Discover surprises amid cowboy culture.

Sweets and Suites in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Credit: Heather Mcbride

There’s a strong cowboy culture and a savvy business vibe in this Midwestern capital, home to the historic Old West Stockyards and the Bricktown entertainment district, as well has numerous museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. The city is also great for families as many venues keep both kids and parents in mind: A top cupcake bakery also has a fresh, weekly changing lunch dishes, our pick for pizza is decked out in graphic art, and the city’s beautiful botanical gardens have splash pads for hot summer days.

Green Goodies

Owner Tiffany Magness won Cupcake Wars, a Food Network series, for her tasty creations, many of which—the salted caramel, happy birthday chocolate, and sopapilla cheesecake—are gluten free. The cheerful bakery also serves a weekly-changing lunch.

Skirvin Hilton

Hilton rescued this 1911 building, now a member of the Historic Hotels of America, with $51 million renovation after it sat vacant for 19 years. Some say the hotel is haunted—and who could blame the ghosts for hanging around? There are 225 plush rooms, a gym and pool, two restaurants, and a piano bar.

Uptown Kids

You’ll find stylish kids wear—brands like Kicky Pants and French Toast for boys and girls—at this fashion-forward boutique.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

This 17-acre park in downtown Oklahoma City has jogging trails, dog parks, and splash pads for the kiddos.

Empire Slice House

Creative pies include the Notorious P.I.G. (Canadian bacon, pepperoni, sausage, and capicola) and the Evil Empire (spicy marinara, mozzarella cheese, jalapeno, poblano, serrano, and cherry peppers) at this funky downtown pizza joint.