15 Reasons to Visit Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma is a city of many stories. From the forced move of the five civilized tribes to the oil booms of the early 1900’s, many events helped shape the past of this Midwestern city. What began as a frontier town, blossomed into a boomtown complete with art deco skyscrapers. Our itinerary was designed to allow us to sample some of the top attractions, as well as a good sampling of the local flavors.
We want to thank the Visit Tulsa, as well as the many businesses that opened their doors and hearts for us. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.

A Tulsa Legend

One of the country’s greatest folk singer-songwriters came from the Tulsa region. A visit to the Woody Guthrie Center allowed us to better understand the social, political, and cultural issues that entwined the country during and after the tumultuous Dust Bowl period. Events from his childhood helped forge his beliefs, and soon he became known for his protest songs. A visit to the center helps guests better understand the man and his music. (Read more about the Center here >)

Kids can find interactive exhibits at the Tulsa Children’s Museum and the Gilcrease Museum.

Getting Hand’s On

Tulsa is filled with lots of attraction options, and with only three days, we needed to make the most of our time. The Midwest offers tons of family-friendly destinations, and Tulsa is certainly among those. We visited two museums that feature interactive exhibits designed with kids in mind. At the Tulsa Children’s Museum, kids of all ages can discover lots of science based activities created to spark the imagination. (Read more about TCM here >)

The Gilcrease Museum is a world class art museum. Housing the largest collection of American West art, the museum also includes a couple of areas with younger visitors in mind. Here kids can learn about the skills used by Native Americans for generations. Another section allows kids of all ages (Yes, even my age.) to show off their artistic side. (Read more about Gilcrease here >)

The Tulsa Zoo showcases their newly launched Lost Kingdom zone, while a visit to the Oklahoma Aquarium offers hands-on marine exhibits.

Visiting the Wild Kingdoms

Whenever we visit a new destination, we always look for any opportunities to see wildlife. The Tulsa Zoo had recently unveiled their new exhibit, The Lost Kingdom. Filled with rare species, and amazing architecture, it felt like we were exploring a newly discovered ancient village. The zoo is in the process of planning their next development, and we hope to catch it once it is complete. (Read more about the Zoo here >)

The idea of visiting a sea life center in the middle of the country was certainly intriguing. The Oklahoma Aquarium surprised us with its interactive exhibits that just kept coming. We had the chance to feed turtles, view creatures from their own level, and touch a variety of marine life. To say we were shocked by the variety of exhibits would be a complete understatement. (Read more about the Aquarium here >)

Clockwise from top left: The Boxyard shops are constructed from used shipping containers. Decopolis is one of a handful of downtown boutique shops. The newly designed Tulsa flag can be seen all around town. Ida Red serves double duty as a soda shop and souvenir store.

Shopping Galore

Our visits in 2017 had us staying in many downtown districts. We noticed a pattern that many cities are seeing a revitalization of these areas. The suburban sprawl is being replaced with a return to the urban cores. This allows us to park our car, and do more exploration by foot. Tulsa has a distinct downtown district that include some vibrant and growing retail sections. Be sure to carve out time in your itinerary for a little retail therapy at some locally owned shops.

Art Deco design can be seen in many of the downtown buildings.

Downtown Design

Architectural design is certainly more unique in the downtown sections of cities. Tulsa went through two major growth spurts due to oil booms in the early 1900’s. During this period, the Art Deco design was achieving its apex, and Tulsa has blocks of buildings constructed during this period. Each day we had the pleasure of seeing these beautiful structures during our walks. To make it even more special, our lodging was in the Courtyard Tulsa Downtown, which occupies space in the historic Atlas Life building. We found ourselves walking through history, as we made our way through the period style lobby.

Dilly Diner serves up unique dishes in a downtown setting. Tally’s Cafe is an iconic Route 66 diner serving up a heaping amount of nostalgia.

Iconic Eateries

Breakfast stops are some of the hardest to blog about, since many are so similar. We always look for at least one or two special stops to showcase a little of the local flavor. In Tulsa, we found a couple really cool places to savor. Dilly Diner is a downtown eatery that specializes in clean, retro design blended with new age dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients. (Read more about Dilly here >)

Tally’s Good Food Cafe is everything we would expect in a Route 66 diner, delicious food in a nostalgic setting. Here they embrace their location on the Mother Road, and dish up 1950’s size servings in a retro atmosphere. (Read more abut Tally’s here >)

Clockwise from top left: Bohemian Pizzeria, Sisserou’s Caribbean Restaurant, Tacos don Francisco, Caz’s Chowhouse

Varied Cuisines

Throughout our visit, we savored a variety of locally owned restaurants. The cuisines were as varied as the decor, and each offered unique flavors. Check out our “Tulsa” tag in the right hand sidebar to sort all of the articles specific to this destination. Each of these restaurants have their own article, which give additional details. (Find all of the Tulsa articles here >)

Glacier Confection is a world class chocolatier offering designer sweets. The Antoinette Baking Company creates some of the biggest slices of pie we have ever tried.

Sweet Treats

Those readers that have followed our journeys for a while know that we don’t skimp when it comes to searching out sweets. Downtown Tulsa gave us a few options, and we happily accepted the challenge to test them out. Glacier Confection is home to designer chocolates made with some of the finest ingredients available. Our visit was a chance to sample loads of interesting flavor combinations, and they even sent us away with some goodies for later. (Read more about Glacier here >)

Just down the street we located Antoinette Baking Company, which is a small bake shop known to the locals. Fortunately, we had spoken with some of those locals, and they keyed us in on this hidden treasure. The pastry cases are stuffed full of tantalizing treats, and choosing just one can be quite difficult. If only we had found it sooner, we could have sampled more. (Read more about Antoinette’s here >)

Tulsa is Larger Than Life

Our three days flew by too quickly, and we only had time to scratch the surface of this fantastic destination. What we found were lots of friendly people, tons of interesting attractions, and loads of great eats. We hope that our articles inspire you to make your own plans for a visit to Tulsa Town. We are betting that your visit will be filled with just as much fun. Which place would you visit first?

the authors signatures.

16 thoughts on “15 Reasons to Visit Tulsa, Oklahoma”

  1. I love Tulsa and especially the Art Deco treasures in the heart of the city. It was fun to remember my own experiences as I read your article!!

  2. Having spent almost zero time in Oklahoma, so know virtually nothing about Tulsa, so a few surprises here. And that art deco downtown sounds absolutely wonderful!

  3. Oh my what a delicious looking taste of Tulsa! A great review of a place worthy of being on our US bucket list!!!

  4. Looks as if there’s plenty to see in Tulsa. I always enjoy Art Deco architecture and there seems to be an amazing variety of food!

  5. It does look like there is lots to see and do in Tulsa. I didn’t realize it had Art Deco architecture. I’ve driven through Oklahoma a few times, but have never gone through Tulsa or considered a small detour to see it. I will now. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’ve never been to Tulsa and it sounds like l am missing out. The food looks awesome, especially the tacos. I also like Woody Guthrie so it would be nice knowing a bit more about his history. Next time we’re back in the states, l might need to rectify an oversight. Thanks for sharing.

  7. To be honest, it never would have occurred to me to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma! But you had me at the Woody Guthrie Center. I’d go just for that. It sounds like a fascinating city.

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