Oklahoma or The Land of the Red Man is never short on exciting adventures to be had by today’s budding traveler. As the 20th ranked states in terms of size, it should be no surprise that there are many great cities to be in inside Oklahoma as well. Of all those states, one that will give you an authentic Land of the Red Man experience in Tulsa. Tulsa is the second largest city in the state. It is also the most populated city in the densely populated Tulsa County. If you are hoping to explore this iconic city, then look no further as we’ve got our eyes set on it too so you can have a guide on your next journey.
- 1 How To Get To Tulsa
- 2 Getting Around Tulsa
- 3 Budget For Tulsa
- 4 Best Time To Visit Tulsa
- 5 Hidden Things to Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- 6 Visit
the Brady Arts District
- 6.1 Explore the city from below
- 6.2 Feel what it’s like to live in a cave
- 6.3 Hear sounds differently at the center of the universe
- 6.4 Enjoy a garden hidden in a museum
- 6.5 Shop for hidden treasures
- 6.6 Watch a movie in a drive-in theater
- 6.7 See a blue whale
- 6.8 Hunt for ghosts in a library
- 6.9 See a totem-like sculpture
- 6.10 See a unique church studio
- 6.11 Dine at the hidden dining spots
How To Get To Tulsa
There are numerous airports within Tulsa County so it is easy to get to the city even if you are coming from afar. By far the most convenient airport you can take should be the Tulsa International Airport which is in the northern part of the city. Although it is small, the Tulsa International Airport isn’t short on amenities and trips. It serves direct flights to major cities in the U.S. as well. Moreover, there is a car rental area within it.
The other airports serving the city of Tulsa are the Richard L. Jones, Jr. Airport, the Okmulgee Regional Airport, and the William R. Pogue Municipal Airport. While these airports are readily available, their flights are often limited to Tulsa County and the rest of Oklahoma so it might not be right for you if you are coming from afar.
If you are living nearby and you are hoping to drive to the city instead, there are multiple routes you can take. From the north, take the US-75 South from Bartlesville, Ok, or the US-169 South from Coffeyville, KS. From the east, take US-412 West, also known as the Cherokee Turnpike. From the southeast, take the Muskogee Turnpike. From the south, take the US-75 from Okmulgee, OK. From the southwest, take I-44 east, also known as the Turner Turnpike. From the west, take the US-412 East, also known as the Cimarron Turnpike Alternatively, you can take Route 66 which runs directly through the city.
If you are hoping to travel to the city via train, then you might have to wait longer. Oklahoma City and Tulsa only began a passenger train project last year so it might take a couple of years more before it can become fully operational.
Getting Around Tulsa
Although Tulsa is a big city, it is actually easy getting around in it thanks to the properly made streets. If you want to, you can fully explore the city at your own leisure. Perhaps the best way to get around Tulsa is by renting a car from one of the many companies offering the service. The cheap and accessible options include Enterprise Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car. The companies can have your car readied upon your arrival at the airport so be sure to book it ahead of your trip.
As for public transportation, you can pick from a selection of taxis as well as buses. The Tulsa Transit provides a bus service that goes around the entire Tulsa Metro area. Aside from Tulsa, it runs through Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Jenks, and Broken Arrow as well. The central bus terminal is at the downtown area on Denver St.
If getting a little sweaty isn’t a problem for you, then you can rent a bike in the city. The reason why getting around via biking is that Tulsa has an extensive interconnected paved bike trail system. You can use this to get around the easily in a more affordable albeit tiring manner. However, if biking is a hobby of yours and you are hoping to see exciting sights as well, this is a great option to try out.
Budget For Tulsa
Touring around the city of Tulsa will not be too heavy on the budget especially if you rent a car for somewhere between $10-15 per day. Of course, you’ll still have to pay for gas so that’s another extra expense. As such, we recommend renting a bike while in Tulsa if you can ride one. The popular companies that rent bikes include Tom’s Bicycles, T-Town Bicycles and Tulsa Townies. For less than $10, you can easily tour around the city while getting your daily exercise. You don’t have to worry about getting into accidents as there are dedicated bike lanes all throughout.
Accommodation-wise, there are a lot of cheap rooms in Tulsa. If you book particularly early, you can bag a mid-sized room for at least $30-50. If you are truly on a budget, you may want to check out some of the BnB’s in the area. Not only are the rooms several dollars cheaper, they also give you the true home feel of Tulsa.
For food and drinks, you need to a lot at least $20 per head daily. Since this is a metropolis, there are many fast food chains and food stalls that will fill your tummy for an affordable price. Lastly, dedicate at least $60 for the whole trip so that you can go through some of the best museums and exhibits in the city. Before you book your tickets, be sure to check out which places are worth visiting so you can budget early on.
Best Time To Visit Tulsa
Rain can get pretty strong in Tulsa. If you want to avoid getting wet and want to experience all of the attractions hassle-free, then you may want to avoid the months of April and May. Rain is pretty common during these months and it’s not just slight precipitation. You’ll also be avoiding hefty room rates by not booking your trip during these months.
Ideally, you may want to visit Tulsa during the late winter, which is from January to February. There are fewer tourists during these months so the attractions are less crowded than ever. As for the temperature, it will be a lot colder at the 80s so be sure to bring a jacket as it can get hot from time-to-time. What’s great about this season as well is that the rooms are at least 40% cheaper so you can greatly save up on your accommodation.
If you want to avoid heavy crowds and high room rates, you may want to avoid visiting during spring. The Spring Break will bring in a ton of visitors from all over the U.S. so almost every attraction will be more populated the usual. Another peak season for tourists is during Christmas week and the room rates are at their highest at this time as well.
Tulsa is a wonderful city filled with many things to explore. That being said, let’s take a look at what kind of activities you can get yourself into while you are in the city of Tulsa.
Hidden Things to Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma
The world has a lot of places with hidden gems waiting to be explored. Tulsa is one of them and this city in Oklahoma has a lot to offer. In case you’re planning to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma, here’s a rundown of the top hidden things to do in Tulsa to add to your travel itinerary. We’re sure you’ll have a lot of fun and see the city on a different view so read on.
Visit the Brady Arts District
You’ve probably heard the word “Brady” as the Brady Theater is one of the most popular attractions in Tulsa. We can’t blame anyone, though, as it sure is a fun place to be if you’re looking for entertaining performances. But we bet you’re not that familiar with the Brady Arts District.
Located north of Tulsa’s downtown area, the Brady Arts District boasts of an eclectic mix of the trendy and the historic. Aside from the great public transportation that is also worth talking about, it also boasts of historic buildings and countless eateries that serve good food. There are also several spots with exhibits that will let you take a peak in the city’s past and culture.
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1Explore the city from below
Tulsa is one of the unique cities in the world as it has underground tunnels that connect many buildings downtown. The locals know about this, though, as it was initially created for moving cargos and a secret transportation system for the rich. However, tourists aren’t much aware of it. Hence, exploring it literally counts as one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa.
There are tours being offered so you can get a closer look at these tunnels. Usually, the tours take approximately an hour long. Tour guides can also give you a rundown of the local history.
2Feel what it’s like to live in a cave
Yes, you can get to feel what it’s like to live in a cave when you’re in Tulsa and it’s definitely one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa that you have to try out. Don’t worry, though, we’re not talking about a literal cave and you’re not going to live like how a caveman lived hundreds of years ago. Rather, we’re talking about The Cave House, one of the quirky attractions in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Built in 1920, this place was actually a restaurant and speakeasy that’s complete with escape tunnels for hooch hounds. Eventually, it was turned into a private home but you can tour it if you call ahead of your visit. Now, what makes it so special is that it has a unique structure and displays inside such as a bed created from tree branches and unique pieces of antique furniture.
3Hear sounds differently at the center of the universe
Yes, the center of the earth is in Tulsa. And at first glance, it might look like a mere walkway or whatnot with its 30-inch diameter but don’t be fooled. Once you stand in the center and make a noise, you’ll hear the noise echoing back much louder. What’s weird is that those standing outside the circle will not hear the noise you made. No one exactly knows what causes it but there are theories. You have to see (or hear) it to believe it.
The Philbrook Museum Gardens is a popular attraction to both the locals of Tulsa as well as its tourists. It has a nice location and a vast collection of art. But its garden is the true hidden gem and spending time in it is one of the top hidden things to do in Tulsan as well. With 25 acres of garden, you have a lot of things to do. It has walking paths, lots of flowers, and there are outdoor artworks on display too. Get to enjoy the view and marvel at the artworks and you can lay on the grass too. In fact, Philbrook Museum encourages its visitors to do it and even bring food and enjoy a picnic in its garden. You can also paint or even run around or roll down the hills if you want to; no one will stop you.
Shopping may be a common activity, especially when you’re traveling but shopping at the Tulsa Flea Market is different and it’s also one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa. Family operated for five decades, this 50,000-square-foot market offers a wide variety of fun souvenirs and lots of hidden treasures that you can take home with you as a remembrance of your trip.
However, note that their schedule varies. Even so, they are usually open on Saturdays. But just to be sure, keep an eye out on their schedule here to not miss anything.
6Watch a movie in a drive-in theater
Drive-in theaters are a thing of the past. But did you know there are still a few of them that operates? Yes, you can still watch a movie in a drive-in theater and it’s one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa. If you’ll head east Tulsa, you’ll find the Tulsa’s Admiral Twin Drive-In. Everything still feels as if you’re in the past. Just make sure that you have an FM radio to receive the sound. Reminisce about the old days and introduce this part of your childhood to your kids. There’s a concession stand and a full kitchen available in case you need to fill your tummies as you watch the movie or after. From popcorn to hamburgers, they offer anything.
7See a blue whale
A lot of locals know about the famous Blue Whale of Catoosa. However, like the underground tunnels beneath the city, it is not known by many tourists; hence, it’s one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa that you need to see if you’re traveling to this city.
Supposedly made as a gift, this big blue whale figure has garnered a lot of attention since it was made in the 1970s by Hugh Davis. His wife, Zelta, seems to be so fascinated with blue whales that she collected lots of whale figurines. Knowing how she loves whales, Hugh decided to make a larger than life figure of it as a surprise anniversary gift. The whale sits on a lake’s side that used to be their private property. However, because of its size, it grew in popularity which eventually convinced the couple to open it to the public. See it with your own eyes and marvel at this labor of love if you’re in Tulsa. You won’t just love its structure but it might make you believe in love all the more.
8Hunt for ghosts in a library
Cities usually offer ghost tours for the curious and brave in abandoned buildings that it has. However, in Tulsa, you have to do it on your own. Not in all places, though. You only have to hunt ghosts for yourself in Tulsa’s McFarlin Library. This is because the library is still up and running.
The rumor has it that Tulsa’s McFarlin Library is haunted by a ghost named Farley. Students who have been there claim that he is the one who shuffles books around on the shelves. Many have also reported that they lose their belongings too and they believe that the said ghost is the culprit. Why not see or experience it for yourself? The library is open to the public so you don’t have to worry about. Just make sure that you have enough time to spend plus make sure that you won’t disturb the readers as you hunt Farley.
9See a totem-like sculpture
You might wonder why you should travel miles only to see a mere totem-like sculpture but hear us out first. Located on S. Boulder Ave., this sculpture has a stunning detail that is worth the drive. But what’s impressive is that it is carved with a chainsaw.
Sculptor Clayton Coss saw a rotting tree. But instead of cutting it down, he gave it a new life and turned it into a dual-sided 21-foot masterpiece and called it the Two Sides of Freedom. One side shows two children playing and while the other side features a soldier holding a gun. The carving is impressive and we’re sure it’s worth your time.
10See a unique church studio
Tulsa has also a unique recording studio that’s worth talking about, the Church Studio. Seeing its exteriors at first glance, you might just pass on it as it looks like a church, making it as one of the hidden things to do in Tulsa. Well, it was actually a church that was built in 1915. But in 1972, hit songwriter and musician Leon Russell turned it into a recording studio that became a hotspot for Tulsa sound musicians. Today, the church studio is once again having a transformation. Reports say that its new owners are currently revamping the building and plan to turn it into a museum and a recording studio at the same time to reintroduce the “Tulsa Sound” and preserve Russell’s legacy.
There is still no word as to when the studio will open to the public. But in the meantime, keep an eye out on its website here to see updates.
Tulsan’s hidden gems are not just about tourist attractions for sightseeing. It also has hidden dining spots that you will definitely love too. So if you need to fill your tummies after a long day of touring the city or if you just want to expand your palate, here are some hidden restaurants that you might want to try out.
Evelyn’s Soul Food Restaurant
This restaurant is filled with food that will not just fuel your tummies but your soul too. It serves some of the best home-style cooking. Two of the must-try dishes are its fried chicken and peach cobbler. You can find Evelyn’s Soul Food restaurant is located near the zoo and airport.
Gogi Gui Korean Grill
If you’re looking to expand your palate, then dining here is one of the best hidden things to do in Tulsa. Gogi Gui Korean Grill, as its name suggests is a Korean restaurant. But there’s a twist: Gogi Gui Korean Grill mixes Korean cuisine with Mexican and American deliciously and it’s not to be missed. And they serve bubble teas too! If you want to try it out, it’s located near the Sheridan Royal Center.
Want a gourmet touch on your breakfast and lunch? Cafe Seville can serve you such dishes. However, it’s located in the Shops of Seville shopping center and it’s quite hard to spot. So be sure to be on the lookout for this if you want to try its dishes.