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Set in the geographical heart of the country, Tulsa has a sleek Art Deco skyline and a laidback Southwestern twang. This brawny Oklahoma oil town is a fascinating mix of world-class museums, old-time western swing music, and outdoor pleasures. Take a stroll on rolling parkland along the Arkansas River or kick up your feet at vintage dime-a-dance joints. Gaze at art masterpieces in the elegant mansion of an oil baron or eat corndogs at the Tulsa State Fair.
Things to Do
The arts are alive and kicking in Tulsa, home to not one but two first-rate art museums. The works of Wild West artists like Frederic Remington hang in the Gilcrease Museum. The European and American masterpieces in the Philbrook Museum of Art belonged to oil magnate Waite Phillips. Ride on a cushion of air in a weightless space unit in the Tulsa Air & Space Museum and see lions, cheetahs, and giraffes roam the African plains at the Tulsa Zoo.
Nightlife and entertainment
Music spills out of pubs and watering holes in the downtown Blue Dome District—so named for a 1920s gas station that long ago serviced traffic streaming down Route 66. In the Brady Arts District, dance to western swing music at Cain’s Ballroom, where swing king Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys held court in the 1930s. Sample one of 350 beers at McNellie’s Public House. Baseball fans flock to the Tulsa Drillers’ gleaming $39-million minor-league ballpark, ONEOK Field.
Restaurants and dining
From Tex-Mex to slow-cooked barbecue to hand-cut steaks, Tulsa enjoys a hearty culinary scene. Locals head to the modest cinderblock El Rio Verde for authentic Mexican fajitas and “wet” burritos. Follow the hickory-smoked scent of long-simmered pork to Elmer’s BBQ. Down-home grub like meatloaf and cabbage rolls is the specialty of Tally’s Good Food Café, a vintage diner on Route 66.
Tulsa has nature built into its urban bones with 144 green parks and river trails meandering along the Arkansas River. At River Parks, you can bike, jog, or hoof it along 50 miles of trails hugging the banks of the river. The riverfront ecosystem is home to fox, beavers, herons, and songbirds—not to mention scores of manmade wildlife sculptures and lighted fountains. Go fishing for striped bass and catfish in the cool river waters at Zink Lake.
American Airlines makes it easy to discover the hidden treasures of Oklahoma with flights to Tulsa. From strolling through the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum to relaxing among 6,000 acres of parks, there are many fun things to do in Tulsa. Here's a guide to get you started planning a trip.
Despite not being a coastal location, one of our favorite activities in Tulsa is visiting the Oklahoma Aquarium. It houses the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation regional headquarters, educational labs, 200 exhibits and over a million gallons of water. You can see both saltwater and freshwater life, including the largest bull sharks in captivity -- which live in a space that features a cool tunnel you can walk through. You'll also get a glimpse of jellyfish, eels, stingrays, river otters, beavers and seahorses, to name just a few species.
Next, visit the Oxley Nature Center, another one of the best things to do in Tulsa if you want to get closer to wildlife. Over 800 acres, including a creek and flood-plain forest, are home to a diverse range of trees, more than 200 types of birds, more than 50 kinds of butterflies and turtles, deer, flying squirrels and more native creatures. It's especially gorgeous in the spring, when wildflowers are bountiful.
Another item on our list of must-do activities in Tulsa is a stop at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. It features vintage and rare aircraft alongside kid-friendly exhibits that let the young (and the young at heart) enjoy a hands-on experience. There are exhibits dedicated to the Golden Age of flight, World War II and the exploration of space. But our very favorite thing to do is experience the F-16 wind tunnel.
Did you know the Arkansas River runs through the city? It offers many beautiful trails for exploring -- 50 miles of them, actually. They're perfect for spotting bald eagles, which like to hunt along the river. The trails also afford access to many of the city's parks. Spending a lazy afternoon in one of the city's 144 parks is one of the most relaxing things to do in Tulsa. Feel like being a bit more active? No problem. Head to La Fortune Park and play a round of golf. Or go to Chandler Park, where you can go rock climbing.
Why not fly to Tulsa and experience the city's many natural treasures firsthand? American Airlines has made it simple to visit and get in touch with Oklahoma's great outdoors. Browse our flights and start packing.
|Tulsa Tough||Jun 2013 (annual)||Tulsa|
|Tulsa Freedom Fest||Jul 2013 (annual)||River West Festival Park|
|Tokyo in Tulsa||Jul 2013 (annual)||Tulsa Convention Center|
|Tulsa State Fair||Sep - Oct 2013 (annual)||Tulsa Expo Exchange Center|
|Oktoberfest||Oct 2013 (annual)||River West Festival Park|
|US National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show||Oct 2013 (annual)||Tulsa Expo Exchange Center|
|Bixby BBQ 'n' Blues Festival||May 2014 (annual)||Washington Irving Memorial Park|
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