Traveling on a college student’s dime: going to OKC

Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

There is actually more than one “KC” in the Midwest. Although the other is Oklahoma City, known lovingly as OKC, it’s still a pretty cool and eclectic place to travel around. Full of history, activities and good food, I went to Oklahoma City this weekend to check out the scene.

As a college student, it can be important to get off campus every now and again – and while Kansas City boasts a ton of fun young-adult geared activities, it can be nice to even get away from our city for awhile. Just five and a half hours south of William Jewell College, Oklahoma City is a pretty easy get away and can made in an easy weekend drive.

For staying in or around the city, AirBnB is typically pretty cheap and is even cheaper if you stay outside the city. I stayed in Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma, which is about 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City. I stayed with my boyfriend for Easter weekend so I didn’t have to pay for a place to crash, but I have stayed in hotels and AirBnBs in Norman before, and getting a place to stay is pretty cheap.

For activities in both Norman and Oklahoma City, there is a ton to do. We knocked around Norman quite a bit, visiting Campus Corner to eat some Baked Bear ice cream – as well as Starbucks because I have a caffeine addiction. The real bulk of our time was spent in Oklahoma City though, a city I hadn’t yet visited.

Ice cream sandwich at the Baked Bear made of a cookie and brownie stuffed with Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, hot pressed to gooey goodness.

Our day started, of course, with eating. We had planned on going to eat at Nic’s Grill to get a burger, but the line was out the door and we decided to eat at Empire Slice House instead.

Located in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District, which resembles Westport in Kansas City, Empire is delicious New York Style Pizza that can be sold by the slice or in whole 20’’ pies. The slices are huge and the type of slice you can get is changed every day. I had a slice of the “Rocksteady” and the “Brussel Westbrook,” and my boyfriend had the “Figgy Stardust” and Pepperoni. All pizzas were delicious and had a tasty crust and toppings. It was the perfect lunch and start to our day.

The Brussel Westbrook pizza slice from Empire Slice House.

After lunch, we headed to the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum. This past weekend commemorated the 24th anniversary of the bombing that killed 168 people, injured hundreds and damaged 324 buildings.

It is still today the largest domestic terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The memorial was beautiful and we saw a lot of the families of victims and survivors walking around talking about their loved ones. The museum was powerful and I had tears in my eyes the whole time we walked around. The museum is rated a Top 10 museum in the country, and deserves that ranking.

After the memorial, we headed to the Myriad Botanical Gardens to check out the flowers in bloom. However, there was basically no parking and so we drove around the garden for a while hoping to find somewhere to stop.

There was no parking or free parking anywhere close to the gardens, which was really disappointing. We were getting a little tired from being out in the sun all day already, having eaten lunch on the patio of Empire and walking around the memorial. So, instead we headed back to Norman to do some shopping and eat ice cream.

My tips for traveling to Oklahoma City would be to budget for gas, find somewhere cheap like an AirBnB to stay and look for activities that offer a student discount or are free. The museum and memorial offer a student discount on tickets and the Myriad Botanical Garden grounds are free.

There are a variety of activities we didn’t have time to do, which is the only downside of staying outside the city. It is, however, cheaper but just budget more money for gas. I usually budget about $100 for a trip to Oklahoma City, which includes gas, quick food and some groceries.

Depending on what you want to do you may budget some more money, but a cheap travel weekend can be done. You may not be doing anything extravagant but it’s good to get off campus and experience somewhere you haven’t before. Oklahoma City is the perfect place to get away and have some hip adult fun.

Photos by Caitlin Overmeyer

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