beat your high score. It’s a great way to come together with gamers who share a fondness for the Mario Brothers, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Mortal Kombat, and other old-school classics.
“This is a super fun retro gaming bar,” wrote Lauren in a Yelp review. “My husband and I decided to check it out on a Sunday. There weren’t many people there yet which was great for us because we had access to all the games.”
Maybe you’re not looking for a just-wear-jeans kind of date. After all, sometimes it’s fun for couples to get all dolled up and celebrate a special occasion at a classy place. In Oklahoma City, it doesn’t get much classier than Vast, a fine dining establishment just south of Park Avenue.
In 2002, Vast claimed the 49th floor of the Devon Tower to give diners a sweeping look at the Oklahoma City skyline. Those seated by the tall glass windows can watch the sunset from a unique vantage point 726.2 feet off the ground.
“You have views for days,” Tabbi said about the restaurant. “It’s the tallest building in Oklahoma City, and you’re surrounded by glass walls.”
The soft romantic music instantly sets the mood for couples hoping to make a special memory. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance, especially if you want to go on Valentine’s Day, because the restaurant fills up quickly.
Vast’s locally sourced ingredients and commitment to high-caliber service make it an ideal date-night venue for visitors and residents alike. According to the website, “Oklahoma City is more than our home — it’s our inspiration.”
In terms of outdoor dates, Oklahoma residents can’t top the SandRidge Sky Trail, which is the world’s tallest adventure course of its kind. The 80-foot structure serves as a “playground in the sky” for daters unafraid of a challenge.
You can hold hands with your date as you go through rope bridges and balance beams until you reach the top where a 72-foot Sky Slide or 80-foot free-fall drop will get people’s hearts pumping.
Whether you enjoy zip lining or kayaking, the city’s River Sport Adventures can give you an absolutely unforgettable day in the sun. Oklahoma City’s numerous outdoor activities provide couples with an engaging place for a date and singles with a lively environment to meet one another. Just lace up a pair of comfortable sneakers and you’re good to go!
The dinner-movie routine can get stale after a while, and it’s only natural for couples to start thinking outside the box for their date nights. If you want to create a special memory with your partner, you can get your wheels turning during a good hands-on pottery lesson.
The House of Clay is an artistic bastion in Oklahoma City. Norman and Levern Meriwether founded the business over 60 years ago, and it’s still going strong because people love tapping into their creative sides by working with clay. You can take ceramics classes, sculpting classes, and other artsy classes at the House of Clay — it’s a great opportunity to learn a new skill and make a personalized gift for your loved one.
If you don’t feel up to sculpting something from scratch, you can always paint a professionally crafted ceramic vase, plate, jar, sign, or figurine. At the House of Clay, the only limit is your imagination!
It’s hard to feel too badly for Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!” because she’s juggling two good-looking suitors, and her biggest worry is she wants them both. She’s not coy at all, and her flirtatious ways get her into trouble with her love interests. “How can I be what I ain’t?” she asks rhetorically, throwing her hands up in the air.
Ultimately, Ado Annie makes her peace with monogamy and rides off into the sunset with her Oklahoma dreamboat. All’s well that ends well.
You can find a romantic awakening of your own by checking out Oklahoma City’s most beloved date spots. We’ve listed eight of our favorites, but there are so many other restaurants, parks, and riverside getaways for couples to discover.
“It’s a whole different experience from one district to another,” Tabbi noted. “You can do so many things on a date night or a weekend getaway in Oklahoma City.”