Wondering what activities and attractions you can’t miss in the “Oil Capital of the World”? Our guide to the best things to do in Tulsa is just what you need!
Located in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma, Tulsa is a city full of cultural heritage, modern amenities, and a diverse range of attractions.
The city’s revitalized downtown, featuring the iconic Art Deco architecture, hosts a thriving arts and entertainment scene, with theaters, galleries, and music venues contributing to its cultural vibrancy.
Visitors can check out incredible museums like the Tulsa Air and Space Museum or any of the local art museums, or they can immerse themselves in the nightlife of the Blue Dome District.
Those looking for nature, fresh air, and greenery can find that as well. The Arkansas River winds through the city, flanked by expansive green spaces like Gathering Place Park and Tulsa River Parks.
Here are some of the best things to do in this amazing city in Oklahoma, so be sure to add some of these to your Tulsa bucket list!
Table of Contents
- The 22 Best Things To Do In Tulsa, Oklahoma
- 1. Visit the Tulsa Zoo
- 2. Wander around the Tulsa Arts District
- 3. Hike Turkey Mountain
- 4. Browse through the galleries at Philbrook Museum of Art
- 5. Catch a performance at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
- 6. Learn about history and tragedy in the Greenwood District
- 7. Check out the unique Cave House
- 8. Admire Boston Avenue Methodist Church
- 9. Immerse yourself in greenery at the Tulsa Botanic Garden
- 10. Learn about art, music, and activism at the Woody Guthrie Center
- 11. Go on a tour of Tulsa’s Underground Tunnels
- 12. Browse through art and artifacts at the Gilcrease Museum
- 13. Dive into music history and legacy at the Bob Dylan Center
- 14. Learn about space, flight, and science at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum
- 15. Explore Gathering Place Park
- 16. See the iconic Golden Driller Statue
- 17. Shop and dine in Utica Square
- 18. Learn about art deco at the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum
- 19. Relax in Woodward Park
- 20. See aquatic life at the Oklahoma Aquarium
- 21. Hike, bike, and explore the Tulsa River Parks
- 22. Find live music and nightlife in the Blue Dome Entertainment District
- Where To Stay In Tulsa, OK
The 22 Best Things To Do In Tulsa, Oklahoma
From touring animal exhibits at the Tulsa Zoo to touring galleries in the Tulsa Arts District, here are some of the best things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
You can explore most of downtown Tulsa on foot or by public transport, or you can rent a car. Either way, you’re sure to have a blast in this beautiful city.
The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.
1. Visit the Tulsa Zoo
The Tulsa Zoo is a vibrant and engaging destination for animal lovers and families near Mohawk Park. Spanning across 84 acres, the zoo is home to over 2,800 animals representing more than 400 species.
Visitors can embark on a global journey within the zoo’s diverse exhibits, such as the African Plains, where majestic elephants and lions roam, or the Tropical Rainforest, a lush habitat for exotic birds and primates.
The Tulsa Zoo is committed to conservation and education, offering various programs and events to raise awareness about wildlife preservation and the importance of environmental stewardship.
One of the standout features at Tulsa Zoo is the immersive and interactive experiences. The Lost Kingdom exhibit, for instance, transports visitors to the prehistoric era, showcasing life-sized animatronic dinosaurs amidst lush landscapes.
With a mission to inspire a passion for wildlife and conservation, the Tulsa Zoo serves as a valuable community resource, fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the planet’s incredible biodiversity.
2. Wander around the Tulsa Arts District
The Tulsa Arts District, nestled in the heart of downtown Tulsa, is a vibrant cultural hub that celebrates creativity and artistic expression. Formerly known as the Brady Arts District, this area has undergone a transformation into a dynamic and eclectic neighborhood filled with galleries, studios, theaters, and a variety of restaurants and shops.
The district’s historic charm is evident in its architecture, with many buildings dating back to the early 20th century, creating a unique backdrop for the thriving arts community.
One of the area’s focal points is the Tulsa Arts District Brady Theater, a historic venue that has hosted a diverse range of performances, from concerts to Broadway shows. Visitors can explore the numerous galleries showcasing local and international artists or attend live performances at the Guthrie Green outdoor space.
Other fun things to do include going on a street mural tour with Tulsa Tours or taking part in the First Friday Art Crawl, an event that draws art enthusiasts and locals to the district’s streets for a night of gallery-hopping and entertainment.
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3. Hike Turkey Mountain
If you’re looking to explore some of the nature around Tulsa, OK, head over to Turkey Mountain. Situated along the western bank of the Arkansas River, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area spans over 300 acres and offers lots of space for outdoor recreation.
The park boasts an extensive network of trails that wind through woodlands, prairies, and rocky terrain, providing visitors with varying levels of difficulty and breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
Its accessibility and proximity to the city make Turkey Mountain a popular recreational destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families seeking a nature escape without venturing far from the city.
Beyond its recreational offerings, Turkey Mountain also serves as a vital natural preserve, home to a variety of plant and animal species native to the region. Efforts by local conservation groups have been instrumental in maintaining the area’s ecological balance and protecting its diverse flora and fauna.
4. Browse through the galleries at Philbrook Museum of Art
Another cool place to check out during your Tulsa trip is the Philbrook Museum of Art. Housed within a stunning 1920s Italian Renaissance villa surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the Philbrook Museum of Art provides a unique and immersive art gallery and experience.
Originally the private residence of oil magnate Waite Phillips, the villa’s grand architecture and opulent interiors set the stage for an extensive and diverse art collection. Visitors to the Philbrook can explore an impressive array of artworks, including European paintings, American and Native American pieces, decorative arts, and contemporary exhibitions.
Spanning 23 acres, the formal and informal gardens at the Philbrook Museum of Art showcase a harmonious blend of horticulture and outdoor sculpture, providing a picturesque setting for contemplation and relaxation.
The Philbrook Museum of Art stands as a testament to Tulsa’s commitment to cultural enrichment, offering a space where visitors can engage with art in an intimate and enchanting environment.
5. Catch a performance at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center (TPAC) is a cultural cornerstone in the heart of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, TPAC is a modern and architecturally striking complex dedicated to the performing arts.
The center houses multiple theaters, including the Chapman Music Hall, the John H. Williams Theatre, and the Liddy Doenges Theatre, each providing a space for performances like Broadway shows, symphony concerts, dance productions, and theatrical performances.
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center also serves as an educational resource and community gathering place. The Helmerich Exhibit Hall within the complex frequently features art exhibitions, showcasing visual arts that complement the performing arts programming.
Catching a show at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center should be on every traveler’s Tulsa bucket list!
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6. Learn about history and tragedy in the Greenwood District
The Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, holds a significant place in American history and is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Historically, Greenwood was a thriving African-American community in the early 20th century, flourishing with successful businesses, vibrant culture, and a strong sense of community. However, the district is tragically renowned for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, during which a white mob destroyed the area and left many businesses and homes in ruins.
Despite this devastating event, the resilience of the Greenwood community is evident in its efforts to rebuild over the years, and the district remains a symbol of both the challenges faced by Black communities in America and their unwavering strength.
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on revitalizing the Greenwood District. Efforts have been made to preserve and highlight its historical significance, with initiatives to commemorate the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre and promote economic development in the area.
As the Greenwood District continues to evolve, it showcases the resilience of a community that refuses to be defined solely by tragedy and is working towards a future that honors its rich heritage while fostering growth and unity.
7. Check out the unique Cave House
A unique architectural wonder near downtown Tulsa is the Cave House. This unconventional residence, built by Linda Collier, is aptly named for its cave-like appearance, featuring a facade crafted from a combination of natural stone and concrete.
Perched on the edge of a hill, the Cave House offers stunning panoramic views of the Arkansas River and downtown Tulsa.
The interior of the home is just as distinctive, with its irregularly shaped rooms, arched doorways, and a blend of organic and industrial design elements that contribute to its cave-inspired ambiance.
The Cave House has become a local landmark, showcasing not only the creativity of its owner but also serving as a conversation piece that sparks curiosity and admiration. Its unusual design, combined with its picturesque location, makes the Cave House an intriguing part of Tulsa’s architectural landscape.
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8. Admire Boston Avenue Methodist Church
One of the top landmarks in Tulsa is the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Designed by architects Bruce Goff and Adah Robinson, the church was completed in 1929 and stands as a masterpiece of modern design.
The exterior of the church features intricate terracotta ornamentation, geometric patterns, and soaring towers that contribute to its distinctive appearance. The interior is equally impressive, with a soaring sanctuary, stained glass windows, and intricate details that reflect the craftsmanship of the era.
Recognized for its historical and architectural significance, Boston Avenue Methodist Church is not only a place of worship but also a cultural treasure that attracts visitors from near and far. The church is a striking testament to the Art Deco architectural style and a prominent landmark in the city that draws in visitors every day.
9. Immerse yourself in greenery at the Tulsa Botanic Garden
Situated on over 170 acres of rolling hills just northwest of downtown Tulsa, the Tulsa Botanic Garden is a horticultural oasis that captivates people with its diverse landscapes and carefully curated gardens.
This botanical gem showcases an array of themed gardens, including the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces, the Children’s Discovery Garden, and the serene Lakeside Promenade.
The garden’s design combines native Oklahoma plants with ornamental and exotic species, creating a visually stunning environment. With walking trails that wind through woodlands, prairies, and wetlands, the Tulsa Botanic Garden offers a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts, providing a serene escape from the bustle of city life.
Seasonal displays, such as the vibrant tulip beds in spring and the captivating light displays during the holiday season, add to the garden’s allure, making it a year-round destination for those seeking both natural beauty and a deeper understanding of the botanical world.
10. Learn about art, music, and activism at the Woody Guthrie Center
Music lovers should add the Woody Guthrie Center to their Tulsa bucket list! The center pays tribute to one of America’s most iconic folk musicians and songwriters, Woody Guthrie.
This iconic establishment in the Tulsa Arts District features a comprehensive collection of Guthrie’s personal artifacts, including handwritten lyrics, drawings, and instruments.
Visitors can explore exhibits that delve into Guthrie’s life, his role in shaping American folk music, and his commitment to social justice.
Beyond its role as a museum, the Woody Guthrie Center actively engages with contemporary issues and continues Guthrie’s tradition of using music as a tool for social change. The center showcases the ongoing relevance of Guthrie’s messages by connecting his legacy to current events and encouraging dialogue about social justice.
With its interactive exhibits, vibrant displays, and a commitment to celebrating Guthrie’s enduring influence, the Woody Guthrie Center inspires visitors to explore the intersections of music, activism, and the pursuit of a more equitable society.
11. Go on a tour of Tulsa’s Underground Tunnels
Tulsa’s underground tunnels, a hidden facet of the city’s history, connect several buildings in the downtown area and offer a unique perspective on the urban landscape. Among these subterranean passageways, the tunnels weave beneath iconic structures like the Philcade and Philtower buildings, providing a fascinating glimpse into Tulsa’s past.
Originally constructed in the 1920s, these tunnels were designed to facilitate efficient movement between buildings, particularly during inclement weather.
While some sections of the tunnels are no longer accessible, they serve as a testament to the city’s architectural ingenuity and the desire for interconnectedness, preserving a piece of Tulsa’s historic charm beneath the bustling streets above.
Today, the legacy of these subterranean pathways adds an intriguing layer to the city’s narrative, inviting exploration and sparking curiosity about the bygone era when these tunnels played a practical role in daily urban life.
You can join a guided tour of these fascinating tunnels during your visit to Tulsa!
12. Browse through art and artifacts at the Gilcrease Museum
The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, is a beloved cultural treasure trove, renowned for its extensive collection of American West art and artifacts.
Established in 1949 by Thomas Gilcrease, an oilman and philanthropist of Creek and Muskogee Creek descent, the museum showcases a diverse array of pieces spanning Native American history, Western art, and American history.
Boasting over 350,000 items, including paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and rare books, the Gilcrease Museum provides a comprehensive glimpse into the rich tapestry of the American frontier.
The museum’s verdant grounds, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, further enhance the visitor experience, creating a serene environment for exploration and appreciation of the art and history it preserves. Those who love history and art should definitely check out the Gilcrease Museum while visiting Tulsa.
13. Dive into music history and legacy at the Bob Dylan Center
Another top destination in Tulsa, OK for music lovers is The Bob Dylan Center, a celebration of the life, music, and cultural impact of one of the most influential figures in the history of popular music, Bob Dylan.
Located in the Tulsa Arts District, the center showcases a comprehensive collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and personal items belonging to the iconic singer-songwriter.
From handwritten lyrics and rare recordings to interactive exhibits that explore the cultural and historical context of Dylan’s work, the Bob Dylan Center offers a deep dive into the creative process of a musical legend.
The center’s commitment to preserving and promoting the rich tapestry of Dylan’s contributions to American music and culture makes it a must-visit destination for fans, scholars, and music enthusiasts alike.
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14. Learn about space, flight, and science at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is a captivating destination for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs, and families interested in the wonders of flight.
Located at the Tulsa International Airport, the museum opened its doors in 1998 and has since become a premier institution showcasing the rich aerospace heritage of Tulsa and the broader region.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits that chronicle the evolution of aviation and space exploration. Visitors can marvel at vintage airplanes, learn about the city’s contributions to the aerospace industry, and explore interactive displays that delve into the science and technology behind flight.
One of the standout features is the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium, which enhances the visitor experience by offering immersive shows on astronomy, space exploration, and celestial phenomena.
The museum also hosts educational programs, events, and summer camps designed to inspire the next generation of aviators and scientists. The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is definitely one of the coolest places to visit in Tulsa.
15. Explore Gathering Place Park
Gathering Place, located along the banks of the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a transformative urban park that has become a focal point for community engagement and recreation. Opened in 2018, the expansive park spans over 66 acres and was designed to provide a dynamic and inclusive space for people of all ages and backgrounds.
The park’s landscape is a masterful blend of natural beauty and curated amenities, featuring lush gardens, playgrounds, sports courts, and water attractions.
Gathering Place hosts a wide array of events and activities, from live concerts at the Williams Lodge to fitness classes on the great lawn, fostering a sense of community and connection.
The park is divided into distinct themed areas, such as the Adventure Playground and the Chapman Adventure Playground, each offering a unique environment and set of activities. Gathering Place is the perfect place to come to unwind and engage with the community in Tulsa.
16. See the iconic Golden Driller Statue
The Golden Driller statue, standing proudly at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds in Tulsa, OK, is an iconic and colossal symbol of the city’s rich history in the oil industry.
Erected in 1966, this impressive statue pays homage to the workers and entrepreneurs who fueled the region’s oil boom. Standing at a towering height of 76 feet, the Golden Driller is not only a symbol of the city’s industrial prowess but also serves as a welcoming landmark for visitors to Tulsa.
The statue, coated in a layer of gold paint, captures the essence of the city’s resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, commemorating its significant role in the development of the oil industry in the United States.
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17. Shop and dine in Utica Square
If you’re looking for some retail therapy in Tulsa, head to Utica Square! This historic shopping center has evolved into a sophisticated and vibrant hub that attracts locals and visitors alike.
Utica Square features a mix of national retailers, boutique shops, and high-end restaurants, set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens and walkways.
From fashion and home goods to specialty stores, Utica Square offers a diverse shopping experience, while its outdoor seating, fountains, and seasonal events contribute to a welcoming and relaxed ambiance.
Utica Square also serves as a community gathering place, hosting concerts, art fairs, and other events throughout the year. Its timeless appeal lies in its ability to combine the convenience of modern shopping with the charm of a traditional town square. Anyone looking to shop, dine, sightsee, and people-watch can add Utica Square to their Tulsa bucket list.
18. Learn about art deco at the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum
Tulsa is known for its amazing Art Deco architecture, which you can see just by walking around town. But you can get a closer look at the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum. This well-known Art Deco-themed store and gallery is located in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It celebrates the elegance and style of the Art Deco era, offering a unique shopping experience with a curated selection of Art Deco-inspired items, home decor, and gifts.
The store aims to capture the essence of the Roaring Twenties and the subsequent Art Deco movement, making it a popular destination for those interested in this distinctive design period.
Another way to see the best of Tulsa’s art deco architecture is with a guided Art deco walking tour!
19. Relax in Woodward Park
Woodward Park is a picturesque oasis of botanical beauty with expansive green spaces and unique gardens. The Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, a highlight within Woodward Park, offer a horticultural haven where visitors can explore themed gardens, learn about plant varieties, and attend educational programs.
The park’s crown jewel is the Tulsa Rose Garden, boasting thousands of rose bushes in various colors and varieties, making it a popular destination for nature lovers, photographers, and those seeking a serene escape from urban life.
Woodward Park is not only a haven for plant enthusiasts but also a cultural destination. The Tulsa Garden Center, located within the park, hosts events, workshops, and flower shows, promoting horticultural education and community engagement.
As a cherished green space, Woodward Park provides a tranquil setting for picnics, leisurely strolls, and outdoor activities, making it a beloved retreat for Tulsans and visitors alike who appreciate the harmonious blend of nature and culture that defines this iconic park.
20. See aquatic life at the Oklahoma Aquarium
Another one of the best things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma is visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. Located in Jenks just south of Tulsa, the aquarium offers a journey into the diverse and fascinating world of marine life.
Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibits, including the Amazing Invertebrates gallery, the Aquatic Oklahoma gallery, and the popular Shark Adventure, where visitors can walk through an acrylic tunnel surrounded by sharks and other marine creatures.
With over 8,000 animals representing more than 500 species, the Oklahoma Aquarium provides an immersive experience, combining education and entertainment for visitors of all ages.
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21. Hike, bike, and explore the Tulsa River Parks
Tulsa River Parks is a picturesque and expansive recreational area along the banks of the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
With over 26 miles of beautifully maintained trails, parks, and green spaces, it has become a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and individuals seeking a respite from urban life. The park system offers a diverse range of activities, from jogging and cycling along the scenic River Parks trails to picnicking in the lush green parks that dot the landscape.
Boasting playgrounds, sports facilities, and even designated fishing areas, Tulsa River Parks caters to a wide array of interests, making it a central hub for community engagement and enjoyment.
Tulsa River Parks is home to the Gathering Place and Turkey Mountain, both of which are highlights of Tulsa. With its commitment to sustainability and community engagement, Tulsa River Parks has become a shining example of how a city can transform its waterfront into a vibrant and accessible recreational haven, fostering a sense of connection and well-being among its residents.
22. Find live music and nightlife in the Blue Dome Entertainment District
Another one of the best things to do in Tulsa is tour the Blue Dome Entertainment District. The vibrant and eclectic Blue Dome District is known for its lively atmosphere and diverse offerings.
Named after the iconic Blue Dome building, a historic landmark that once served as a Gulf Oil station, the district has evolved into a thriving hub for entertainment, nightlife, and cultural experiences. The area is characterized by its unique blend of historic architecture and modern energy, with an array of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops lining the streets.
Whether visitors are seeking live music, trendy eateries, or a bustling nightlife scene, the Blue Dome Entertainment District offers a dynamic and welcoming space for locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy the area during the day or at night, as there is electric energy here no matter what time of day you visit!
Where To Stay In Tulsa, OK
Here are some of the top accommodation options for travelers in Tulsa! This affordable city has plenty of options that won’t break the bank, though there are luxury options as well for those who want it.
Best Budget Accommodation in Tulsa, OK: La Quinta Inn & Suites
La Quinta Inn & Suites offers an affordable option for budget travelers in Tulsa. Though it’s on the cheaper side, you don’t lose any quality or service at this top-rated hotel.
Complete with a hot breakfast buffet, a swimming pool, free Wifi, and prices that hover around $100 – $150 USD, it really doesn’t get better than that in terms of value for money. It’s also located right near downtown, just 2 miles from the Tulsa Expo Center and a 10-minute drive from the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation in Tulsa, OK: Hyatt Regency Tulsa Downtown
For a more upscale stay in Tulsa, the Hyatt Regency has you covered. Luckily for travelers, Tulsa is a pretty affordable city to visit, so even a nice, centrally-located hotel like this has decent prices.
With a rooftop pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant and bar, and excellent service, this gorgeous hotel has everything you need for your stay in Tulsa.
Best Luxury Accommodation in Tulsa, OK: Ambassador Hotel
Perhaps the absolute best hotel in Tulsa is the Ambassador Hotel, Autograph Collection. This boutique hotel is set in a rustic yet elegant building with opulent interiors and 4-star services and amenities.
It’s located right downtown so you can easily get to all the best local attractions. Also offering free shuttles, room service, and well-equipped, sleek rooms, you know you are getting the best of the best when you stay at the Ambassador.
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