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New to Tulsa Tourism
Last month we decided to do something different and spend a full weekend in Tulsa. Tulsa is about 90 miles from home and we go pretty frequently for various reasons. Most of the time we go to see family and sometimes we go simply for a good meal. Tulsa is full of some great restaurants (more on that later) and it’s a nice change of scenery. My SO has deeper ties to Tulsa. He actually lived there for several years and knows the city like the back of his hand. All that to say, Tulsa isn’t new to us in the sense that we’ve never been but it was new in the sense that we had never really experienced Tulsa as tourists. It really is amazing what you can discover close to home if you just take the time to view your own city/state through a fresh lens. Huge thanks to Visit Tulsa who sponsored our stay and gave us the opportunity to kick back and enjoy a little Tulsa tourism.
I could give you a play by play of our weekend, but that would probably be pretty boring so, instead, I’m going to highlight our favorite activities and share some of my favorite shops and restaurants in Tulsa!
Philbrook Museum of Art
This home is phenomenal. I tend to like to get into the history side of things so this is where I tell you about why this house is kind of a big deal in Tulsa! Originally, this home was the residence of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. Those names may not ring a bell but I bet Phillips Petroleum does! Oil was discovered in Tulsa way back in 1901 and Waite planted himself right in the middle of the oil boom after his brothers created Phillips Petroleum Company. Long story short, Phillips donated his 72 room Italian Renaissance style home to the city of Tulsa in 1938. The home was modified into the current Philbrook Museum of Art and continues to be loved and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. The home and grounds are a perfect way to spend a few hours admiring amazing artwork and beautiful gardens.
This one caught me by surprise. I’m pretty big on museums and I had no idea we had such a gem right here in Tulsa. The Gilcrease Museum boasts the largest collection of art of the American West and is home to 18 of 22 original Frederic Remington bronze sculptures. Thomas Gilcrease, the man behind the name, was another oil mogul with a passion for art and his collection is not only extensive but impressive. In his lifetime, his collection grew to over 350,000 pieces which include art works, Native American artifacts, and rare documents such as a certified copy of the Declaration of Independence. His collection includes pieces so few and so rare that the only other place in the world you can find another is in the Paris Louvre! Gilcrease founded his museum to share his passion with the public and it later became a gift to the city. If you’re in town with some spare time, it’s a pretty special place to visit. The admission fee is small (and well worth it) but, if you need to save some cash, come on the first Tuesday or the third Sunday of the month, admission is free!
Downtown is home to about as many murals as your artist heart can handle. If you love finding murals, you’ll definitely love hanging out downtown. Here are a few that we passed while out and about the second night.
Shopping and Restaurants
Besides it’s museums, Tulsa has a special artsy vibe is home to loads of fantastic local restaurants and boutique shops. Here are a few places not to miss if you’re in town and want to support the locals. From quirky to classy and from burger joints to upscale dining, here’s the scoop on where to be in T-Town.
The Waterfront is a frequent lunch stop for us. I love it because of the fresh seafood! Great seafood is a hard find in Oklahoma and Waterfront Grille uses fresh never frozen in an upscale atmosphere. They also have a killer brunch on the weekends! If the weather is nice, request outdoor seating and order my favorite – the Crab, Mango & Avocado Stack – to start. It is SO good!
If you’re in the mood for a burger, head over to The Farm Shopping Center on 51st and Sheridan. Ron’s holds a long-standing reputation for one of the best burgers in town and if you fancy chili, they’re famous for that too. Don’t forget to wash it down with a draft root beer!
Love a good breakfast or weekend brunch? Dilly Diner is where it’s at! I love the vibes here and I love that the meals are served in epic proportions! My most recent visit included the amazing Bananas Foster French Toast. In case you can’t tell, this dish is plenty for two if you’re up for sharing. Dilly Diner also serves Topica Coffee which is made right down the street and guys, it is gooood. If you’re searching for the perfect Mocha, stop by Dilly Diner. Thank me later. I actually remembered to take pics at this restaurant before diving in to my meal!
The Farm Shopping Center
Some of the best locally owned boutiques call The Farm home and there’s a little something for everybody – even the guys! Ladies, be sure to stop by my personal favorite – Summer & Sunday. Kaye owns the shop and aside from being one of the nicest humans you’ll ever meet, she hand-crafts STUNNING jewelry pieces right there in the store. Her specialty is custom made cuffs but you can find some fabulous bracelets and earrings here as well. Good luck walking out of there empty handed! You’ll find everything from simple classic staples to bold statement pieces. Even if you can’t find what you’re looking for, she is always happy to help you realize that perfect piece. When you finish up your shopping, grab a snack at the Omega Gelateria to refuel or if you’re really hungry, remember Ron’s right there in the shopping center!
If you happen to be in town on the third Thursday of the month, you’re in luck! Every third Thursday, several of the boutiques in The Farm stay open late for a Boutique Crawl complete with discounts, prizes and even sips. It’s a great opportunity to meet a few locals, finds some unique items and have a lot of fun.
Cherry Street is loaded with trendy and fun restaurants, coffee shops, galleries, and local boutiques. I really love this area because, like The Farm, it is also full of locally owned businesses and it’s a fun place to grab lunch and hang out for a few hours. If you’re looking for some grub, try Andolini’s Pizzeria or if you’re in the mood for Mexican, Chimi’s is also a solid choice. Kilkenny’s Irish Pub is a hot spot to grab a beer and hang out for dinner. If all you need is a snack, STG offers up some of the best coffee and gelato in town.
Click here to learn more about what’s going on in Tulsa and upcoming events.