The Best of the Best 2015

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Entertainment

18 Holes

On a nice summer day, the rolling, winding fairways, fast greens and waving flags that direct your swing can be the perfect escape from a busy or hectic week. Teeing off at any one of these Oklahoma golf clubs is a cut above the rest. Southern Hills Country Club remains a Tulsa tradition, offering 27 holes to its members and welcoming major championships to its course. Cherokee Hills Golf Club, on the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, provides its members challenging but inviting play. Golf Club of Oklahoma in Broken Arrow boasts a Tom Fazio-designed championship course whose rolling fairways, lined with large oaks, stretch for 6,840 yards.

Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club’s charming course winds through lakes and creeks, offering its members a stunning backdrop and premier golf experience. Lake Hefner Golf Club is a close runner up with its two challenging courses, both with ratings more than 70. The Greens Country Club’s beautifully landscaped and maintained course continues to impress, and Gaillardia Golf and Country Club’s 18 holes, stretched across 250 acres of Bermuda grass, manicured fairways, lakes and streams, offers exciting play.

Art Gallery

Eclectic, colorful, intriguing, inquisitive and ever-changing are just of the few of things that draw you into a well-curated art gallery. M.A. Doran Gallery along Brookside always impresses with its collection of artists and works. Joseph Gierek Fine Art shares his large collection of paintings, sculptures, glass and other mediums with collectors and art-lovers alike, while Aberson Exhibits acts as the blank canvas for emerging and mid-career artists to bring to life. 108 Contemporary welcomes onlookers to explore the contemporary craft on display, and Living Arts of Tulsa gives art shape through its installations and interactive and three-dimensional exhibits.

The Howell Gallery of Fine Art opened to showcase the artistic talent that abounds in Oklahoma, also curating a collection of national significance. IAO Gallery attracts attention with its focus on progressive, intellectual and experimental art. Paseo Gallery One continues fostering artist growth in Oklahoma City through its programs and exhibitions.

River Spirit Casino, Best Casino. Photo courtesy River Spirit Casino.
River Spirit Casino, Best Casino
Photo courtesy River Spirit Casino.

Casino

If you need a place to let loose, you’ll hit the jackpot at these Oklahoma casinos. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa offers its players more than 2,600 of the most sought-after electronic games and has one of the largest selections of table games in Oklahoma, totaling 40. River Spirit Casino has one of the largest gaming floors in Oklahoma, packing fun and excitement into its 200,000 square feet. Osage Casino’s seven locations attracts its players with blackjack, table games, poker and an assortment of electronic games, while Downstream Casino & Resort in Quapaw combines great dealers and table games with top-of-the-line slots.

Riverwind Casino in Norman dares gamblers to test their luck on its machines and at its tables, offering the best in the business. In Thackerville, WinStar World Casino and Resort’s 500,000 square feet of gaming floor takes you to some of the biggest cities around the world with its themed gaming plazas. Choctaw Casino Resort attracts players to its eight Oklahoma locations, all with an exceptional array of ways to win.

Concert Venue

A city’s music scene thrives on the venues and stages that attract our favorite musicians to town. Good thing for Oklahomans, our two largest cities offer platforms that boast top talents and exciting show. The BOK Center arrived in Tulsa in 2008 and continues attracting performers that draw large crowds, and, in 2014, it was named 44th in the world among arenas for ticket sales. Cain’s Ballroom, built in 1924, is a world-renowned venue steeped in rich musical history and was ranked 22nd in the world among club venues for ticket sales. Brady Theater, another Tulsa standard, brings some of the greatest names in the industry in front of fans.

Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena ranked 100th in the world among arenas for ticket sales and continues delivering entertaining artists to the front of its stage. The Civic Center Music Hall, built in 1937, underwent a renovation in 1997, making it an acoustically superior hall, and continues giving its audiences electrifying concert experiences. The Zoo Amphitheatre, ranked 72nd in 2014 among worldwide amphitheaters for ticket sales, brings music fans to its hillside and industry greats to its outdoor stage for one-of-a-kind entertainment.

Hotel

Whether suggesting where out-of-towners should stay or planning a special weekend, Oklahoma’s best hotels offer guests elegant decor, entertainment, top-of-the-line amenities and even some history. The Mayo Hotel continues to be a downtown beacon, drawing guests to its exquisite 102 hotel rooms and ample event spaces. Ambassador Hotel, situated in downtown Tulsa, offers its guests the perfect gateway to explore the city. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa welcomes visitors to enjoy shopping, dining and relaxation alongside excursions to its entertaining casino floor.

Skirvin Hilton Hotel offers unparalleled cuisine, art and events that complement any luxurious stay in one of its 225 recently renovated rooms. Colcord Hotel, built in 1910, now offers a contemporary, elegant hotel experience with four room plans to choose from and two delicious restaurants that wine and dine. The Waterford Marriott pairs beautiful architecture and amenities with great views of Oklahoma City’s skyline, while the Ambassador Hotel greets you with style, comfort and service, offering its seventh floor rooftop bar and terrace for great views of downtown.

Oklahoma City Thunder, Best Professional Sports Team. Photo courtesy Oklahoma City thunder.
Oklahoma City Thunder, Best Professional Sports Team
Photo courtesy Oklahoma City Thunder.

Local TV Station

Getting reliable, up-to-date news from a source you trust is important. These local channels and their teams work tirelessly to make sure we feel safe and knowledgeable in our communities. KOTV Channel 6 wakes you up with great news in the morning and continues providing timely and relevant information to Tulsans and Oklahomans throughout the day. Whether its traffic, weather, crime or other news, KJRH Channel 2 dedicates its resources to providing Tulsa with the most accurate, pertinent information affecting the city and state. KTUL Channel 8 keeps its viewers informed on the latest news and happenings in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma.

KFOR Channel 4 looks out for its viewers by sharing the top stories in the state and allowing its audience to watch live wherever they are. KOCO Channel 5 watches over its community, providing Oklahoma City with significant local and national news. KWTV Channel 9 is a dependable source for delivering news that matters in Oklahoma and beyond.

Museum

Museums allow us to explore culture, life and science, art, history, the past, present and future and much more. Meandering through a museum’s lobby, hallways, exhibits, interactive spaces, gardens and more and discovering what’s around every corner are all part of the experience. The Philbrook Museum of Art intrigues as an Italian Renaissance-style mansion built in 1927 and gifted to the city of Tulsa in 1938, today hosting world-renowned art and welcoming visitors to explore its gardens. Gilcrease Museum is known for its preservation and study of American art and history and displays the world’s largest collection of art and artifacts of the American West. The Tulsa Air & Space Museum takes its guests in flight with its historical exhibits, hands-on science exhibits, flight simulators and planetarium shows.

Gilcrease Museum, Best Museum. Photo by Natalie Green.
Gilcrease Museum, Best Museum
Photo by Natalie Green.

At the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, two lobbies, a rooftop terrace, a library resource center, theater, museum school and three floors of traveling exhibits and permanent collections offer visitors plenty to discover. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum beautifully remembers those who lost their lives as well as the survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, while providing new generations with an interactive learning experience that shares the story of loss, resilience, justice and hope. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a monument to the American West, preserving, collecting and exhibiting Western art and artifacts, while the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma give guests a look inside the state and region’s natural history to foster further understanding and appreciation.

Warren Theatre, Best Place To Catch a Flick Photo Courtesy Warren Theatre.
Warren Theatre, Best Place To Catch a Flick
Photo Courtesy Warren Theatre.

Place to Catch a Flick

These days, it’s almost standard for movie theaters to welcome us with comfortable recliners. While the action-packed, romantic, hilarious, dramatic, historic movies draw us in, we also go for the entire experience that includes food, drink and décor. Broken Arrow Warren Theatre’s expansive, two-story building goes beyond comfortable recliner, offering four different theater layouts, a diner with a full menu and a second floor dedicated to those 21 years and older who like to recline with beer, wine or cocktails. Circle Cinema, Tulsa’s independent, non-profit theater, attracts movie-goers with its independent, foreign and documentary films. Cinemark Tulsa offers guests comfortable recliners, IMAX technology and the best movies playing on the big screen, as does AMC Southroads 20.

Moore Warren Theatre boasts the Warren Theatre name and the one-of-a-kind experience it’s known for. AMC Penn Square 10 plays all the movies you want to see. Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16, the fifth largest theater circuit in North America, gives its viewers the ultimate movie-going experience that keeps them returning.

Place to See and be Seen

If you want to be part of the fun crowd, there’s always something new and exciting happening at these Oklahoma locations, so get out there. Utica Square draws crowds every Thursday throughout the summer for its Summer’s Fifth Night concert series as well as every day of the week with its unparalleled shopping and dining experience. Brookside’s bars, restaurants, shops, galleries and fitness classes bring people onto the patios, rooftops and sidewalks that line Peoria. From summer movies and concerts on the green to food truck rodeos and fitness classes, Guthrie Green is always offering fun and play.

Oklahoma City Thunder games are always a spectacle that attracts the social elite, sports crazies and those that enjoy the thrill of the game. All along Western Avenue, shops, restaurants, galleries and events beckon crowds for exploration. Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse’s delicious tastes and luxurious décor attract local and national celebrities, athletes and powerful businessmen and women to its tables.

Professional Sports Team

Oklahomans love their sports team. We take pride in cheering on the most athletic players representing our state and take pleasure when they come out on top. When rallying behind our professional sports teams, the state’s NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the talents of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka make the biggest noise. Rooting on the Tulsa Drillers in the in and outfield of ONEOK field comes in second with exciting catches, hits and homeruns. The Oklahoma City Dodgers attract crowds to Bricktown Ballpark during home stretches, and the Tulsa Shock, Oklahoma’s WNBA team, brings competition and athleticism to the BOK Center court.

Pub/Brewery

Most the time, all we’re looking for when going to the pub or brewery is a cold beer, good conversation and maybe some food. But sometimes, we get to enjoy some added entertainment. Thanks to the owners of these watering holes, games, musicians and trivia add to the pub experience. At McNellie’s in downtown Tulsa, darts, shuffleboard, arcade games, pool, foosball and more are played best with a drink in one hand. Crow Creek Tavern in Brookside entertains its crowd with live music five nights a week. Kilkenney’s provides a great atmosphere for friends to unwind after a long week.

Mustang Brewing Company entertains its beer lovers with tours and tastings, pint and growler fills and its #craftbeerblockparty, held the second Saturday of every month. Tapwerks not only draws a crowd with its 212 taps and 100 bottled beers, but also with its pub trivia on Tuesdays and live music three nights a week. In Oklahoma City, the best place to catch a game on TV is Republic Gastropub, where you won’t miss a play because there’s a screen everywhere you look.

Resort In Oklahoma

Getting away doesn’t mean you have to go far. At any one of these Oklahoma resorts you’ll feel as though you’ve escaped into relaxation, exploration and fun. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa will suck you into its time warp, keeping you entertained at every step. Enjoy its spacious rooms and suites, pool, Cherokee Hills Golf Course, shopping, dining and exhilarating casino floor. Relaxing is easy at The Canebrake in Wagoner, a 250-acre eco-friendly luxury resort and the only Ayurvedic spa in Oklahoma, while Beavers Bend Resort Park will help you escape into wilderness while staying at one of its cabins or lodges with lake front views or nestled within the wood groves over looking the Mountain Fork River. Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center inhabits a cove on the shoreline of Lake Altus in the Wichita Mountains, offering its visitors beautiful lodging and views alongside hiking trails, rock climbing, golf, water sports and more; The Lodge at Sequoyah State Park, located on Fort Gibson Lake, is the largest state park lodging facility, offering 104 renovated guest rooms and 44 cottages; and Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center hopes you’ll relax in one of its peaceful and spacious rooms after a full day of team building or exploration.

Stop on the Radio Dial

That moment when you’re stuck in traffic scanning the radio for some good tunes or talk radio and your jam comes on. That happens frequently when your frequency matches up with these stations. 1430 AM, home of The Dan Patrick Show, The Rich Eisen Show and more, keeps its listeners tuned in with its relevant sports talk and entertaining hosts. 100.9 KXOJ has been attracting listeners with its Christian music since arriving on air in 1977. 106.1 KTGX holds the attention of country music lovers, playing the best on the radio.

102.7 KJYO is Oklahoma City’s No. 1 hit music station, playing Top 40 hits. 88.9 KYLV plays contemporary Christian music while featuring new stories, concerts and events. 98.9 KYIS is an adult contemporary station playing hits from the ‘90s through today.

Travel Destination

Though it may not be Oklahoma, our surrounding states offer entertaining cities that are fun to visit. Branson, Mo., lights up at night with more than 100 shows to choose from, and during the day, visit its many attractions that include museums, cruises, an award-winning theme park and more. Whether downtown, exploring the wooded trails deep inside the Ozarks or lakeside, Eureka Springs, Ark., offers its guests art, recreation, entertainment, relaxation, shopping, dining and history, as does Hot Springs, Ark., which offers relaxation at its spas, play on its golf course and fun park, shopping at its boutiques and more.

Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, home to roughly 650 bison, guides its visitors on an exploration of the Wichita Mountains, offering wildlife viewing and nature trails, educational activities, tours, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, camping and more. In Fayetteville, Ark., visitors enjoy uncovering its museums, botanical gardens, theaters, downtown shopping, spas and historic sites. Dallas has big things happening around town and hopes you’ll visit and explore the rich history, art and culture it offers.

Wedding or Party Venue

Finding the perfect wedding venue to host your special day is one of the biggest decisions when planning a wedding. It will affect the size of your wedding, theme or décor, catering and more. A ceremony in the beautiful Philbrook Museum of Art gardens, followed by an elegant reception indoors, will mesmerize. The Mayo Hotel offers so-to-be-wed couples nine stunning and intimate spaces to say “I do,” while the Cox Business Center prides itself in providing couples numerous wedding packages that cater to any size or budget. Escape to a Tuscan hillside at Dresser Mansion, a unique venue in the heart of Tulsa, or begin forever at the Harwelden Mansion, a nod to the 1920s with its stunning architecture and style.

In Oklahoma City, Rose Briar Place enchants with its candlelit chapel, bride and groom suites, outdoor garden and patio and reception space. Elevate your wedding with a contemporary ceremony and reception at Vast on the 50th floor of the Devon Tower. Skirvin Hilton Hotel offers numerous spaces and top-notch staff and catering to create your romantic, fairytale wedding.

Weekend Getaway Destination

Looking for some excitement and exploration this summer? These destinations are great for a quick weekend getaway, so pack up your car with the essentials and hit the road. In northeast Oklahoma, Grand Lake’s 46,500-acre lake provides fun catches and exhilarating boat rides and other water sports. When not on the water, enjoy scenic picnics, hikes and camping on its surrounding shorelines. For those not already living in Oklahoma City, its festivals, museums, shopping, dining, entertainment and history make it a great destination for adventure and exploration. The Canebrake, a resort and spa nestled near the shore of Fort Gibson Lake, is the perfect place to relax and comes in third, alongside Beavers Bend State Park, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts to the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. Stay at one of the park’s many cabins or campsites, and tee off at its 18-hole golf course or explore its trails on foot or bike.

Winery

Oklahoma’s soil produces vines for more than 50 wineries across the state. To tour our top tastes, take a trip down Interstate 44, the Arnold Drive of Oklahoma, and explore the aromas and flavors our winemakers have crafted. At Girouard Vines in downtown Tulsa, enjoy award-winning Tulsa Deco wines, among other selections, in its tasting room and tour its winemaking facility. You’ll have to follow Summerside Vineyards on its Facebook page to know where to get a sip, because its tasting room in Vinita is closed while its new, picturesque location is constructed in Tuttle, Okla. Family-owned and operated, Whispering Vines Vineyards & Winery invites guests to walk through its vineyard and enjoy its more than 15 varietals.

Using only local grapes, Tres Suenos Winery & Vineyard in Luther has been in the business for nearly two decades and has crafted the art of wine making. Girls Gone Wine in Broken Bow came to fruition with the hard work of three girlfriends who wanted to give tasters a “fun boutique winery” experience. It seems that those in Oklahoma City enjoy the tastes of Summerside Vineyards enough to make the drive. Good news for them, its new location in Tuttle means they won’t have to.