Did you know that Tulsa earned the nickname “Oil Capital of the World” during the early 20th century due to its significant role in the oil industry?
Another distinguishing feature of Tulsa is its impressive collection of Art Deco architecture. During the 1920s and 1930s, the city experienced a boom period fueled by the oil industry, so many buildings were constructed in the distinctive Art Deco style, showcasing intricate designs and unique aesthetics.
Tulsa is essentially a cultural and interesting city of tens of thousands. The is known today for being one of the more interesting towns in the Western Midwest. The best attractions of Tulsa are right around your corner. It’s an ideal place for a weekend trip to a city like Oklahoma.
Let’s explore together the best 25 fun things to do in Tulsa, OK!
Things to Do in Tulsa, OK
1. Get Your Music Fix at the Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie Centers
If you love to hear music and you live within the Arts District then you have to visit the music museums of the neighborhood. You can find the Woody Guthrie Center celebrating Woody’s musical life.
Explore the museum and discover many personal items including instruments and songwriting journals, fascinating photos, artwork and even poems.
Aside from regular special exhibitions, the venue also hosts music events every day. Once you’ve explored Woody Guthrie Center, go directly into Bob Dylan Center which just recently opened in 2022.
2. Admire Tulsa’s Towering Art Deco Buildings
Probably not surprising, however, Tulsa houses a large collection of art-deco buildings from the US thanks to a wealthy oil industry of the early 1900s. The majority of the buildings are located in the well-known Deco district of downtown Tulsa.
Architecture buffs will certainly be able to add an Art Deco tour to their Tulsa bucket list. You can go DIY around the Deco district and visit famous landmarks like The BOK Tower, The Mayo Hotel, The Boston Avenue Methodist Church and Philtower among others.
3. Get Your Nature Fix at the Tulsa Botanic Garden
The Tulsa Botanical Garden is an excellent location to visit Tulsa and escape the city. Covering an expansive area of about 170 acres the Tulsa Botanical Gardens is just 15 minutes from downtown Tulsa.
The garden features a diverse collection of plants, including native Oklahoma species, as well as plants from around the world.
The Tulsa Botanic Garden offers spectacular seasonal displays throughout the year! From spring blooms to summer flowers and fall foliage, each season brings its own beauty and charm to the garden.
4. Woodward Park & Gardens
Does this city need reassurance? Can you imagine over 9,000 roses in various colors and varieties?
Woodward Park was established in 1929 and named after Helen Woodward, a Tulsa philanthropist. The park was designed by renowned landscape architect Edward Buehler Delk, who also designed other notable landscapes in Tulsa.
The park’s design incorporates elements of both formal and informal gardens which creates a scenic view. This is definitely a must-visit!
5. Eat Your Way Through Mother Road Market
If you want to see some of Tulsa’s best attractions, you can always visit Mother Road Market. It was the first-ever food hall in Oklahoma that houses more than 20 restaurant locations and shops.
This indoor food market brings a diverse selection of local eateries and culinary entrepreneurs under one roof from tacos and burgers to sushi and vegan options there are lots of options you can choose from.
6. Tulsa Arts District
Some cities have places where art is honored. Tulsa is home to many districts that promote artistic, cultural, and artistic expression.
The Tulsa Arts District reflects innovative thinking through an enchanting array of attractions pertaining to many different art styles.
Tulsa is a historic town but is well-managed to show no age. The community continues to work hard to maintain the building and has spots such as Cains Ballroom, the Glassblowing Studios of Tulsa, and Brady Theater drawing curiosity.
The art district of Tulsa has nothing more exciting than to look around the corner.
7. Journey to the Center of the Universe
The Center of the Universe is your destination when you are searching for the most unique experiences in Tulsa. There is a mysterious acoustics vortex at the Woody Guthrie Center of the Tulsa Arts District.
The landmark attraction may not appear so much as to be standing at the center of the brick circle, talking or making sounds. A little strange about this is the fact that the vocals also sound distorted.
Legend says that people at the center of a circle have no chance of sound. So the term “center of the universe” is given.
8. Safari Joe’s H20 Water Park
During warm summer days, there’s no better alternative than going to a water park. Safari Joe H 20 water park is extremely popular for being Tulsa’s only water park.
The park features thrilling water slides, such as the Anaconda, Serpent Safari, and Cheetah Chase. There are also lazy rivers, wave pools, and interactive play areas for younger children. The park is designed to provide entertainment and water-based fun for the whole family.
9. Oklahoma Aquarium
The aquarium in Tulsa was opened in 2003 covering approximately 750 square feet and is the best spot in Oklahoma to view amazing wildlife.
Because we all live on the land, we often forget how amazing marine life is. At Oklahoma Aquarium, you can observe jellyfish, lions, turtles and sea turtle species. Each of these thousands of animals is capable of a little bit of knowledge of how animals live and work together.
10. Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
The Air and Space Museum has something to satisfy everyone from aviation enthusiasts to aviation enthusiasts. Aviation lovers can enjoy hands-on interactive exhibits for kids. Embark aboard a large MD80 in Helmich’s exhibit hall, and then jump aboard a Rockwell Ranger 2000.
Step in time to experience the reconstructed Art Deco Tulsa terminal, the largest in the world in 1930, after the oil boom. You can feel your heart racing with flying simulations!
11. Get Your Kicks on Route 66
When you are searching for interesting activities in Tulsa, the historic Route 66 is one of the attractions. When you take the 66-year-old route, you will be able to see many of the famous Tulsa landmarks. Several abandoned buildings remain largely intact, but a large part of them have been carefully restored to their former glory.
You definitely need to take pictures of the Blue Whale in Catoosa. It is just a fifteen-min drive from the center of Tulsa.
Other must-sees include the 1953 Desert Hills Hotel and a stunning Retro neon sign at the hotel. Tally Good Food Cafe provides you with the ideal spot to experience quintessential American food.
12. Peruse Local Art at the First Friday Art Crawl
First Friday Art Crawls are a perfect way to experience the local Tulsan if the event happens on the first Friday of each Month. These vibrant community celebrations are open year-round between 3 and 6 p.m. and attract around 3000 people per year.
Throughout the Art Crawl on First Friday gallery, studio and museum exhibitions open their doors for exhibiting varying types of art. Admission to the museum for free and galleries offer free or reduced admission and many shops stay open late.
13. Boston Avenue Methodist Church
A very important religious site in Oklahoma is the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. This downtown church in Tulsa dates from 1929’s and shows how well art deco designs are.
This church has a complex design that has a different dimension than that of a church. You have to slow down a journey through this world to see the beauty it provides.
14. Tulsa Zoo
Covering an area of approximately 85 acres, Tulsa’s Zoo is home to over 400 animal species from around the world. The zoo is divided into various themed exhibits and habitats that provide a natural and immersive experience for visitors.
Thousands of animals can be found at this sanctuary in idyllic surroundings. Family, couples, and friends traveling to Oklahoma must definitely go see the zoo!
15. Peruse the Philbrook Museum of Art
Philbrook’s Museum of Art is visiting for just its surroundings. The 20-story “Villa Philbrook” is one of the most popular tourist attractions within Tulsa.
Exploring this historic home you will find a permanent collection from Africa, Europe and Asia. There are also significant collections of American Indian pottery and basketry. You will see works by famous artists like Pablo Picasso!
16. Oxley Nature Center
There are lots of amazing sites around Tulsa to explore nature and the Oxley Nature Center is one of them. This place is especially interesting for hikers. Both children and parents can spend some enjoyable hours exploring this variety of trails.
The Oxley Nature Center is near the Zoo Tulsa and is filled with many charming trail choices that cover an area of about 800 acres.
17. LaFortune Park
Every town that is worthy of a reputation must be equipped with an area that blew you away in size and maintenance. La Fortune Park offers more than 100 acres on which to walk and relax away from the city.
This park is among Tulsa’s finest activities like fishing, tennis, and even golf. A park like this show how great a vacation in Tulsa can be.
18. Shop, Wine, and Dine in the Blue Dome Entertainment District
You can find Blue Dome Entertainment District only minutes away on Route 666 so it is the right stop once you stop driving along Mother Road. The district was named for an iconic gas station from the 1920s.
The Blue Dome is an important architectural gem. it has nine blocks of retail spaces, including an art gallery and an entertainment venue as well as comedy clubs and bowling alley.
19. The Golden Driller
Golden Driller is a sightseeing trip you cannot ignore. It’s huge and it seems much more real than it appears.
This is a colossal statue depicting an oil worker, weighing approximately 43,500 pounds (19,731 kilograms). The statue is made of steel and concrete, and its exterior is coated with gold paint.
The Golden Driller is considered an iconic symbol of Tulsa. The statue stands approximately 75 feet (23 meters) tall, making it one of the tallest freestanding statues in the United States.
20. The Outsiders House Museum
The Outsiders House Museum offers a unique opportunity to step into the setting of the novel of the classic novel “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton.
“The Outsiders” is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s that explores the lives of two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs, and the struggles they face. The story is beloved for its portrayal of friendship, loyalty, and the challenges of adolescence.
The museum house and displays showcasing memorabilia from the book and the movie, including original props, costumes, and photographs.
21. Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Located to the south of Woodward Park the galleries are filled with a wide variety of objects relating to the local history. Established in 1963, the collection is located in the elegant Italianate Revival-style Travis Mansion.
During the course of some sections of the museum focusing on Tulsa’s history, the museum also examines the history of this terrible race massacre. Historique images or short videos show the history the southern city had.
22. Route 66 Historical Village
Located on Southwest Boulevard near the Arkansas River, the village offers a glimpse into the rich heritage of America’s “Mother Road.”
Standing near Frisco 400, you may imagine a bygone steam engine. Ask volunteers at a nearby site to show you why a locomotive that has been in operation for decades has traveled the distance from St Louis to Oklahoma City daily.
Train enthusiasts will be amazed by the Frisco 1157 original car turned caboose.
23. Take a Hike in the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
The Turkey Mountain urban wilderness zone is located just 10 minutes from the downtown Tulsa city center. The site is 300 acres along the Arkansas River and 45 km of dirt trails.
Follow the Red Trail loop that spans approximately 1.5 miles. The Blue Path is a 1.5-mile route that leads through a beautiful lake to the top of Turkey Mountain. The Yellow Trail is 4.5 miles long and takes you east on Turkey Mountain, and parallels the Arkansas River.
24. Utica Square
Utica Square is one of many shopping centers where anyone can get everything in one hand. I recommend putting together your budget at the very beginning!
Think of some of the expensive stores that will probably be on Utica Square. You will be amazed by the selection of stores you can find here. Moreover, there’s an abundance of good food in the Square for the deprived.
25. Catch a Tulsa Drillers Baseball Game
Sports lovers can enjoy watching the Tulsa Drillers MLB game at ONEOK Field. Between April and September, the site served as the home for the Drillers, the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
ONEOK Field lies in a historic Greenwood neighborhood just a few blocks from Guthrie Green. The concrete and zinc stadium is incorporated into the city’s landmark Art Déco architecture.
Not only is the Stadium beautiful but you don’t even want to sit down and enjoy the outdoors, you will find a grass area beside some of the outfields where a blanket can be sat down for an enjoyable evening of football.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there anything fun to do in Tulsa Oklahoma?
Yes, there are many fun activities and attractions in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Visitors can enjoy exploring the Philbrook Museum of Art, taking a stroll along the River Parks, visiting the Gathering Place, attending live performances at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and exploring the vibrant downtown area with its restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
Is Tulsa OK worth visiting?
Not just the past of Tulsa makes it an excellent tourist destination. Long regarded as a secret, the city has been famous as an Art Deco-style center for its underground cultural scene and its better-than-coast food and beverage offerings.
Why is Tulsa famous?
Tulsa is famous for several reasons. Firstly, because it gained prominence due to its historical connection to the oil industry, earning it the nickname “Oil Capital of the World.”
Secondly, for its rich music heritage, particularly in jazz and blues, with notable musicians emerging from Tulsa.
What is Tulsa Oklahoma known for?
Tulsa, Oklahoma is known for its historical connection to the oil industry, the city’s rich musical heritage, particularly in jazz, blues, and Western swing, the impressive collection of Art Deco architecture, and its diverse cultural heritage.