When most Americans are asked about Tulsa, OK, they’re usually not aware of many of the treasures this growing city has to offer. As a matter of fact, most people link Tulsa to the oil industry or to Native American history. These things are true, but to be able to understand why this midwestern city deserves a visit, we’ve put together a guide to help you truly discover a place you never knew existed.
What Is Tulsa, Oklahoma Known For?
Parts of downtown Tulsa take you back to when the city was in its glory days because of the much preserved art deco vibe in paintings, murals and architecture on many of the historic buildings. Tulsa is the first oil capital of the world and many of the neighborhoods still contain large million dollar homes built during the early 1900’s by wealthy oil tycoons. That time period is what shaped the city to what it is now, a diverse small city with a budding population in almost every community in every district.
Any family living in Tulsa County is probably used to wildlife and the outdoors. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon to see a horse within city limits, as it is completely legal to have livestock if the property is 1 acre or more. Tulsa and Broken Arrow really cater to the nature aspect of the area by maintaining many public parks and community gardens located in all areas of town. The largest park is definitely The Gathering Place, a massive public open space sitting on 100 acres on the banks of the Arkansas River. Funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation, this is one of the largest public open spaces in the country and is considered one of the 12 most Mind-Bending Playgrounds Around The World. Now that’s a park.
You’ll find many art museums in the Tulsa area including the historic Philbrook Museum which attracts visitors from all over the state of Oklahoma. This unique building is actually a mansion full of some of the best arts exhibits in the state.
The food in Tulsa is no joke either, whether you’re a foodie or a beer drinker or a casual family diner kind of person. You’ll find no shortage of traditional American fare like burgers and frito pie. But most people are surprised to see Cuban restaurants, Indonesian, Peruvian, and all the street tacos you can possibly handle. We recommend anyone who visits Tulsa to check out Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant downtown.
One of the least talked about things Tulsa is known for is not a great part of the city’s history. In the year 1921, the city saw a massacre of the thriving black community in the Greenwood District, where hundreds of local white residents set fire to, looted and robbed the area of the wealthy “Black Wall Street,” which consisted of about 35 city blocks of real estate.
The Great Oklahoma Outdoors
As mentioned, Tulsa, Oklahoma has an abundance of wildlife and recreational outdoor activities. The east banks of the Arkansas River help to form part of the Tulsa parks and creek systems that flow throughout the area. There are small hills everywhere and some of the best hiking can be had at a place called Turkey Mountain, which overlooks the river.
Tulsa County in general has about 1 park per every 2 square miles! Those who live in the area tend to be very active and outside much of the time, whether fishing in the creek or boating on one of the 5 large lakes in north east Oklahoma.
Business is a part of life in Tulsa, and many companies are expanding operations there because it’s the most affordable places to live compared to other American cities. The cost of living and easy access to all the services and amenities of a big city is why many entrepreneurs are now calling Tulsa home. Starting a new business is relatively easy in Tulsa because of the support you may get from one of the best local Chamber of Commerce in the US.
Tulsa is home to the national convenience store and gas station, QuickTrip. RibCrib also got its start in Tulsa in 1992, and remains one of the fastest growing food chains with over 60 locations. The only Fortune 1000 company headquartered in Tulsa is Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Education In Tulsa
Most people living in the state of Oklahoma are well aware that as a whole, they rank 35th in education level nationally. That being said, the city of Tulsa actually graduates almost 90% of its high school students. It’s astonishing to think that 30% of residents hold a 4 years college degree in Tulsa, OK.
Tulsa is not the largest city in Oklahoma, but there are 131 schools and universities. 103 of the schools are public education, which spends about $3,000 less per student than the national average. The top University in the area is Oklahoma State University, which is based in Stillwater, but has various campuses in Tulsa County. 26% of the students live outside Oklahoma and come from other areas of the country, and plenty of them move in from a lot of places around the world.
Tulsa Is The Center Of The Universe
Although debatable, there is a unique area in the center of downtown Tulsa that attracts visitors from all places. Near the corner of West Archer Street and North Boston Avenue is an acoustic phenomenon where if you stand in the center of the concrete circle, your voice will be amplified to you, but sound very distorted and low to other people standing to the north, south, east or west of you. This place is full of energy and considered one of the best acoustical vortex’s in the world and worth a visit.
Your New Home In Tulsa, Oklahoma
2021 could be the best time in recent memory for anyone considering relocating to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the pandemic of 2020, the city had a good year of growth and new construction was abundant. There are new buildings and apartments going up all over the place, and that indicates a full growth spurt in Tulsa. The cost of living is very low, the traffic is almost non-existent, people are friendly and the weather is typically much warmer than other places in the country year round. The Tulsa business community is a tight knit group and many stores are owned by the same people who support each other.