Best Things To Do in Tulsa
Some of this city's best attractions lie just east of the Arkansas River. That's where you'll find both the Philbrook Museum of Art and the Gilcrease Museum, plus parks like Mohawk and Woodward. Visit the Blue Dome District for nightlife, but also check out the Brookside neighborhood, which is an up-and-comer with great wine bars to visit in the evening and interesting shops to explore in the afternoon.
Updated May 18, 2017
- #1View all Photos#1 in Tulsa2.3 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND2.3 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The pieces inside Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art are constantly competing for attention with the natural splendor of the grounds. In fact, visitors can't seem to decide which they like better. You'll find Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures, plus a sampling of Asian art, Native American pieces and African sculptures. In addition to well-manicured pathways and blooming environs, recent visitors said the breathtaking gardens also have a picturesque sculpture walk with 17 installations to enjoy.
Just south of Woodward Park, the Philbrook occupies the former estate of oil tycoon Waite Phillips. It's open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays, the exhibits stay open until 9 p.m. General admission costs $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and is free for children 17 or younger and for college students with a valid ID from participating schools. Free, docent-led tours of the museum's permanent collections are offered daily at 2 p.m. If you'd rather take a self-guided tour, grab a map from Guest Experience at the museum's main entrance. You'll also find a formal restaurant and gift shop on-site. Visit the museum's website for details.
- #2View all PhotosfreeBrookside#2 in Tulsa3 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND3 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
This up-and-coming neighborhood south of Tulsa's downtown offers excellent coffee houses, shops, cafes and a few choice wine bars. You'll uncover some furniture stores and clothing boutiques and even a Harley-Davidson store as you stroll up and down South Peoria Avenue. Locals recommend stopping by Charleston's for chicken fried steak, a burger or another classic American meal, noting that it's a nice place for a date or to bring the family.
Consider yourself informed and – hopefully – enticed to swing by, particularly on a Wednesday morning. In spring, summer and fall that's when and where you'll find the Brookside Market, from mid-April to mid-October from 7:30 to 11 a.m. In the winter, the market is held every other Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. Visit this Arkansas riverfront district's website for more information on shopping, nightlife and sightseeing.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Tulsa0.4 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.4 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The Woody Guthrie center is, as you might have guessed, a museum dedicated to the life of Woody Guthrie, a renowned folksinger who was born in Oklahoma and who wrote “This Land is Your Land.” The center is home to the original, hand-written lyrics, which visitors can see, along with the Woody Guthrie Archives, a collection of his writing, art and songs, plus information about the Dust Bowl.
For visitors who are inspired by Guthrie’s art, the center also is home to a lyric-writing station, a listening station and exhibits by other artists that change throughout the year. Recent guests recommend taking some time to watch the videos on display, and say this is an “informative and entertaining” spot for guests of all ages, especially music lovers.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Tulsa6.5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND6.5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Located just to the north of the Tulsa International Airport, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium is home to numerous exhibits that showcase Tulsa's role in America's aviation history, from a smoke-filled balloon in the beginning to World War II to the Space Age to present day. Visitors of all ages have plenty to see, and can even experience what it’s like to fly a Viper F-16 jet through an interactive display.
If you want to learn about space, head to the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium, where visitors can watch daily screenings on full-dome screens about astronomy, earth science, constellations and art history. Plus, all visitors get admission to one video with the general cost of admission (an additional showing will cost $7). For a full schedule of showings, visit the museum's website.
- #5View all PhotosfreeWoodward Park#5 in Tulsa1.8 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND1.8 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Flush with azaleas, dogwoods and roses, Woodward Park is truly a sight to behold. This public park is particularly popular for weddings, but you can also just come here to relax. To learn about the flowers here, heed the advice of recent visitors and stop by the Tulsa Garden Center, which is located next door. Along with information about the park's flora, the center also provides educational programs on horticulture, gardening classes and workshops, as well as tai chi classes.
For a relaxing day, bring a picnic and take your time wandering through the trails. The Tulsa Garden Center is also a great place to improve your green thumb, as it houses more than 5,000 volumes on botany, landscaping and more.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Tulsa2.1 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND2.1 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Tulsa's visitors say the Gilcrease Museum is one of the best spots to see artwork inspired by the American West. Artists featured here include Frederic Remington, Frank Tenney Johnson and Charles Marion Russell, among others. There are also works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Moran. Outside, guests will find 23 acres of themed gardens, including the Pioneer Garden, the Rock Garden and the Pre-Colombian Garden, to name a few.
Some visitors suggest studying the museum's website extensively before dropping by, citing a confusing layout (since the exhibits are spread out over 460 acres, you could easily lose precious time).
- #7View all Photos#7 in Tulsa6.4 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND6.4 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Though it's small compared to other zoos across the country, Tulsa's iteration does do well with what it's got, according to recent guests. The chimpanzees, prairie dogs and Asian elephants are the most popular of the zoo's residents. On a Saturday or Sunday in March through October, you can take a tour of the grounds atop a camel (a memorable experience, according to those who've had the opportunity to do so). What's more, there's also a buried treasure exhibit, a seasonal petting zoo and the ONEOK Safari Train and Arvest Wildlife Carousel.
The Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum sits pretty along 84 acres of the city's northeastern Mohawk Park. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (not including Christmas day and the third Friday in June, when the zoo is closed). Admission (which does not include tickets for the zoo's rides and camel tours) costs $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 3 to 11, $8 for those older than 65 and is free for kids 2 and younger. Parking is free from November through March, but costs $2 per vehicle on weekends from April through October 31. There are several concession carts on-site, as well as a full-service restaurant and gift shop. Visit the website for more details and prices on the camel tour, train rides and discounts.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Tulsa6.5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND6.5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The permanent collection at The Sherwin Milller Museum of Jewish Art includes iron and bronze works from early Jewish history (think 3200 BCE), work by Israeli artists like Reuven Rubin and objects from the Holocaust. Of interest to the Oklahomans who have visited is the museum's collection of memorabilia chronicling local Jewish history.
While on the smaller side, recent visitors highly recommend visiting this museum, saying that all of the exhibits are informative and impressive. It's also a good place for a repeat visit, as the exhibits change throughout the seasons.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Tulsa9.4 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND9.4 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Home to more than 100 exhibits and thousands of animals, the Oklahoma Aquarium is a great place to spend the day with the family. Here, you can pet stingrays, feed turtles and walk through the shark tunnel. Click here for a full feeding schedule; recent visitors suggested visiting on a Monday or Thursday in the early afternoon to witness a shark feeding.
Located about 15 miles south of Tulsa in the town of Jenks, the Oklahoma Aquarium is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Tuesdays, it stays open until 9 p.m. Some say admission is a little pricey: expect to pay about $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and military personnel and about $12 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Visit the aquarium's website for more information.
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