Bricktown was once a warehouse neighborhood and the historic center of commerce in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. At the turn of the century, four different railroad companies used to chug into the city and help the economy grow, shipping corn, cattle, wheat, cotton, fruit, mules and horses throughout the country.
As the money from this industry flowed into the city, warehouses were built throughout the town, in a building boom that lasted from 1898 to 1903. A subsequent building boom occurred from 1903 until 1911 and also in the 1920s. Many of these large and ornate red-brick warehouses are still standing today.
The Great Depression slowed down new construction in the area. After World War II, the suburban sprawl moved the commercial center away from the warehouse district. By the 1980s, Bricktown had become a ghost town, with many of its building abandoned.
That is when Neal Horton, a developer, saw the potential in the abandoned warehouses and came up with the idea of turning it into an entertainment district called “Bricktown.” His plans were thwarted by the oil and banking crash in 1982, but another investor named Jim Brewer took over. In the 1990s, this area was transformed into a thriving and energetic dining and nightlife hotspot. The turn of the century charm adds to the atmosphere and the beautifully restored buildings make the perfect setting for live music, great dining, special events and dancing.
Here are some tips for visiting Oklahoma City’s beautiful Bricktown:
- Take a water taxi boat tour down the Bricktown Canal and enjoy the view of the buildings from the water
- Keep your eyes peeled for the sculptures by renowned artist Paul Moore that can be found throughout the district
- Wander up and down the brick-lined streets, soaking in the turn of the century atmosphere of this beautiful part of town
- Catch a movie at the famous Harkins Theatre, an Oklahoma City landmark
- Dance the night away at Coyote Ugly Saloon
- Taste some of the delicious local microbrews on tap at Tapwerks
- When you start to get hungry, treat yourself to a mouthwatering steak at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse
- If you love country music, you can catch some performances at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
- Bricktown also features the RedPin Bowling Lounge, an upscale, modern and sleek bowling alley. This chic place makes bowling cool again and also serves great snacks including burgers, hot wings and alcoholic milkshakes
- Head to the Bricktown Ballpark and watch the Oklahoma Redhawks Triple AAA baseball team
- If you visit during July, you will be able to join in the annual Bricktown Art Festival, when the district comes alive with performances and exhibitions from local artists
Bricktown is packed with live music, great food and excellent fun, all in a beautiful, historic district.