City Cheat Sheet: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

After leaving Oklahoma City for college and then working in the fashion industry in Dallas, Emmi Roush Kobs has returned to her hometown as Editor of The Scout Guide Oklahoma City, co-editing alongside her mother, Roberta Roush. Since her homecoming, Emmi has realized that much has changed in her hometown during her time away. “The Oklahoma City I grew up in and the Oklahoma City now are two totally different places,” she says.

Over the past year, Emmi has been rediscovering old gems and discovering new neighborhoods like Midtown and the Paseo Arts District. One thing that hasn’t changed since she left, however, is Oklahoma City’s locally-focused shopping mentality. “Oklahoma City has great boutiques, and each one has their own personality. I grew up shopping this way,” she says. “It’s been fun to rediscover Oklahoma City. The vibrancy is still here; it’s just a little more modern.” Here, the style-minded Editor shares what not to miss during a visit to her city.


21c Museum Hotel (900 West Main Street). New to Oklahoma City, this boutique art hotel shows local installations alongside works by nationally known artists. Housed in downtown’s former Ford Motor Company assembly plant, 21c is also home to the fabulous Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge, where chef Jason Campbell whips up American cuisine using Oklahoma-produced ingredients. “The rooms are cool and modern, and they each feature a different piece of art,” says Emmi, who recently indulged in a staycation at 21c.

Ambassador Hotel (1200 North Walker Avenue). Situated in Oklahoma City’s Midtown, this old-school boutique hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of great shops and restaurants. “It’s in the most pedestrian-friendly part of town,” Emmi says. For fancy cocktails and panoramic views of downtown, head up to the hotel’s rooftop bar.


Plenty Mercantile (807 North Broadway Avenue). This indie boutique has something for everyone—even the dog! Located in Automobile Alley, an area of town where all the old auto plants have been transformed into hip shops and eateries, Plenty sells locally made and American-made clothing, accessories, and housewares. The rooftop events space plays host to yoga classes and happy hours.

Gretta Sloane (6476 Avondale Drive). Tucked in the Nichols Hills neighborhood, this ladies boutique carries labels like Veronica Beard, IRO, Nili Lotan, and Ulla Johnson. Owner Katherine Buxton’s impeccable style is on display throughout the store. “I love knowing that the person I’m talking to was the buyer,” says Emmi. You’ll also find locally made candles and unique jewelry and accessories.

Rose Gold (7302 North Western Avenue). With a focus on American-made goods, this new women’s clothing shop carries a mix of current and classic pieces — casual tops, bottoms, and dresses. Locally made jewelry, indie perfumes, and handmade purses are also part of the thoughtful lineup of goods.

Betsy King (3001 Paseo). Located in the Paseo Arts District, which is home to trendy art galleries and shops, this shoe boutique carries an array of fashionable footwear from strappy heels by Via Spiga to comfortable and casual Seychelles.

Sara Kate Studios (1100 North Broadway Avenue). Perusing the beautiful items in Sara Kate Studios, it is evident that owner Sara Kate Little has a design background. “She finds amazing stuff from around the world,” says Emmi. “Her style is very eclectic and polished.” In her Automobile Alley shop, she showcases a variety of beautifully made items from notebooks and cards to vintage furniture.


Okay Yeah (705 West Sheridan Avenue). Take a break with a cup of joe at Okay Yeah, a coffee shop tucked in the back of The Plant Shoppe. The eatery, located in the Film Row District, makes little nibbles like homemade pop tarts too.


Cheever’s Cafe (2409 North Hudson Avenue). This Oklahoma City institution has been around forever, and serves up a mix of Southern and Southwestern dishes. Be sure to pair their contemporary comfort food with one of their craft cocktails. “Everything is good, and the menu offers a wide range,” says Emmi.

Chae (1933 Northwest 23rd Street) If you’re craving Asian food, head to this new modern Korean eatery for classic bibimbap and fusion dishes like Korean barbecue tacos. “Their cocktails are great,” says Emmi, “and, the restaurant is tucked in a cute old house, which gives it lots of charm.”

Cafe Kacao (3325 North Classen Boulevard) Open for lunch and brunch, this Guatemalan restaurant serves up Latin-inspired dishes that pair well with their Mexican cold brew coffee that is spiced with cinnamon and vanilla. “There’s usually an hour wait, and they don’t take reservations,” warns Emmi. “I usually like to go on a Monday at lunchtime, so I can get in.”


Udånder (131 Dean A McGee Avenue) Unwind after a day of exploring at this Scandinavian steam-and-sauna spa. Soak your feet for 30 minutes in a large copper basin filled with herbs and botanicals that are selected based upon your mood, or enjoy a relaxing massage or facial treatment.

barre3 (5800 North Classen Boulevard) Re-energize with one of owner Andrea Mason’s barre workouts. “Her classes are like spiritual experiences,” says Emmi. “If you need an hour to yourself, it’s a great workout. It’s uplifting and you feel great afterwards.”

Find more local recommendations in The Scout Guide Oklahoma City.
Photography by Brett Heidebrecht.