New Streetcar Makes Going Downtown Easier and Fun

Downtown Oklahoma City is calling, and now, with a new downtown streetcar, it’s easier than ever to get around the vibrant, constantly growing area.

A youthful city with a reverent and confident sense of self, Oklahoma City is embarking on a brave new future. As part of that renewal, Oklahoma City residents voted to self-fund a 4.86-mile modern streetcar system in 2009, which became one of EMBARK’s options of transit services.

The Oklahoma City Streetcar includes 22 stops linking major employers, businesses, attractions and residences in the downtown area, which officially launched on Dec. 14, 2018.

With seven streetcars that hold roughly 104 people, the $135 million system will link all of Oklahoma City’s popular areas, allowing residents and visitors to park, ride and get around to all their favorite places.

EMBARK unveiled Bermuda Green, Clear Sky Blue and Redbud as the colors for the brand identity of the MAPS3’s Oklahoma City Streetcar. 

“Our use of color is bold and modern. It’s significant of where we are as a city, our growth over the past decade and reflects EMBARK’s bold optimism,” says Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK administrator, in a recent release. “Stakeholders told us they wanted modern, forward-thinking, unique and approachable. That’s what we delivered.”

To encourage people to explore the streetcars to stay, play, dine or drink, the Love the Loops initiative was started. If you visit and shop at any of the businesses along the route, you could win a $250 gift card to your favorite Love the Loops partner business. 

To be entered to win, upload a photo of your dated receipt and complete a web form. All receipts must be from businesses along the streetcar loops and dated before June 30, 2019. Participating Love the Loops businesses include breweries like Twisting Spike Brewing Company and Elk Valley Brewing Company, restaurants like Tamashii Ramen House, Cultivar Mexican Kitchen and more, as well as local businesses like Plenty Mercantile, Schlegel Bicycles and Shop Good, among others. To get a full list of participating businesses, visit EmbarkOK.com.

Big Impact

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber released an investment impact analysis on the MAPS3 downtown streetcar project in 2018, which showed that the project had notable numbers. According to the survey, the streetcar project has resulted in:

  • More than $1.6 billion in public and private investment in the three-block impact zone since the route was announced in 2011.
  • Private investment has exceeded $801 million.
  • Public investment totals more than $806 million.
  • Residential developments have been built with 1,860 new housing units.
  • A 16 percent increase in the number of jobs has taken place.
  • Seven new hotels with 833 rooms have been constructed within the investment area.
  • A net increase of more than 1.5 million square feet of office space has been recorded.

Each OKC Streetcar stop is ADA-accessible for easy, level boarding with signage, real-time arrival information, covered shelters and a ticket vending machine. EMBARK will launch a mobile ticketing app later this year.

Head Downtown: A Night Out Itinerary

Now you have streetcars to use downtown. So, where are the places you can go for the perfect night out, date night or Valentine’s Day outing? We’ve got a perfect itinerary for a night out in downtown Oklahoma City using the new streetcar system.

Park your car along any of the stops in Oklahoma City and hop on the Downtown Loop or Bricktown Loop to Charleston’s Bricktown, 224 Johnny Bench Drive.

Overlooking the Bricktown Canal in Oklahoma City, Charleston’s is the perfect spot to enjoy an appetizer or drink before a movie at Harkin’s Bricktown Cinema 16 or before an event at Chesapeake Energy Center. With a huge marble bar, the restaurant is famous for its extensive wine list and creative menu.

Kirsten Holder, director of marketing for the Hal Smith Restaurants, suggests that diners start with the famous Charleston’s Old Fashioned. The ever-popular Charleston’s Spinach Dip is just the right size to whet the appetite and satisfy early cravings before an event or show.

After your event or a stroll around Bricktown, hop on to the Downtown Loop for dinner at Mahogany Downtown, 145 W. Sheridan Ave. Mahogany’s steaks are custom-aged U.S. Prime Midwestern Beef known for its excellence in marbling, texture and flavor. Served sizzling on a heated plate so that it stays hot, choose to pair it with the Australian Rock lobster and Mahogany’s signature “M” Salad.

The “M” Steak Salad is piled high with sliced tenderloin, iceberg, blue cheese, hearts of palm and Parmesan crisp. Service will be outstanding but provided in a casual, less intimidating fine-dining atmosphere.

After a full dinner, get back onto the Downtown Loop to end the evening at Water’s Edge Winery, 712 N. Broadway. 

Waters Edge Winery is a locally owned winery offering handcrafted wines from grapes gathered from around the world. Each wine is blended, fermented, oaked, racked, filtered and bottled right here in the Oklahoma facility, and you have more than 30 wines and varietals to choose from.

Featuring a full wine menu, including wine tasting flights and by the bottle, Waters Edge is a favorite place for locals to gather, socialize and relax. Reservations are not required.