In a city whose population grew from zero to 10,000 on April 22, 1889 -- the first day of the Oklahoma Land Rush -- the settler and cowboy culture that links the Great Plains to the American West runs deep. But so does this city's love of art, culture, and great food.
DAY 1: RIDE 'EM, COWBOY!
If you happen to be in Oklahoma City during one of its famous horse shows and rodeos -- and they host enough for there to be a pretty good chance that you will be -- head over to the world-class equestrian facilities at State Fair Park.
While the action is still fresh in your mind, visit nearby Stockyards City and shop for traditional cowboy boots at the century-old Langston's. You know you want a pair.
Head across the street to Cattlemen's Steakhouse, another centenarian that has won the Oklahoma Gazette's "Best Steak Award" for 17 consecutive years (for the adventurous, its "lamb fries" are worth a try, too).
DAY 2: WALK THROUGH HISTORY
The Buffalo Bill statue outside the impressive National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum may be its icon, but its most famous work is The End of the Trail by James Earle Fraser, an instantly recognizable statue of a Native American warrior slumping exhausted on his saddle.
The territory at the end of the Trail of Tears, Oklahoma got its name from the words okla and humma, meaning "red people" in the native Choctaw language. Take time to visit the Red Earth Art Center, dedicated to promoting and preserving the traditions of Native Americanart and culture.
DAY 3: CULTURAL STROLL
One of Oklahoma City's lesser-known gems, the American Banjo Museum's collection contains more than 400 instruments, including many ornately carved and decorated Jazz Age banjos, and traces the instrument and its music's roots from African slaves to more recent bluegrass, folk, and world music.
You really can't visit Oklahoma City without trying one of the onion burgers the region has been known for since the 1920s. Tucker's Onion Burgers' three-patty Mother Tucker challenges you with a full pound of meat that still hasn't broken $10 (though for one dollar extra, you can make it a Cheesy Mother Tucker), despite sourcing the main ingredients within a 300-mile radius.
This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.