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Set in the geographical heart of the country, Tulsa has a sleek Art Deco skyline and a laidback Southwestern twang. This brawny Oklahoma oil town is a fascinating mix of world-class museums, old-time western swing music, and outdoor pleasures. Take a stroll on rolling parkland along the Arkansas River or kick up your feet at vintage dime-a-dance joints. Gaze at art masterpieces in the elegant mansion of an oil baron or eat corndogs at the Tulsa State Fair.
Things to Do
The arts are alive and kicking in Tulsa, home to not one but two first-rate art museums. The works of Wild West artists like Frederic Remington hang in the Gilcrease Museum. The European and American masterpieces in the Philbrook Museum of Art belonged to oil magnate Waite Phillips. Ride on a cushion of air in a weightless space unit in the Tulsa Air & Space Museum and see lions, cheetahs, and giraffes roam the African plains at the Tulsa Zoo.
Nightlife and entertainment
Music spills out of pubs and watering holes in the downtown Blue Dome District—so named for a 1920s gas station that long ago serviced traffic streaming down Route 66. In the Brady Arts District, dance to western swing music at Cain’s Ballroom, where swing king Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys held court in the 1930s. Sample one of 350 beers at McNellie’s Public House. Baseball fans flock to the Tulsa Drillers’ gleaming $39-million minor-league ballpark, ONEOK Field.
Restaurants and dining
From Tex-Mex to slow-cooked barbecue to hand-cut steaks, Tulsa enjoys a hearty culinary scene. Locals head to the modest cinderblock El Rio Verde for authentic Mexican fajitas and “wet” burritos. Follow the hickory-smoked scent of long-simmered pork to Elmer’s BBQ. Down-home grub like meatloaf and cabbage rolls is the specialty of Tally’s Good Food Café, a vintage diner on Route 66.
Tulsa has nature built into its urban bones with 144 green parks and river trails meandering along the Arkansas River. At River Parks, you can bike, jog, or hoof it along 50 miles of trails hugging the banks of the river. The riverfront ecosystem is home to fox, beavers, herons, and songbirds—not to mention scores of manmade wildlife sculptures and lighted fountains. Go fishing for striped bass and catfish in the cool river waters at Zink Lake.
Visit Tulsa, Oklahoma's second-largest city for a haven of Southern comfort and cosmopolitan style. A town enriched by its oil heritage, Tulsa boasts world-class cultural attractions, including the Philbrook and Gilcrease Museums, and plenty of interesting things to do. The city stands tall with its magnificent art deco treasures, Route 66 gems and the new Cesar Pelli-designed BOK Center, a state-of-the-art venue for national concerts and sporting events. Tulsa's lively entertainment districts feature eateries, shopping and gaming, while the Tulsa music scene is the star of the state. Family fun also prevails in T-Town, home of the highly-rated Tulsa Zoo, while the city's Arkansas River trails and outdoor recreation areas offer outdoor respites from all the urban excitement.
Tulsa offers a fabulous array of cultural amenities including the acclaimed Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and other programs of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Theater-going opportunities abound around town and the music scene thrives with everything from country and western to indie rock and from local nightlife concerts to huge music festivals. Each year a multitude of festivals and events such as Tulsa International Mayfest, Tulsa Oktoberfest and the Oklahoma Scottish Festival celebrate Tulsa's culture and heritage and add to the long list of things to do in Tulsa.
Discover unique facets of Tulsa's personality by visiting the many vibrant districts within the city. The Blue Dome Entertainment District is resurging within downtown Tulsa. Anchored by the historic Blue Dome building, which once served as a gas station but now houses a trendy eatery, the Blue Dome Entertainment District is home to nightlife hot spots, hip restaurants and live entertainment. Visit the Brookside District of Tulsa for unique shopping experiences, upscale dining and plenty of nightlife options. The Brady Arts District features historic buildings that have been brought back to prominence hosting art galleries, theaters, restaurants, bars and dance clubs. Be sure to catch a concert at the famous Cain's Ballroom or Brady Theater. For antique shopping, local and regional art galleries and over 20 of the top local restaurants, visit the Cherry Street District in the northern midtown area of Tulsa.