There Is Something About Tulsa

If you draw a 250-mile circle around Kansas City, the choices of major metropolitan areas to visit on a leisurely road trip are slim – St.Louis, Omaha, Tulsa. There are plenty of small towns within reasonable distance worth a visit but not warranting a special trip.

I had Tulsa, OK in my sights for a long time but every time I inquired about it, hardly any answers didn’t include some combination of a word “-hole”. It was time to discover Tulsa for myself, so over a long weekend I booked a 3.5 star hotel (the highest level available on priceline) in downtown Tulsa and after detours to Iola, Coffeyville and Chanute we finally crossed the border into Oklahoma. Before leaving I thoroughly checked my wardrobe – the shirt with some Arkansas sport team was out just in case, and my Larry the Cable Guy and Toby Keith t-shirts were in. I also practiced my best Oklahoman accent in front of the mirror to unsatisfactory results.

Some things about Tulsa turned out to be true, there was hardly anything to do there on a Saturday night. There was a concert in Cain’s Ballroom, but the line to get in was so long that only an ABBA reunion would make me consider standing in it. Two football teams from Oklahoma were playing on TV. Everything else was more or less dead. I know, I know – I just didn’t know where to look, but maybe I shouldn’t be expected to look so hard. Eventually we found some guy singing and playing guitar at the Gypsy - a hipster yet pleasant hangout not too far from Cain’s, maybe just a bit farther than the end of the line to the concert. We stayed there for over two hours and my kid enjoyed every minute of it, while I didn’t feel my usual for this type of place urge to kill myself, even as the performer switched from guitar to sitar(!).

We visited some Tulsa landmarks; drove around hunting for the best view of downtown skyline; ate some of the best hamburgers ever, served without pretense and reasonably priced; checked out parts of Route 66; and overall had a good time. So if you are itching for some weekend travel, Tulsa is not a bad place to visit, there is plenty to see and maybe even something to do.

Tulsa has a great-looking downtown famous for its Art Deco architecture (view from our hotel):

There Is Something About Tulsa

If you are short on time, feel free to skip the Golden Driller:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Downtown from the other side:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Tulsa has Jazz:

There Is Something About Tulsa

For this shot we drove up to the top of some parking garage. Seemed like it had 20 levels:

There Is Something About Tulsa

This Meadow Gold sign was restored and placed here at the Route 66 information structure:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Boston Ave. United Methodist Church, if I am ever there again, I’ll try to take the tour:

There Is Something About Tulsa

This is how to get breakfast on Sunday morning: first, drive over to this building, there is a restaurant inside the hotel with great reviews:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Look around:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

You can even take pictures while standing in the middle of the street, there is no traffic. Or any cars at all:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Anyway, the restaurant will probably be closed, but don’t leave yet, ask the old man in the shoe shiner’s chair, he will point you to where you can actually eat. Take more pictures on the way:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Soda. Cigars. Prescriptions. In that order.

There Is Something About Tulsa

Don’t be tempted, you are not going there:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Tally’s is where it’s at:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Breakfast- check, Route 66 – check:

There Is Something About Tulsa

In Oklahoma, if you don’t have to believe in Jesus Christ, but you better be praying to Will Rogers:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Just in case Jesus Christ is your cup of tea, you can’t miss Oral Roberts University – a study in irony and architecture rejected by the Disney World.

There Is Something About Tulsa

Apparently helping the poor and healing the sick goes better when you invest a generous sum of money into a pair of idle hands.

There Is Something About Tulsa

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Jesus couldn’t have spent your money any better:

There Is Something About Tulsa

On the other side of hands there is a wall of sacrifice:

There Is Something About Tulsa

And here we see some Epcot-like structures:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

The Tower of Prayer:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Maybe this is the Fortress of Solitude:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Less than a mile away there is an excellent Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

It houses a Holocaust exhibit…
There Is Something About Tulsa

…as well as a great collection of Jewish art and artifacts. Unfortunately many items end up in the collection due to the decline of the Jewish Community and closing of the synagogues.

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Roy Lichtenstein’s exibit is there as well:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Route 66 displays and landmarks are plentiful in Tulsa:

There Is Something About Tulsa

So you know what Tulsa spelled backwards is:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There is a beautiful Riverfront of the likes Kansas City would kill to have:

There Is Something About Tulsa

With pedestrian bridges:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Places to fish:

There Is Something About Tulsa

The views:

There Is Something About Tulsa

And the pelicans:

There Is Something About Tulsa

One last glance:

There Is Something About Tulsa

If you leave Tulsa going North on U.S. Route 75, you’ll get a chance to visit Bartlesville, OK. Feel free to skip it. Here are a few pictures to make you feel better about passing it by.

Painted buffalo, so 90′s:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Church:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright:

There Is Something About Tulsa

One-directional 66 monument, author unknown:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Nativity Scene:

There Is Something About Tulsa

A man and a beast:
There Is Something About Tulsa

Downtown:

There Is Something About Tulsa

Mural:

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

There Is Something About Tulsa

Highway 75 eventually takes you to the Interstate 35 and you are home in no time.

  • Nick

    only been there once; the tulsa go club once held a tourney on the osu campus there over a long 3-day weekend. i cruised the city in the evenings and ate at a couple of places near the university but didn’t form any opinion of the city. did drive down differently though – took 71 then crossed into ok using the will rogers expressway, home to the largest mickey d’s suspended over a roadway in these here united states. think i still have the pressed penny souvenir somewhere…

    • http://kcmeesha.com kcmeesha

      71 is better if you live closer to 71 like Grandview or something. From Olathe 169 seems like a straight shot. I recently broke a streak of not eating in McD’s by having a bagel there. They managed to thoroughly f. that up.

      • Nick

        a bagel? whatever possessed you?

        • http://kcmeesha.com kcmeesha

          I was meeting someone for breakfast and I hate mcmuffins. That was the only choice.

      • Nick

        a bagel: whatever possessed you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Superdave-Larson/1463095080 David Superdave Larson

    Nice work, do so enjoy your photo journeys

    • http://kcmeesha.com kcmeesha

      Thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Smith/648526471 Mark Smith

    and the turnpike speed limit is 80 mph to get you out of Oklahoma faster. I can say that beings all my people are from there. You need a gig with Frommers, you can make just about any place sound not so bad.

    • http://kcmeesha.com kcmeesha

      I didn’t say I want to live there :-)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CM7S3YUXJGXLLLQKLQT75SMLTY dianne

    Sounds like fun.

  • Conner

    I live in Tulsa, but am studying in Moscow right now. I agree with mostly everything you sad, and it made me miss home.

  • http://twitter.com/jjskck Josh S.

    Great post. Looks like you stayed the same place I did when I was in Tulsa last year.

    • http://kcmeesha.com kcmeesha

      Doubletree at the Convention Center

      • dweller

        I have a great local bar a block up from your hotel, ‘The Cellar Dweller’
        please drop in next time you’re in Tulsa