Best place to volunteer
REGIONAL FOOD BANK OF OKLAHOMA
3355 S. Purdue
Maybe someday we won’t need the food bank, but until we live in Utopia, more than 90,000 bellies rely on the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma every week. In turn, the food bank relies on volunteers to help with special events, sorting donations and food distribution.
2. Central Oklahoma Humane Society, 7500 N. Western
3. Festival of the Arts, 400 W. California
Worth mentioning: Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, Red Andrews Christmas Dinner
Best free entertainment
FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Whoever came up with the line that “the best things in life are free” must’ve had a crystal ball with a view directly on downtown, because not for nothing has Festival of the Arts lasted way longer than most Oklahoma marriages: 45 years! It’s not quite spring in this town until this celebration of arts for the eyes, ears and digestive system begins, rain or shine — and usually with the former.
2. First Friday Gallery Walk
3. Myriad Botanical Gardens
Worth mentioning: Live on the Plaza, Sunday Twilight Concerts
Best live music club
UCO JAZZ LAB
100 E. Fifth Street, Edmond
Styled after New Orleans jazz clubs, the Jazz Lab’s mission is music education, entertainment and creation. The club nurtures local entertainers, as well as a pool of students studying jazz at the University of Central Oklahoma. With food and beverage options (including beer and wine) from Hideaway Pizza, date night is a no-brainer.
2. The Blue Note, 2408 N. Robinson
3. VZD’s Restaurant and Club, 4200 N. Western
Worth mentioning: The Deli, Gilmore’s Pub
Best concert venue
CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ARENA
100 W. Reno
Go big or go home! That’s Oklahoma City’s motto when it comes to basketball, steak and live music. The city loves its arena concerts, where the bass rattles your rib cage and the crowd’s enthusiasm and intensity are part of the draw. The venue hosts world-touring megastars, such as homegirl Carrie Underwood, whose scheduled visit is Oct. 25.
2. Zoo Amphitheatre, 2011 N.E. 50th
3. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker
Worth mentioning: Diamond Ballroom, The Blue Door
Best dance club
5705 Mosteller Drive
Fittingly enough, Gazette readers think the best place to get your groove on is, well, Groovy’s. Featuring your most-beloved tunes from the 1970s and ’80s, this dance spot long has been a city fave. Grab a drink and select some songs, or head there for the live DJ Thursday nights. Either way, the dance floor awaits.
2. The Copa, 2200 N.W. 39th Expressway
3. Kamp’s, 1310 N.W. 25th
Worth mentioning: CityWalk, Skky Bar
Best public golf course
LAKE HEFNER GOLF CLUB
441 S. Lake Hefner Drive
The best public links in town, according to Gazette readers, is at Lake Hefner. The Lake Hefner Golf Club allows golfers to choose one of two courses, a 7,000-yard north course designed by Randy Heckenkemper and a slightly smaller south course designed by Floyd Farley. Both are challenging, featuring water hazards and bunkered fairways. Oh, and there’s a driving range, putting green and golf shop, to boot.
2. Kickingbird, 1600 E. Danforth, Edmond
3. Earlywine, 11600 S. Portland
Worth mentioning: Lincoln Park, Westwood Golf Course
Best karaoke bar
NANCY'S 57TH STREET LIGHTHOUSE
5708 N. May
Having a total eclipse of the heart? Do you want to sing about it? For the second year in a row, Nancy’s is the top choice for such an activity from Gazette songbirds. Have a cocktail with your performance (like we need to tell you that), and, presto, you’ve got a therapeutically fun evening. If you’re not that great of a singer, make sure you buy your friends a round for listening to you croak — er, croon.
2. Cookie’s, 2304 N. Western
3. Friends Restaurant & Club, 3705 W. Memorial
Worth mentioning: Don Quixote Club, Bill’s Island Grill
Best art gallery
PASEO ORIGINALS ART GALLERY
There are more art galleries in the historic Paseo Arts District than you have fingers and toes, but Karen L. Orr’s Paseo Originals Art Gallery is the largest. Not that size matters when it comes to galleries — just the beauty of the booty. For example, drop in now through Sept. 2 for The Mind’s Eye, a visionary exhibit by Brett McDanel and Jan Brieschke.
2. IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan
3. DNA Galleries, 1705 N.W. 16th
Worth mentioning: JRB Art at the Elms, Istvan Gallery
OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART
Visitors to Oklahoma City Museum of Art can’t help but be wowed: Having a three-story glass sculpture tends to do that. And that’s just the lobby! Currently celebrating its first decade downtown, OKCMOA offers not only awe-inspiring exhibitions, but independent films, art classes for kids, rooftop cocktails not for kids, a scrumptious restaurant and more. When the zombies attack, we’re headed here.
2. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 N.E. 63rd
3. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 N.E. 52nd
Worth mentioning: Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, Oklahoma History Center
Best fine jewelry
several metro locations
Amid OKC’s jewelry offerings, Gazette readers conclude that one shines brighter. And that doesn’t even include the store’s venerable Christmas-season jingle, which, for our money, is at least as good an Xmas tune as anything Burl Ives ever did. From diamonds to fine china, Oklahoma’s oldest jewelry store delivers great quality and service to its customers.
2. Samuel Gordon Jewelers, 5521 N. Penn
3. Mitchener-Farrand, 2844 W. Wilshire
Worth mentioning: Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Brockhaus Jewelry
Best vintage, thrift or resale store
BAD GRANNY'S BAZAAR
1759 N.W. 16th
Where can you find a toaster, bowling shoes and Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” on vinyl? What about Dia de los Muertos figurines and a cashmere trench coat? Hours slip by while browsing booths filled with vintage, retro, one-of-a-kind and truly bizarre goods from the city’s best curators. Why can’t my granny be as cool as Bad Granny?
2. Uptown Thrift, 2215 S.W. 74th; 7513 S.E. 15th, Midwest City
3. Daisy Exchange, 5911 Northwest Expressway; 2741 S. Service Road, Moore
Worth mentioning: RetrOKC, Nearly New Shoppe, Bohemian Spirit Vintage
Best men’s clothier
7518 N. May
For the swag-seeking gentleman, Gazette readers point the way toward Blue Seven, a locally owned boutique that understandably bills itself as “kind of hard to fit into a box.” The shop carries an eclectic assortment of clothing, jewelry and the like, sure to please dudes and dandies.
2. Mr. Ooley’s, 1901 Northwest Expressway
3. GQ Fashions Fine Menswear and More, 3525 N.W. 23rd
Worth mentioning: Spencer Stone Company, S.J. Haggard & Company
Best women’s clothing boutique
7518 N. May
No stranger to the “Best of OKC” winners’ circle, this contemporary gift and clothing shop has made a name for itself in the heart of Oklahoma City. Whether you’re on the hunt for a pair of raw-denim jeans (as well as details on how to care for them) to the oddest wine-bottle topper to jewelry pieces designed or made by local artists, Blue Seven is the hub for all things of this nature.
2. Balliets, 5801 N.W. Grand
3. Lucca Fashion Boutique, 14101 N. May
Worth mentioning: On a Whim, Warpaint Clothing, Ten14 A Boutique
Best place to find the perfect gift
ON A WHIM
5850 N. Classen Blvd.
The quest for the perfect gift — something unique, practical and sophisticated — continues to baffle many of us. Fortunately, On a Whim, open since 1998, is here to help. You can find toys for a niece’s birthday, designer clothes for the fashionista in your life, elegant dinnerware perfect for a wedding and much more.
2. Blue Seven, 7518 N. May
3. Collected Thread, 1705 N.W. 16th
Worth mentioning: DNA Galleries, Shop Good
Best place to help you beautify your outdoor space
TLC FLORIST & GREENHOUSES
105 W. Memorial; 8208 Northwest Expressway
For Gazette green thumbers, TLC is the preferred place for help with your gardening needs, no matter the season. Living up to its mission to bring plants and people together in an environment where both are happy and successful, the store proves that, yes, we do all need a little TLC (and we don’t mean the music trio).
2. Horn Seed Company, 1409 Northwest Expressway
3. Under the Sun, 25 W. 33rd and
400 S. Bryant, Edmond
Worth mentioning: Marcum’s Nursery, Tony’s Tree Plantation
Best place for continuing education
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
With so many courses to choose from, it’s no wonder that — spoiler alert: OSU loyalists might want to skip to the next category — OU is Gazette readers’ No. 1 place for continuing education. Take courses for credit, or not, and get in the know on everything from aviation to social work. The Sooner we put on our thinking caps (get it?), the quicker we’ll learn.
2. University of Central Oklahoma
3. Oklahoma State University
Worth mentioning: Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City University
Best yoga, pilates, martial arts or fitness center
YMCA OF OKLAHOMA
several metro locations
Since 2007, the YMCA of Oklahoma has reigned supreme in the category of fitness centers. After all, there aren’t many places you can go for a swimming pool, martial arts classes, a sailing class sign-up or a variety of other wellness-based classes. What’s even better is that there are more than 10 metro locations, making the YMCA accessible for everyone.
2. Yoga at Tiffany’s, 9610 N. May
3. Cadence Yoga, 801 N. Hudson
Worth mentioning: Ashtanga Yoga, M+ Yoga
Best place for a pedicure on your lunch hour
HAWAIIAN SPA & NAIL
14101 N. May
So, your OKCupid crush finally initiated some face time … tonight! Too bad your toes look like a case study presented in a Lamisil commercial. You could tend to these hygienic needs yourself, but why not pay someone else to tame those claws? Don’t be embarrassed: The technicians at Hawaii Spa & Nail have seen it all.
2. Hair and Nail Salon, 2800 N.W. 63rd
3. Super Nails, 1211 N. Broadway, Moore
Worth mentioning: Polished Nail Salon,
San Francisco Nail
Best pet care or supplies
PAMPERED PETS VETERINARY CLINIC & SPA
805 W. Covell, Edmond
This full-service facility offers a bevy of services, ranging from basic veterinary treatment and grooming to a presidential suite with a fireplace, bedtime rubdown and pet-friendly movie. Heck, that sounds pretty terrific: When can we check in?
2. Classen View Veterinary Clinic, 2301 N. Classen Blvd.
3. Chasin’ Tail, 1714 N.W. 16th
Worth mentioning: A1 Pet Emporium, Swaim Serum Company & Pet Wellness Clinic
Best place to improve your eyesight
DEAN MCGEE EYE INSTITUTE
several metro locations
Among the largest ophthalmology institutes in the U.S., the Dean McGee Eye Institute long has been a national leader in vision care and research. It is also one of the few institutes in the Southwest or Midwest to offer a comprehensive spectrum of eye care. No wonder the DMEI has more than 150,000 patient visits each year.
2. Midtown Optical, 1106 Classen Drive
3. Black Optical, 5820 N. Classen Blvd.
Worth mentioning: TSO; Dr. Kurt D. Weir
Best place to buy sports equipment, gear or clothing
RED COYOTE RUNNING AND FITNESS
5800 N. Classen Blvd.
For those planning to get their sport on, Red Coyote Running and Fitness has what you need. But don’t take our word for it: Red Coyote — founded by running enthusiasts Burke and Jon Beck — recently was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in the U.S. by Competitor magazine.
2. Twids Sporting Goods, 6001 S.E. 15th
3. Schlegel Bicycles, 900 N. Broadway
Worth mentioning: Edmond Summit Company, Switchblade Skate Company
Best place to buy your next vehicle
BOB MOORE AUTO GROUP
several metro locations
When choosing a car, it may take some time at Bob Moore Auto Group. With more than 19 brands from which to choose, the dealership sports plenty of options. That’s what happens when you’ve become an institution, and the Bob Moore Auto Group has become just that since opening its first OKC operation back when Nixon was in the White House.
2. Bob Howard Auto Group, several metro locations
3. Fowler Volkswagen, 591 N. Interstate Drive, Norman
Worth mentioning: Diffee Ford Lincoln, Hudiberg Auto Group
Best place to buy a motorcycle or scooter
6904 W. Reno; 3433 S. Broadway
When it comes to selecting your boss hog, get your motor runnin’. At least that’s the verdict of Gazette readers, who appreciate Harley-Davidson World’s wide selection of makes and models, including new 2012 models and pre-owned cycles. Take a walk — or ride, really — on the wild side. Feel the wind in your hair, and find a new bike today.
2. OKC Thunder Cycles, 900 W. Memorial
3. Maxey’s Cycles Oklahoma City, 4112 N.W. 39th
Worth mentioning: Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson, Ajax Kawasaki
Best place to buy furniture
MATHIS BROTHERS FURNITURE
3434 W. Reno
Everybody, sing along with me: “Mathis Brothers’ Furniture, your style, your price.” That’s the slogan of the family-owned and -operated business, which has been living up to those words since 1960. The store guarantees the lowest prices on some of the hottest name brands in furniture, and customer service representatives are available seven days a week.
2. Bob Mills Furniture, 3600 W. Reno
3. Hoffman Furniture, 3704 N. Western
Worth mentioning: Suburban Contemporary Furniture, Dane Design Contemporary Furniture
1544 W. Oklahoma Highway 9, Norman
Gazette gamblers must be throwing some loaded dice. For the sixth year in a row, Riverwind Casino has been crowned “best casino” by readers. Owned by the Chickasaw Nation, Riverwind features a 219,000-square-foot gaming floor with 2,700 electronic games, more than 50 blackjack and poker tables, a 100-room hotel and 1,500-seat theater. Lady Luck resides on the premises, we hear, but it’s up to you to find out where.
2. FireLake Grand Casino, 777 Grand Casino Blvd., Shawnee
3. Remington Park, 1 Remington Place
Worth mentioning: WinStar World Casino, Lucky Star Casino
Best destination in Oklahoma but outside the metro
660 W. Highway 66, Arcadia
There are many reasons to love Pops: the iconic soda-bottle light sculpture, unique ultramodern gas station, and restaurant with hand-dipped milk shakes, to name but a few. But the real attraction is the soda ranch, where you can have your pick of some 600 fizzy beverages. And not just any soda: Pops boasts drinks like Hot Lips Boysenberry, Jones Blue Bubble Gum and China Cherry Tianfu Cola.
2. Wichita Mountains, 32 Refuge Headquarters, Indiahoma
3. Eischen’s Bar, 109 N. Second, Okarche
Worth mentioning: Quartz Mountain, Medicine Park
Best place to take out-of-towners
OKC THUNDER GAME
100 W. Reno
Unless your out-of-town visitor is Lil Wayne, few things are as likely to impress your guest like the NBA’s reigning Western Conference champs. It’s not just that the Thunder is arguably the most exciting basketball team around, boasting superstars like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. It’s not just that the Thunder also features top-notch entertainment. It’s also that the place is so mind-blowingly loud — a trait that’s made it the talk of the NBA.
3. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey
Worth mentioning: Myriad Botanical Gardens, Eischen’s Bar
Best adult entertainment establishment
DOLLHOUSE LOUNGE & BURLESQUE
210 E. Sheridan
Gazette readers say the best place to get one’s quasi-sexy times on is the Dollhouse Lounge & Burlesque, among the newer additions to Bricktown. Whether it’s a 1920s-era burlesque show or a more modern cabaret, Dollhouse boasts a wide array of titillating adult entertainment. The establishment, which opened earlier this year, also features food from French Bull Catering to satisfy other appetites.
2. Night Trips, 220 S. Vermont
3. The Boom, 2218 N.W. 39th
Worth mentioning: Red Dog Cafe, Sugers
Best retail establishment to open after 6/1/11
2262 W. Main, Norman
Local promises “modern food for modern people,” and although it’s a newcomer to the restaurant scene, the place is doing quite well for itself. As the name suggests, many of the ingredients Local uses are grown or raised in Oklahoma. The menu features special seasonal dishes, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday is a family-style brunch.
2. The Social Club, 106 S. Crawford, Norman
3. Sons & Daughters, 1124 N.W. 44th
Worth mentioning: Liberte, Folklife
Best local nonprofit organization
REGIONAL FOOD BANK OF OKLAHOMA
3355 S. Purdue
Over half a million Oklahomans are struggling with hunger, many of them children and the elderly. With help from the community, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has been working to combat hunger since 1980. In fiscal year 2012, the food bank distributed more than 42 million pounds of food, and has vowed to continue its mission until hunger is eliminated.
2. Infant Crisis Services, 4224 N. Lincoln
3. Central OK Humane Society, 7500 N. Western
Worth mentioning: Allied Arts, Second Chance, WildCare Foundation
Best local sports team
C’mon, we’re talking about the defending NBA Western Conference champions. We’re talking about the league’s three-time scoring champ (Kevin Durant), the Sixth Man Award winner (James Harden), and arguably the most exciting point guard playing today (Russell Westbrook). To say OKC has fallen in love with the Thunder is putting it mildly. Remember back when football was the only game in this neck o’ the woods?
2. OU Sooners football
3. OU Sooners women’s basketball
Worth mentioning: OKC Barons Hockey, Oklahoma City RedHawks
Best free Wi-Fi
METROPOLITAN LIBRARY SYSTEM
several metro locations
Hey, you! Yeah, you, in the AMC Pacer parked by the curb in front of my house! Stop stealing my Wi-Fi signal! Don’t you know there are, like, 17 Metropolitan Library System locations serving Oklahoma County? Each one is a free hot spot! Yeah, seriously! So move on and — oh, while you’re there, will you please return this copy of Fifty Shades of Grey for me? Thanks!
2. The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen Blvd.
3. Elemental Coffee, 815 N. Hudson
Worth mentioning: Cafe Evoke, Beatnix Cafe
Best place to pick up your weekly Gazette
several metro locations
Swing by any Hideaway Pizza to pick up yours truly (not that we’re that easy, mind you) … and a large thin-crust Totally Truffled pizza. This delectably decadent pizza, made with truffle oil, fresh spinach and a garlic glaze, is one of many mouth-watering options Hideaway offers. Oh, yeah, there are also salads, pastas and sandwiches, in case you’re worried about getting tomato sauce on your Gazette.
2. Jimmy’s Egg, several metro locations
3. City Bites, several metro locations
Worth mentioning: The Red Cup, Picasso Cafe