OKC's Arts District: Culture, Food and History

January 22, 2019

Oklahoma City is chock full of distinctive districts, each with its own attractions, appeal and charm. For the next several weeks we will explore these various areas one-by-one, highlighting the special items of interest offered by each. This week, we’re focusing on the Arts District. Located on the western edge of downtown OKC, the Arts District is home to some of the city’s top cultural attractions. One of the biggest is the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. A 110,000 square foot facility, OKCMOA presents exhibitions from prestigious museums throughout the world. It also houses a permanent collection of American and European art, as well as an extensive collection of Dale Chihuly glass. Home to a premier repertory cinema that screens international, independent, and classic films, OKCMOA also has a Museum School, which offers classes for students of all ages as well as art camps for children. Amenities include the Museum Store, the Roof Terrace, and the Museum Cafe, a full-service restaurant. Less than a mile away is the  21c Museum Hotel, the museum portion of which is always free, even for those who aren’t spending the night. It offers rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, along with cultural programming. The hotel’s Mary Eddy Kitchen & Lounge is also a popular destination in its own right. Performances of the OKC Ballet, the OKC Philharmonic, OKC Broadway and other events are all held at the nearby Oklahoma City Civic Center. Free docent tours of this more than 75-year-old renovated, beautifully maintained facility were recently implemented Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. by reservation only. The Myriad Botanical Gardens and Tropical Gardens Conservatory is a 17-acre garden in the heart of OKC’s downtown. It features indoor and outdoor areas bursting with color from ever-blooming flowers and plants, as well as winding pathways. A perfect spot to conduct research, read or surf the net, the state-of-the-art Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library offers something for every member of the family, including Café Mona a great place to eat. Its 114,130 square feet includes classrooms, study rooms, conference rooms, a children’s program room, the Route 66 Computer Lab, 46th Star Auditorium, and Friends Event Room. Film Row, an integral part of the Arts District, was once home to film distribution offices for Hollywood’s major studios. From 1907 to the 1960s, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros. and others operated film exchange networks here until new technologies and transportation innovations changed the way films were distributed. Equal parts revitalized and historic, Film Row is now home to locally-owned restaurants, artistic businesses, and more. A wide variety of shopping, dining and offices can be found throughout the Arts District. This is also the area where OKC’s Festival of the Arts, a six-day celebration of visual, performing and culinary arts is held each spring.
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