An Oklahoma Thanksgiving: Things to Do with Family Over the Holidays
Showcase Oklahoma’s diversity and charm for out-of-town visitors with visits to the state’s top attractions, Thanksgiving-themed food and treats, and some of the best Black Friday shopping destinations.
Thanksgiving is a time for coming together with loved ones, enjoying a delicious meal and getting started on holiday shopping. For many, it also means hosting family for an extended weekend. Let us guide you to the best places to take out-of-towners, restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving dinner and where to go for the best deals during the Black Friday shopping rush in Oklahoma.
Places to Go Over Thanksgiving Break
• Anchored by the famous 18-foot “End of the Trail” sculpture by James Earle Fraser, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is a must-see for its internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts.
• Known as one of the most family-friendly zoos in the country, the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden will offer hours of entertainment from the popular elephant habitat to the Great EscApe exhibit. Bonus: The Oklahoma City Zoo offers free admission each year on the day before Thanksgiving.
• Aptly referred to as a mini-Smithsonian, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa is home to over 250,000 American Indian and Western objects, as well as 10,000 works of art that include 18 of Frederic Remington’s 22 bronze sculptures. Take a stroll through the museum’s 11 themed gardens to enjoy some crisp fall air.
• Home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Dale Chihuly art in the world, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art showcases a 55-foot-tall glass tower that makes for a great photo-op with family.
• Visit Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art, a 72 room mansion-turned-museum that houses art from all around the world, including American and European masterpieces, in an Italian villa setting.
• Pay tribute to those who were killed and those who were forever changed by the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
• Journey to the Tulsa Zoo where you can roam among 84 acres of exotic animals. Must-see exhibits include the Giraffe Experience, the Chimpanzee Connection, the Penguin Exhibit and the Helmerich Sea Lion Cove.
• Take a journey through the universe at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum’s Planetarium. In addition to the 50-foot dome, you’ll also learn about Tulsa’s rich aerospace history and see locally built planes.
• Other must-see attractions across Oklahoma include the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid, the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton.
Thanksgiving Eats in Oklahoma
• If you don’t feel like slaving over a hot stove all day, head to Deep Fork Grill in Oklahoma City for a fabulous three course Thanksgiving meal that will include a starter of your choice, entrée and delicious dessert. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
• Order a side of the Thanksgiving Fries at S&B’s Burger Joint for a basket of sweet potato fries topped with marshmallow cream, dried cranberries and chopped pecans. Luckily, these tasty fries are available year-round.
• Thanksgiving doesn’t exactly bring to mind Italian food, but Ti Amo Ristorante Italiano is out to change that. Their Thanksgiving buffet, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., features prime rib, turkey, ham, lasagna, potatoes and tons of sides. This special is available in their south Tulsa location only, so call and get your reservations ahead of time.
• During the month of November, head to The Mule in Oklahoma City for the amazing Triptophantastic. It’s a mouthful to say and to eat, as it combines all of your Thanksgiving favorites - turkey, cranberry sauce and even dressing – piled high on a sandwich.
• Reservations are a must at Ingrid’s Kitchen in Oklahoma City each Thanksgiving. Offering a handful of timeslots, this popular all-you-can-eat buffet includes turkey, ham, broccoli cheese casserole, cranberry sauce and all the fixings.
• For a festive Thanksgiving feast that you don’t have to lift a finger to prepare, visit Oklahoma City’s Rococo’s Restaurant & Wine Bar. Rococo’s is offering a set holiday menu, and reservations are required.
• Michael V’s Restaurant & Bar is a happening place to be on Thanksgiving in Tulsa. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests will have their choice of turkey, dressing and all the sides on a bountiful buffet.
• The Cosmo Café in Tulsa offers a Thanksgiving sandwich that combines smoked turkey, cream cheese, cranberry relish, hot stuffing and tomatoes on a honey wheat bun.
• Get your fill of traditional favorites at Oklahoma’s state parks this Thanksgiving. The Roman Nose Lodge Restaurant, located within Roman Nose State Park in Watonga, offers a buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Beavers Bend Restaurant, which is located in southeast Oklahoma’s beautiful Beavers Bend State Park, is also offering a Thanksgiving buffet for lunch. After a leisurely meal, stretch your legs with a walk around the park.
Black Friday Shopping in Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is home to three major shopping malls: The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, Penn Square Mall and Quail Springs Mall. Enjoy upscale retail stores coupled with reduced prices at The Outlet Shoppes, anchored by stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, J Crew and Tommy Hilfiger. Head to Quail Springs for three levels of name-brand stores and a 24-screen movie theater, or Penn Square for shops like Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, See’s Candy and Oklahoma City’s only Apple store.
In Tulsa, Black Friday shoppers can head to Woodland Hills Mall, Promenade Mall and Utica Square for great deals. Save big at Promenade Mall, conveniently located only two miles south of the Tulsa fairgrounds, or head over to Woodland Hills Mall for over one million square feet of popular stores from Banana Republic to Brighton. Utica Square offers upscale retail and exceptional restaurants all within an elegant outdoor village setting, making it the perfect location for a more relaxed shopping experience.
If you’re looking for some Oklahoma souvenirs to send home with your guests, these are a few places that can’t be beat.
• In both Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Dwelling Spaces offers unique Made in Oklahoma apparel, art, music, books and more.
• In Stillwater, stop in for world-famous Eskimo Joe’s gear and collectible t-shirts at the Eskimo Joe’s Clothes World Headquarters.
• The Cloverleaf Boutique in Ardmore can’t be missed – look for the pink and white striped building ringed with pink-painted bicycles and head inside for kooky antiques, fun purses and colorful merchandise.
- Cherokee Heritage Center
- Cherokee Nation Tourism
- Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
- Eskimo Joe's
- National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
- Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma City Zoo
- Philbrook Museum of Art
- Tulsa Zoo
- Will Rogers Memorial Museum & Birthplace Ranch
- Family Fun
- Monthly TravelOK eNewsletter