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This post is sponsored by VisitOKC, but all opinions are my own. I am so happy to have teamed up with them to be able to share this visitors guide: 48 hours in Oklahoma City during the Memorial Marathon Weekend.
Back in 2011 I decided to run my first marathon. I decided that the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was a great choice. It was within driving distance from Tulsa, we could easily make a weekend trip for it and with it being an April race date it made the odds for good weather higher. My first marathon I was able to pull off a 3:58. Right under my goal of 4 hours! The next year I went back to challenge myself more. Even though I had a rough day I was able to bring it in at a 3:52.
The OKC Memorial Marathon is like no other. The community rallies to pull it off. There are businesses who come together to make each water stop, citizens who come out to play music on the course and spectators cheering everywhere. Although I was no where near marathon running status this year we wanted to take a weekend trip to cheer on some friends and see the changes taking place with the marathon.
There are so many things to do in Oklahoma City! It is always evolving, but today I am going to be sharing with you what we did during our 48 hours in Oklahoma City during the Memorial Marathon Weekend.
We arrived at 21C Museum Hotel. The downtown location makes it super convenient. We were able to walk to several eateries and activities. They are currently creating a parking garage across the street from the hotel which will make it super easy for parking.
That night we took time to look around the hotel. How fun to have something already to do at the hotel like a museum?! We loved seeing the diverse mediums of art throughout. Art pieces that were photographs to things made from cut out paper. Even 3D sculptures and art made from bank money bags!
In the hotel we also found a great workout facility that included showers and a locker room. Connected to the locker rooms were also a dry and wet sauna along with a spa treatment center. At the other end of the hotel there was a restaurant as well. I will share more about that later though.
Saturday morning we started our day at Waffle Champion. I am a lover of breakfast food so this was great! My breakfast was basically an egg and bacon scramble inside a taco shaped waffle. My husband, Ryan, got his egg and meat scramble on top of cottage style fries. Both were so good! Honestly, I wanted to go back there for Sunday’s breakfast too!
And just as a side note when I shared about Waffle Champion on Instagram while there I got so many people DMing me saying they loved that place. I totally understand their love for it now!
After our stomachs were full we headed to Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge. What a beautiful day to explore the gardens. I hadn’t been here since I was a kid on a school field trip! The bridge itself is such a piece of art. Then you add the outside garden area with the water center piece. We found ourselves just sitting on a bench watching the fish and the ducks. And to think that whole area is free and open to the public!
Then we made our way inside the botanical gardens. We enjoyed how every plant was labeled and shared information about it. We learned a lot and even saw fresh fruit on some trees. It’s ironic that we eat some of these foods, but really don’t know much about how they are grown. We were so interested in the Macadamia nut tree!
When inside the Myriad Gardens they have self guided tours or tours you can take that would be much more informational. Either way it is a sight to see. Ryan and I both commented how it didn’t even feel like we were in Oklahoma.
It was getting close to time for us to head to our afternoon activity, but we wanted to grab a healthy lunch. Waffle Champion was amazing, but we were looking for a lighter vegan option. With a quick search Loaded Bowl came up. Then, I remembered my friend had recommend stopping there. So we did. Orange “chicken” was right on point!
Next up was Riversport Adventures! It was time for some adventure! Riversport is an outdoor whitewater rafting center. On the premises they also have the Sky Trail course and ziplining. We started by having a training session all about how to do the whitewater rafting. They taught us how to use our paddle, put on our gear and what to do if we fell out of the raft. I have to say I was totally game to go rafting, but I started to get a little nervous after they gave us all the safety precautions! Luckily, we went on the course three times and none of us fell out!
It was a super fun experience because we got to raft with my friend Samantha from Go French Yourself. (She also has a 48 hour OKC guide more focused on eats and drinks.) But going to Riversport with a group of friends seems like a fun outing for a celebration, friends day out or even a community building activity.
After the rafting we headed over for some more fun at the Sky Trail course for ziplining. I had full intentions on ziplining. I mean I did it in Hawaii. However, once I got all attached and up two flights out of six I chickened out! Down I went. Ryan always loves adventure though so away he went!
After our adventures at Riversport we headed back to 21C Muesum Hotel to get cleaned up. Once we were set for the evening we went out to the Festival of the Arts. It was within walking distance. There were vendors from all over showcasing their art. Again, I was amazed at just how many different ways art can be created!
I actually use to do quite a bit of art myself in my high school days. There were awards I won and paintings I sold. So when I get around other artists and see the beautiful pieces it makes me want to dive back into it. I loved doing oil painting and creating textures. Seeing this painting being created with fresh paint out really pulled me in.
You can watch artists create their art or you can chat with the artisans about their creations. They even have booths for you to make your own art pieces to take home with you. And of course there is food! We browsed around and ate dinner here.
To end our evening we drove just a bit from our hotel to get a closer look at Skydance bridge. It’s the beautiful architecture that you see over the highway as you drive into Oklahoma City. As the sun goes down it lights up into many colors. We walked across the bridge and soaked in the views.
Sunday morning started off at Mary Eddy’s. This restaurant is in the hotel and has a great moving piece of art right when you walk in. We were seated quickly and chose a simple traditional breakfast. The big windows made it bright. A great way to start another busy day.
After we got our morning fuel in we walked down towards the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finish line to watch some people run in. I love the atmosphere at marathon finish lines! Some people come in strong as if they could run more, where others are coming in with all that they have left. Some runners are victorious throwing up their arms while others are more concerned about checking their watch before they celebrate. But this finish line has even a stronger emotional pull as people cross the finish line. Many people are running this race because they are remembering. They are remembering someone specific that was effected in the Oklahoma City bombing or they are remembering how that day effecting their community and state.
This year there were a few changes to the physical race course. The runners headed south of downtown to the Oklahoma River. One reason for the change was to incorporate more of the city into the course. The whole community was effected on April 19th, 1995 by what happened. The race committee wanted to ensure that the whole community was involved in this race to remember. Another thing that changed was the runners no longer ran along Lake Hefner. Instead runner’s requests were honored by using wider streets.
It’s amazing to see just how much the race has evolved since the first time I raced it! I hope to come back sometime as a racer myself! Maybe once both of the girls start sleeping through the night again 😉
After spectating and enjoying the after race events we decided going to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum only seemed right. Originally, we were going to go on Saturday, but I am so glad we went Sunday afternoon! As we walked up to the fence we saw fresh race bibs from earlier that day. Then as we made our way to the chairs there were many race bibs there too. Seeing these tokens of remembrance really was moving to me. So many loved ones coming to honor their person in whatever way they can. It also was a reminder that although 168 lives ended that day there was a HUGE ripple effect of who was impacted that day.
We took time to take in the breathe taking view of Reflecting Pool before moving inside. The museum has done such a fine job of helping us to see what the physical area was like and what was occurring that day before the bombing. Another section shows all kinds of pieces of debris and things found on site. I can only image that it gives a tiny glimpse into how devastating it was to be glaring at that massive building and piles of ruble. There were multiple other sections of the museum as well. Rooms that took you through the arrests, remembering the lost lives, seeing where the survivors are now and so much more.
I know that I was a young child when the bombing occurred. I even remember reading a small paragraph about it in my Oklahoma History book in middle school. But going through the memorial and museum made me have a whole new look and appreciation for the city of Oklahoma City and the meaning behind the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. If you have not been you should definitely put it on your list!
We ended our 48 hours in Oklahoma City with a quick stop at Torchy’s Tacos before heading home to our darling kiddos. It was such a good get away weekend for us. Sometimes a road trip a few hours away can be the best get away weekends! For us we got to enjoy local art, food and entertainment along with broadening our understanding of our local culture. Completely a win in all areas! Check out VisitOKC.com to learn more about Oklahoma City and plan your visit.
What do you enjoy doing on weekend trips?
Until Next Time- Truly Love-