One of my favorite things to do is explore new cities so when I had the opportunity to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma I didn’t even have to think twice before saying yes. I had no expectations when I got to Tulsa, I had no idea what to expect. Now that I have been there, I want to go back and explore more of the city and more of Oklahoma. I went to so many cool places, ate at really cute places and really thought about getting a place there.
I’ll tell you I was pleasantly surprised with what a great city it is. First of all the people are so warm and welcoming. Genuinely kind people every where I went which makes the city feel like home. I also love how the city feels small but has so much new development. When you go to Tulsa that will be the thing that you notice the most that the city is really growing. The restaurants are like ones in LA but still have the small town charm.
I went in July and I would suggest not going during July or August unless you are use to the humidity and heat. The weather is really hot and it makes it hard to walk and enjoy all the outdoor activities that Tulsa has to offer. I think the best time of year to visit would be the Fall, Spring or early summer. When I travel to a new city I really love to walk it and explore if you are like me then skip July and August.
I love the Arts District in Tulsa. There are so many cute cafes and shops to explore. This area is really new and very walkable. For dinner Amelia’s on Boston is amazing. They have really great cocktails and wood fire cuisine. Some of my highlight dishes were the Lemony Kale Salad, Local Cheese & House Charcuterie Board, and the Cast Iron Seared Beef Tenderloin with creamed Truffle Polenta and Mushroom Confit.
Places that you have to visit are the Tulsa Botanic Gardens. It’s such a great way to spend an afternoon. This is the largest botanical gardens I have ever visited. It sits on 170 acres of land. They are continuously building and planting seasonal flowers and plants year round. Not only do they have beautiful gardens they also have different seasonal activities such as the festival of lights during the winter.
One thing I learned is that Tulsa has a lot of history that I never remember learning in school. It is really interesting and you really learn how the past has inspired their present. I love how everyone I met has pride for the city and really wants it to flourish. To learn about the city you should visit, Greenwood Center, Mable B. Little House, Black Wall Street and the JHF Reconciliation Park. You’ll get a sense of what Tulsa has been through and appreciate the city a little more.
Walking around Tulsa from the Arts District, the Blue Dome District and Downtown you will see that there are so many different types of architecture. From modern, art deco, gothic revival, to Mid-Century. You can take a tour and visit the underground tunnels visit the building and see the detail that they put into these beautiful structures that the oil barons had built.
High on my list is visiting the Philbrook Museum. You can easily spend a day there. I will definitely go back because I didn’t get to walk around and see everything when I went to visit. The Philbrook Museum is a historic home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. The style of the home is Italian Renaissance and is stunning. There are still so many original pieces from when the Phillips lived there. The gardens are spectacular they are inspired by Villa Lante and the property is 25 acres. The permanent collection of art include pieces from European, American, Native American, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design, African, Asian and Antiquities.
I wish I had time to explore The Gathering Place more and actually play on all the of the slides, swings and trails. This park is beautiful, it has the most unique designs at a park that I have ever seen. George Kaiser and his foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) helped fund this park to create a space for families to gather and enjoy. It is a 100 acre park that is free to everyone. You can even rent boats, kayaks and pedal boats to drive around the lake for free. They have outdoor concerts that families can enjoy. There is a skate park, a lodge to relax in, several places to eat, even a small beach and so much more. I need to go back to try out some of the activities. I really wish there was a place like this in LA.
Other places that I really loved in Tulsa are Oren which is a restaurant that is located in Brookside which is a short drive away from Downtown Tulsa. The menu is seasonal and food is great. If you want a quick bite to eat you can check out Mother Road Market which is like a dining hall with tons of different options. For breakfast I loved Dilly’s Diner it is a cute little old fashion style diner with the best cinnamon roll that at least 6 people can share. If you want to have drinks at a cute bar check out the Saturn Room it has a lively atmosphere and fun Tiki drinks. If cocktails aren’t your thing and want to do something fun go roller skating at an old school roller rink called Skateland. Sunday brunch is always a must and Duet has an amazing one. They have great cocktails, the Health Nut Brunch Bowl was my favorite thing. It’s amazing.
Pack your bags we are going to Tulsa!
Photo Credit: BX Films, Gathering Place, Oren Restaurant, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Rhys Martin.