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There’s much to explore south of the river in Capitol Hill. Here are 10 things to see and do near this district.

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Priscilla Wheeler is a Yumare Mexican Folkloric dancer during the Fiesta de Las Americas. - SHANNON CORNMAN
  • Shannon Cornman
  • Priscilla Wheeler is a Yumare Mexican Folkloric dancer during the Fiesta de Las Americas.

Capitol Hill is home to a lively, vibrant Hispanic community. Established in 1905 as a separate city, it merged with Oklahoma City in 1911. It has experienced many changes over the decades and is now a place alive with energy and growth. From the annual Historical Capitol Hill Fiestas de las Americas to tantalizing restaurants, shopping, entertainment and more, this district is where you need to be.

Restaurants

First stop is Taqueria Los Desvelados, 1516 SW 29th St. The carnitas burrito is a pork burrito, but perhaps it should be re-named a burro, as it is huge. With an overgenerous amount of carnitas (little meats), it is filled with cheese, tomato and cilantro and served with pickled carrots, hot peppers, a lime wedge and an intensely spicy salsa. Order the lime Jarritos soda, sit back and look at the colorful wall murals — you will feel like you’re on vacation.

If you’re craving Salvadoran pupusas —who isn’t?— Pupuseria El Buen Gusto, 2336 SW 29th St., is where you need to be. Pupusa comes from an Uto-Aztecan word, pupusaw, a thick corn tortilla. The revuelta pupusa is filled with ground pork, cotija cheese and refried beans. Topped with curtido (a fermented cabbage slaw with chilies) and drizzled with a vinegary salsa, it is the real deal.

Two mariachi musicians happened to be playing when I arrived for lunch at El Jalisience, 816 SW 29th St.

The 12-string guitar and accordion were perfect accompaniments for the pechuga de pollo.

The chicken is pounded flat and cooked with a spicy tomato and garlic coating. It came with a salad, rice, avocados, refried beans with cheese, flour tortillas and a salsa verde.

Saturdays and Sundays are pork pozole days at El Asadero, 2703 S. Western Ave. Pozole comes from the Nahuatl word potzolli and is said to be a ritual ceremonial dish in pre-Hispanic Mexico. No ritual is needed to enjoy this warm, spicy soup. It is made with whole hominy and slow-braised pork. It’s topped with chopped radishes and shredded cabbage and pairs well with a strawberry Jarritos soda. It’s easy to get hooked on these fruit sodas.

The posole roja at El Asadero brings customers in on the weekend.Photo/Shannon Cornman - SHANNON CORNMAN
  • Shannon Cornman
  • The posole roja at El Asadero brings customers in on the weekend.Photo/Shannon Cornman

Shopping

Bravo Ranch Supermercado, 420 SW 25th St., has everything for the Latin American cuisine gourmet cook: specialty food items and ingredients along with usual grocery store fare.

Its wide selection of fresh hot peppers alone is amazing. You can also find unique cookware such as cast-iron tortilla presses. Stop in the small in-store restaurant beforehand to avoid shopping hungry.

Get your Western on at El Rancho Western Wear, 833 SW 29th St. It carries Western boots of every color, size and style. Match them with a pair of jeans and a Western shirt and you’re ready to go dancing. Western hats also abound, from the affordable to amazing break-the-bank styles.

For shopping on the spiritual side, visit Botanica San Cipriano, 1229B SW 29th St. Botanica resembles a pharmacy that sells plant essences, fragrances and soaps for different life problems such as unrequited love, money or job problems. But there’s much more: rosary beads, crosses, religious statues, amulets, folk medicines, cedar smudge sticks, devotional candles for every situation and items for casting away demons, as well as Santería (a religious tradition of West African origin) items.

“People come in the store with all sorts of problems, concerns and worries, looking for help,” said owner Jamie Escobar.

From chocolate-covered strawberries to sugar cookies and elaborate quinceañera cakes (cakes celebrating a 15-year-old girl’s birthday), Leo’s Cakery, 604 SW 29th St., is a visual delight. You don’t need to be at a wedding to sip a cup of coffee with biscochos, Mexican wedding cookies.

Sights

While not technically across the river, The Little Flower Church, 1125 S. Walker Ave., has close ties to the Hispanic community. As the oldest Hispanic Catholic parish in Oklahoma City, it was dedicated in March 1927 and features some of the most beautiful church architecture in Oklahoma, including a tall, rectangular bell tower. The ornate altar inside is dazzling and photo- worthy.

Little Flower Church sits on S.Walker just before you cross the Oklahoma River. - SHANNONCORNMAN
  • ShannonCornman
  • Little Flower Church sits on S.Walker just before you cross the Oklahoma River.

Events

See some of the most colorful Mexican folk dance at its finest by the Yumare Mexican Folkloric Dancers. Founded in 1989, this popular traditional dance troupe has been going strong, frequently performing at Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads, 7000 Crossroads Blvd.; festivals; and other events in the metro area.

Visit yumare.weebly.com for performance schedule details.

Gloria Carreon holds up a purple pointed toe boot at El Rancho.Photo/Shannon Cornman - SHANNON CORNMAN
  • Shannon Cornman
  • Gloria Carreon holds up a purple pointed toe boot at El Rancho.Photo/Shannon Cornman

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10 Reasons to cross the river: There’s much to explore south of the river in Capitol Hill. Here are 10 things to see and do near this district.

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