Hey there history buffs, you’ve made it to Tulsa. So what now?
Here are a few suggestions for where to go in the city.
The Cain’s Ballroom: Built in 1924, the Cain’s Ballroom is a Tulsa gem. It started out as a dancing hall, later became a dance academy, and is now a prized music venue. Everyone from has played the Cain’s; from Bob Dylan to Metallica. My personal experience with the Cain’s has been semi romantic. I used to frequent the space to watch garage style grunge bands in high school, and as I have gotten older my music tastes have become less about teenage angst, and I have enjoyed many concerts since.
The Brady Theater: Decked out in Art Deco (like most historic buildings in Tulsa), the Brady Theater is a destination. Built in 1914 as a convention center, it received its most prominent facelift in 1930 to transform its barn style hall into an elegant venue. In 1952, other additions were made, including upper and lower lobbies. Some prominent artists that have played here include Buddy Holly, Rosemary Clooney, David Allen Cole, and many more.
So not a ton of “historic” bars or restaurants in Tulsa, so I would recommend visiting places in some of the more historic areas. I have broken this section down by districts.
Blue Dome District- Known from its signature blue dome building in the center of this district, there are a lot of options in this area. You can hit a classic smoky dive bar like Arnie’s, or you can enjoy an incredible meal at Juniper. For breakfast definitely try Bramble or Dilly Diner, you wouldn’t be disappointed. In the mood for a beer? McNellie’s Pub has all of your favorite pub offerings, and over 100 beers on tap (plus it is family friendly until 9 pm). There are many other options in this area, from sushi to a German beer hall.
The Brady District- This area gets its namesake from the Brady Theater, and offers a wide variety of food and drink options. You can grab a delicious burger at the Tavern or enjoy the Medi-Eastern Cuisine of Laffa. Other fun choices include Mexicali and Sisserou’s (great Caribbean food). There are a bunch of bars in this area, from Mainline Art Bar to the Saturn Room Rum and Tiki Bar. Need a unique experience for a special occasion? The alley behind the Tavern hosts a small speakeasy, with amazing food and cocktails. Simply called “The Bull” you can find it via the small metal sign shaped like a bull.
The Kendall-Whittier Neighborhood- This is one of the most recently revitalized areas in Tulsa. If you are here during the week, I highly recommend Calavera’s Mexican Restaurant, and their one dollar street tacos on Wednesdays can’t be beat. Looking for a fun cocktail? Check out the Beehive Lounge, where many of the cocktails feature local honey. Need some homestyle comfort? Check out Maxxwells Restaurant, on 11th. Attached to the Campbell Hotel (a historic landmark on its own), Maxxwells has southern comfort favorites like meatloaf, and breakfast is served all day.
These are just some of the awesome spots around town. You can also check out Cherry Street, Brookside, the Living Arts District, and the area around the BOK center.
Circle Cinema– Located in historic Kendall-Whittier Square, Circle Cinema boasts hard to get, interesting films, as well as mainstream movies. The theater is listed on the national list of historic places, and its intimate setting makes it perfect for a unique date night.
Philbrook Museum– Donated to Tulsa in 1938, this beautiful 72 room mansion and adjoining grounds have been converted into a museum and gardens. Touting everything from a native fashion show to rotating national exhibitions, the Philbrook is the perfect way to pass a Saturday.
Gilcrease Museum–The Gilcrease Museum features one of the greatest collections of Native American Art in the US, and right now their focus is on the Modern Southwest. The Gilcrease has many events during the week, including after hour events. If you are looking for a beautiful and comprehensive collection of Native American art, this is definitely the place for you.
The Dust Bowl-Located in the center of the Blue Dome District, this 8 lane bowling alley features a full bar, VIP area, and is modeled in 1970s chic.
The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum: Want to learn more about Tulsa’s history (and see some amazing vintage photographs of our beloved city)? This is the place for you.
This is just a short collection of things to do around Tulsa, there is so much more. Make sure when you are in town to check out what current festivals, fairs, and events are going on. We can’t wait to see you!