Flip a coin. Oklahoma City, like Norman, is in that gray area. It all depends on how good your tunes are in the car. According to Google Maps, the 316-mile trip from Lawrence to Ford Center should take just more than five hours. Flights between Kansas City and Oklahoma City usually stop in Denver, take anywhere from four to six hours and cost about $325 round-trip.
Capacity: Approximately 18,000.
History: Opened in 2002.
Pre-game Three hours before tip-off, Bricktown Brewery
Post-game RedPin Restaurant & Bowling Lounge
Ford Center is located in downtown Oklahoma City, which contains most of the region's entertainment options. The arena is about two blocks west of Bricktown, OKC's slightly less intense version of The Power and Light District. Bricktown includes bars and restaurants of many kinds, ranging from chain restaurants such as Abuelo's to Oklahoma-only establishments such as Tapwerks Ale House and The Mantel. After depositing your car in a nearby parking lot, use the Bricktown Water Taxi for transportation between attractions. It's more San Antonio than Venice, but the water taxi certainly is a good way to rest tired legs.
Ford Center is part of Oklahoma City's Art District. The district includes the Myriad Botanical Gardens, located just northwest of Ford Center. The 17-acre garden is open until 6:00 p.m. every day. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, a 12-minute walk northwest of Ford Center, is expansive and filled with European and American art.
• The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is both a tasteful memorial to victims of the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City and an architectural must-see. The museum contains exhibits detailing the history of the Federal Building, its destruction and the investigation that followed. The outdoors memorial stands in stark contrast with the urban setting of downtown Oklahoma City and includes a reflecting pool, an orchard and several walls from the original Federal Building. The memorial and museum are located almost a mile north of Ford Center.
• If you love basketball enough to take another day or two off work, stick around through Monday night. You won't need to travel far to see the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the San Antonio Spurs at Ford Center at 7:00 p.m., Monday, March 22. The Thunder boast former Jayhawk Nick Collison and have blossomed into one of the NBA's surprise success stories in 2010. Tickets range from $10 to $325.
• If you're in Oklahoma City but away from the live basketball action, head over to the RedPin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge, the KU Alumni Association's official Jayhawk watch site. The RedPin is located in Bricktown, just a couple blocks east of Ford Center.
• Econo Lodge Near Bricktown — $59/night — 1750 E. Reno Ave.
• Quality Inn Bricktown — $57/night — 1800 E. Reno Ave.
• Bricktown Hotel — $74/night — 2201 E. Reno Ave.
• Best Western Saddleback Inn and Conference Center — $74/night — 4300 SW 3rd Street
• Hampton Inn Bricktown — $139/night — 300 East Sheridan Ave.
• Renaissance Oklahoma City — $209/night — 10 North Broadway Ave.
• Sheraton Oklahoma City — $139/night — 1 North Broadway Ave.
• Bricktown Brewery — Brewery/American — 1 North Oklahoma Ave.
• Brix Restaurant and Sports Lounge — American/Sports Bar — 27 East Sheridan Ave.
• Tapwerks Ale House — Brewery/American — 121 East Sheridan Ave.
• Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante and Bar — American/Bakery/Italian — 1 South Mickey Mantle Dr.
• Bolero Spanish Grill and Tapas Bar — Spanish — 200 Oklahoma Ave. #140
• In The Raw — Sushi/Asian — 200 S. Oklahoma Ave. #130