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Brooke and I had never been to Oklahoma City, despite living only a few hours away. One night, over a few beers, our friends (Hey Melanie & Jay) suggested that we road trip down for the big game between the Warriors and Thunder. I figured this would be a tough ticket, since these teams are two of the top 5 in the NBA, Golden State is on a record-win pace, and well, Steph Curry… We decided to go for it anyway, and the trip was nothing short of incredible! Bonus: Learn how to get into Thunder games for FREE!
Air Travel/Transportation – How we got there and how we got around.
- Accommodations – Where we stayed in the city.
- Adventures – Write-ups of the activities we enjoyed during our visit.
- Total Trip Cost Breakdown – How much we actually paid for the trip and which loopholes we used.
- Road Trip! – Save 10% on gas using the Discover IT card (1Q16)
We all piled into Melanie’s Kia Spectra and rumbled down I-35 toward Wichita, KS, where we would spend our first night. Then we motored onward to Oklahoma City in the morning. Total drive time = approximately 5 hours each way. Jay handled the drive like a champ – Thanks brah!
Our only extra expense on the road trip was a couple new brake lights for the Kia. If you don’t know how to perform this sort of minor car maintenance (I sure didn’t), YouTube is your friend!
Night 1: Wichita, KS – Crashed with Family (Thanks, Mrs. D!)
If your friend ever offers to let you crash at their parents’ house during a road trip – DO IT! This generally means a few things:
- Their parents are awesome!
- Their mom will likely make a delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup (and margaritas if you’re lucky)!
- You will probably learn that your friend has a hidden skill. If you’re wondering, Melanie’s skill is ping pong. I demand a rematch…
Night 2: Oklahoma City, OK – Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown – 7,000 SPG points
We picked this hotel completely based on location. We were within walking distance of the Thunder Arena and Bricktown, OKC’s outdoor bar & restaurant district. Also, 7,000 SPG points was a bargain for a central downtown location, especially on the night of a big basketball game! By comparison, the Hilton property across the street costs 40,000 points!
Apart from the price and location, the hotel itself was not particularly impressive. They charge for coffee in the lobby, which seems a bit greedy, and they apparently ran out of bars of soap. We had to wash our hands with a bottle of body scrub… odd. Parking was $10, but we found a spot on the street for free.
Lunch – Bricktown Brewery
After checking into the hotel, we walked over to Bricktown for lunch at Bricktown Brewery. We love checking out local breweries and brewpubs, so this was a great find. The portions were generous, and the beer sampler was huge! We tried their eight house beers and unanimously agreed that the Blues Berry Ale was the favorite. For food, I recommend the Pork on Pork Sandwich with Sriracha BBQ sauce and a side of sweet potato fries.
MAIN EVENT – Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
What…a…GAME!!! This was my very first in-person NBA game, and it totally lived up to the pregame hype! I’m getting ahead of myself…
As I mentioned above, we drove to Oklahoma City for this game, but we did not buy tickets in advance. Ticket prices were crazy, with a minimum price of $175 for the upper deck, corner seats! We all agreed that we would be O.K. with visiting a new city and watching the game at a bar, if ticket prices did not come down. I looked everywhere for inexpensive tickets – I even called the Visa Signature concierge service, and they quoted me a price of $340!
I was ready to give up and just hope to scalp a half-decent set of tickets after tip-off. Then I got a GREAT tip from /u/Nerbil on Reddit. He informed me that the Thunder offer a FREE promotional raffle for 50 pairs of tickets before every home game!! These tickets are way up high, but this was the break we needed! After lunch, we walked over to the arena to register for the raffle. Once we had raffle tickets in hand, we grabbed some drinks in Bricktown and strolled along the river walk.
One hour prior to tip off, the raffle began… and Brooke won a pair of tickets!! Sadly, our friends did not win tickets. Since Brooke is not much of a basketball fan, she offered her ticket to Jay, and she went with some friends to watch the game and sip margaritas at a bar. Jay and I found our seats up in the nosebleed sections and watched the first quarter. Then, we noticed a pair of unclaimed seats on the 4th row. If nobody else was going to sit there, we may as well try… So, we walked straight down to the seats and sat down without any question at all!
We could not have asked for a better game! Steph Curry broke the 3-point record again. The Warriors dug out of a big hole and somehow scored 4 points in 14.5 seconds to force OT. Of course, in overtime Steph drills the DEEP 3-pointer to win the game! See videos below for two of the game’s biggest moments, as seen from our vantage point. Hard to believe that we got to see it all from the fourth row for FREE!
Kevin Durant puts the Thunder up 4 with 14.5 seconds left in regulation:
Steph Curry buries the game winner:
Dinner & Drinks – Tapwerks
After the game, we met back up with the ladies at Tapwerks. We downed some celebratory beers (not that we cared who won, but just raising our glasses to an awesome game), and we ate some delicious fish tacos. The craft beer selection at Tapwerks is quite large, and they also feature spicy margaritas.
The following table breaks down our lodging and ticket costs. Free is the name of the game!
|Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown||7,000 SPG points, earned with the Amex SPG Credit Card||$0|
|Two Tickets to the Big Game – 4th Row||Won in pregame raffle! Thanks for the tip /u/Nerbil!||$0|
If you are planning a trip to OKC for a Thunder game, definitely consider the raffle! I get the impression that the turn out for the raffle is not nearly as high against less prominent opponents. The likelihood of winning a pair of tickets should be quite high for most games. Also, be sure to swing through Bricktown, take in the atmosphere, and sample some local brew. Thanks for a great time Oklahoma City!
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