30 Best Things to Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma: Your Ultimate Guide

Discover Tulsa, Oklahoma, where vibrant culture meets breathtaking nature. In this dynamic city, you’ll find everything from the stunning 66-acre Gathering Place by the Arkansas River to the Art Deco splendor of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church.

Enjoy Tulsa’s rich music history at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, or experience the buzz of a live show at the BOK Center or Cain’s Ballroom.

Dive into diverse museums celebrating Tulsa’s unique past and Route 66 heritage. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in lush parks or an exciting exploration of urban landmarks, Tulsa promises a blend of experiences that will both captivate and educate.

Come and discover the many facets of this Oklahoma treasure.

Downtown Tulsa river Arkansas at sunset

Iconic Landmarks and Rich History

Tulsa’s history, deeply rooted in the early 20th-century oil boom, is showcased in its architectural marvels and cultural landmarks.

The city’s Art Deco legacy, highlighted by the stunning Boston Avenue Methodist Church and the Philcade Building, is a testament to its prosperous past.

The Greenwood District, including the Greenwood Rising History Center, offers a poignant insight into the legacy of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, representing resilience and community spirit.

Iconic Art Deco Architecture

Art Deco architecture Boston Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma

You’ll witness Tulsa’s love affair with Art Deco architecture as you explore downtown. The city showcases one of the nation’s largest collections of Art Deco buildings, each a testament to Tulsa’s economic success during the 1920s and 1930s.

These structures are pieces of art encapsulating a time when Tulsa was flush with oil money and looking to the future.

Examples such as the Boston Avenue Methodist Church and the Philcade Building represent this stylistic heritage as proud icons of Tulsa’s architectural grandeur.

Oil Capital of the World

Route 66 Oklahoma oil tanks

Tulsa’s moniker, “Oil Capital of the World,” was not given lightly. Your exploration of this city will reveal the tremendous impact of the oil industry on its growth and development.

The wealth generated from the oil fields led to a surge in cultural investments, notably in the arts, education, and philanthropy, which have shaped Tulsa into a center for culture in the region.

Arts and Museums

Tulsa enriches your cultural journey with its array of sophisticated arts and museums. From internationally recognized art collections to tributes of musical legends, your exploration of Tulsa’s art scene will be as diverse as impressive.

Philbrook Museum of Art


You’ll find the Philbrook Museum of Art nestled in a stunning 1920s villa, surrounded by 25 acres of picturesque gardens.

It boasts an eclectic art collection ranging from European to contemporary art, as well as Native American artworks, giving you a profound sense of the artistic heritage and creativity that thrives within Tulsa.

Gilcrease Museum

Gilcrease Museum is home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.

Including thousands of pieces spanning various media, it also exhibits an exceptional anthology of Native American art and historical manuscripts that richly narrate the stories of the Americas.

Tulsa Arts District

As you wander through the Tulsa Arts District, you’ll immerse yourself in a vibrant pulse of creativity. Bursting with art galleries, studios, and venues like the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, the district is alive with the spirit of culture.

Frequent art walks, pop-up shops, and live music events offer a taste of Tulsa’s dynamic cultural landscape.

Woody Guthrie Center

The Woody Guthrie Center celebrates the life and music of the iconic folk musician Woody Guthrie.

Here, you can delve into exhibits about Guthrie’s life and influence on American music and culture and view original pieces from his expansive body of work. It’s not just a museum; it’s a tribute to the power of song and storytelling.

Nature and Parks

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a city that takes pride in its expansive outdoor spaces and dedication to nature conservation.

Your visit here provides ample opportunities to explore some of the most beautifully maintained parks and gardens, as well as engage in outdoor activities along the scenic Arkansas River.

The Gathering Place

The Gathering Place is a world-class riverfront park transforming the Tulsa waterfront into an active space.

With playgrounds that spark the imagination, gardens that invite tranquil walks, and pathways for jogging and cycling, this park is a communal haven where the beauty of nature intertwines with creative landscaping.

  • Location: Along the Arkansas River
  • Activities: Playgrounds, gardens, sports courts, running and biking paths

Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo lets you experience the wonders of the animal kingdom in the engaging natural landscapes of Mohawk Park.

It’s a conservation-focused institution where you can observe animals from across the globe and learn about the zoo’s efforts in wildlife care and ecosystem protection.

  • Top Exhibits: African Plains, Rainforest, Chimpanzee Connection
  • Conservation Programs: Species survival, educational outreach

Tulsa Botanic Garden

At Tulsa Botanic Garden, experience the art of horticulture with themed gardens showcasing colorful plant collections, seasonal blooms, and artistic garden designs.

These gardens serve as both peaceful retreats and educational grounds where the conservation of plant species is emphasized.

  • Gardens to Explore: Children’s Discovery Garden, A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces
  • Seasonal Events: Special botanical displays and festivities throughout the year

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area

For a more adventurous outdoor experience, head to Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. This rugged landscape invites you to step away from the urban environment and delve into activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife observation—right in Tulsa’s backyard.

  • Trails: Numerous paths ranging from easy to challenging
  • Viewpoints: Stunning views of the Arkansas River and downtown Tulsa

Performing Arts and Music

Tulsa, Oklahoma, boasts a vibrant scene for performing arts and music, with a variety of venues hosting everything from ballet and symphony performances to concerts by major touring artists.

Tulsa Performing Arts Center

Your journey into Tulsa’s arts scene isn’t complete without a visit to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Known for contributing to the arts community, this downtown hub frequently features touring Broadway shows, the Tulsa Opera, and other exciting live performances.

Cain’s Ballroom

Experience the iconic Cain’s Ballroom, a historic music venue known as the ‘Carnegie Hall of Western Swing’.

With its roots in the early 20th century, it is now a popular venue for many concerts, from country to indie rock and beyond.

BOK Center

For major concerts and events, the BOK Center stands out with its modern facilities and an impressive lineup of performances.

This state-of-the-art arena in downtown Tulsa regularly hosts high-profile artists and music events, ensuring you have access to top-tier entertainment.

Tulsa Ballet and Symphony

Dive into the elegant world of the Tulsa Ballet and be moved by the powerful performances of the Tulsa Symphony.

With a reputation for excellence, these institutions represent the pinnacle of classical arts, offering performances that are both enchanting and culturally significant.

Leisure and Entertainment

Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers a diverse blend of leisure and entertainment options. From upscale shopping to thrilling sports events and vibrant nightlife to high-stakes gaming, the city caters to various preferences and tastes.

Blue Dome Entertainment District

The Blue Dome Entertainment District beckons in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Here, you’ll find a lively atmosphere with an eclectic mix of dining and nightlife options.

Delve into the district’s array of bars, restaurants, and live entertainment venues, where the city’s pulse is most palpable.

  • Nightlife: Choose from numerous bars and clubs for an exciting night out.
  • Dining: Sample cuisines ranging from casual eats to fine dining experiences.

Utica Square Shopping

Utica Square is Tulsa’s premier shopping destination. It’s an open-air mall with more than 60 stores, ranging from local boutiques to national retailers, that offers a serene shopping experience.

  • Shopping: Indulge in upscale boutiques and well-known brand stores.
  • Dining: Treat yourself at one of the many eateries offering a variety of fare.

River Spirit Casino Resort

At the River Spirit Casino Resort, you can test your luck or just take a look. With a bustling casino floor and a wide array of games, it’s a perfect spot for entertainment and leisure.

  • Casino: Enjoy slots, table games, and poker for a thrilling evening.
  • Entertainment: Check the schedule for live performances and events.

Tulsa Drillers at ONEOK Field

For sports enthusiasts, a game day at ONEOK Field watching the Tulsa Drillers is a must-do. Embrace the excitement of minor league baseball in a modern ballpark.

  • Sports: Experience the thrill of live sports in a dynamic setting.
  • Dining: Grab a hot dog or other ballpark favorites while enjoying the game.

Education and Exploration

Tulsa offers a variety of educational venues where you can immerse yourself in interactive experiences and explore fascinating exhibits.

Oklahoma Aquarium

Oklahoma Aquarium is a gateway to the underwater world right in the heart of Oklahoma. Home to thousands of aquatic creatures, it showcases local and global marine life.

Your journey here is educational and captivating. It features close-up encounters with sharks in the walk-through tunnel and interactive touch tanks.

  • Address: 300 Aquarium Dr, Jenks, OK 74037
  • Hours: Open daily, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Experiences: Shark Adventure, Stingray Touch Tank, EcoZone

Tulsa Air and Space Museum

At the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, your fascination with flight takes a historical and scientific leap. Discover the aerospace heritage of Tulsa through exhibits of vintage aircraft and hands-on science exhibits that delve into the principles of flight.

  • Address: 3624 N 74th E Ave, Tulsa, OK 74115
  • Features: Planetarium shows, Flight simulators, Educational programs
  • Interactive Element: Engage with real-life simulators to get a pilot’s perspective.

Discovery Lab – Tulsa Children’s Museum

Discovery Lab – Tulsa Children’s Museum is where kids are encouraged to explore through play. This venue thrives on interactivity, with exhibits designed to stimulate learning through creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

  • Popular Exhibits: The Tape Tunnel, Energy and Motion
  • Education Focus: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts for children
  • Visitor Tip: Check out the museum’s calendar for special workshops and events!

Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

Explore the rich tapestry of Jewish heritage at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. This museum offers a profound educational experience, displaying artifacts, art, and historical documents chronicling Jewish history, culture, and religion.

  • Address: 2021 E 71st St, Tulsa, OK 74136
  • Exhibit Highlights: Holocaust exhibition, Jewish artists, Historical artifacts
  • Learning Opportunity: Gain insights into the cultural contributions and historical challenges of the Jewish community.

Historical Landmarks

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, you’ll find an array of landmarks that offer a rich tapestry of history, from iconic Route 66 motels to towering tributes of the oil industry. Let’s explore some must-see historical sites that encapsulate the city’s past.

Route 66 Landmarks

tulsa Route 66

As you journey through Tulsa, you traverse a segment of the historic Route 66. Known as the “Main Street of America,” this legendary highway is lined with vintage treasures.

Keep an eye out for the Route 66 Historical Village and the celebrated Blue Whale of Catoosa, which have become symbols of the era’s charm and the romance of the open road.

Local Gastronomy

Tulsa’s culinary landscape offers a diverse palette that caters to a variety of tastes, from the smoky flavors of Oklahoma BBQ to fresh farm-to-table fare and innovative food truck delights.

Famous Oklahoma BBQ

When in Tulsa, you can savor some of the most succulent Oklahoma BBQ. Renowned for its slow-cooked and hickory-smoked meats, BBQ joints in Tulsa offer a range of flavors, from sweet to spicy.

Dig into classic dishes like brisket, pulled pork, and ribs that fall off the bone. For the complete local experience, accompany these meats with traditional sides like baked beans and cornbread.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

For those who appreciate fresh, seasonal ingredients, Tulsa’s farm-to-table restaurants are a must-visit. These establishments prioritize locally sourced produce, support surrounding farms, and provide vibrant, nutrient-rich dishes.

You can indulge in innovative menus that change with the seasons, ensuring each visit offers a new taste of Oklahoma’s bountiful agriculture.

Tulsa’s Food Truck Scene

If you’re eager for culinary creativity on wheels, explore Tulsa’s food truck scene. You’ll discover an array of food trucks serving everything from gourmet sandwiches and international cuisines to artisanal sweets.

With a spirit of mobility and innovation, these trucks bring together food lovers at various events, outdoor gatherings, and food truck parks, making it an exciting way to encounter Tulsa’s food culture.

Remember to check local listings or social media for the latest spots and schedules of these traveling culinary havens.

Outdoor Adventures

Tulsa offers you a diverse range of activities that will satisfy your craving for adventure, whether you’re drawn to the water or the trails.

Anchored by Waterfront Activities

Your adventure in Tulsa can be anchored along the scenic Arkansas River with Tulsa River Parks. Here, you can engage in various waterfront activities. The river parks provide expansive sports courts and areas for cycling, running, or leisurely walking.

  • Rowing and Paddling: Rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard and explore the river.
  • Fishing: Settle down on the banks for a peaceful day of fishing.
  • Sports Courts: Play basketball, volleyball, or other sports at the available courts.

Hiking and Biking Trails

Tulsa is also known for its extensive trail systems, which allow visitors to hike and bike through diverse landscapes.


  • The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness offers a rugged escape with trails for all experience levels.
  • Visit the Redbud Valley Nature Preserve to experience a unique bio-diverse environment.


  • River Parks East Bank Trail or West Bank Trail: These trails are perfect for biking and offer views of the Arkansas River.
  • Osage Prairie Trail: Discover more of Tulsa’s natural surroundings.

Embrace the outdoor adventures Tulsa offers, and you’re sure to create memorable experiences.

Signature Events

Tulsa’s calendar is dotted with signature events that cater to diverse interests. Whether you’re drawn to creative displays, cultural celebrations, or large-scale gatherings, these fixtures offer unique experiences that capture the essence of the city’s community spirit.

First Friday Art Crawl

Every first Friday of the month, the Tulsa Arts District hosts the First Friday Art Crawl. This vibrant event immerses visitors in local art and music as galleries and studios open their doors to the public.

Live performances, art displays, and food trucks create an eclectic mix of experiences for visitors and residents alike.

Tulsa State Fair

The Tulsa State Fair, a long-standing tradition held annually in September or October, is a highlight of the year.

Your visit to this event ensures a taste of local and regional culture through livestock shows, carnival rides, competitive exhibits, and various musical performances spanning different genres.

Greenwood Cultural Festival

Dedicated to the rich history and resilience of the Greenwood district, a.k.a. Black Wall Street, the Greenwood Cultural Festival spotlights the district’s resurgence and importance.

As you attend, you’ll encounter educational exhibits, conversations on history and cultural events, and a music festival that celebrates the district’s vibrancy and contributions to Tulsa’s identity.

Plan Your Trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Author: Veronica

Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.


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