My main interest in Oklahoma was Tulsa, as I didn't come across much else that seemed interesting to me personally. Though I hear there are dude ranches and cowboy related sites and activities around the state.

My Favorites

1. Tulsa

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Highlights: Food, music
Suggest Staying: 2-3 days
Stay Around: Anywhere in Tulsa
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I first heard about Tulsa being a potential travel destination for me during a trip to Santa Fe, during which I met two sisters who spoke very highly of it as a very progressive city. Upon further research, it sounded like Austin, TX about 20-30 years ago before it became popular. Having recently traveled to Asheville, NC and Chattanooga, TN which were similar in this respect, I was excited for the adventure. For me this would be a trip to one of the last up and coming hipster cities in the U.S. I had not visited. Turns out, Tulsa is unlike the rest of Oklahoma, at least in terms of what people typically thing of it being very conservative, religious, and stuck in the past. It’s a great city, very chill, friendly progressive people, awesome diverse food scene, and kickass music. A real gem of a city. Definitely what I imagine Austin used to be like. Also some pretty interesting and unique bars. For those enamored with the legend of Route 66, a good chunk of it runs through Tulsa. The city is also extremely vegan and LGBT friendly.

See & Do

  • Gathering Place. Urban park mostly for kids, but definitely fun for adults. Unbelievably well done. Should be something like this in every major metropolitan city.
  • Philbrook Museum. Art and gardens. Must see. The location outside downtown is the original and is better. There is also a location downtown. Admission gets you access to both locations.
  • Ahha Tulsa. Interactive art museum.
  • Blue Dome District. Bars and restaurants.
  • Deco District. Arts district.
  • Cherry Street. Popular area for restaurants. Farmer’s market on Saturdays.
  • The Boxyard. Shipping container shopping area and food.
  • Woody Guthrie Center. Music. Also check out Guthrie on the Green just outside for free outdoor concerts.
  • Center of the Universe. Area of the city supposedly having unique and strange sounds. Or satisfy your narcissism by taking a selfie with you as the center of the universe.
  • Guitar House. Vintage guitars for sale.
  • The Cave House. Odd looking house. Requires advance reservations to take a tour.
  • Blue Whale. Strange roadside attraction and small “lake” off Route 66.
  • Route 66 Historical Village. Not really anything here but cool if you feel like a short adventure.
  • Tulsa Botanical Garden. Seems pretty new and fun adventure if you have some extra time.
  • River Parks Trails. Along Riverside Dr. there are several city parks for casual hiking/biking.
  • Turkey Mountain. Wilderness park near the river.
  • Woodward Park. Relax or hike. Arboretum, teaching gardens.
  • Oxley Nature Center. Well preserved nature trails.
  • Golden Driller Statue. Old remnant of mining days.
  • Safari Joe’s H2O. Water park open in the summer.
  • Cain’s. Famous ballroom. There was a huge 80s prom party happening when we visited.
  • Chua-Tam Bao. Buddhist temple.
  • Hindu Temple of Greater Tulsa. Further shows Tulsa’s diversity.
  • Jellystone Park. Outside Tulsa if you’re interested in camping. Themed after Yogi Bear.

Food & Drink

  • Gypsy Coffee House. Hipster style lounge cafe with good coffee and tea selection.
  • Chimera Cafe. One of the first progressive cafes in Tulsa. Coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch.
  • Mother Road Market. Hipster food court with great outdoor space.
  • Old School Bagel Cafe. Great selection for breakfast and lunch.
  • NobiliTea. All kinds of loose leaf tea for a cup or bags to purchase.
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Smoothies and bowls.
  • Trencher’s Delicatessen. Great sandwiches.
  • Lafa Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar. Woah. If you like real middle eastern food, check this place out. Fantastic. Never seen a restaurant like this outside of the middle east and Europe.
  • Dilly Diner. Great breakfast.
  • Roka Bar. Asian restaurant.
  • Duet Jazz. Jazz club.

2. Turner Falls Park

Turner Falls

Highlights: Waterfall, swimming holes
Suggest Staying: 1/2 day
Stay Around: Tulsa or camping
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What a hidden gem! This place is beautiful. The water is crystal clear blueish green with a couple of really cool swimming holes and waterfall. You can also do some hiking and camping. There’s also a castle nestled up in the hills. Great for an hour or two or an afternoon on a hot day. Great stop if you’re on a trip from the south like Texas.

Other Considerations

Talimena Scenic Byway

Talimena Scenic Byway

Oklahoma’s most famous scenic byway takes you through some low riding mountain forests that provide lovely views. I hear it’s especially nice in the fall. Given its relative obscurity, chances are you’ll have these windy mountain roads all to yourself. There are places to hike, swim, and camp along the way. Follow Route 1 from Talimena State Park to Mena, Arkansas (via Route 86 Skyline Drive).

Oklahoma City

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

I haven’t explored much of the city, mostly driving through. There are some attractions around, one in particular that’s pretty unique is the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum which is huge and has all kinds of information about the old western frontier, cowboys, rodeos, hunting, trapping, cowgirls, Native Americans, and plenty of art and artifacts. Plan to spend at least 2 hours to cover everything inside and outside.

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