An oasis of green in Oklahoma’s dusty plains, the city of Tulsa has a rich oil hub legacy and exceptional Art Deco architecture, cultural centers, and museums.
Tulsa blends contemporary sophistication with classic Midwestern nostalgia and makes it look easy. The legendary Route 66 and its diners stand alongside parallel worlds of trendy cafes, gourmet restaurants, and craft breweries. Along with its Native American roots and musical influences of Woody Guthrie, there’s plenty to explore and things to do in Tulsa!
Whether you’re a nature lover, art enthusiast, or a time traveler on Route 66 – never run out of things to do in Tulsa with our list of the best attractions in the city!
At the top of the list of activities in Tulsa is the iconic Philbrook Museum of Art. Housed within a refurbished villa that once belonged to an oil magnate, a visit to the museum is a visual delight. From the outstanding collections of Native American Art, the aesthetics of the villa itself, or the picture-perfect greenery around – you will be surrounded by beauty everywhere! Fans of contemporary art can visit the Brady Arts District where the Philbrook Museum has a second location.
History and art enthusiasts who are keen on American art can also make their way downtown to the Gilcrease Museum.
Sherwin Miller Museum
Founded in 1966, the Sherwin Miller Museum has the largest collection of Jewish art southwest of the country. Explore beautiful exhibits in the museum such as the Jewish History and Culture Exhibition, Jews Rock – photographs that showcase Jewish rock n roll icons, and the Kaiser Holocaust Memorial.
Prayer Tower at the Oral Roberts University
Fondly called the ‘UFO’ by the locals, the Prayer Tower is an unusual 200 ft structure located in the middle of Oral Roberts University. While there are several theories around its significance, the most popular one sees the tower as a reminder to place God at the center of life. Visitors can also climb up to the observation deck of the Tower for beautiful views of the University grounds. The Prayer Tower is an iconic city landmark and one of the best things to do in Tulsa.
Boston Avenue Methodist Church
One of the many artistic gems in Tulsa, the Boston Avenue Methodist Church is a stunning art deco landmark. Take your time and walk around every corner to appreciate its complex ecclesiastical architecture. When you’re not admiring the church’s façade, drop by for a thought-provoking sermon or attend some of the regular music and life events that take place here.
The Golden Driller
One of the most iconic sights in Tulsa is a colossal golden statue of an oil worker. Weighing a massive 43,500 pounds, the statue is a reminder of Tulsa’s former reputation as the “Oil Capital of the World”. The world’s largest known oil reservoir was discovered in Tulsa.
John Hope Reconciliation Park
The John Hope Reconciliation Park documents the 1921 race riots that took place in Tulsa. Its origins can be traced back to a fateful night when an African American man and woman got onto an elevator, and the woman screamed. Why she let out a scream and what happened remains a mystery. But it was the starting point of intense race riots and widespread destruction in the city where thousands were left homeless.
Discover the rich and vibrant history of the African-American community at the Greenwood Cultural Center. Before the 1921 riots changed the landscape of the city, Greenwood was a thriving center of business and culture, often referred to as the “Black Wall Street”. It was home to over 300 establishments, restaurants, and theaters owned by African-Americans.
The Cultural Center at Greenwood focuses on the retelling of the 1921 race riots but with emphasis on the district’s positive historical legacy. By keeping these stories alive, the center aims to promote and preserve African-American Culture.
Jazz Hall of Fame
Tulsa is a haven for music lovers everywhere! Jazz fans, head on over to the Jazz Hall of Fame at Union Station, that documents the lives and musical careers of homegrown Tulsa musicians. Known for producing some of the best musical legends of the 20th century, learn more about musicians such as Wallace Willis and Charlie Christian.
If you’re a budding musician looking for a chance to make it big, sign up for the free jam sessions that take place here every Tuesday. Bring family, friends, or a date to the Grand Concourse on a Sunday for beautiful live performances.
Can’t get enough of music? Pay homage to the legendary Woody Guthrie and his musical legacy at the fantastic Woody Guthrie Center.
Big Splash Water Park
Looking for fun things to do in Tulsa with the family? There’s no place better than the Big Splash Water Park for a day of family fun! The park features a host of attractions and rides for all ages. Take a ride on the Master Blaster – a thrilling water rollercoaster with a lazy river ride, a wave pool, three flumes, splash pools for younger children. Depending on how brave you are, prepare to be thrilled or terrified on the Silver Bullet which is a 7-second drop on a 72-ft flume!
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
Give your lungs a much-needed respite at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Spanning 300 acres across the city, explore pristine heavily wooded areas and walking trails. With undulating terrain and steep hills, it’s the ideal place for bikers and runners looking for a challenge.
A night out in Tulsa
Put on those dancing shoes and make your way over to Cain’s Ballroom! This is one of the most popular dancing venues in Tulsa with origins dating back to 1924. From its beginnings as a dimly-lit garage to becoming the city’s best dancing venue – Cain’s is an iconic Tulsa landmark and should be on your list of things to do in Tulsa this weekend! Visitors can also attend live concerts featuring some of the biggest international acts and talented local artists.
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Catch a show or three at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center – the city’s prestigious center for performing arts across various genres. Whether you love ballet or recitals, the center showcases world-class performances by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, the Tulsa Ballet, and the Tulsa Opera. It is also home to some of the best national productions. Make sure to check their calendar of activities so you don’t miss out on any of these stellar productions!
A little bit of theatre and a little bit of history – that’s what you get at the iconic Brady Theater. A popular landmark in Oklahoma and the country, the theatre hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and stand-up comedy throughout the year. During the 1921 race riots, the theatre was also used as a detention center.
Americana Solera Brewery
Beer lovers, find your version of paradise at the Americana Solera Brewery. This amazing taproom and its Prairie Artisan Ales put Tulsa on America’s brewery map. Make your way here to sample some of the best local craft brews on offer!
Food in Tulsa
Enjoy a 100-year-old secret family recipe at Ike’s Chili. Famous for chili with amazing toppings and accompaniments such as spaghetti, hotdogs, or Fritos – this is a fiery dish you won’t be forgetting for a while.
Visitors can head on over to Tally’s Good Food Café for the Oklahoma staple – chicken-fried steak. A popular item on roadside diner menus along Route 66 – sample both great food and a little history with each bite.
If you’re in the mood for sophisticated things to do in Tulsa, wine and dine at the beautiful Palace Café with its creative fusion of Asian-American food.
Dig into an old-fashioned American hamburger at Hank’s Hamburgers – a local landmark since 1949. Make it count with a side of onion rings, tater tots, and fries, and wash it down with a milkshake.
Shopping in Tulsa
Indulge in some retail therapy at the Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa. The Mall has over 165 stores that carry major international chains and brands. If you’re on the lookout for unique stores and one-of-a-kind items, Woodland has those too! The Mall also has a good food court and a great carousel and children’s play area.
Cherry Street Farmers’ Market
A list of things to do in Tulsa wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its markets! The historic Cherry Street Farmers’ Market is the locals’ go-to for sustainable and organic produce. Visit this lively market at 15th and Peoria for the best in local and organic produce, gourmet food, crafts for the home and garden, and delectable baked goods. The market also has some great live music that will keep you company as you browse or eat!
If travel to the Midwest has been on your list, Tulsa should be at the top of it. Enjoy your stay at this Oklahoman city with a twist and go back with the best travel memories!
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