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Discovering Things to do in Tulsa: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Things to Do

Tulsa, Oklahoma, often referred to as “The Oil Capital of the World,” is a vibrant city brimming with culture, history, and outdoor adventures. From exploring its rich heritage to indulging in culinary delights and experiencing world-class entertainment, Tulsa offers something for every traveler. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top attractions and activities that make Tulsa a must-visit destination.

Exploring Tulsa’s Historical Sites

Tulsa boasts a wealth of historical sites that offer insight into the city’s past. The Tulsa Historical Society & Museum is a great place to start, featuring exhibits that chronicle the city’s evolution from its early days as a frontier town to its emergence as a thriving metropolis. Visitors can explore artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring Tulsa’s history to life.

For art enthusiasts, the Philbrook Museum of Art is a must-visit destination. Housed in a stunning Italian Renaissance villa, the museum showcases an impressive collection of European, American, and Native American art. In addition to its indoor galleries, Philbrook boasts beautifully landscaped gardens that provide a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Embracing Nature in Tulsa

Despite being a bustling urban center, Tulsa is also blessed with abundant natural beauty. One of the city’s crown jewels is Gathering Place, a sprawling park along the banks of the Arkansas River. Spanning over 100 acres, Gathering Place offers something for everyone, from playgrounds and sports courts to gardens and walking trails. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and enjoy outdoor activities year-round.

For those with a green thumb, the Tulsa Botanic Garden is a botanical paradise waiting to be explored. Spread across 170 acres, the garden features a diverse collection of plants from around the world, as well as themed gardens, walking paths, and seasonal events. Whether you’re a botany enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the Tulsa Botanic Garden is sure to delight.

Unforgettable Entertainment Experiences

When it comes to entertainment, Tulsa pulls out all the stops. One of the city’s most iconic venues is Cain’s Ballroom, a historic music hall that has hosted legendary performers such as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and the Sex Pistols. Today, Cain’s continues to attract top acts from around the world, offering concert-goers an unforgettable live music experience.

For a more refined evening out, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center is the place to be. Home to several resident companies, including the Tulsa Ballet and the Tulsa Opera, the center hosts a diverse array of performances, from Broadway shows to classical concerts. With its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class talent, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center never fails to impress.

Culinary Adventures in Tulsa

No visit to Tulsa would be complete without sampling the city’s culinary delights. The Cherry Street District is a foodie’s paradise, boasting a wide range of dining options, from cozy cafes to upscale bistros. Here, you can savor everything from farm-to-table cuisine to international fare, all served up with a side of local hospitality.

For a taste of authentic Oklahoma barbecue, look no further than Oklahoma Joe’s. Founded by champion pitmaster Joe Davidson, this beloved barbecue joint has been serving up mouthwatering smoked meats for over two decades. Whether you’re craving brisket, ribs, or pulled pork, Oklahoma Joe’s is sure to satisfy your barbecue cravings.

Shopping and Local Markets

If shopping is on your agenda, Tulsa has you covered. The Tulsa Farmers’ Market is a great place to stock up on fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts from local vendors. Open year-round, the market offers a vibrant atmosphere where you can mingle with locals and discover unique treasures.

For a more upscale shopping experience, head to Utica Square. This outdoor shopping center features a mix of national retailers and boutique shops, as well as restaurants and cafes where you can refuel after a day of shopping. Whether you’re looking for designer fashion or one-of-a-kind gifts, Utica Square has something for everyone.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Tulsa is a family-friendly destination with plenty of attractions to keep kids of all ages entertained. The Tulsa Zoo is home to over 2,500 animals representing more than 400 species, making it the perfect place for animal lovers to get up close and personal with their favorite creatures. In addition to its animal exhibits, the zoo offers educational programs, animal encounters, and special events throughout the year.

For a deeper dive into marine life, head to the Oklahoma Aquarium. Located in nearby Jenks, the aquarium features exhibits showcasing aquatic ecosystems from around the world, including a massive shark tank, a sea turtle exhibit, and a walk-through tunnel where you can view marine life up close. With interactive displays and hands-on activities, the Oklahoma Aquarium offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

Sporting Events and Recreation

Sports fans will find plenty to cheer about in Tulsa. The BOK Center is the city’s premier sports and entertainment venue, hosting everything from professional basketball games to concerts by top artists. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking for a night out on the town, the BOK Center has something for everyone.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Tulsa River Parks offers endless opportunities for recreation along the Arkansas River. Whether you prefer biking, jogging, or simply strolling along the riverfront, this scenic park has something for everyone. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other watercraft to explore the river at your own pace.

Discovering Tulsa’s Architectural Gems

Architecture buffs will find plenty to admire in Tulsa. The Boston Avenue Methodist Church is a prime example of Art Deco architecture, with its striking design and intricate details. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the church’s history and architecture.

For a taste of luxury, check into The Mayo Hotel. This historic hotel has been a Tulsa landmark since 1925, hosting celebrities, dignitaries, and travelers from around the world. With its elegant decor, impeccable service, and central location, The Mayo Hotel offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Day Trips and Nearby Attractions

If you’re looking to explore beyond the city limits, Tulsa offers plenty of options for day trips and nearby attractions. The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is a scenic drive away and offers the chance to see native bison roaming free on the prairie. With its wide-open spaces and pristine natural beauty, it’s a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

For a dose of culture and history, head to the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve. Located just outside of Tulsa, this unique attraction features an extensive collection of Western art, Native American artifacts, and wildlife exhibits. Visitors can also explore hiking trails, enjoy scenic views, and even feed the resident bison.


Tulsa is a city that truly has it all, from fascinating historical sites to world-class entertainment, delicious dining, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Tulsa. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Tulsa today and discover all that this vibrant city has to offer

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