The Best Things To Do In Guthrie, Oklahoma

Art galleries, antique stores, and a lively music scene make Guthrie a memorable destination.

Guthrie, OK

Aaron Ryburn

Guthrie, Oklahoma’s original territorial capital town, is oft-touted as “Oklahoma’s Christmas Capital.” From the historic Blue Belle Saloon to the majestic Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library, Guthrie's downtown, with its brick streets and Victorian architecture, does look like a movie set straight out of a Hallmark holiday flick.

But the town is full of splendor no matter the season. As the largest contiguous National Register of Historic Places in the country, Guthrie’s downtown area harkens back to the time before Oklahoma was even a state. After massive renovations saved the original settler buildings in the 1970s and 1998s, Guthrie became a favorite destination for Hollywood productions and movies as well, thanks to its authentic Old West feel. One can imagine famous Western icon Tom Mix as he poured whiskey as a bartender at The Blue Belle Saloon, which still has bullet holes in the walls from rowdy cowboy shootouts.

Drugstore Museum, Guthrie

Aaron Ryburn

“In Guthrie, you get to visit a living and breathing town where people really know each other," says Justin Fortney, director of tourism and community development. "You get the Victorian atmosphere, the restaurants, the events, and the festivals, but it is also a welcoming hometown.”

Here are the best ways to spend your time on your next trip to Guthrie.

Gurthie, OK

Aaron Ryburn

What to Do

Gary Good, an Oklahoma City transplant who owns the Gallery Grazioso (in a building that precedes statehood), says the art scene in Guthrie is surprisingly rich. When he bought the old 1902 Pabst Miller Brewing Co. brick building, he was simply looking for an investment property. 

Thanks to the monthly Art Walks throughout downtown, Good was convinced to open a gallery with artwork from Oklahoma artists like Reian Williams, Debbie Jenkins, and Joy Richardson. There are also paintings by Tony Benedetto, also known as the celebrated singer, Tony Bennett.

“Art goes hand in hand with the history of Guthrie,” Good says. “With the way that buildings look, it just lends itself to both art and music. When I got to town, there were like three galleries that were active and a couple of shops that had a lot of art in them, but now we are immersed in arts.”

Oklahoma International Bluegrass Fest

Aaron Ryburn

On most nights, the sounds of guitars and fiddles fill the air in Guthrie’s cultural arts district, which has a thriving music scene that comes alive through outdoor block parties and jam sessions. The town also hosts the summer season’s Red Brick Night block parties, annual festivals like the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, the 89’ers Parade and Celebration that celebrates the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, and The Territorial Christmas. All year, the district remains vibrant with performances at The 1919 Pollard Theatre and famed picker Byron Berline’s Double Stop Fiddle Shop.

If the Territorial history of Guthrie calls for a visit back in time, the Frontier Drugstore Museum and its adjoining apothecary garden display the artifacts, early medical equipment, and memorabilia from the frontier days. The Oklahoma Territorial Museum & Carnegie Library transports researchers and visitors back in time when “Sooners” rushed into the state at the sound of a shotgun to stake out a life in this wild land. The museum follows the Land Run of 1889 and the homestead experience, but also tells the story of Guthrie as the capital city of the territorial government and the first state capital.

Despite the numerous museums, including the Territorial Capital Sports Museum, just wandering the streets to gaze at turn-of-the-century architecture while munching on some candy from Licorice Man is enough to fill a leisurely afternoon.

Guthrie, OK

Where To Stay

Gary Good didn’t stop investing in Guthrie with the Grazioso Gallery. After purchasing a home built on the bones and landscape of an old amphitheater, he created the The Magnolia Moon Retreat in historic downtown Guthrie.

Magnolia Moon was originally built in 1989 as an amphitheater and entertainment district, but after it closed in 1999, it was transformed into a personal home. The outdoor tiered seating became a landscaped garden and a natural spring was tapped to create a peaceful water feature. Frequently featured on the HGTV network, it became its own destination. Today, the Magnolia Manor offers three homey little rooms overlooking the tiered landscaped gardens at the retreat, in addition to the downtown Suite Bettie Jean Bed & Breakfast adjacent to the gallery.

Bed and breakfasts are in no short supply in the Victorian neighborhoods surrounding Guthrie’s downtown, but chain hotels are also plentiful. “We have a really cool mix out here with tons of bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals in the downtown area,” says Fortenay. “We have about 500 rooms when you count the hotels plus the vacation rentals.”

Guthrie, OK

Aaron Ryburn

Where to Eat

The Blue Belle Saloon may have served up liquor and witnessed its share of gunfights during Guthrie’s wild west days, but today it’s the Blue Belle Pizza Parlor & Saloon. Besides serving up traditional pies and garlic knots, the original, historic bar still offers up cocktails, whisky, and beer. 

The Blue Belle Saloon was born when Guthrie was still just a tent city after the 1889 Land Run, becoming a brick and mortar brothel and saloon owned by Madame Lizzy in 1901. Silent western movie actor Tom Mix slung booze at the Blue Belle Saloon before he became famous, and other notable actors like Humphrey Bogart have sat in the well-worn seats. If you listen hard enough, you may even hear the ghosts who are said to haunt the old place.

Guthrie’s cozy downtown is a perfect fit for coffee shops like Hoboken Coffee Roasters and Rick’s Fine Chocolates and Coffee, which combines heady caffeine with the rich taste of homemade chocolates, caramels, and truffles, 

Stables Cafe is a Guthrie staple, serving up classic burgers, a stocked salad bar, steak, and more. The expansive restaurant and taproom, which is decorated in Americana memorabilia and metal signs, specializes in ribs and barbecue. The expanded Tap Room 223 in the back specializes in Oklahoma craft beer, ciders, and wine.

Guthrie also has its own distillery in WanderFolk Spirits, which serves up samples of its botanical vodkas and gin, Same Old Moses whiskeys and ryes, and Prairie Wolf spirits and cognac. The distillery offers tours that delve into the history and science of recipe creation, distilling, and blending before letting visitors sample their own liquor. Opened in 2012, it’s also Oklahoma’s first legal distillery, 

Guthrie may be one of Oklahoma’s most historic towns to visit, but it offers modern luxuries, a lively music scene and plenty of modern-day adventures. 

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