things to do in tulsa

Unveiling The Best Activities & Attractions : Things to do in tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma is an underrated city with lots to do for visitors and residents alike. Known as the “Oil Capital of the World” for its rich history in the petroleum industry, Tulsa offers unique museums, green spaces, and entertainment beyond just oil. With world-class art deco architecture and a vibrant arts scene, Tulsa packs a lot of fun into its mid-sized metropolitan area. Whether looking for the best things to do in Tulsa like outdoor adventures, cultural attractions or great sports, you’ll find plenty of activities to fill your time in Tulsa. This overlooked city in America’s Heartland has something for everyone.

The Gathering Place

The Gathering Place is a huge riverfront park along the Arkansas River with activities for visitors of all ages. Spanning over 100 acres it’s one of the largest parks in the United States and offers something for everyone.

Families with young kids will love the Chapman Adventure Playground with a fort-building area, sandboxes, slides, swings and more. The Sky Trail Ropes Course is perfect for older kids and teens looking for a challenge as they navigate through obstacles and zip lines high above the park. Adults can enjoy the peaceful garden trails, outdoor reading nooks and scenic river views.

For those looking to get active, The Gathering Place has basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, bike and surrey rentals and kayak and paddleboard rentals along the river. When you need a break, grab a bite to eat at one of the on-site eateries or relax on the Great Lawn while listening to live music.

With so many features packed into one expansive park, it’s easy to spend an entire day enjoying the sights and activities at The Gathering Place. It’s quickly become one of Tulsa’s top attractions and a can’t-miss spot for both tourists and locals.

Philbrook Museum of Art

Philbrook Museum of Art is one of Tulsa’s premier attractions. Housed in an Italian Renaissance-style villa surrounded by 23 acres of gorgeous formal gardens, the museum has an impressive art collection ranging from Native American to modern masters.

The original 72-room mansion was completed in 1927 for oilman Waite Phillips and his family. After donating the estate to Tulsa in 1938, it opened as an art museum in 1939. The Philbrook continues to expand its art collections, with pieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and more.

Visitors can explore Philbrook’s galleries which showcase Native American art, art deco furniture, and European paintings. Don’t miss the Patti Johnson Wilson Hall, featuring a stunning glass ceiling and walls to showcase modern works. Outside, stroll through the formal terraced gardens, with water features, statuary and seasonal blooms. Have a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant or bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds.

With its beautiful architecture, world-class art collection and relaxing gardens, the Philbrook Museum of Art is a must-see for Tulsa art lovers.

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Woody Guthrie Center

The Woody Guthrie Center is a museum in Tulsa dedicated to the life and legacy of the legendary folk singer and songwriter. Born in 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie is one of the most influential figures in American folk music, with his songs about the plight of working people serving as an inspiration for generations of musicians.

The Woody Guthrie Center opened in 2013 in the Tulsa Arts District. The museum features exhibits that chronicle Woody’s remarkable life story through photographs, artifacts, handwritten song lyrics, artwork and interactive displays. Visitors can learn about Woody’s Dust Bowl era songs, his migrant worker and labor union anthems and classics like “This Land is Your Land.” There is an immersive multimedia display where you can explore Woody’s songs room by room.

The Center also houses the Woody Guthrie Archives, containing the world’s most extensive collection of Woody Guthrie materials such as correspondence, manuscripts, artwork and memorabilia. Researchers and fans can access the archives to study Woody’s creative legacy.

For music lovers visiting Tulsa, the Woody Guthrie Center is a must-see attraction to discover more about one of Oklahoma’s most famous native sons. You’ll deeply appreciate Woody’s lasting impact on American folk music and culture.

Gilcrease Museum

Gilcrease Museum is a must-see attraction if you’re interested in Western and Native American art and artifacts. The museum houses the world’s largest, most comprehensive collection of American West art and artifacts, with nearly 400,000 items in its permanent collection.

Some of the highlights at Gilcrease include:

An unparalleled collection of art and artifacts related to Native American history and culture. You’ll find pottery, textiles, paintings, ceremonial objects and more from tribes across North America. An extensive collection of art and artifacts related to cowboys, ranch life and the popular culture of the American West. See classic paintings, sculptures, photographs, saddles, firearms and other objects that capture the spirit of the Old West.

One of the largest collections of Remington and Russell art in the world. Gilcrease has an entire gallery devoted to works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two painters who captured scenes of cowboys, Native Americans, and wilderness landscapes.

Historical manuscripts, documents and maps related to Western expansion and frontier life, including many one-of-a-kind items. The museum building itself is impressive as well. It’s housed in a picturesque Renaissance villa built by oilman Thomas Gilcrease to display his collection. With its marble halls, terraced gardens and fountains, the villa provides a unique backdrop for exploring the art and history of the American West.

The Brady Arts District

The Brady Arts District is a lively and creative area in Tulsa featuring art galleries, studios and music venues. Located in the Tulsa Arts District just north of downtown, the Brady Arts District is an ideal place to experience the local arts scene.

The district is home to the Cain’s Ballroom, a historic music venue that opened in 1924. Many famous musicians have performed at Cain’s Ballroom, including Bob Wills, Elvis Presley, and The Sex Pistols. Today, Cain’s hosts concerts and live music events across many genres. Music lovers can catch national touring acts or local bands any night of the week.

In addition to live music, visitors can browse the district’s art galleries showcasing works by local artists. Some notable galleries include the Hardesty Arts Center, the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery, and the Living Arts Gallery. Many studios allow visitors to meet the artists and observe them at work. The district also hosts a First Friday Art Crawl on the first Friday evening of each month, when galleries stay open late and feature special exhibits and events.

The district has creative shops like the Collaborative Gallery, which offers classes and workshops in painting, pottery, jewelry making, and more for those looking to create their art. Aspiring artists can learn new techniques and get hands-on experience with different mediums.

With its abundance of galleries, live music, and opportunities for arts education, the Brady Arts District is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the inspiring local art scene. Spend an afternoon or evening exploring the district’s vibrant creative community.

Tulsa Botanic Garden

The Tulsa Botanic Garden is a beautiful 60-acre oasis located right in the heart of the city. This urban sanctuary features multiple themed gardens showcasing stunning floral displays.

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden contains over 1,500 types of plants and provides a hands-on educational experience. You can see rare exotic specimens from around the world in the Tropical Conservatory. The Children’s Discovery Garden engages kids with fun activities like digging in a dinosaur fossil pit.

Don’t miss the rose garden which contains over 2,500 roses in vibrant colors. Tulsa Botanic Garden also has specialty gardens like the Water Garden, Herb Garden, and Daylily Garden. Visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring the serene surroundings and diversity of plant life. It’s a scenic spot for leisurely walks, having a picnic, or reading a book on a bench surrounded by nature. With so much natural beauty, the Tulsa Botanic Garden is one of the top things to do in the city.

Oklahoma Aquarium

The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks is a top attraction for families visiting Tulsa. This impressive aquarium features exhibits showcasing aquatic life from around the world.

Some of the major exhibits at the Oklahoma Aquarium include:

Sea Turtle Island: Get up close with endangered sea turtles and learn about conservation efforts. This exhibit has a 70,000-gallon tank. Shark Adventure: Walk through an acrylic tunnel surrounded by sharks, rays and fish. Species include sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and more.

Stingray Bay – Touch and feed cow nose rays in this interactive exhibit. Rays glide right over your hands.

Amazon Rising: Explore the wildlife of the Amazon rainforest, including piranhas, electric eels, poison dart frogs, and other exotic creatures. A 15-foot anaconda is also on display.

Whale Shark Plaza: See the largest fish in the world at this exhibit, which contains a 5,060-gallon tank for whale sharks and smaller fish.

The Oklahoma Aquarium provides an immersive experience where you can discover aquatic life from oceans, lakes, and rivers worldwide. It’s an exciting attraction for all ages with fun interactive elements like touching stingrays and massive tanks with sharks and whale sharks swimming overhead.

Tulsa Drillers Baseball

The Tulsa Drillers are a minor-league baseball team that has been playing in Tulsa since 1977. The Drillers are the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and play their home games at ONEOK Field in downtown Tulsa’s Greenwood District.

ONEOK Field opened in 2010 and is considered one of the best minor league ballparks in the country. The stadium has a seating capacity of over 7,000 and features a grass-berm seating area, suites, party decks and top-notch concessions. Fans can enjoy the game while taking in views of the downtown Tulsa skyline.

Attending a Drillers game is a fun, affordable way to experience baseball with the whole family. Tickets start at around $10, and there are always great giveaways and promotions on the schedule. The games have a relaxed, community-focused vibe. Kids can run the bases between innings while fans participate in contests like the dizzy bat race.

The Drillers have won multiple Texas League championships over the years. While future Dodgers superstars come through Tulsa on their way to the majors, the Drillers roster features promising prospects and veteran players. With competitive baseball and a festive atmosphere, Drillers games at ONEOK Field provide a quintessential minor league experience.

Conclusion

Tulsa has so much to offer visitors of all ages and interests. There are plenty of family-friendly activities, from expansive green spaces like The Gathering Place to world-class art museums like Philbrook and Gilcrease. Music lovers can learn about Woody Guthrie’s life and legacy at the Woody Guthrie Center or catch a show at one of the venues in the Brady Arts District.

Nature enthusiasts will enjoy walking the trails at Tulsa Botanic Garden and seeing the marine life at the Oklahoma Aquarium. Sports fans can cheer on the Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball team. With this wide variety of attractions and entertainment options, it’s easy to see why Tulsa is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway or a more extended vacation.

The city offers something for everyone. Tulsa has everything from outdoor spaces to experience nature, to museums and cultural sites to feed your mind, to live music and entertainment to enjoy. It’s the perfect place to make memories with family and friends.

 


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