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Tulsa, it takes you in â€“ it is
a city that surprises visitors with a feeling that is Southern, Eastern and
Western all at once. Experience its cosmopolitan flavor, and be delighted in its
small-town friendliness. Big enough to have everything, but small enough to
make everyone feel right at home.
In Tulsa, visitors find everything from cowboys and classical ballet to art deco
and arena football, rodeos, religion and rolling hills. A visit to Tulsa is a
great opportunity to experience a delightful mix of rich culture, colorful
history, terrific shopping, and lively nightlife.
If art is of interest, explore some of Tulsaâ€™s nationally recognized museums
such as the Gilcrease, which contains one of the worldâ€™s largest and most
comprehensive collections of fine art, artifacts, and archives of the American
West. Or stroll through an Italian-style villa that was once home to a
millionaire oilman and is now the renowned Philbrook Museum, filled with Italian
renaissance art, ancient and classical pieces, and extensive Native American
When the sun goes down in Tulsa, the city lights up with virtually any activity
the visitor could image. Whether itâ€™s a night at the opera, or a visit to one or
more of the trendy bars of Brookside and the Brady District, thereâ€™s something
for everyone. Get lucky at bingo or the horse races, laugh it up at a comedy
club, cheer on a ball team, ride a roller coaster, feast at a four-star
restaurant, or get messy at a barbecue joint. The choices are endless, and
whatever the choice, the result is an experience to remember.
What gives Tulsa its distinctive flavor? Its distinctive mix of true southern
charm, eastern elegance, and western flair. The cityâ€™s unique history plays a
major role. Some of our native American ancestors, forced in the 1800s along a
â€śtrail of tearsâ€ť from the southeastern United States to what is now eastern
Oklahoma, brought Southern traditions along with their native culture. Visit
the Creek Council Oak Tree, Tulsaâ€™s birthplace, which still lives as a symbol of
the settlersâ€™ strong spirit. Under the tree, in 1836, the Lochapoka Creek
Indians kindled a ceremonial fire using live coals they had carried from their
Alabama homeland. It was there that they gathered to start a new life and to
establish Tulsee Town.
African-Americans also brought Southern culture when they came to Tulsa to start
new lives. Oklahoma was one of the first places in which they had a fair shot at
the American dream. Land runs and freedmen allotments offered blacks the
opportunity to quickly become land owners, farmers and businessmen. Tulsaâ€™s
Greenwood became known as the â€śBlack Wall Street,â€ť with shops bustling by day
and clubs wailing blues and jazz by night. In 1921, Greenwood was also the site
of one of the most infamous race riots in American history. Today, the Greenwood
Cultural Center, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Mabel B. Little Heritage
Center attest to the history of the district. Two major music festivals:
Juneteenth on Greenwood and the Greenwood Jazz Festival in August fill the
streets with food, people and soul.
Tulsaâ€™s Western style was born when early settlers discovered that the city sat
in some of the best cow country in the land. Many quickly became ranchers, and
some of their descendants today are still working cowboys who actually have a
reason to wear chaps and cowboy boots. Just north of Tulsa at the Tallgrass
Prairie Preserve, the buffalo still roam and visitors can look across the vast
land and imagine being back in the Wild, Wild West.
In the early 1900s, the discovery of oil, and the dreams of those who came in
search of it, fueled Tulsa. Many of the risk-takersâ€”with names like Rockefeller,
Skelly and Gettyâ€”came from places such as New York, Pennsylvania and
Connecticut. They brought Eastern elegance and a taste of culture and
refinement. Oil brought the wealth that turned Tulsa from a cow town to a
cosmopolitan city with luxurious homes, extravagant hotels, and an appreciation
for the arts.
Tulsa continues to grow and position itself as a â€śCity For the Futureâ€ť. Today,
T-Town stands for Technology Town. The rusting old pipelines Tulsa pioneers
built to take their black gold across the country now carry fiber-optic cable
and transport data to fuel the Information Age.
Tulsa takes great pride in keeping itself clean and beautiful. Visitors will be
impressed by its graceful, green, tree-lined neighborhoods. Itâ€™s fun to drive
through the historic areas and look at the vintage oil baronsâ€™ mansions and
dream of what it would be like to live there. It is the best time ever to visit
Tulsa! Enjoy the clean air and beautiful city on the River Parks Trail, or get
wild at the Tulsa Zoo. Hug a tree at the Oxley Nature Center or follow local
tradition and kiss your sweetheart on the bridge at Woodward Park.
Wherever visitors go in Tulsa, it is sure to be a pleasant experience and one
that wonâ€™t soon be forgotten. And, as the folks of Tulsa say, â€śWe do take
kindly to strangers here, and people donâ€™t stay strangers for very long.â€ť