Bricktown Canal turns 25 years old


A birthday party is about to occur in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown entertainment district.

The mile-long Bricktown Canal will celebrate its 25th anniversary on July 2 as Oklahoma City kicks off festivities.

  • July 3 – Red White and Boom! Free concert at 8:30 in Scissortail Park hosted by OKCPHIL orchestra and featuring Maestro Alexander Mickelthwate and special guests Jay Gleason and Audrey Logan.
  • July 3 – Fireworks at the Flagpole. Free concert hosted by the Bricktown Association and the Oklahoma Opry featuring live music from Mallory Eagle, Kyle Earhart, Cindy Scarberry, Dustin Jones, The Oklahoma Opry Band and special guests.
  • July 4 – OKC Baseball Club will end their game against the Las Vegas.
  • July 5 – OKC Baseball Club will end their game against the Las Vegas.

“The Bricktown Canal is the vital anchor for Bricktown’s thriving entertainment scene,” Mayor David Holt said. “It has served as a catalyst for private investment for 25 years. That growth continues today with new experiences still being planned and built along the Canal.”

Bricktown Water Taxi

Water taxis have been operating on the canal since it opened in 1999, and its popularity continues today. In 2023, the Bricktown Water Taxi carried more than 128,000 passengers.

People interested in experiencing the Bricktown Canal by boat and learning about Oklahoma City’s unique history can purchase tickets for a 40-minute ride on a Bricktown Water Taxi.

The Canal helped transform Oklahoma City from a place nobody wanted to visit to a place people go out of their way to experience,” Water Taxi CEO Chad Huntington said. “In 1999, our guests were almost exclusively locals trying to see what the fuss was about, and now we speak daily to visitors from all over the world.”

The Bricktown Canal’s influence on development

Twenty-five years after the Canal opened in 1999, Bricktown is experiencing unprecedented growth and reinvestment.

A few of the projects coming to Bricktown in the next decade include:

  • The Truck Yard, a food truck park, beer garden and live music venue, is anticipated to open in late summer near the Land Run Monument along the Canal.
  • The Oklahoma Opry is raising $6.2 million to relocate their headquarters to a three-story warehouse along the canal at 19 E California Ave.
  • Construction is slated to begin in 2025 on a $41 million multipurpose stadium funded through Oklahoma City’s MAPS 4 initiative. The venue will be capable of hosting high school, collegiate and professional sporting events and concerts. It will be operated by OKC Energy FC.
  • $1.5 billion mixed-use development from Matteson Capital and Thinkbox called The Boardwalk at Bricktown. The development is expected to include a 480-room hotel, 1,907 residential units, dining, retail and plazas.

In 2023, Bricktown had 2.6 million unique visitors, making it one of the biggest sales tax generators in Oklahoma City and a vital part of our $4 billion annual tourism economy.

Economic Impact

In 2023, the Bricktown Association and The City of Oklahoma City released an economic impact study of Bricktown conducted by The Thorberg Collectorate.

The study revealed that Bricktown’s industries generated over $629 million and supported 5,331 jobs. Through professional services and production of goods, companies and retailers in Bricktown contributed 2,347 jobs.

“Bricktown and the Canal play important roles in Oklahoma City’s economy,” Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership President and CEO Jennifer Nakayama said. “It’s appealing to all ages, along with our mix of visitors and residents. The canal is not only one of OKC’s top tourism destinations but it’s also a place people want to live nearby. In fact, Bricktown is home to 280 households representing more than $15 million in income.”

Some of the Artwork along the Canal

Centennial Land Run Monument – This massive bronze sculpture, located near Bass Pro Shops, was created by Oklahoma-based artist Paul Moore. It includes 45 heroic figures commemorating the opening of the Unassigned Land with the Land Run of 1889. It is one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world.

Inclined – Sculptor David Phelps created “Inclined” located along the Canal near Mickey Mantle Dr. The bronze sculpture is a reference to the African American cultural heritage of Bricktown and Deep Deuce.

Centennial Mural – This mural by Bob Palmer is currently being restored by the artist. It was commissioned for the 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Celebration and provides a quick snapshot into Oklahoma’s history during its 100 years of statehood by highlighting transportation changes over time.

Chickasaw Plaza – A plaza along the canal features a statue of a Chickasaw warrior by native artist Enoch Kelly Haney, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, as well as markers describing the tribe’s history and land loss following the Indian Removal Act and Trail of Tears.

ArtAfloatOKC – ArtAfloat represents a concerted effort to bring new and inspiring artistic interventions to the Bricktown Canal via the visual and performing arts.

Canal history

The Bricktown Canal is one of nine projects built as part of Oklahoma City’s original MAPS initiative, which voters passed in 1993 to revitalize downtown, improve OKC’s national image and provide new and upgraded facilities.

To build the canal, contractors had to dig up California Avenue from the railroad tracks to Walnut Avenue, then they extended the canal south to near what is now the Oklahoma River.

The Bricktown Canal opened debt-free on July 2, 1999, for $23 million.