Things to Do in Tulsa Oklahoma

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Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a rich history and an abundance of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, Tulsa offers something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the history of Tulsa, explore its top tourist attractions, uncover the best culinary experiences, and highlight the plethora of outdoor activities available in this vibrant city.

From the iconic Philbrook Museum of Art to the picturesque River Parks and the mouthwatering offerings at The Tavern and Burn Co. Barbecue, Tulsa has no shortage of experiences waiting to be discovered. Join us as we unveil the best of what Tulsa, Oklahoma has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the rich history of Tulsa, Oklahoma by visiting top attractions such as Philbrook Museum of Art and Woody Guthrie Center.
  • Indulge in delicious food at popular restaurants like The Tavern and Andolini’s Pizzeria while exploring Tulsa’s culinary scene.
  • Experience the great outdoors in Tulsa by visiting River Parks, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, and other outdoor activities like hiking and biking.
  • What is the History of Tulsa, Oklahoma?

    Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as the ‘Oil Capital of the World‘, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the early 19th century, encompassing significant milestones in its growth as a prominent city in the United States.

    The discovery of oil in the early 20th century propelled Tulsa into an economic powerhouse, shaping the city’s fortunes and landscape. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a tragic event in American history, had a profound impact on the city’s African American community and reverberated in the struggle for civil rights. Over the years, Tulsa has evolved into a cultural hub, blending Native American, European, and African influences, evident in its vibrant arts, music, and culinary scenes.

    What are the Top Tourist Attractions in Tulsa?

    Tulsa boasts an array of captivating tourist attractions, featuring iconic landmarks and vibrant entertainment hubs that cater to diverse interests and preferences, making it an ideal destination for visitors seeking memorable experiences.

    Philbrook Museum of Art

    The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa stands as a cultural gem, housing an exquisite collection of artworks spanning diverse genres and periods, attracting art enthusiasts and cultural connoisseurs from around the world.

    Its stately Italian Renaissance villa, surrounded by sprawling gardens, serves as a breathtaking backdrop for the masterpieces it holds within. The museum’s commitment to preserving and showcasing art is reflected in its carefully curated exhibitions that delve into various art movements, from classical to contemporary.

    • The museum’s diverse array of collections, from European paintings and decorative arts to Native American artifacts, creates a rich tapestry of artistic expression.
    • Its vibrant program of events and educational initiatives engages visitors of all ages, fostering a deep appreciation for the arts and nurturing a dynamic cultural community.

    Beyond its artistic significance, Philbrook Museum’s contributions to the local arts scene are invaluable, influencing and shaping the cultural landscape of Tulsa and beyond.

    Gathering Place

    The Gathering Place, nestled within the scenic beauty of Tulsa River Parks, offers an immersive blend of natural splendor and engaging recreational opportunities, making it a premier destination for families, nature enthusiasts, and leisure seekers.

    Visitors are drawn to the lush greenery and serene waterways that grace the park, providing a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls, picnics, and outdoor gatherings. The recreational options are diverse, ranging from adventure playgrounds, water activities, and sports facilities to tranquil gardens and interactive art installations, catering to all ages and interests. Families can enjoy bonding time by partaking in paddleboat rides, while the younger ones can delight in the whimsical play structures. Meanwhile, the vibrant event calendar ensures there’s always something exciting happening, from live concerts to cultural festivals, adding an extra layer of charm to the park’s lively atmosphere.

    Tulsa Zoo

    The Tulsa Zoo serves as a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and conservation advocates, offering an enriching experience through its diverse animal exhibits, educational initiatives, and interactive programs that captivate visitors of all ages.

    Conservation efforts at the Tulsa Zoo extend beyond its captivating exhibits, with a strong focus on wildlife preservation and environmental awareness. The zoo actively participates in breeding programs for endangered species and conducts research to support global conservation initiatives.

    Visitors can engage with these efforts through educational workshops, where they learn about the importance of wildlife conservation and how they can contribute to protecting our planet’s biodiversity. The zoo’s commitment to sustainability and habitat preservation creates a compelling narrative for visitors, leaving a lasting impact on their understanding and appreciation of wildlife and ecosystems.

    Woody Guthrie Center

    The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa stands as a tribute to the iconic musician’s legacy, offering a captivating journey through his life, music, and profound influence on American history, making it a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts and history buffs.

    The center serves as an invaluable educational resource, providing insight into Guthrie’s activism and social commentary, shedding light on pivotal historical events and social movements. Its thoughtfully curated exhibits showcase Guthrie’s powerful lyrics, his role as a voice for the marginalized, and his enduring impact on the folk music genre, preserving his essence for future generations to appreciate.

    Not only does the center celebrate Guthrie’s musical legacy, but it also delves into his cultural impact, fostering a deeper understanding of the social and political landscapes that inspired his work. Visitors gain a profound appreciation for Guthrie’s artistry and his unwavering dedication to championing social justice, making this center a pivotal hub for cultural enrichment and enlightenment.

    Tulsa Air and Space Museum

    The Tulsa Air and Space Museum presents an immersive exploration of aviation history and technological advancements, featuring captivating exhibits and interactive displays that appeal to aviation enthusiasts and history aficionados alike.

    Visitors are transported through time as they walk amidst the meticulously restored aircraft, each with its own compelling story to tell. From the famous Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star to the record-breaking aircraft like the Spartan C-2 and the Douglas DC-3, the museum captures the essence of aerospace evolution.

    The museum’s emphasis on technological showcases is evident in its collection of flight simulators, offering guests the thrill of piloting vintage and modern aircraft. The state-of-the-art exhibits also delve into the groundbreaking innovations that have shaped aviation, highlighting the monumental impact of the industry.

    Where Can You Find the Best Food in Tulsa?

    Tulsa’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of exquisite flavors and diverse dining experiences, offering an array of restaurants, local eateries, and nightlife hotspots that cater to food enthusiasts and those seeking memorable gastronomic adventures.

    The Tavern

    The Tavern in Tulsa presents a delightful fusion of delectable cuisines and artisanal cocktails, creating an inviting ambiance for patrons to savor exquisite dining experiences and vibrant social gatherings.

    The diverse menu at The Tavern showcases a tantalizing array of dishes, from succulent steaks to fresh seafood and flavorful vegetarian options, ensuring a culinary journey for every palate. Accompanying these gastronomic delights are expertly crafted cocktails, blending classic favorites with innovative concoctions, elevating the overall dining experience. The cozy yet vibrant ambiance of The Tavern fosters a welcoming atmosphere, where friends and family can gather to enjoy convivial conversations over sumptuous meals and refreshing drinks. Whether seeking an intimate dinner or a lively evening out, The Tavern promises a memorable dining affair for all.

    Burn Co. Barbecue

    Burn Co. Barbecue in Tulsa is a haven for barbecue enthusiasts, offering a tantalizing array of smoky, savory delights crafted with culinary expertise, making it a go-to destination for exceptional barbecue experiences.

    Their pit-smoked meats are a true delight, featuring perfectly charred edges and tender, succulent interiors that melt in your mouth. The dining ambiance exudes a warm, inviting atmosphere, with the aroma of slow-cooked ribs and brisket hanging in the air. Each dish at Burn Co. Barbecue is a work of art, from the juicy brisket to the fall-off-the-bone ribs, all infused with rich, smoky flavors that keep patrons coming back for more.

    Andolini’s Pizzeria

    Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa serves as a culinary oasis for pizza aficionados, delivering an authentic taste of Italy through its delectable pizzas, tantalizing flavors, and immersive dining experiences that transport patrons to the heart of Italian culinary traditions.

    Each slice of Andolini’s Pizzeria pizza is a masterpiece, crafted with a perfect blend of fresh ingredients and traditional techniques. The menu boasts a diverse range of pizza varieties, from classic Margherita to innovative creations featuring premium toppings sourced from artisanal producers. Every bite is a journey through the rustic countryside of Italy, as the flavors unfold to captivate the taste buds.

    Stepping into Andolini’s Pizzeria is akin to an Italian escape, with its warm and inviting ambiance, adorned with eclectic decor and the enticing aroma of wood-fired pizzas. The attention to detail in its presentation and service elevates the dining experience to a symphony of culinary artistry and hospitality.

    Elote Cafe & Catering

    Elote Cafe & Catering in Tulsa offers a culinary journey through the vibrant tapestry of Mexican cuisine, featuring a tantalizing array of flavors, local ingredients, and authentic culinary traditions that captivate diners with each delightful bite.

    The enchanting aroma of roasted chilies and sizzling meats fills the air, setting the stage for an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates the cultural richness and culinary mastery of Mexico.

    The menu, crafted with passion and expertise, showcases traditional dishes like tamales, chiles en nogada, and street-style tacos, all infused with the freshness of locally sourced ingredients.

    Stepping into Elote Cafe & Catering feels like a journey to Mexico’s vibrant markets, where the bright colors and lively ambiance reflect the essence of Mexican gastronomy. The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability shines through its partnerships with local farmers and producers, ensuring that each dish bursts with flavor and authenticity.

    Chimera Cafe

    Chimera Cafe in Tulsa stands as a hub of culinary creativity and community spirit, crafting flavorful dishes and handcrafted coffee creations using locally sourced ingredients, fostering an inviting environment for culinary exploration and social gatherings.

    The menu at Chimera Cafe is a delightful fusion of traditional favorites and inventive twists, offering an array of locally-inspired dishes that showcase the region’s diverse culinary influences. From their signature breakfast burrito to the tantalizing vegetarian options, there’s something to please every palate.

    As for coffee enthusiasts, the cafe’s specialty coffee selection is a true standout, with carefully curated blends and creative concoctions that elevate the coffee-drinking experience.

    The atmosphere exudes warmth and inclusivity, with cozy corners for intimate conversations and communal tables that encourage connections among patrons.

    What Outdoor Activities Can You Do in Tulsa?

    Tulsa’s natural landscapes and outdoor venues offer a myriad of invigorating activities, providing opportunities for adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking tranquil respites to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the city’s natural gems.

    River Parks

    River Parks in Tulsa stands as a picturesque oasis of recreational opportunities and natural beauty, offering an array of outdoor activities, green spaces, and scenic trails that beckon visitors to indulge in the city’s natural splendor.

    With over 26 miles of paved and natural surface trails, River Parks provides an ideal setting for hiking, jogging, and cycling, allowing enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the calming embrace of nature’s bounty. The park also hosts various cultural events, concerts, and festivals, adding a vibrant touch to the already captivating environment.

    Visitors can rejuvenate amidst the lush woodland landscapes or delight in the sparkling river views while engaging in recreational pursuits or simply unwinding in this tranquil haven.

    Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area

    The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area in Tulsa serves as a haven for hiking enthusiasts, nature lovers, and outdoor adventurers, offering a captivating blend of natural trails, scenic vistas, and serene environments that invite exploration and rejuvenation.

    Surrounded by lush greenery and diverse wildlife, this urban wilderness area boasts a network of well-maintained hiking trails that cater to enthusiasts of all levels. The trails wind through patches of towering trees, across babbling creeks, and up gentle slopes, providing an immersive experience in the heart of nature.

    Visitors can revel in the mesmerizing views of the Tulsa skyline from elevated viewpoints along the trails. The tranquil ambiance found at Turkey Mountain is a welcome respite from the hurried pace of city life, attracting individuals seeking solitude and introspection amidst the splendor of the Ozark Mountain region.

    Oxley Nature Center

    The Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa offers an immersive exploration of local wildlife, conservation initiatives, and serene walking trails, providing a tranquil escape for nature enthusiasts and those seeking to connect with the diverse ecosystems of the region.

    Visitors to the Oxley Nature Center can expect to encounter a rich variety of flora and fauna, including captivating wildlife displays and educational exhibits designed to showcase the natural beauty and ecological significance of the area.

    The center’s well-maintained walking trails wind through captivating landscapes, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the surrounding wilderness, providing a perfect opportunity to appreciate the biodiversity and conservation efforts taking place.

    Tulsa Botanic Garden

    The Tulsa Botanic Garden blooms as a captivating tapestry of horticultural wonders and natural beauty, showcasing a diverse array of botanical attractions, serene landscapes, and immersive floral showcases that captivate visitors with their enchanting allure.

    The garden’s enchanting sanctuaries take visitors on a remarkable journey through diverse botanical treasures, from vibrant wildflower meadows to the tranquil embrace of the Japanese garden.

    The garden’s horticultural significance is exemplified by its stunning floral displays, which change with the seasons, unveiling a breathtaking spectacle of colors and fragrances.

    Visitors can partake in immersive garden experiences, such as guided tours, workshops, and educational programs that offer insights into the mesmerizing world of plants and flowers.

    Turkey Mountain Bike Trail

    The Turkey Mountain Bike Trail in Tulsa offers an exhilarating blend of outdoor adventure and scenic vistas, providing an optimal setting for biking enthusiasts and outdoor explorers to indulge in thrilling rides amidst breathtaking natural landscapes.

    As you navigate through this picturesque trail, you’ll be surrounded by a diverse range of flora and fauna, including stunning wildflowers and towering trees that create a sense of serenity and tranquility.

    The trail’s varying terrain caters to riders of all skill levels, offering both challenging uphill climbs and thrilling downhill descents that will undoubtedly get your heart racing.

    What sets this trail apart is the stunning views of the Arkansas River and the lush greenery that immerses you in the beauty of Oklahoma’s natural landscape. The invigorating outdoor ambiance creates an uplifting atmosphere, making every ride a memorable experience.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are some popular things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    Some popular things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma include visiting the Philbrook Museum of Art, exploring the Gathering Place park, and attending a concert at the BOK Center.

    Are there any outdoor activities in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    Yes, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Tulsa Oklahoma. Some popular options include hiking at Turkey Mountain, kayaking on the Arkansas River, and biking along the River Parks Trails.

    What are some family-friendly things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    Families visiting Tulsa can enjoy activities such as visiting the Tulsa Zoo, exploring the Oklahoma Aquarium, and spending the day at the Tulsa Children’s Museum.

    Are there any free things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    There are several free things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma, such as visiting the Tulsa Botanic Garden, strolling through the Blue Dome District, and attending a live music event at Guthrie Green.

    What are some unique things to do in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    For a unique experience, visitors can take a tour of the Center of the Universe, explore the Woody Guthrie Center, or visit the Cave House.

    What are some must-see attractions in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    Some must-see attractions in Tulsa include the Golden Driller statue, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the iconic Route 66 landmark known as the Blue Whale of Catoosa.