Oklahoma City is another one of those good sized US cities that know how to throw a top quality new year's eve party, with the famous Opening Night event drawing crowds from miles around to join an event that is one of the most popular on the Oklahoma City (often shortened to OKC for obvious reasons of brevity!) annual social calendar, with many people travelling to the state capital to be part of the celebrations.
The city itself prides itself on it's friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and while you're in town there are plenty of other attractions well worth checking out. Top rated diversions include the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Frontier City theme park and the Oklahoma City Botanical Garden
As mentioned above, the big party in town on new year's eve is the now famous Opening Night Oklahoma City, which is organised by the Arts Council of Oklahoma and has been taking place since 1987. This is a family friendly event that includes a wide and varied range of entertainment such as live music, magic shows, comedy acts and of course a dramatic and spectacular fireworks show at midnight.
The Opening Night celebrations are centred in the downtown area, The main location for Opening Night is currently Bicentennial Park, a change from the previous Myriad Gardens venue, while there is also a children's area inside the Civic Center Music Hall and a rnage of food trucks in Finale Alley.
You do need to purchase a wristband to attend and these are every reasonable priced at only $10 (under 5's free) with a discount if you buy in advance - you can obtain them locally at 7-Eleven stores, MidFirst Bank branches, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, or alternatively get yours online here.
Performers at Opening Night for new year 2018 have now been announced as David Bruster and the Walkabouts, Jabee, LTZ, Moetowne Alex and the Nightview Band, Orquesta d’Calle, OKC Improv, Ali Harter, Michael King, Yung Tray, Susan Herndon, Sativa Prophets, Kinsey Charles and the Bricktown Clowns.
The headline performance this year is David Bruster and The Walkabouts, who will be on the Opening Night Finale Stage in Bicentennial Park from 9pm until midnight, when the fireworks will be launched.
Opening Night is also another party to introduce a fitness aspect to their new year celebrations, with the Festive 5k run, which starts at 4pm, just before the main party gets underway at 7pm. The run starts from Finale Site, near Bicentennial Park downtown. Participants are encouraged to dress up to add to the festive atmosphere, while those who successfully complete the run will be given a medal and an Opening Night wristband, a handy added incentive!
Many people also head to the Devon Ice Rink in Myriad Botanical Gardens, which is open from 11am until 11.30pm on new year's eve so you can spend some time on the ice before themain party and fireworks display.
Another big new year tradition in this part of the world is the big NYE basketball game at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where local favourites the OKC Thunder always have a home game on 31st December, and this is guaranteed to draw in the crowds. Details on this year's opposition to follow.
If you're on the lookout for new year dining options then you'll find plenty of options to choose from in Oklahoma City, with well over 1000 different eateries across most imaginable genres. Top recommended places include Republic Gastropub, Ingrid's Kitchen and Paseo Grill. They don't have much in way of veggie options but you will get a vegan meal at Rococo Northpark. See the full range of OKC restaurants here.
Places to watch live online: there are a number of webcams located at key points around the city which will enhance your chances of seeing some fireworks if you can't get there in person:
Oklahoma City has a thriving hotel industry with everything from budget motels to 5 star luxury pads so you'll find plenty of choice, but as always be aware that the festive season gets busy so don't wait too long if you're looking for somehwere to stay. For availability and reservations you can book local hotels here.
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