24 Hours in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, every night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
We’re only sayin’
You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!
Oklahoma O – K – L – A – H – O – M – A

had to start this post about the 24 hours we spent in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with the most iconic state song of all time. It was  the song that was most played throughout our roadtrip, and, if I’m being honest, for a few weeks after our trip as well. (The second most played song was probably Oh What a Beautiful Morning, also from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! When we go on trips, Emma always builds us an amazing Spotify playlist that has songs about the region or songs from artists from the region, which is a fun way to infuse some local flare into our adventures.)

Oklahoma was hands-down my favorite spot we went on this trip — we saved the best for last and didn’t even know it. You can also read all about the genesis of our trip and our first stop in Omaha, Nebraska and our second stop in Wichita, Kansas.

My short time in the Sooner State left such an impression on me that since I returned from our trip, I’ve read two books about Oklahoma City. The first book I read on OKC was The Next Great American City in which Former OKC Mayor, Mick Cornett, discusses the strategic placemaking and investments Oklahoma City has made over the last two decades to revitalize their downtown core and attract top talent, companies, and even an NBA team. The second book I read on OKC was Boom Town by sports journalist, Sam Anderson. It’s a brilliantly told history of the city in which Anderson uses the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2012 basketball season as a storytelling vehicle to highlight the city’s long history of a boom and bust cycle.

Omaha, Wichita, and Oklahoma City are all mid-size cities, and it was definitely evident from the moment we drove into Oklahoma City that it felt like it had more of a vision for what it wanted to be — and, as we talked to residents, they were extremely proud of their city in a way I didn’t observe the other places we went. In short, it felt way more cosmopolitan and a city where its best days could still be ahead of it. Reading both The Next Great American City and Boomtown only served to affirm and provide color on why I felt this way during my time in Oklahoma City — and if you’re planning your own trip to OKC, which I highly recommend, I think reading one or both of these books before your trip would add so much depth to your time there.

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9.15.23 4

24 Hours in Wichita, Kansas

I’m back with a recap of the second stop on our summer 2023 Great American Roadtrip — you can also read all about the genesis of our trip and our first stop in Omaha, Nebraska and our third and final stop in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

When we told people we were going to Wichita, many people recommended we head to Kansas City instead — but since we had both been to Missouri, and the majority of Kansas City lies in that state, we wanted to prioritize a destination squarely in Kansas. When looking at the map, Wichita became an obvious choice, as it was a fairly straight shot from Omaha — we went slightly west, past Lincoln, and then took I-135 the rest of the way — and due north of Oklahoma City on I-35, where we knew we wanted our terminus to be.

Of the three mid-sized, midwestern cities we visited — Omaha, Wichita, and Oklahoma City — Wichita was my least favorite. Compared to the other two, it didn’t seem to have as clear of a vision of what it wanted its ethos as a city to be, nor did it feel like the downtown core had been revitalized as much. That being said, I’m glad we visited as it’s always important to explore new places and it gave us a great look at some of the history of pioneer towns and Native Americans who inhabited the prairies long before we came. As such, I’d recommend spending a day or so in Wichita as part of a larger trip — like we did! — versus making it a destination of its own.

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9.14.23 4

24 Hours in Omaha, Nebraska (+ a Quick Trip to Iowa!)

My friend Emma and I try to take one big trip together every year — we’ve done San Francisco, Key West, a roadtrip through the Deep South, Charleston, Memphis + Oxford, and, most recently, Hawaii. We like to joke that we’ve drank at bars east of, west of, and on the Mississippi.

We’re both on a mission to get to all 50 U.S. States, so earlier this year, as we were brainstorming where to go, we decided we needed to head to the heartland and cross off some of the “flyover states.” (After taking this trip, though, I would never call these states such — and I hope you’ll see why throughout the recaps of our trip!) We initially were looking to fly into North Dakota and make our way down to Oklahoma, but after looking at flights, the driving routes, and the amount of time we could take off work, we determined it was too much ground to cover on this trip.

So, after taking another look at trusty ol’ Google Maps, we landed on the following plan:

  • Thursday: Fly into Omaha, Nebraska and spend the rest of the day exploring.
  • Friday: Eat breakfast on Friday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, right across the Missouri River from Omaha, before driving the five hours to Wichita, Kansas, where we’d spend the rest of the day.
  • Saturday: Enjoy breakfast in Wichita, Kansas before driving the two hours to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where we’d spend the rest of the day.
  • Sunday: Fly home from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City.

While we had a lot of ground to cover, we ended up spending ~24 hours in each of the cities we visited (except for Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was more of a bonus stop that allowed us to cross off another state!), and felt like we had enough time in each to hit the highlights in each place. All of these cities, however, definitely had enough to do that you could make a weekend trip out of each of them if you wanted to spend more time in one place instead of making a Great American Roadtrip out of them like we did.

You can also read about our stops in Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


We started the trip off on a high note in Omaha, Nebraska! (And yes, so many people we know asked us how we ended up on vacation in Omaha, Nebraska, after visiting Waikiki Beach last year — but let me tell you, there’s fun to be had no matter where you go.) I had heard great things about Omaha before I visited from some acquaintances and — randomly — from an article I read years ago in a doctor’s office about how it’s a great mid-size city, but admittedly, other than associating Omaha with Warren Buffet, steaks, and the College World Series, I didn’t know many specifics about “the gateway to the West.” During my research ahead of the trip though, I came to hypothesize that Omaha would be our kind of place — and luckily, I was right.
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