18 Cool Things to See & Do in Tulsa On Your Oklahoma Trip

Planning a Route 66 road trip through the Sooner State? While cruising through northeastern Oklahoma, discover all the best things to do in Tulsa. The top tourist attractions in Oklahoma’s second-biggest city showcase rich and diverse culture, state-of-the-art museums, and incredible parks to explore with your family.

Let your little one’s imagination run wild at the Discovery Lab science museum. Then, take them on a wildlife expedition at the Tulsa Zoo. Check out the artifacts and artwork at the Philbrook Museum, and fly to the Tulsa Air & Space Museum to get in the pilot’s seat.

Need a hand narrowing down what to do in Oklahoma’s second-largest city? Plan your trip with this guide to the best places to visit in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Must-see places to visit

Philbrook Museum of Art

Art aficionados will find paradise at the Philbrook Museum of Art. Covering 25 acres of flourishing gardens, this serene Italian Villa, donated by Genevieve and Waite Phillips, houses classical and modern collections of artwork.

Philbrook Museum of Art

From exploring works from world-renowned artists to cultural exhibits, plan to spend a few hours at the magnificent art museum. Enter the luxurious villa and find 500 years of art history at the Rembrandt to Monet exhibit. Study Native American portraits, Greek and Roman ceremonial sculptures, masks from African tribes, and American works of impressionism.

Stroll through diamond-shaped paths of the Westby Sculpture Walk, cross bridges over babbling brooks, and sit and bask among the blooming flowers. Pet the friendly garden cat, Cleome.

Taste test herbs and vegetables from the Philbrook Museum of Art’s very own Victory Garden at Kitchen 27. Enjoy brunchy dishes like Chorizo Eggs Benedict or Chicken and Waffles on the patio with garden views.

Tulsa Zoo

Animal lovers: gallop, stomp, or slither to the Tulsa Zoo. Exploring the zoo, spanning 84 acres of Mohawk Park, you’ll meet over 3000 animals living in creatively themed exhibits and habitats. Perfect for families, children of all ages will have a roaring good time at the Tusla Zoo.

Tulsa Zoo

Visit the African Plains and scout out rhinos, giraffes, lions, meerkats, and many more Savana species. Watch the slippery African Penguins jet around from the underwater viewing space, then enter into the steamy Tropical Rainforest. Hear the hoots of howler monkeys, and peer through jungle foliage and kapok tree leaves for jaguars and anacondas. In the Lost Kingdom, admire Asian elephants, Malayan Tigers, and ancient Komodo Dragons.

Climb aboard the ONEOK Safari Train and chug through the park. It’s a convenient and adorable mode of transportation to and from exhibits. Little ones will go wild for the Arvest Carousel, where they can choose their favorite wild animal to hop on and ride.

Woodward Park & Gardens

In need of a respite from the city? Look no further than Woodward Park & Gardens. Explore a diverse array of formal and quirky gardens and spectacular architecture across 45 acres of immaculate grounds. Young and old will enjoy a few hours of peace in this whimsical garden.

You’ll be awestruck by the opulent Mansion at Woodward Park, an Italianate Renaissance Revival standing amidst the greenery and fountains. Pass by Daffodil Hill, covered in a blanket of yellow in the springtime. Then, meander through the thousands of pink, red, and yellow rose bushes in the Tulsa Rose Garden.

Find yourself in the tranquil Woodland Gardens, and listen to the birds chirping and squirrels rustling in the treetops. Follow the limestone slab path winding through the Lower Rock Gardens. Cross the arched bridge over the babbling stream, keeping your eyes open for dainty fairy houses along the wooded trails.

Oklahoma Aquarium

Keen on an aquatic afternoon? Dive into a world of immersive, educational, and stunning exhibits at the Oklahoma Aquarium. Your whole family will have a blast exploring local and international marine life up close at this top-rated Tulsa attraction.

Oklahoma Aquarium

First, swim over to Extreme Fishes. Gaze upon the double-jawed Honeycomb Moray and the African Mudskipper, who can skip across the land on its fins. At Sea Turtle Island, meet the two resident Loggerhead Turtles, who love posing for pictures.

Head for tropical waters in the Polynesian Reef, watching more than 50 species of exotic fish in the vibrant coral reef. Brace yourself as you enter Shark Adventure. Passing through the shark tunnel, look around you at the world’s largest collection of Bull Sharks floating around you.

Feeling peckish after your aquarium adventure? Head next door to the Waterfront Grille for fresh seafood like Grilled Rainbow Trout, Catfish fillets, or Fish Tacos and views of the Arkansas River.

Tulsa Botanic Garden

Botanists and flower fanatics will find a world of blooming bliss at the Tulsa Botanic Garden. Frolic around 170 acres of themed gardens, seasonal plant life exhibits, and plenty of learning opportunities. These gardens offer a green haven from the hubbub of the city.

Breathing in the fresh Tulsa air with hints of sweet florals, stroll up the stairs of the A.R. & Mary Louise Tandy Floral Terraces. Pass perennials, roses, and ornamental grasses overflowing from the Garden Cascade. From the top point of the terrace, look out onto sweeping views of downtown Tulsa.

If you’re planning a springtime trip, you’ll be just in time for the Tulsa Botanic Blooms festival. Stroll past meticulously arranged flower beds of bright yellow daffodils, purple hyacinths, and other seasonal flowers.

In the fall, reds, oranges, and browns dominate the garden arrangements, from the pumpkin patch to the festive scarecrows.

Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

Whether you’re an avid aviation history buff or you simply think airplanes are cool, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium has something for you. Aviation fans of all ages will love the hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.

In the Helmerich Exhibit Hall, step inside a massive MD-80 airplane, then hop in the cockpit of a Rockwell Ranger 2000. Step back in time, and tour a recreation of the Art Deco Tulsa Terminal, the busiest in the world in 1930 due to the oil boom. Then get your heart pounding as you soar through the skies in the airplane simulation.

You’ll be amazed learning about the vast history of African American airmen in the Tuskegee Legacy Exhibit before carrying onto the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium. Sit back, relax, and enjoy stunning full-dome visuals and tours of the sky and outer space.

Route 66 Historical Village

Sightseeing along Route 66? Chug on over to the Route 66 Historical Village. Make a brief stop here to learn about Oklahoma’s railroad history as you investigate antique engines and original cabooses.

Check out the various historic, retired trains parked on the tracks, repaired, and revitalized back to their former glory. Standing next to the enormous Frisco 4500, you can imagine the bygone power of this steam engine. Chat with volunteers on site about how this iconic locomotive spent decades chugging between St. Louis and Oklahoma City each day.

Train enthusiasts will be fascinated by the Frisco 1157, an original boxcar turned caboose. Gleaming silver in the sunlight, The Double Domed Oil Tank Car is a relic of Oklahoma’s exploding oil industry in the early 20th century. Get your best conductor pose ready to snap some photos from inside the train cars.

Oxley Nature Center

Can’t get enough of Tulsa’s great outdoors? Dedicate a few hours to exploring south-central U.S. wildlife at the Oxley Nature Center. Neighboring Mohawk Park and the Tulsa Zoo, it’s convenient to spend a day or two visiting these sites, taking in Tulsa’s lush flora and lively fauna.

Oxley Nature Center

Acquaint yourself with the land at the Oxley-Yetter Interpretive Building. Peruse exhibits about local species of animals and plants you may encounter on your nature walk. Then, march along the peaceful paths of the North Woods. Arborists can admire the ancient trees, many of which are 100 years old are more.

Soak in the warm sunshine at Meadowlake Prairie. Take in the tranquil scene of wind tousling the grassy knoll and the periodic ripples across BJ’s Pond.

Continue to Blackbird Marsh to investigate local plant life and creatures. Climb the Lookout Tower and take in the stunning views of the forests and swamps around you.

Woody Guthrie Center

Does “This land is your land, this land is my land” ring a bell? Nearly every American knows this classic tune, written by Woody Guthrie. Spin by the Woody Guthrie Center to delve into Guthrie’s life, political achievements, and timeless songwriting. Stop by as a fan of American Folk Music, for the art installations, or for one of the music history events.

Start with a short film about Guthrie’s life, then head to the Dust Bowl exhibit. Learn about the era that inspired some of his early works, and test out the virtual reality dust storm simulation. Stop by the Music Bar and pop on some headphones. Bop along to Guthrie’s top hits, and get a look at his banjo and other instruments.

Stick around for one of the center’s diverse events. Attend a live concert, or join a panel discussion about themes ranging from Black Oklahoma Blues to This Land is Whose Land?

LaFortune Park

Looking for some outdoor recreation? An urban oasis awaits at LaFortune Park. Smack in the middle of Tulsa, discover 270 acres of fun to be had for the whole family. From trails to tennis courts, fishing ponds, and much more, this public park is one of the top places to go in Tulsa to get active outside with your family.

Start off strolling along over three miles of trails winding through LaFortune Park. Head south, and you’ll hear the crack of a bat striking a baseball for a home run at the fields.

To the east, watch a tennis game, or bring your own rackets for some fun on the courts. On the west side, hit the 18-hole championship golf course.

LaFortune Park is surrounded by plenty of eateries to refuel after your activities. Get the best brunch around at Neighborhood Jam, with specialties like Pineapple Bourbon Pancakes, or opt for tasty, traditional steakhouse cuisine at McGill’s.

The Outsiders House Museum

Fans of The Outsiders will want to stop by The Outsiders House Museum. Experience the cult classic book and film like never before in Ponyboy’s and Sodapop’s house. Set aside an hour or so on a weekend and find yourself in the world of the Greasers and the Socs.

Snap a photo with the Curtis Brothers Lane and Outsiders Street signs. Head inside the iconic home as a flood of nostalgia hits you. Meet the characters in the David Burnett Collection, analyzing moody portraits of the cast on the walls. Browse candids taken of director Francis Ford Coppola and the actors on set in the Nancy Moran Collection.

Examine the DX hat and paint buckets and Dallas’ jacket, then pose with a chocolate cake and a Budweiser in front of the TV. Be sure to ask a docent for a tour of the Outsiders House Museum for exclusive stories about the house and film.

Gathering Place

Embrace northeast Oklahoma sunshine at The Gathering Place. One of the most popular Tulsa day trips, this public park encompasses 100 acres of forests, green spaces, and water activities along the Arkansas River. Explore, have fun, and let kiddos burn off some energy at one of Tulsa’s outdoor gems.

Gathering Place

Watch your youngsters gleefully run through fake blades of grass towering above them in the Adventure Playground. They can slide down metal swans, ascend woven rope towers, and conquer wooden platforms. Rent a kayak at the OKEOK Boathouse and paddle around Peggy’s Pond, peering down at the lily pads atop the placid waters.

After gallivanting around the Gathering Place, stop by The Patio in the north of the park and order juicy burgers, refreshing beer, and crispy french fries.

To the south, take a seat on the deck at Vista at the Boathouse, munch on fresh pizza, and take in glorious pondside views.

DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum

Tulsa is dripping with Art Deco architecture. Architecture fanatics can discover the history of the city’s iconic style at the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum. From memorabilia and artifacts to the building itself, immerse yourself in Art Deco culture. If you’re on a time crunch, this mini museum is a Tulsa must-see.

Enter the Philcade Building’s facade and be swept away by the grandeur. Towering Egyptian columns, gold and glazed terra-cotta detailing, and twinkling chandeliers adorn the interior. The museum’s American history exhibits show original women’s dresses of the time, ceramics, furniture, portraits, and more.

Extend your experience with the Deco District In-Depth Tour, picking up a self-guided tour map and scouting out the lovely historic buildings around Boston Avenue.

Afterward, keep the theme going with drinks at the Deco Lounge. Relax with handcrafted cocktails in the low, intimate lighting and classic art deco interior.

Gilcrease Museum

Culture lovers, immerse yourselves in history, art, and Native American heritage, at the Gilcrease Museum. Although the museum is currently closed, visitors can look forward to the grand reopening at a new, ultra-modern, 83,500-square-foot facility just out of downtown. Before your Tulsa trip, be sure to check for updates about the opening

Browse one of the American West’s largest collections of art and artifacts at the Gilcrease Museum. Founded by Thomas Gilcrease of the Muscogee Creek Nation, this museum holds a wide variety of 350,000 artifacts, masterpieces, sculptures, and documents.

Study the bronze sculptures immortalizing themes of the American West and patterned hand-woven baskets. Examine ancient spearheads of pre-Columbian times and earthenware pots detailed with intricate designs. Scan letters sent to Chief John Ross from the Cherokee Nation and analyze oil paintings from the early 20th century.

Discovery Lab

Traveling with young scientists? They’ll be delighted to conduct experiments to their heart’s content at the Discovery Lab. As it’s adjacent to the Gathering Place, plan to hit both for the ultimate day of family fun. Swing by to watch your little one learn through hands-on experimentation.

Discovery Lab

Older kiddos can put their thinking caps on at the Discovery Lab, figuring out how to engineer a wall of pipes that can carry a ball to the bottom. Then, explore the properties of light and color in the shadow room.

Youngsters can toy around with vacuums and balls to learn about airflow, then build a castle out of differently-sized foam blocks. Challenge your children to tackle the massive packing tape-made jungle gym.

Take a stroll along the River Parks Trails, passing by beautiful gardens and the Arkansas River. When it’s about time for lunch, munch on fresh, vegan, and vegetarian cuisine at Chimera. Don’t miss out on their freshly brewed coffee, too!

Bricktown Brewery

After a day of shopping along South Peoria Avenue, wind down with a fresh craft brew from Bricktown Brewery. With 16 locations throughout the South and Midwest, Bricktown curates each location to represent the local culture, from the atmosphere to the beer flavors. At the Tulsa location, you’ll taste some of the finest brews and artisanal bites around.

Bricktown Brewery

Greeted by a mural with the quote, “Beauty is in the Eye of the beer holder,” on the side of the brick building, step inside and order a classic Oklahoma-made beer. Try the Three Guardsmen IPA or the Avery White Rascal wheat beer.

Test out other local beers hosted on Bricktown taps, like Marshall Brewery’s Oktoberfest and the Knockout Irish Red Ale from Bitter Sisters Brewing Co. Enjoy them inside the rustic-industrial ambiance of the brewery. Pair your beer with choices like the famous Bricktown Burger, Chicken Fried Steak, or their flavorful french onion soup.

Doubleshot Coffee Co.

On the hunt for Tulsa’s best coffee? Discover top-notch, freshly roasted coffee beans and housemade brews at Doubleshot Coffee Co. Specializing in ethically sourced beans, roasted twice a week for peak freshness, you can guarantee the best cup of joe around at Doubleshot.

Approaching the renovated barn-turned-coffee shop, inhale the aromas of freshly roasted beans. Order a frothy Cappucino, a creamy latte, or a robust Americano, or try out a house-blend coffee like the Guatemala El Tambor or Ethiopia Worka Sakaro. Can’t choose? The passionate baristas are more than happy to help you select the perfect drink.

For a tasty treat to go along with your coffee, grab a homemade goodie like a roasted red pepper scone or a chocolate muffin. Cozy up on one of the vintage couches, make your way up to the second floor and sit by the windows, or enjoy the fresh air on one of their two porches.

The Cave House

Want the inside scoop on Tulsa from a local? Head over to The Cave House to chat with Linda. As you peer around her quirky 1924 house, made to look like a cluster of boulders protruding from a hill, she’ll divulge tales about Tulsa’s past and The Cave House’s history.

Drive along Charles Page Boulevard and stop at The Cave House, one of Tulsa’s top landmarks. Linda, the owner, will be your guide. The rooms are teeming with antiques, fascinating, eclectic decor, artistic stained glass windows, and a built-in slide. Learn about its time as a speakeasy and a chicken restaurant. By the time you leave, you’ll feel like a Tulsa local, armed with intimate stories of the area.

Next, one of the most popular things to do in Tulsa is to scoot over to the Blue Dome District. Buzzing with energy, this neighborhood features a plethora of art culture, bars, eateries, nightlife, and shops to explore.

Recommended places to stay for sightseeing

For most travelers, the top choices for where to stay in Tulsa are Downtown, the Arts District, and Midtown. These areas & neighborhoods are home to most of the city’s top accommodation options, with everything from hotels to vacation rentals available.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Downtown

Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Tulsa Downtown – Arts District, an IHG Hotel

Located just two blocks from Guthrie Green, this modern hotel offers beautiful views of historic Tulsa and a slate of excellent amenities. After a day of sightseeing, sweat out some Southern cookin’ in the fitness center or cool down from the hot Oklahoma sun in the indoor pool.

Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo Tulsa DWTN/Entertainment Area

The artsy vibes of the Indigo brand offer a perfect complement to its location in the heart of the quirky Tulsa Arts District. The hotel is peppered with colorful, funky decor, even, at times, paying homage to the city’s oil boom. End your evening soaking up the sunset and twinkling city views with cocktails at the gleaming rooftop bar.

The Mayo Hotel

The Mayo Hotel

Open since 1925, this grand hotel is the perfect spot to add a touch of class to your Tulsa vacation. The early-20th century decor and architectural details hint at the city’s famed Art Deco style. Before turning in for the night, sip on a sundowner on the rooftop bar, taking in the 360-degree panoramic views over Downtown Tulsa.

Treksplorer

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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