Presented by Devon Energy, Downtown in December is a monthlong holiday extravaganza with attractions ranging from zip lines and museum outings to light displays and visits from Santa Claus. In keeping with the event’s tradition, the festivities officially kick off with the SandRidge Tree Lighting Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday (today) at Mickey Mantle Drive and Flaming Lips Alley, across the street from the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
This year’s event includes no less than four new attractions. Here is a comprehensive schedule, as appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my feature on Downtown in December 2012, click here.
Downtown in December
When: Friday through Jan. 1. (Some attractions will be open longer.)
Where: Various locations in downtown Oklahoma City.
Downtown in December 2012 schedule
SandRidge Christmas Tree Lighting Festival: Help kick off the holiday season with Mayor Mick Cornett and Santa Claus as they light the SandRidge Christmas Tree at 6 p.m. Friday on the Bricktown Canal off Mickey Mantle Drive. The lighting ceremony officially begins downtown Oklahoma City’s month-long holiday celebration. It will include live music by Banana Seat, family-friendly activities, hot chocolate, cookies from Nonna’s, popcorn from Harkins Bricktown Theatres, free pictures with Santa, live ice sculpting and more. Admission is free.
Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Gardens: The Devon Ice Rink is expected to attract more than 30,000 skaters beginning Nov. 23 Friday and will offer live entertainment and special guests on the weekends. On Friday nights, a live DJ heats up the ice with popular and holiday musical favorites. Special guests and local radio personalities will take to the ice as they broadcast live from the rink on Saturday nights. Admission is $10 per person, including skate rental. The rink is open through Feb. 3. Go to www.DowntownInDecember.com for dates and hours.
Devon’s Saturdays with Santa: Children of all ages are invited to meet Santa and enjoy a festive theme each week: “Toyland” (Saturday), “The North Pole” (Dec. 1), “A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 8), “Whoville” (Dec. 15) and “Let it Snow” (Dec. 22). Attendees can write letters to Santa, take pictures in St. Nick’s sleigh and visit the arts and crafts table. Saturdays with Santa will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays in the Devon Rotunda, 333 W Sheridan.
Chesapeake Energy Snow Tubing: Cruise down the nation’s largest manmade snow tubing slope at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Presented by Chesapeake Energy, snow tubing sessions run Saturdays and Sundays starting Nov. 24 Saturday. Hours vary. Between Dec. 20 and Jan. 5, tubing is open seven days a week except Christmas. Admission is $10 for each 90-minute session. Private parties and groups sales are available by calling (405) 218-1000. For session times, dates and to buy tickets online, go to www.DowntownInDecember.com.
SandRidge Santa Run: Whether running or walking, skipping or hopping, the entire family can get in on the fun on Saturday, Dec. 8. The event includes a 5K run that begins at 9 a.m. at Leadership Square, 211 N Robinson, followed by a one-mile Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. and the Santa Claus Kid’s Dash at 10 a.m. Registration is open now through race day. Pre-register prior to Nov. 30 for $35. After Nov. 30, register for $40 at the packet pick up, on Friday, Dec. 3 from noon to 6 p.m. at Schlegel’s Bicycles, 900 N Broadway Ave., or on race day at Leadership Square between 7 and 8:30 a.m. The one-mile Fun Run is $10. There is no charge for the Kid’s Dash for children ages 8 or younger. Participants can register online at www.DowntownInDecember.com. There will be cash prizes for competitors in the costume contest, along with healthy giveaways.
Free Water Taxi Rides: All ages are welcome to take a fun-filled float down the beautifully-adorned Bricktown Canal free of charge, courtesy of the Downtown Business Improvement District. Guests can board the boats on Mickey Mantle Drive across from the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, just west of the third-base entrance. Water Taxi rides are free from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays throughout December.
Automobile Alley Lights on Broadway: From Friday through Jan. 1, some of downtown’s most historic buildings will be draped in colorful lights between NW 4 and NW 10 streets along Broadway Avenue.
OG&E Garden Lights: The renovated Myriad Botanical Gardens will be festively illuminated each night during Downtown in December. This year’s display begins Friday and will last through New Year’s Day. Admission is free to the public. Guests may also want to time their visit to coincide with Free Crystal Bridge Sundays.
Free Crystal Bridge Sundays: Guests of the Myriad Botanical Gardens will receive free admission to the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory from 6 to 9 p.m. each Sunday, Nov. 25-Dec. 23. Guests will enjoy free hot cocoa and entertainment.
OneMain Financial’s Bricktown Canal Lights: From Friday through Jan. 1, downtown OKC’s premier entertainment district will be brightened with holiday lights. The light display is free to the public.
OU Medicine presents Winter Market: A new addition to this year’s Downtown in December festivities, the Winter Market will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 7-9 in the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The weekend will offer an opportunity for holiday shoppers to visit the Great Lawn, where there will be more than 40 vendors selling local and handmade goods, including crafts, decor, jams, art and other specialty items. In addition to an abundance of holiday shopping opportunities, the Winter Market will feature food vendors, treats like hot cocoa and cider, and live outdoor musical entertainment. Admission is free.
Sonic Segway Santa: St. Nick will visit downtown events on his Segway personal transport scooter, spreading holiday cheer to all as he hands out special giveaways and treats. Watch for tweets from Ö @DowntownOKCInc to find out where and when to get extra special prizes from Santa.
Continental Resources Free Movie Mondays: At 7 p.m. every Monday throughout the Downtown in December season, Continental Resources will host free screenings of family-friendly holiday movies at Harkins Bricktown Theatres. Movies include “The Polar Express,” “Arthur Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Home Alone.” Seating is limited. To attend, participants must register online at www.DowntownInDecember.com at least five days before the screening.
Little Willie’s Triple Dog Dare: The inaugural stair climbing event will take place 8 a.m. Dec. 1 at Leadership Square, 211 N Robinson Ave., and Oklahoma Tower, 210 Park Ave. The event is open to participants of all ages and even includes a “Puppy Dog Division” for kids younger than 16. For more information or to register, go to www.littlewilliestripledogdare.com.
Santa’s Adventures on the Oklahoma River: The new Downtown in December attraction in OKC’s Boathouse District, 725 S Lincoln Blvd., will feature the SandRidge Santa Zip, a 200-foot zip line; Polar Paddle, a kayak activity for kids ages 3-9; five large holiday bounce inflatable toys; a mechanical surfing machine; a candy cane rock climbing wall; and Rudolph’s Launch extreme air jumper. The attraction will be open Friday through Jan. 5. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunda. Special New Year’s Eve hours are 9 a.m. to midnight Dec. 31. Cost is $10 for a single trip down the zip line and all the other attractions or $20 for an all-day pass for unlimited zip line trips and all the other attractions. For information, go to www.boathousedistrict.org or call 552-4040.
Free Museum Sundays: For three Sundays beginning Dec. 2, several downtown museums will be open with free admission from noon to 5 p.m.:
Dec. 2: Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive.
Dec. 9: American Banjo Museum, 9 E Sheridan.
Dec. 9: Red Earth Museum and Gallery, 6 Santa Fe Plaza), with an open-house event.
Dec. 16: Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive.