Often referred to as the ‘Oil Capital of the World,’ Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a captivating destination with a wealth of attractions. Visitors often wonder, “What to do in Tulsa?” Well, Tulsa offers a rich architectural heritage with stunning Art Deco buildings adorning its streets, offering a glimpse into its historical charm.
History enthusiasts can explore various historical sites and landmarks that showcase the city’s cultural heritage, providing an answer to the question of “What to do in Tulsa.” Tulsa’s lush parks provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in nature, ideal for picnics, leisurely walks, and outdoor activities. If you’re still wondering, “What to do in Tulsa,” these natural retreats offer a perfect solution.
Art aficionados will appreciate the city’s artistic side, with renowned art museums housing an impressive collection of masterpieces. For those pondering “What to do in Tulsa” in terms of cultural experiences, these museums are a must-visit. Culinary enthusiasts can indulge in Tulsa’s diverse dining scene, with a multitude of restaurants catering to various tastes, making dining out one of the top answers to “What to do in Tulsa.”
As night falls, Tulsa’s vibrant nightlife comes alive with trendy bars and clubs offering a memorable evening. The city’s diverse districts, including the Pearl District and Blue Dome District, each have their unique charm, making exploration even more exciting. So, if you’re still wondering, “What to do in Tulsa” after dark, the nightlife scene is your answer.
Theater lovers can enjoy top-tier productions and captivating performing arts shows at Tulsa’s theaters and venues, providing another response to the question of “What to do in Tulsa.” Sports enthusiasts will find plenty to cheer for at the city’s impressive sporting arenas, adding yet another dimension to the list of “What to do in Tulsa.”
For a trip down memory lane, explore the iconic Route 66 and its historic sites, offering a nostalgic journey through America’s past. So, when you’re pondering, “What to do in Tulsa” with a dash of nostalgia, Route 66 is your answer. With so many enticing experiences and answers to the question, “What to do in Tulsa,” this city in Oklahoma is undeniably a must-visit destination when you find yourself in the Sooner State. Stay tuned for more content about Tulsa’s hidden gems and unique adventures.
What to Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma?
1. Explore the Skies at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum
Situated adjacent to the bustling Tulsa International Airport, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum is a captivating and educational destination awaiting aviation enthusiasts and curious minds alike. As you ponder what to do in Tulsa, make sure to include this gem in your itinerary.
Within its expansive hangar, you’ll discover a fascinating collection of vintage aircraft alongside a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits. The museum’s mission is clear: to preserve Oklahoma’s rich aerospace history and heritage. Since its opening to the public in 1998, it has become a hub for immersive learning experiences.
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by interactive displays and hands-on activities that fill the vast exhibition space. Notably, you’ll encounter one of the only surviving Spartan C-2 aircraft and an imposing F-14 Tomcat, both serving as powerful symbols of aviation history.
The museum takes you on a journey through time, documenting the evolution of America’s aviation industry. From the days of smoke-filled balloons to the era of WWII jets, from the groundbreaking Space Age to the cutting-edge planes of today, it’s all here. You’ll gain insights into Tulsa’s significant contributions to these advancements.
But the Tulsa Air and Space Museum doesn’t stop at static exhibits. It invites you to embark on a thrilling adventure of your own with its fun flight simulators. Experience the rush of flying and get a taste of what it’s like to be a pilot.
For a celestial experience, head to the museum’s fantastic planetarium, where you can watch captivating shows that transport you to the far reaches of the universe. It’s a mesmerizing way to cap off your visit.
So, when you’re wondering what to do in Tulsa, don’t miss the chance to explore the captivating world of aviation and space at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. It’s an educational journey that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the skies above and the city’s significant role in aerospace history.
2. The Golden Driller: Tulsa’s Iconic Roadside Marvel
A short detour south of the legendary Route 66 brings you to one of Tulsa’s most captivating roadside attractions—the Golden Driller. This colossal statue stands an impressive 75 feet tall, making it an unmistakable landmark that commands attention from miles away.
Originally erected in 1953, this iconic figure now proudly graces the front of the Tulsa Expo Center. Adorned entirely in gold, the statue portrays a towering oil driller, one hand confidently resting on an oil derrick while the word ‘Tulsa’ is boldly emblazoned on their belt.
The Golden Driller serves as both a symbol and a heartfelt tribute to Tulsa’s legacy as the ‘Oil Capital of the World.’ Notably, it ranks among the tallest statues in the United States, a testament to the city’s deep-rooted connection to the oil industry.
After capturing some memorable photos with this towering titan, you can explore the myriad events hosted at the expo center or set off to discover the wealth of other attractions that Tulsa has to offer. The Golden Driller, with its gleaming golden presence, stands as an enduring testament to Tulsa’s history and is a must-see on your journey through this vibrant city.
3. The Center of the Universe
Just a short stroll away from the bustling city center, you’ll encounter the enigmatic ‘Center of the Universe.’ At first glance, this small concrete circle may not seem particularly remarkable, but its charm becomes evident the moment you step onto it and speak.
Here’s where things get intriguing: this spot is host to an unusual acoustic phenomenon that baffles even the experts. When you speak while standing on this precise point, your words are echoed back to you, louder and more pronounced. It’s a phenomenon that defies easy explanation and adds an element of mystery to the site.
What makes it even more fascinating is that anyone standing outside the circle hears only a distorted jumble of noise, unable to decipher the words spoken within. This quirk transforms a simple concrete circle into a captivating auditory experience.
For those seeking a unique and entertaining adventure, this mysterious musical anomaly can be found atop a pedestrian bridge just north of the Williams Center Tower. Feel free to unleash your vocal prowess and marvel at the amplified echoes for a few minutes before continuing your journey.
Once you’ve explored this fascinating phenomenon, you can venture further into the nearby attractions. Consider visiting the Woody Guthrie Center to delve into the life and legacy of the iconic American folk singer or immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the adjacent Blue Dome District. The Center of the Universe offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to leave you both amused and intrigued during your visit to Tulsa.
4. The BOK Center: Tulsa’s Premier Entertainment Venue
Downtown Tulsa is home to the remarkable BOK Center, a world-class venue that sets the stage for a dazzling array of sporting events, shows, and concerts. This magnificent multi-purpose arena is a true gem, captivating both locals and visitors with its stellar lineup of performances by some of the biggest names and teams in the entertainment industry.
Today, the BOK Center stands proudly as an architectural icon, seamlessly blending Native American and Art Deco design elements into its aesthetic. Its exterior is adorned with stainless steel panels and a glass facade, creating a sleek and stylish facade that beckons to passersby. Step inside, and you’ll find a spacious and inviting lobby that leads to a massive arena, where the magic happens.
As a vital part of downtown Tulsa’s ongoing revitalization efforts, this sparkling center made its grand debut in 2008. It has since become the beloved home of the Tulsa Oilers, making it a hub of sports excitement. If you’re a fan of ice hockey, catching an exhilarating game here is a must.
However, the BOK Center offers more than just sports; it’s also a top-tier entertainment destination. Prepare to be wowed by unforgettable shows featuring world-renowned artists. From the legendary Billy Joel to the chart-topping sensations like Dua Lipa and U2, the BOK Center hosts an array of spectacular performances that cater to diverse tastes.
So, whether you’re a sports enthusiast or a music lover, the BOK Center promises an unforgettable experience. As you explore the vibrant downtown scene, make sure to check the event calendar and witness the magic that unfolds within this exceptional venue. The BOK Center is where Tulsa’s entertainment dreams come to life.
5. Discover Wildlife Wonders at the Tulsa Zoo
Nestled in the serene southwest corner of Mohawk Park lies the expansive wonderland of the Tulsa Zoo. With its roots dating back to 1927, this sprawling sanctuary covers a vast expanse and is home to a diverse community of over 1,500 animals representing more than 450 unique species, all thriving amidst lush, leafy surroundings.
As you explore the zoo’s vast landscape, you’ll encounter themed sections that transport you to different corners of the globe. Stroll through the African Plains, Lost Kingdom, and Tropical Rainforest, where each area is a microcosm of its respective habitat. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at a captivating array of wildlife, from endearing Arctic foxes and formidable alligators to majestic elephants, regal tigers, and elusive snow leopards.
The Tulsa Zoo is more than just a collection of remarkable animals; it’s a holistic experience. Wander among jungle-clad ruins that create an immersive atmosphere, visit a replica of a Maasai village to gain cultural insights, and engage with informative audio and video installations that enhance your understanding of the animal kingdom.
For a truly interactive adventure, hop aboard the Safari Train to get a unique perspective of the zoo’s enchanting landscapes. And don’t forget to visit the children’s zoo, where you can interact with and pet adorable critters, making it a delightful experience for young and old alike.
As you continue your exploration, be sure to catch a glimpse of playful penguins and graceful sea lions as they frolic and swim in their captivating underwater habitats. The Tulsa Zoo is not just a place to observe nature—it’s a place to immerse yourself in the wonders of the animal kingdom.
So, whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a family looking for a memorable outing, or simply curious about the beauty and diversity of the natural world, the Tulsa Zoo promises an unforgettable journey. Come and witness the magic of the animal kingdom in the heart of Mohawk Park.
6. Woodward Park
Nestled in the southern reaches of Tulsa, adjacent to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, Woodward Park beckons as a picturesque haven for leisure and exploration. This serene expanse boasts meticulously landscaped grounds and gardens, each offering a unique facet of its natural beauty.
At the heart of the park, you’ll discover an elegant mansion, a conservatory, and an arboretum, all waiting to be explored by curious visitors. What was once the private estate of Helen Woodward has been transformed into a beloved public park since 1929, preserving its timeless charm for generations to come.
As you meander through the park, you’ll encounter fragrant rose gardens, herb gardens, and sunken gardens that add a burst of color and fragrance to the landscape. Lush woodlands and tranquil reflective ponds create a sense of serenity that invites you to pause and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Among the park’s many attractions, the scenic rock gardens stand out as a highlight. They feature babbling streams and small springs that meander through the landscape, creating a tranquil ambiance that’s perfect for peaceful contemplation. Terraced floral arrangements and captivating outdoor art installations further enhance the park’s aesthetic appeal.
For those seeking to delve deeper into the natural world, Woodward Park offers more than just visual delights. You can explore the majestic historic mansion and Victorian conservatory, stepping back in time to experience the opulence of a bygone era. Additionally, the garden center hosts a variety of classes, workshops, and even tai chi sessions, providing opportunities for visitors to engage with the park on a more immersive level.
Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape, a romantic stroll, or an educational experience, Woodward Park caters to all. It’s a testament to the harmonious blend of art, culture, and nature, making it a cherished destination for locals and a delightful discovery for visitors exploring Tulsa’s rich heritage. Come and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of Woodward Park, where every corner tells a story of its enduring allure.
7. Discover the Rich Heritage of the Americas at Gilcrease Museum
Often hailed as the ‘Museum of the Americas,’ the Gilcrease Museum stands as a treasure trove of artistic and cultural treasures from the American West and beyond. Its impressive collection encompasses a wide range of artworks, including Native American paintings, pottery, and sculptures, as well as an expanding array of art and artifacts from Central and South America.
This splendid museum, which first opened its doors in 1958, bears the name of Thomas Gilcrease, a wealthy oil magnate and passionate art collector who painstakingly assembled the remarkable works it houses. Today, it stands as one of the foremost institutions of its kind, offering visitors a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant tapestry of the Americas.
The galleries within Gilcrease Museum are a visual feast, showcasing stunning beadworks, exquisite bronze sculptures, captivating landscape paintings, and evocative portraits. Its collection goes beyond borders, featuring pre-Columbian artifacts and Hispanic relics that add depth and dimension to the narrative of the Americas.
Renowned artists such as Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, and Charlie Russell, among many others, have their masterpieces prominently displayed within the museum’s hallowed walls. As you explore these galleries, you’ll be transported through time and space, witnessing the profound impact of these artists on the American art landscape.
After immersing yourself in the fine features of this cultural gem, take a leisurely stroll through the tranquil gardens that embrace the museum in the embrace of the Osage Hills. It’s a serene oasis that invites you to reflect on the beauty and history of the Americas, further enriching your visit.
Gilcrease Museum is a testament to the enduring legacy of the American West and the remarkable diversity of cultures that have shaped the continent. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or simply seeking inspiration, a visit to this museum promises a journey through time and across continents, leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the richness of the Americas. Come and explore the vibrant tapestry of the New World at Gilcrease Museum.
8. Philbrook Museum of Art
Tulsa’s crown jewel, the Philbrook Museum of Art, stands as a testament to artistic excellence and refined beauty. Nestled in close proximity to Woodward Park, this cultural treasure offers a splendid fusion of art, nature, and history, making it an unmissable destination for visitors.
Surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens of unrivaled beauty, the museum is home to a distinguished collection of paintings, pottery, and jewelry that invites guests to embark on a captivating journey through the world of art.
At the heart of the Philbrook Museum stands an opulent Italian Renaissance-style mansion, once the private residence of Oklahoma oil pioneer Waite Phillips and his wife. This vast villa, boasting a staggering seventy rooms, was constructed in 1926. A mere decade later, it was opened to the public, now adorned with thousands of artworks from across the globe, adorning its elegant interior.
The Philbrook Museum’s extensive art collection is only matched by the grandeur of its gardens. Beyond the museum’s walls, you’ll find enchanting gardens adorned with fountains, pools, and a sculpture garden that adds a dynamic dimension to the outdoor landscape. As you stroll through this artful oasis, you’ll discover a harmonious blend of art, history, and nature.
For those who appreciate the intersection of art and architecture, the Philbrook Museum is a true marvel. It encapsulates the essence of beauty and creativity, inviting you to explore its cultural treasures within a backdrop of timeless elegance.
Incorporating art, history, architecture, and nature in perfect harmony, the Philbrook Museum of Art stands as a testament to the sophistication and cultural richness of Tulsa. Whether you’re an art connoisseur, a lover of history, or simply in search of a serene escape, a visit to this museum promises an enriching and memorable experience. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the splendor of the Philbrook Museum when you’re in Tulsa—it’s a journey through beauty and creativity that you’ll treasure forever.
9. Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
For those eager to delve into the captivating history of both the city and the state, a visit to the esteemed Tulsa Historical Society and Museum is an absolute must. Conveniently located just to the south of Woodward Park, this cultural gem offers a profound exploration of various facets of local history through its extensive galleries.
Established in 1963, the museum boasts a vast collection of artifacts, images, and exhibits that shed light on the diverse and compelling history of Tulsa. Its home is the magnificent Travis Mansion, an architectural masterpiece in the Italianate Revival style.
As you wander through the museum’s galleries, you’ll embark on a journey through time, exploring the origins of the city and the transformative oil boom that left an indelible mark on its identity. However, the museum also confronts the more somber chapters of Tulsa’s history, including the tragic events of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Historical photos and engaging video clips provide a vivid and comprehensive picture of the city’s past, present, and future. The museum’s collection includes not only valuable artifacts but also old artworks, fashion items, and personal mementos that offer a window into the lives of Tulsa’s residents throughout the years.
Once you’ve absorbed the rich history within the museum’s walls, take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens that envelop the Travis Mansion. It’s a serene and contemplative way to round out your visit, offering a moment of reflection on the city’s evolution over time.
The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum stands as a beacon of knowledge and preservation, ensuring that the stories and legacies of Tulsa’s past are passed down to future generations. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply seeking a deeper understanding of the city, this museum offers a captivating and enlightening experience. Come and explore the tapestry of Tulsa’s history at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, where the past comes alive before your eyes.
10. Embrace Nature’s Beauty at the Tulsa Botanic Garden
Nestled on the tranquil northwestern outskirts of Tulsa lies a haven of natural beauty and serenity—the enchanting Tulsa Botanic Garden. This scenic oasis is a veritable tapestry of vibrant plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs, all woven together by meandering paths, inviting pools, and a picturesque lakeside promenade, offering a peaceful respite for all who visit.
Since its inauguration in 2009, the Tulsa Botanic Garden has flourished and expanded, becoming a true gem of the city. Its grounds now boast an array of themed gardens and pristine natural spaces that envelop serene waterways. As you explore, you’ll find yourself wandering alongside a vast lake, through pristine prairies, and amidst meticulously tended rosebeds.
For those eager to delve deeper into the world of horticulture, a visit to the informative visitor center is a must. Here, you can glean insights into the garden’s diverse flora and discover the fascinating stories behind the various plant species that call this garden home.
However, the true highlight of the Tulsa Botanic Garden is undoubtedly its breathtaking floral terrace. Each year, this terrace bursts to life with over 120,000 spring bulbs, creating a cascading tapestry of colors that blankets the hillside. In spring, the garden awakens with the vibrant hues of dancing daffodils, fragrant hyacinths, and elegant tulips, casting a spell of enchantment over the landscape.
As the seasons change, the garden transforms with the arrival of autumn. Pumpkins and scarecrows make their appearance beneath the rich tapestry of fall foliage, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere that celebrates the harvest season.
The Tulsa Botanic Garden is a testament to the ever-changing beauty of nature, a place where the splendor of spring and the warmth of autumn unite to create a year-round spectacle. Whether you’re a horticultural enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, the Tulsa Botanic Garden promises an enchanting journey through the seasons. Come and experience the magic of nature’s palette in the heart of Tulsa.
11. Experience the Vibrant Nightlife of Tulsa’s Blue Dome District
For those seeking a lively and dynamic nightlife experience, the Blue Dome District stands as a shining beacon in Tulsa’s entertainment scene. Located adjacent to both the Tulsa Arts District and downtown, this bustling district is a hub for dining, drinking, and unforgettable nights out.
The district’s name is derived from the iconic 1924 Blue Dome building, which serves as a symbol of its vibrant atmosphere. Here, you’ll discover a wealth of trendy restaurants and cool bars that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet meal or a casual drink, you’ll find it all in this entertainment-rich area.
The Blue Dome District isn’t just about dining and drinks; it offers a multifaceted experience. Cozy cafes invite you to relax and savor a leisurely cup of coffee, while a comedy club provides uproarious entertainment. You can explore charming local shops and peruse several art galleries, immersing yourself in the creative energy that permeates the district.
Beyond its regular offerings, the Blue Dome District hosts some of Tulsa’s most beloved events, adding to its allure. These include art festivals that showcase local talent, food truck extravaganzas that tempt your taste buds, and lively St. Patrick’s Day celebrations complete with live music and sweeping skyline views that enhance the festive ambiance.
The Blue Dome District is where the night comes alive in Tulsa, offering an array of entertainment options that cater to every mood and preference. Whether you’re looking for a memorable night on the town, a cultural experience, or simply a place to unwind and socialize, this district has something for everyone. Come and discover the electrifying energy of the Blue Dome District, where the fun never stops.