1. Down a Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer at Pops
Yeah, yeah, the Arcadia tourist destination known as Pops has its own line of sodas amid that wall of glass cases, but the tastiest beverage to be found — when it’s there, that is — is the Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer, bottled in Milwaukee. So smooth and sweet is this one, it’s worth the tummy pooch its calories will create.
2. Patronize the Art-O-Mat vending machine at City Arts Center
Contrary to the words of our nation’s surgeon general, some good has come out of cancer sticks: Some former cigarette vending machines now dis pense original pieces of art! One can be found in the lobby of City Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing. For a fiver, you get a pint-sized piece of original art. Will it be a painting or jewelry? The fun is in the find.
3. Eat animal testicles at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
Stop being a baby. If you haven’t tried the lamb fries at the venerable Cattlemen’s at 1309 S. Agnew, well, pardner, it’s time to saddle up and wrap your lips around one of the dishes that has made this Stockyards City mainstay so dadgum famous. As long as you don’t think about it too much, you’re sure to enjoy the explosion of fried goodness, so loosen up and have a ball.
4. Traverse the tunnel at the Capitol
If Michelangelo had studied art at a Cracker Barrel instead of Renaissance-era Florence, the result may resemble the mural in the east tunnel below the state Capitol. Linking the building to a public parking lot across N.E. 23rd Street, the Leon B. Field Tunnel depicts a visual trip through Oklahoma at its blandest: cowboys, American Indians in traditional headdress, oil field workers, a flattop-sporting sheriff, a minister at a pulpit, a boy carving watermelon, a phone company lineman, an ostrich, a young couple wearing Eskimo Joe’s T-shirts, a Bo Diddley look-alike, a stern-looking woman holding a fish, and much more.
Who needs Rodgers and Hammerstein?
5. Haunt the Skirvin
Despite what the New York Knicks might think, no evidence supports the long-held notion that the Skirvin Hilton Hotel is haunted. While that tale is likely of the shaggy variety, it doesn't change the fact that a 101-year-old hotel deserves a good ghost.
Check into the Skirvin with a suitcase of chains to rattle and sheets to wear when you visit the ice machine. Phone room service and shout “Boo!” when they ask how you want your eggs. Life's too short, and the Skirvin isn't getting any younger.
6. Jump in on an open-mic night at … well, pick one
America’s got talent, or so they say, and we’re pretty sure you do, too. Is it time to publicly unveil your spot-on impression of Bill Hader as Al Pacino?
The metro boasts an array of open-poetry nights at such spots as Full Circle Bookstore, IAO Gallery, Sauced on Paseo and others.
Would-be comedians have their periodic opportunities to test their funny at JJ’s Alley, The Landing Zone, Othello’s in Norman and Loony Bin Comedy Club.
7. Look in Hitler’s mirror at the 45th Infantry Museum
Among the fascinating artifacts housed at the 45th Infantry Museum, 2145 N.E. 36th, is a bedroom mirror straight from Adolf Hitler’s Berlin bunker. Gaze into it, which U.S. troops confiscated shortly after the collapse of Nazi Germany, and you can almost imagine glimpsing der fürhrer using it as he trimmed the world’s dorkiest mustache.
8. Indulge the senses at Mary’s Swap Meet
Head to 7905 N.E. 23rd before breakfast on Saturday or Sunday for a multi-cultural retail experience. You’ll smell freshly roasted corn, freshly deposited manure, red dirt, grease and patchouli. Observe people and livestock of all sorts. Every material possession possible awaits you: live baby chickens, Persian rugs, ornamental plants, a lifetime supply of Bic razors, a violin, pristine Levi’s, vintage pearl earrings, cast-iron skillets, collectible knives, a tricycle, a head of lettuce and fine china. “Possible” is the operative word here, where it’s OK to haggle.
Meet is a scavenger hunt where the prizes come in the form of subjective
treasures, wind-blown hair, grit in your teeth and appreciation for
the diversity our city holds.
9. Kill your diet at WinStar
In the mood for the Big Nasty?
That is — in this instance, at least — a culinary challenge at NYC Burgers & Dogs inside the sprawling WinStar World Casino in Thackerville. The meal consists of six burger patties, six slices of American cheese, two fried eggs, two jalapeño cheese dogs, a scoop of Yankee chili, a pound of fries and a large shake. Finish it and collect the prize: It’s free.
If not, pay $25 (not including potential hospital visit and bypass surgery).
11. Uncover a ______ at ______.
In other words, assemble the fam to go geocaching! That’s a nerdy word for “GPS-based treasure hunting,” which is a nerdy phrase for “find stuff hidden throughout the metro.” It’s easier than you think, especially with a handheld unit as kid-friendly as the Geomate Jr. A recent hunt at Whispering Heights Park in Edmond unearthed a toy car, a fake ring and a gold coin. Don’t forget to leave something if you take something. It’s only fair!
10. Play the Oklahoma legislature drinking game at the Capitol*
Step 1: Smuggle a bottle of whiskey into the Capitol. If a guard gives you trouble, simply tell them you’re visiting Rep. John Trebilcock.
Step 2: Sit in the press box overlooking either the Senate or the House.
Step 3: Take a drink every time a legislator either makes a reference to sperm; uses the term “open for business,” “grow government” or “the wisdom of the citizens of Oklahoma”; or says “freedom” or “liberty” to describe his or her proposal or to support a proposal.
Also take a drink every time a Democrat is allowed to speak or Rep. Randy Terrill turns to look up at the press box.
12. See the house that made Machine Gun Kelly famous
For a brush with Oklahoma City history at its most notorious, drive by the northeast corner of N.W. 18th Street and Hudson Avenue, one of the most infamous kidnapping sites in U.S. history. The home, which is privately owned, once belonged to oil mogul Charles Urschel, who was kidnapped on a sweltering July evening in 1933 by George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Arguably one of the more inept gangsters of that era, Kelly took Urschel at gunpoint while the oilman and his wife were relaxing with neighbors on the screened porch. Urschel eventually was released unharmed and Kelly wound up in Alcatraz, but the saga caught the nation's imagination — and that's long before Nancy Grace, even.
13. Rifle through the Western VHS cassettes at Old Paris Flea Market
If there’s anything more archaic than VHS tapes, it’s Westerns on VHS tapes, starring John Wayne, Tom Mix, Crash Corrigan, Tex Ritter, et al. You can find a shop practically dedicated to them in the back of Old Paris Flea Market, 1111 S. Eastern. And if Westerns — “oaters,” our ol’ film critic Doug Bentin called them — aren’t your thing, perhaps ninja weapons. Or there’s a porno shop out front.
*Editor’s note: Our lawyers insist you don’t actually do No. 10. Oklahoma Gazette is not responsible for what happens if you do.