27 Things You Need To Know About Tulsa Before You Move ThereHere's a teaser: Exciting nightlife, world-class horses, and food that will make your mouth water just thinking about it. Read on for even more of what you should know about Tulsa.
1. Live Music Is Alive And Well In Tulsa
Source: Cain's Ballroom Facebook pageFirst stop-Cain's Ballroom, hands down the best live music venue in Tulsa for everything from country, to blues, to rock, to electronic. Another cool spot nearby is the Brady Theater, a former vaudeville house. This is the place to see some of the bigger-names in the music biz. And for the biggest of big names, check out the BOK Center.
2. The Tulsa Zoo Is Home To This Guy
Source: Tulsa Zoo Facebook pageI'm not sure who this little critter is, but I do know that he's from the Tulsa Zoo, and therefore this zoo is awesome. His home also happens to be one of the highest ranked things to do in Tulsa, one of the better zoos in the nation, and-well, just look at that face!
Source: Tulsa Oktoberfest Facebook PageIn October, Tulsa celebrates-well, drinking, it seems-with Oktoberfest. It's the best time of the year for bratwurst, the Chicken Dance, wiener dog races, German beer, music, German beer and oh yeah, more German beer. Prost!
4. A Great Place For Drag
Source: Tulsa Raceway Park Facebook pageRacing, that is. The Tulsa Raceway Park is nationally known as one of the best raceways for drag racing, because of the track's exceptional surface quality. What does that mean? I'm not sure-to me, asphalt is asphalt. But the drag racers sure seem to like it.
5. Brookside Is The Place To Be
Source: Fuji Sushi Bar Facebook pageThis trendy little neighborhood is not only home to Tulsa residents, but also to some of the city's best restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Just a few of the awesome spots here: Fuji, R. Bar & Grill, Levels nightclub and of course, Sharky's Entertainment Emporium and Billiards.
6. A Rivalry To End All Rivalries
Source: Union Redskins Football Facebook pageNo, I'm not talking about the Bloods and the Crips-I'm talking about Jenks and Union. The high schools, that is. This has been one of the biggest high school football rivalries in the nation year after year-there's even a documentary about it called "King of the Mountain." I haven't seen it, but I sincerely hope it ends with a "Westside Story"-style dance off.
7. In The Raw Is In. As In, It's Hip. Good. It's Just Awesome.
Source: In the Raw Facebook pageAdding more cool points for the Brookside neighborhood is In the Raw Sushi, an award-winning sushi restaurant with an ultra-cool ambiance. Try the Nirvana Roll-it got its name for a reason.
8. Tulsa Is Healthy
Source: TulsaRunner Facebook pageWhile you may not see Tulsa on any "Healthiest Cities in the U.S." lists any time soon, compared to the rest of Oklahoma Tulsa looks pretty good. They have plenty of healthy markets like Whole Foods and various farmers markets throughout the city (Check out the one on Cherry Street). And there are multiple outfitters like Tulsa Runner and Sun & Ski that cater to residents who love to hit the city's running, walking and biking paths.
9. Cherry Street Is Just So Quaint
Source: The Coffee House on Cherry Street Facebook pageThis cute little district is just north of Midtown and is home to a number of cafes and boutiques. Start your day with the The Coffee House on Cherry Street, hit up Smoke for an early dinner of juicy steak or the catch of the day, and then check out Pinot's Palette afterward for wine and an evening of painting. Talk about a perfect day.
10. A Pony's Paradise
Source: Flickr user ThisIsChristiaanEvery year Tulsa hosts one of the largest horse shows in the world, the Arabian Horse Association's U.S. Nationals competition. Even if you don't happen to be a horse yourself, this event also features shopping, barn decorations, and a chance to meet and greet some of the world's most famous Arabian horses. I'm serious, there are actually famous Arabian horses.
11. Philbrook Museum Of Art Is A Work Of Art
Source: Philbrook Museum of Art Facebook PageNot only is the art inside this nationally ranked museum beautiful (African, European, contemporary and more), but the building itself (a former mansion) and the grounds are just as breathtaking. Do the audio tour. It's worth it.
Source: Flickr user Lachlan HardyThat's right, you can bring your own dog-almost anywhere in Tulsa. This dog-friendly city is home to plenty of restaurants and stores (like the Utica Square shopping square, for example) that welcome furry friends, as well as dog parks (Biscuit Acres at Hunter Park), and even Nuyaka Creek, a dog-friendly winery about an hour away. Fido could be your new best wine-sipping buddy-just don't let him drive home.
13. Keep It Local
Source: Dwelling Spaces Facebook pageDwelling Spaces is an indie boutique in the Blue Dome District that makes a business of supporting local artists and artisans. These guys sell art, T-shirts, jewelry, books and who knows what else-and you can even grab a coffee at Joebot's Coffee Bar.
14. Villa Ravenna Will Change Your Life
Source: Villa Ravenna Facebook PageThis Italian restaurant may not look like much from the outside, but think of Villa Ravenna like a delicious, perfectly wrapped, crunchy and cream-filled cannoli-it's what's on the inside that counts. And what's inside, in both cases, is deeeelicious.
15. Live It Up At The Blue Dome Entertainment District
Source: McNellie's Facebook PageThis is the spot for nightlife in downtown Tulsa, and named for the Blue Dome (an old 1920s Gulf Oil Gas Station) in its center. For you beer lovers out there, check out Arnie's Bar or McNellie's Public House. And for something a bit more posh, try Juniper Restaurant and Martini Lounge or El Guapo's Cantina for rooftop views of the entire city.
16. A Great Place for Parking
Source: River Parks Authority Facebook pageTulsa leaves an overall impression of being green, well-landscaped, clean and inviting. Park must-visits include River Parks, LaFortune Park, Mohawk Park, the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens and the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area (over 300 acres with trails for hiking or even horseback riding).
17. You're In The Bible Belt
Source: Flickr user ruthdaniel3444A stark contrast to the revelry of Oktoberfest, perhaps, is the sobering reality that in Tulsa, you're inside the nation's Bible Belt. In fact, when I asked a few friends for tidbits on Tulsa, this was a constant first response. Baptist churches, Life Churches, Methodist-oh my!
18. You're Also In The Path Of... SHARKNADOES!
Source: Flickr user OakleyOriginalsSorry, I just finally watched that movie. I mean you're in the path of. TORNADOES! Yes, aside from being smack dab in the heart of the Bible Country, Tulsa is smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley. So keep your eyes on the horizon, and watch out for Sharknadoes too-because hey, you never know.
19. Cheer Up, Have A Cookie
Source: Old School Bagel Café Facebook pageTulsa may be a land of occasionally lethal weather patterns, but it's also the home of Old School Bagel, where the cookies are so good, a friend of mine exclaimed that they'll "make love to your mouth"-in not so many words. With a review like that, you basically have to try it.
20. The Tulsa Tough Is. Seriously Tough
Source: Tulsa Tough Facebook pageThe Tulsa Tough got its name for a reason. It's an intense three-day, three-course bike race around the city. However, if you're not a masochist there is also a giant festival during the Tulsa Tough with rides, vendors, and activities for kids.
21. Gangster's Paradise
Source: Flickr user U.S. Marshals ServiceOkay, so this one isn't quite the same as a fun festival, but I'd be remiss not to mention Tulsa's gang problem after not one, not two, but three people mentioned it to me as a top thing to know about their fair city. On one hand, it isn't as bad as Oklahoma City. On the other, Oklahoma City is one of the worst cities for gang violence in the nation, so maybe that's not such a good thing.
22. Laffa Will Make Your Mouth Sing
Source: Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant and Bar Facebook pageIf you're looking for outstanding Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food, go to Laffa in the Brady Arts District. No, don't go to that other falafel spot that you've heard about and were thinking of trying. I'm telling you, go to Laffa. Your mouth will thank you for it.
23. Valkyrie For Serious Drinks
Source: Valkyrie Facebook pageI'm not kidding. I'm serious. Very serious. That's actually how they advertise their drinks on the website: "Valkyrie: Serious Drinks." Even despite the names like "Buffalo Sweat" and "Cockfight." So head to the Brady Arts District to drink at Valkyrie if you mean business.
24. Hodges Bend: Not So Serious Drinks
Source: Hodges Bend Facebook pageFor drinks with less of an edge, head to Hodges Bend downtown for coffee, pastries and even wine. And don't forget your dog-they're welcome here on the patio.
25. Take A Stroll On Campus
Source: Flickr user bburkyTulsa is home to two beautiful college campuses: The University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University. Even if you're not a student here, take a day to walk around on either campus for your fix of academia, cool architecture and greenery.
26. Forget About Your Diet
Source: Flickr user balise42Gluten free? Staying away from carbs? Vegan? These two places will make you forget about all that, at least for a day. Try Muhanna Sweets for the world's best baklava, and then for dessert hop over to the Stonehorse Café & Market for some legit French pastries.
27. A Great Place To Be A Kid
Source: Flickr user thefixerTulsa's probably not the first city that springs to mind when it comes to nightlife, the singles scene or urban life, but it IS a wonderful place to raise a family. The cost of living is 6 percent lower than the national average according to Forbes, and Tulsa also has some of Oklahoma's top-rated public schools, including BerryHill High School, Booker T. Washington High School, and Carnegie Elementary School. And to top it off there are tons of Tulsa family-friendly events year-round.