Why is Oklahoma City Called Bricktown?

You have probably heard the term Bricktown used in conjunction with Oklahoma City. If you are unfamiliar with the city, it would be natural to assume that Bricktown is a nickname for OKC. But, that is not the case. 

The term Bricktown refers to a popular entertainment district on the east side of downtown OKC. Contained within 50 square-block of Bricktown, there is a man-made canal, restaurants, a museum, two arcades, a miniature golf course and a minor league baseball park in which the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA affiliate calls home. 

Early Bricktown

The area that is now known as Bricktown, was once a warehouse district. Four railroad companies operated out of the area, near the Santa Fe railroad tracks. The first brick structures were small in stature and were erected near the turn-of-the-century. About 100 years ago, businesses began building the grand, multi-story brick buildings that mark Bricktown's modern identity.  

In the 1930s, as the Great Depression shuttered businesses, the area began to decline. After World War II, suburbs came into favor and the once thriving warehouse district gradually became abandoned. 

Bricktown Revival - MAPS

A handful of visionary real estate investors, including Neal Horton and Jim Brewer began efforts to rebuild Bricktown in the 1980s. Their efforts were rewarded in 1993 when OKC residents approved a 1 cent sales tax to be used to fund improvements to downtown OKC, including Bricktown. The program was called the Metropolitan Area Projects, or MAPS. From 1993 until the tax expired in 1999, MAPS raised 309 million dollars with another 54 million dollars earned via interest on the deposited tax revenue. 

The original MAPS program funded the following projects in Bricktown:

The Bricktown Canal

The Bricktown Canal is a mile-long man-made canal that runs through the Bricktown Entertainment District, on the east side of downtown Oklahoma City. While some out-of-towners might call it the Oklahoma City river walk, or OKC canal, locals refer to it as the Bricktown Canal. 

The Bricktown Canal has three distinct portions:

  • Old Bricktown

  • Lower Bricktown

  • Bricktown River Walk Park

Old Bricktown 

The northwest end, which begins just east of the Santa Fe railroad tracks, the canal extends east, taking a route that covers what used to be California Avenue.

Along this portion of the canal, you will notice that most of the buildings are restored historic warehouses dating back to the area’s history as OKC’s warehouse district. 

At Mickey Mantle Drive, the Bricktown Canal turns to the south. If you are visiting the canal for the first time, this area might be important to you. It is where:

  • Bricktown Water Taxi tickets are sold (at street level on Mickey Mantle Drive)

  • You can start a Bricktown Water Taxi ride at the canal level

  • You can rent a Segway from Sure Beats Walking

  • The Dodgers’ AAA Minor League affiliate plays, across the street from the canal, at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.  

Where the canal turns south at Mickey Mantle, you will also find Brickopolis. On the west side of the canal is the outdoor portion of Brickopolis, including miniature golf, Klime wall, gemstone mining sluice, and bungee trampoline. On the east side of the canal, you will find the indoor arcade and pizza restaurant. 

Lower Bricktown

Following the canal southbound, you will cross under Reno Avenue and into Lower Bricktown. 

Unlike historic Bricktown, Lower Bricktown is a relatively new real-estate development, with new buildings and amenities. 

The centerpiece of Lower Bricktown is a fountain and plaza just south of Reno Ave and Mickey Mantle Drive. The fountain is surrounded by restaurants, including a rare walk-in variety of Sonic, America’s Drive Inn. 

On the south side of the plaza is the Harkins Theaters Bricktown 16 movie theater, where you can enjoy a movie in the state-of-the-art Cine Capri. 

The Bricktown Canal curves back to the east in front of the theater. Beyond the theater, on the north side of the canal, you will see the headquarters for Sonic, America’s Drive-Inn. 

On the south side of this portion of the canal are two restaurants, Charlestons and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. The former is a long-time Oklahoma-based fine-dining restaurant concept. 

Toby Keith’s is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the Bricktown area. 

Bricktown River Walk Park

After you pass Toby Keith’s and meander east and slightly south, the area transitions from a business and commercial area to a more green park. You will probably notice the popular Bass Pro Shops in the distant, to the east. 

At Chickasaw Plaza, the canal turns south and you will cross under Oklahoma City Boulevard. 

The highlight of the Bricktown River Walk Park is the expansive Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument, which commemorates the Oklahoma land run of 1889. The collection of bronze statues depicts 45 Oklahoma historical figures. 


East of the monument, the OKC river walk ends. Nearby, it is a short walk to Bricktown Landing, a connection to the Oklahoma River, where you can board take an Oklahoma River Cruise.

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The Oklahoma Land Run

Monument

The Centennial Land Run Monument is a set of bronze statues, by artist Paul Moore, that portray 45 figures as they make their way to stake a claim in what will eventually become the state of Oklahoma.

The Land Run Monument, on the southeast end of the Bricktown Canal, is free to visit.

OKC Bricktown Water Taxi

The Bricktown Water Taxi is a great way to experience the length of the Bricktown Canal without walking. 

Beyond just transportation, the water taxi boat rides are conducted by knowledgable boat captains/tour guides. If you are new to Oklahoma City, or are visiting for the first time, a water taxi ride is an excellent way to learn about the remarkable history of the Bricktown Entertainment District and downtown Oklahoma City. 

Visitors on the Bricktown Water Taxi enjoy a ride on the west end of the canal. The mural that they are admiring is by Oklahoma artist, Jack Fowler, and is entitled  El Pavo Real  (sometimes referred to as the Bricktown peacock).

Visitors on the Bricktown Water Taxi enjoy a ride on the west end of the canal. The mural that they are admiring is by Oklahoma artist, Jack Fowler, and is entitled El Pavo Real (sometimes referred to as the Bricktown peacock).

The Bricktown fleet consists of six 26-foot boats that accommodate up to 40 passengers. No need to be bothered by gas exhaust or engine noise. Each OKC water taxi boat is propelled by a quiet Torqueedo Cruise 4.0 electric motor powered by a lithium battery. 

Each boat is equipped with a portable ramp, two wheelchair spaces, and tie-downs for security.  

Ticket Booth Location

The ticket booth is on Mickey Mantle Drive, just north of Brickopolis, across from the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. You can walk down the nearby steps, or take the elevator, to the canal level loading area, in order to board the next water taxi. See it on Google Maps.

You can also buy tickets in advance on the Bricktown Water Taxi website. 

Prices are:

  • Regular $11

  • Youth (6 to 12) $8.50

  • Child (5 and under) $3.50

  • Senior (65+) $9.50

Each individual pass is good for an entire of riding. 

Operating Hours and Seasons

During the summer, until late September, you can take a water taxi seven days per week from 10 am to 10 pm, weather permitting. 

In March, April, October, and November, the water taxi’s hours are 10 am to 7 pm. 

November, December, January, and February the water taxis run dependent upon the weather and demand. 

Historically, the water taxi operator has offered free boat tours in December, Thursday through Sunday, for riders to enjoy the holiday lights that illuminate the Bricktown area. 

Private Charters

If you plan on visiting downtown Oklahoma City with a group, you might consider an OKC canal boat tour. They offer group charters, including dinner and cruises; history tours; and, scavenger hunt tours. There are special rates for schools, camps, and daycares.

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

The Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is a 12,000-seat baseball stadium, with natural turf, that hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers' AAA affiliate, also called the Dodgers. 

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Chickasaw Bricktown

Ballpark

Home of the OKC Dodgers and various entertainment events.

Why Visit Bricktown Today?

Bricktown is all about fun. There are restaurants, pubs, miniature golf, a piano bar and bowling. You can take a ride down the Bricktown Canal on a Bricktown Water Taxi or rent a Segway and zip around the district on a self-tour. 

Bricktown is full of public art, too. 

How to Get Around Bricktown

Getting around Bricktown is a snap. While the district is a walkable 50 square blocks, if you want to take it easy, there are multiple options:

  • Bricktown has its own loop on the Oklahoma City Streetcar route, which runs east on Sheridan Avenue and west on Reno Avenue.

  • Both Uber and Lyft are active in Bricktown and OKC in general.

  • OKC's public transit systems, Embark, operates a bus that circulates around downtown, with multiple stops in Bricktown. Look for bus #50. The fare is $1.

  • Dockless scooter rental service, Lime, has is available in OKC. Click here for one free unlock coupon for a Lime scooter.

 Hotels in and around Bricktown

Booking.com