Welcome to Tulsa, Oklahoma!
Largely known as the Oil capital of the United States, Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma. While the city is best known for its amazing art deco architecture, lovely parks, and BBQ specialties, there are plenty of hidden attractions that you can discover while visiting this vibrant city.
Tulsa weather can be extremely windy, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting the city as a worldwide local who wants to experience Tulsa from a different angle and discover its charms through the eyes of the locals. Besides offering local tips, this travel guide will take you to Tulsa’s lesser-known attractions and hidden gems.
Where to Begin
Kicking off your Tulsa travel itinerary with a visit to the city’s underground tunnels may sound weird, but these 100-year-old underground tunnels are relatively unknown. Organizations like Tours of Tulsa and Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, offer walking tours of the tunnels which are usually an hour long. During the tour, visitors can learn more about the local history and hear cool stories about these historic tunnels.
The next stop is the Woody Guthrie Center, which is located at the Brady Arts District. This fantastic museum celebrates the life and work of the American folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie and allows visitors to see the artist’s belongings including instruments, artwork, lyrics, notebooks, photographs, and other memorabilia.
Worldwide Local Tip: Since the city is surrounded by three lakes, stand up paddleboarding is extremely popular here in Tulsa. Join the locals who attend everything from classic stand-up paddleboarding to stand up paddle yoga and fitness classes. Renting equipment is fairly easy, and there are even trainers for beginner paddleboarders available for hire.
Get Outdoors in Tulsa
To experience nature in Tulsa, spend a day at Woodward Park. Filled with roses and azaleas, it’s easy to see why this public park is one of the most popular wedding destinations, in Tulsa. Wander through the park’s trails, bring a picnic, or visit the Tulsa Garden Center.
Animal lovers should check out the Tulsa Zoo, where you can get close to animals such as giraffes, antelope, rhinos, and lions. There are also newly replicated Angkor-Wat temples, which look spectacular and house animals from Asia.
To admire some cool art, the Philbrook Museum of Art is the place to go. This giant mansion boasts permanent collections of art from all continents. There is a nice garden outside, where you can sit down and enjoy the peacefulness of this place.
Worldwide Local Tip: Wondering where to eat when visiting Tulsa? With several locations around the city, Ron’s Hamburgers & Chili is definitely one of the favorite eateries among the locals. The sausage cheeseburger is extremely delicious, as well as Ron’s Special which has fried onions, pepper jack cheese, ham, and bacon. If BBQ is your thing, check out the low-key Buffalo’s BBQ. This food trailer is one of the best barbecue joints in the country and has won numerous awards. Make sure to order the Teel’s prime rib--it’s better than you’ll find in any of the Tulsa restaurants.
Art and Culture in Tulsa
To mingle with the local crowds visit the Tulsa Flea Market. Covering 50,000 square feet indoors and open usually on Saturdays, the flea market is a great spot to find cool souvenirs and hidden treasures.
To learn a bit about the Tulsa aviation history and see some seriously awesome flight simulators, stop by the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. There is also a nice planetarium here, as well as a 3D theater.
You shouldn’t leave Tulsa before visiting the Brady Arts District. From art studios and shops to performance theaters and a bunch of coffee shops, this artsy district is worth exploring.
Worldwide Local Tip: Tulsa has many hidden gems and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is one of them. Located in an ex-Union Depot, this venue was renovated in 2007 and houses memorabilia related to local musicians. The venue is also used for art programs, live music performances, and other programs. It’s a great place to visit for people who wish to know more about the local music scene in Oklahoma.
Enjoy Your Visit!
If you don’t mind the wind and the calories from all the BBQ, a visit to Tulsa can be an experience unlike any other. Discover the city’s attractions as a worldwide local to experience a city from a different point of view.