Anyone who categorizes Tulsa as just another city in Oklahoma has obviously not been there, because it happens to be one of the most artistically centered cities in the United States. Downtown is full of art deco-styled buildings built in the early 20th century by oil barons who made their fortune through oil rich fields. The neighboring Blue Dome District is made up of eight buildings, including one that was a gas station in the 1920s, and boasts a vibrant street art scene. Midtown Tulsa, near the world-class Philbrook Museum of Art, is full of streets lined with custom-designed houses.
Tulsa today caters to art and culture lovers, just as it did some 80 years back. This article serves as a mini guide for any art lover planning a trip to Tulsa.
Stay at a Boutique Hotel Featuring Local Designers
The artistic roots at The Campbell Hotel run deep because of the 26 local artists who were commissioned to design each room at the hotel. In addition to adding their personal touches, the designers also took into consideration the history of the building and the area around it. One of the rooms, The Golden Hurricane Room, pays homage to the colors of the University of Tulsa, while the Casa Loma Room is a tribute to the once-historic hotel that The Campbell Hotel now occupies.
Explore the Blue Dome District
The Blue Dome District is Tulsa’s hippest area with unique shops, an emerging street art scene, and pulsating nightlife. Dwelling Spaces is one of the most popular stores in the area, featuring unique souvenirs and gifts created by local artists.
Experience Live Music at the Brady Theater
Brady Theater, Tulsa’s legendary musical venue, has hosted some of the biggest names in music from Tony Bennett to U2. In addition to the great acoustics and history of the theater, it is also one of Tulsa’s architectural gems. Remodeled in 1930, the famous architect Bruce Goff transformed it from a banal structure to a decorated performance center worthy of the big names that eventually came to perform there.
Socialize at Andolini’s Pizza and Wine Bar
Meet some friends or make new ones at Andolini’s Pizza and Wine Bar. The family-owned restaurant had its start a generation ago when the family was still living in Manhattan. It serves authentic Italian-style pizza and has a pretty good selection of draught beer, wines, and cocktails. The restaurant has a loft-style interior decorated with vintage images of the family, stylishly carved wood accents, and contemporary designed ceilings. The ambiance is casual but chic.
Admire the Gardens at the Philbrook
The gardens at the Philbrook Museum of Art are some of the most beautiful green patches in all of Tulsa. Well-manicured using European-style designs, the gardens provide visitors with many tranquil spots to unwind.
For more information on art and artists in Tulsa, visit the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and look into the Tulsa Art Studio Tour. For general information about Tulsa, including other points of interest, hotels, and budget tips, check out my weekend travel guide on Tulsa.