Tulsa, Oklahoma is an affordable and family-friendly destination that has growing arts, music, and restaurant scenes. It’s fun to stop by to check out a local museum, spend some time outdoors, and soak up the nostalgia of this stop along Route 66. The city makes an excellent day trip or overnight stop as you drive across the country, and you might even want to stay awhile when you’re here. To plan your stop, here are some of the top things to see and do in Tulsa.
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Experience the Gathering Place
What Is It?: The Gathering Place is a relatively new attraction in Tulsa that celebrates urban green space. Here you can go kayaking from the boathouse, walk through the garden, play on creative structures, and stay in shape with trails and skate parks.
Why Do It?: There are endless opportunities here to get active and be entertained here thanks to the over 26 miles of trails, urban wilderness area, lawn for live shows, and lovely views of downtown.
Good to Know: Access to this riverfront park is free of charge, and free park shuttles are available from multiple downtown locations. Check the park’s events page to learn about what’s going on here during your trip.
Visit the Tulsa Zoo
What Is It?: Tulsa has a great zoo that has been voted one of the best zoos in America. It provides a day of family fun as you learn about animals from around the world.
Why Do It?: Kids love visiting this zoo and seeing the lions, kangaroos, tigers, and other resident animals.
Good to Know: Top attractions at the zoo include the Chimpanzee Connection, Giraffe Experience, and Sea Lion Cove with its underwater viewing station.
See the Philbrook Museum of Art
What Is It?: This is a local art museum with beautifully preserved grounds and thousands of works on display. It is located in the former mansion of a local oilman named Waite Phillips. The museum is about three miles from downtown Tulsa.
Why Do It?: The Philbrook Museum of Art offers a prestigious and refined experience year-around with permanent collections, lovely gardens, and 23 acres for the various aspects of the museum and grounds.
Good to Know: There’s an on-site restaurant here where you can dine outdoors with views of the gardens when the weather is nice. There are free days to visit, so check the museum’s website for details.
Go on a Bar or Brewery Crawl
What Is It?: Tulsa is home to some excellent breweries and bars, which makes it fun to plan your own bar crawl or join a tour to take the planning hassle out of your experience.
Why Do It?: There are some exciting things going on in Tulsa’s craft beer scene that you don’t want to miss out on.
Good to Know: You can combine your bar crawl with a scavenger hunt in Tulsa with the Let’s Roam app. This is a fun activity for small groups as you make your way through pubs, clubs, and dives in the city.
Learn at the Woody Guthrie Center
What Is It?: Woody Guthrie was a folksinger who was born in Oklahoma and wrote the famous song, “This Land Is Your Land.” When you’re in Tulsa, you can visit the Woody Guthrie Center to learn about the artist’s life and career. The center is in downtown Tulsa in the Brady Arts District.
Why Do It?: It’s interesting to learn about this local legend and perhaps even be inspired to write your own song at the museum’s lyric-writing station.
Good to Know: The center is typically open from 10am to 6pm Wednesdays through Sundays and open late until 9pm during First Friday Art Crawls. Ages 17 and under are admitted for free.
Watch a Live Local Performance
What Is It?: Tulsa is home to numerous theaters and performance venues that are worth checking out during your time in the city. For example, the Spotlight Theater offers dinner-and-show experiences that are family-friendly. Other venues are Cain’s Ballroom, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, The Vanguard, and the BOK Center.
Why Do It?: Tulsa has one of the best live music scenes in the country, so chances are that a performer you love (or would love to get to know) is playing in town.
Good to Know: Whether you’re looking for Broadway musicals, hilarious comedy, or original plays, Tulsa has something to offer all theater-lovers. Check the local listing to see what’s happening during your trip.
Visit the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium
What Is It?: This Tulsa museum features exhibits about hot air balloon flights, World War II efforts, space missions, and much more.
Why Do It?: Oklahoma has a long tradition of aerospace history, which you can learn about at this museum. It’s fun for the whole family to see the vintage airplane displays, realistic flight simulators, and the 50-foot planetarium dome in 3D.
Good to Know: There’s also a planetarium here where you can learn about stars, planets, and galaxies.
Relax in a Local Park
What Is It?: In addition to the famous Gathering Place, there are other local parks in Tulsa worth visiting. This includes Woodward Park, which is filled with beautiful roses, dogwoods, and azalea flowers.
Why Do It?: Tulsa’s parks are a wonderful way to take a museum break and have a picnic lunch. These parks, including Woodward Park, are also free to spend time in.
Good to Know: Next door to Woodward Park is the Tulsa Garden Center, which offers classes about gardening and is also free to visit.
See a Game at ONEOK Field
What Is It?: ONEOK Field is where the Tulsa Drillers, a local minor league baseball team, plays. The team has been playing here since 2010 in the historic Greenwood District in downtown Tulsa.
Why Do It?: There’s no better way to celebrate summer in Oklahoma than at a baseball game.
Good to Know: This Tulsa venue also hosts concerts, soccer matches, and baseball games. Check the venue’s website to see what’s going on when you’ll be here.
Explore the Gilcrease Museum
What Is It?: The Gilcrease Museum has a large collection of art and artifacts that once belonged to the wealthy oilman Thomas Gilcrease. The museum exhibits teach visitors about the expansion of settlement in the American West.
Why Do It?: The museum has a comprehensive collection of artifacts and antique maps that are impressive to see. The bronze sculptures are worth checking out too.
Good to Know: This museum is about 10 minutes from downtown Tulsa and has multiple themed gardens in addition to its interactive collections indoors.
See the Gold Driller Statute
What Is It?: This iconic landmark stands about 76 feet tall and weighs 43,500 pounds. It depicts an oil worker and is one of the most photographed sights in Tulsa.
Why Do It?: Tulsa has deep roots in the oil drilling industry and has been known as the oil capital of the world.
Good to Know: The statue is located at the Tulsa State Fairground and is the tallest free-standing statute in the U.S.