Tulsa, Oklahoma, often referred to as the “Oil Capital of the World,” is a vibrant and culturally rich city nestled in the heart of the United States. This metropolis, located in northeastern Oklahoma, is known for its unique blend of history, art, music, and outdoor adventures. In In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of some of the city’s most exciting attractions and activities. Without further ado, here are twenty-nine of the best things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Architect Frank Wallace designed the Prayer Tower. Source

Cultural Activities in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In Tulsa, culture thrives in many forms, from architectural wonders and historical landmarks to musical legacies and urban art. Here are a few things to do in Tulsa if you want to explore the heart and soul of the city.

Tulsa Art Deco

A stroll through the city unveils a skyline of stunning art deco architecture that will transport you back in time. Among the must-see landmarks are the Boston Avenue Methodist Church, an architectural masterpiece with its intricate designs and grandeur. The Philtower Building showcases the elegant, geometric motifs typical of the Art Deco era. Don’t miss the iconic BOK Tower, a towering symbol of Tulsa’s rich history and heritage.

Tulsa’s Historical Greenwood District

For a profound historical experience, delve into Tulsa’s Greenwood District, often referred to as “Black Wall Street.” This historic African American neighborhood is a living testament to the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of its residents. Visit the Greenwood Cultural Center and the Black Wall Street Memorial to gain insights into this vital chapter of American history. Discover the stories of prosperity, hardship, and the indomitable spirit that shaped this community.

Woody Guthrie Center

If you have a penchant for American folk music and history, a visit to the Woody Guthrie Center is an absolute must. This museum is a tribute to the life and work of the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, showcasing his immense influence on American music and culture. Immerse yourself in his music, personal artifacts, and the profound impact he had on the socio-political landscape of his time. It’s a melodic journey through the heart and soul of America.

Route 66

Tulsa plays a special role in the history of Route 66, the iconic American highway that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. Here, you can explore a piece of this history firsthand. Begin your adventure at Cyrus Avery Plaza, a loving tribute to Route 66 and its significant place in American culture. The plaza serves as a gateway to the historic route, offering a glimpse into the golden age of American road trips and the experiences that have captured the imaginations of generations.

Murals and Street Art

As you explore Tulsa’s neighborhoods, you’ll encounter a thriving street art scene that adds a modern twist to the city’s cultural landscape. Murals adorning buildings showcase the talents and stories of local artists. Take a leisurely walk through the Pearl District and the East Village, where colorful artworks breathe life into the streets, making each corner a canvas of creativity.

Kids riding scooters on the trails. Things to do in Tulsa outdoors.
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Things to do in Tulsa if You Enjoy the Outdoors

From lush urban parks to wilderness escapes, the city offers a diverse range of activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Here are a few of the best things to do in Tulsa if you want to spend the day outside.

Gathering Place

Tulsa’s Gathering Place is an urban marvel, spanning 66 acres and offering a plethora of outdoor activities. A favorite among locals and tourists alike, this free park is a sanctuary in the heart of the city. The park boasts a playground for children, serene walking trails for leisurely strolls, and even opportunities for paddleboarding on the lake. Its carefully curated landscapes and abundant greenery provide a picturesque escape for those seeking tranquility within the city’s hustle and bustle.

Tulsa Botanic Garden

Escape into the exquisite beauty of the Tulsa Botanic Garden, a sanctuary of nature and serenity. The garden’s themed areas, including a captivating Japanese garden, provide a delightful backdrop for leisurely strolls and picnics. Witness the changing seasons and the ever-evolving colors of the botanical wonders, making this garden a paradise for anyone who appreciates the artistry of nature. In the spring, this tops the list of things to do in Tulsa as the gardens come alive with the vibrant colors of tulips and daffodils.

Learn where to pick your own tulips in Oklahoma.

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area

For the adventure seekers, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area is just minutes from downtown Tulsa. Here, hiking and biking trails wind through the rugged landscape, offering breathtaking views of the Arkansas River and the city skyline. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual explorer, Turkey Mountain has a trail for you, promising an invigorating escape from urban life.

Drillers Baseball

Tulsa’s outdoor offerings aren’t limited to nature; sports enthusiasts can revel in the excitement of a Tulsa Drillers baseball game at ONEOK Field, the city’s downtown baseball stadium. The lively atmosphere, minor league baseball action, and the thrill of a roaring crowd make this a fantastic outing for friends and families. Cheer for the home team under the open sky and relish the vibrant energy of a baseball game.

Riverside Trails

For active travelers, exploring the city on two wheels is one of the best ways to spend the day. Stretching along the banks of the Arkansas River, these scenic trails provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities. It’s a refreshing escape that will rejuvenate your spirit and connect you with the natural beauty of Tulsa. Connect to other trails on Tulsa’s extensive network of bike paths and cross some of the items off your list of things to do in Tulsa.

Things to Do in Tulsa with Kids

From animal encounters to underwater wonders and gravity-defying trampolines, there are a variety of things to do in Tulsa that will leave your little ones in awe.

Tulsa Zoo

A visit to the Tulsa Zoo promises a day filled with excitement and learning. With over 1,500 animals from around the world and beautifully landscaped exhibits, this is a place where curiosity thrives. The Lost Kingdom exhibit, featuring primates and a tropical rainforest, adds an extra layer of excitement as you get up close and personal with animals and ecosystems.

Oklahoma Aquarium

Dive into the depths of aquatic wonder at the Oklahoma Aquarium. As you stroll through the winding pathways and peer into expansive tanks, you’ll be enchanted by the graceful movements of sea turtles, the majesty of sharks, and the vibrant colors of exotic fish from far-flung corners of the Earth. The highlight of the visit is undoubtedly the underwater tunnel, where families can walk through a transparent corridor surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of marine life, creating an immersive experience that’s both educational and awe-inspiring.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

A visit to the Tulsa Zoo promises a day filled with excitement and learning. With over 1,500 animals from around the world and beautifully landscaped exhibits, this is a place where curiosity thrives. The Lost Kingdom exhibit, featuring primates and a tropical rainforest, adds an extra layer of excitement as you get up close and personal with animals and ecosystems.

Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab

Encourage your kids’ imaginations to run wild at the Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab. This interactive museum is designed to engage young minds in creative and educational ways. With hands-on exhibits and activities that cover science, art, technology, and more, children can explore, experiment, and learn through play. It’s a fantastic place for parents and kids to bond over the joy of discovery.

View of Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa from the gardens. Things to do in Tulsa
Combining art, architecture, history, and lush gardens, the Philbrook is one of the top things to do in Tulsa.

Museums and More: Educational Things to Do in Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma is a city of culture, history, and learning, with a diverse array of museums and educational attractions that will pique your curiosity and enrich your mind. Here are a few museums to add to your list of things to do in Tulsa.

Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

If you’re fascinated by aviation and space exploration, this museum is a must-visit. This captivating museum features a wide range of aircraft, space artifacts, and interactive exhibits. Step inside the planetarium for a unique and educational experience that transports you to the depths of the cosmos. It’s a place where dreams take flight and the wonders of the universe unfold before your eyes.

Philbrook Museum of Art

The exquisite Philbrook Museum of Art will delight art aficionados Housed in a splendid 72-room Italian Renaissance villa, the museum boasts a diverse collection of art spanning centuries and continents. Wander through galleries adorned with works by masters like Rembrandt and Monet and discover pieces by Native American artists that celebrate the region’s rich cultural heritage. The lush gardens surrounding the villa are a visual feast and a serene escape for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

For a deeper understanding of Jewish art, culture, and history, pay a visit to Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. This museum’s extensive collection includes a rich tapestry of Judaica, fine art, and historical artifacts, providing valuable insights into the Jewish experience and heritage. A visit here is an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of Jewish artistry and the historical journey of the Jewish people.

Greenwood Cultural Center

Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center serves as a gateway to a pivotal chapter in American history. Discover the resilience and achievements of the African American community in the historic Greenwood District, often known as “Black Wall Street.” The center offers a poignant and educational experience, with exhibits and events that explore the legacy of this vibrant community and its triumphs in the face of adversity.

The Outsiders House and Museum

For fans of literature and cinema, The Outsiders House and Museum is a spot you’ll want to add to your itinerary. The museum celebrates the iconic novel “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton and its transformation into a film. Step inside the world of Ponyboy, Johnny, and the Greasers as you explore the house and artifacts from the story, making it a unique adventure for fans of all ages.

Tulsa Muffler Man, Buck Atom, is a space cowboy holding a rocket. Roadside attraction in Tulsa.
Tulsa’s Muffler Man, Buck Atom, stands in front of Buck’s Cosmic Curios on Route 66. Source

Quirky and Unusual Things to do in Tulsa

Beyond its rich history and cultural offerings, Tulsa harbors a world of peculiar attractions that will leave you enchanted and bewildered. To explore a different side of the city, try these off-beat things to do in Tulsa.

The Center of the Universe

Easily one of the weirdest things to do in Tulsa, the Center of the Universe is an enigmatic acoustic anomaly that defies explanation. Stand on the center’s metal circle, speak, and your voice will echo back at you in a way that only you can hear. It’s a disconcerting experience that challenges your understanding of sound and space, making this quirky spot a must-visit for visitors of all ages.

The Golden Driller

The Golden Driller stands tall as an iconic figure in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This colossal statue, rising 76 feet into the sky and weighing over 43,500 pounds, is a symbol of the city’s deep-rooted connection to the oil industry. It stands as a tribute to the legacy of the oilmen who played a pivotal role in shaping Tulsa’s history. This monumental statue has become a must-see roadside attraction in Tulsa, serving as a reminder of the city’s historical significance in the oil sector.

Blue Whale of Catoosa

Just a short drive from Tulsa, you’ll stumble upon the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a delightful roadside attraction that has become a favorite among travelers and photographers alike. This colossal blue whale has been grinning at visitors since the 70’s when Hugh Davis had it built as an anniversary gift for his wife who adored whales. Whether it’s a quick photo stop or a leisurely picnic, the Blue Whale is a unique experience that belongs on your list of things to do in Tulsa.

The Cave House

This architectural wonder, designed by Robert McFarland in the 1920s, is a testament to human creativity and harmonious integration with nature. Carved into the red sandstone bluffs along the Arkansas River, the Cave House boasts a series of interconnected rooms and passageways that wind through the sandstone, creating a cozy, subterranean retreat. While the Cave House is private property, you can still enjoy its surreal exterior from the roadside. Tours are available if you call ahead.

Tulsa’s Very Own “Muffler Man

Tulsa has its own version of the iconic “Muffler Man” – Buck Atom. This towering fiberglass space cowboy holds a rocket and welcomes visitors to one of Route 66’s most intriguing gift shops. Buck Atom’s distinctive appearance and playful charm make it a standout stop for those seeking unusual souvenirs and a touch of whimsy on their journey.

Neon sign for Wildflower Cafe in Downtown Tulsa. Photo by Braden Burson on Unsplash.
Wildflower Cafe in Downtown Tulsa

Tulsa for Foodies: A Few of the Best Places to Eat in Tulsa

One of the best things to do in Tulsa is eat! Tulsa’s culinary scene has garnered attention in recent years. From local barbecue joints to international cuisine, the city offers a diverse range of dining experiences. If you’re like me, you plan trips around food. Here are a few of the best places to eat in Tulsa and where to find them.

Cherry Street

Kilkenny’s Irish Pub – Begin your culinary journey in Tulsa by stepping into Kilkenny’s Irish Pub. This charming eatery offers an authentic Irish pub experience, complete with hearty dishes like bangers and mash, fish and chips, and an impressive selection of Irish whiskeys. Don’t forget to try their famous Shepherd’s Pie!

Andolini’s Pizzeria – If pizza is your passion, Andolini’s Pizzeria in Cherry Street is a must-visit. They serve delectable Neapolitan-style pizzas with a variety of gourmet toppings. The wood-fired oven creates a perfect crispy crust that pairs beautifully with a glass of wine from their extensive list.

Utica Square

Stonehorse Cafe – For a cozy yet upscale meal, Stonehorse Cafe is the place to be. Their menu features a fusion of American, European, and Asian flavors. Enjoy dishes like their famous Crab Cake Benedict for brunch or a delightful Filet Mignon for dinner.

Queenie’s Cafe & Bakery – For a more casual yet delicious experience, Queenie’s Cafe & Bakery offers a selection of gourmet sandwiches, quiches, and baked goods. The inviting ambiance and freshly baked bread make this a favorite among locals.

Tulsa Arts District (Brady District)

Antoinette Baking Co. – A visit to Antoinette Baking Co. is a must for dessert enthusiasts. This charming bakery offers a delectable array of pastries, cakes, and sweet treats. Try the macarons, and you won’t be disappointed.

Sisserou’s Restaurant – Immerse yourself in the flavors of the Caribbean at Sisserou’s. This restaurant offers a taste of the islands with dishes like jerk chicken, oxtail, and their famous rum punch.

Brookside District

R Bar & Grill – Brookside’s eclectic atmosphere is perfectly captured by R Bar & Grill. This neighborhood gem serves gourmet comfort food, like their truffle mac and cheese, in a cozy setting that will make you feel right at home.

Cafe Ole – Serving delectable Tex-Mex cuisine, Cafe Ole is a local favorite. Tacos, enchiladas, and margaritas are all on the menu, and the vibrant atmosphere adds to the dining experience.

Blue Dome District

Dilly Diner – If you’re craving a classic American diner experience, Dilly Diner in the Blue Dome District delivers. Their breakfast menu is a highlight, with fluffy pancakes and savory breakfast burritos that hit the spot.

McNellie’s Pub – McNellie’s is a beloved Irish pub offering a wide selection of draft beers, hearty pub grub, and a convivial atmosphere. It’s a great place to watch a game or enjoy a pint with friends.

Jenna Walker

Hey there! I’m Jenna, a proud Oklahoma with an insatiable curiosity for the world. Writing has been my compass on a journey to understand and share the Oklahoma experience. Join me as we uncover the layers of history, culture, and hidden tales that make Oklahoma truly special.