Photograph by Christian Heeb, AWL Images / Getty images

 

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Patrons sit outside an ice-cream parlor along Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

Photograph by Christian Heeb, AWL Images / Getty images

 

Everything to Know About Tulsa

Here's how to plan the best possible trip to this city in America's heartland.

An easygoing, midsize city set in the green hills of eastern Oklahoma, Tulsa is part southern charm, part midwestern practicality, and part western swing.

When to Go

Tulsa enjoys a relatively mild climate year-round, but the best times to go are in the spring, when the red buds are in bloom, and the fall, when the city’s many trees are speckled in the colors of autumn.

Celebrate

Tulsa’s biggest annual event is Mayfest, a music, food, and arts festival that takes over downtown every year, but the city has many other events year-round, too. Hop Jam, a new beer and music festival founded by Tulsa natives the Hanson brothers (yep, that Hanson), has quickly become a local favorite. For a more offbeat experience, there’s the grassroots music and arts festival Easter Island, or the three-day cycling festival Tulsa Tough, which draws hundreds of professional cyclists from around the world and culminates with the now legendary Cry Baby Hill.

What to Eat

As a city in the heart of cattle country, Tulsa is known for its steak houses, barbecue joints, and especially its hamburgers made Oklahoma-style, with the onions fried into the patty. But you probably shouldn’t leave town without snacking on a coney, too.

Souvenir to Take Home

Downtown Tulsa boasts several shops selling products by local artists and artisans, and the city is a major hub for work by Native American artists from around the country.

Sustainable Travel Tip

Tulsa (and the surrounding area) is home to a large and diverse Native American population. The many different tribes represented in eastern Oklahoma have rich histories and living traditions that are fascinating to learn about and honor—just be sure to do so respectfully.

Instagram-Worthy View

At the top of what Tulsans call Reservoir Hill on the north side of town is a big open space that overlooks the entire city. Pro tip: Near the top of the hill there’s also a peculiar giant arrow drawn with white rocks in the ground that once pointed airplane pilots to the old airport.