The New York Times recently published its annual go-to travel list, and Tulsa landed one of its coveted spots. Surprised? Don’t be because in addition to its striking art deco architecture and excellent cultural scene, the city is also an urban oasis, thanks to the many parks and recreational areas within the city. Its location at the foothills of the Ozarks makes Tulsa, Oklahoma’s greenest city and a preferred travel destination by many outdoor enthusiasts. Here are a few of the city’s best outdoor attractions.
A Lively Square
Guthrie Green is Tulsa’s urban sanctuary. This small, but lively square in the Brady Arts District is only one block in size but welcomes food trucks, fitness events, and educational programs. It even hosts a Sunday market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. It also has a performance stage that features live music and other entertainment shows year-round. A popular place for families and friends to meet and relax, Guthrie Green also makes for a great starting point for exploring Tulsa’s art and historic districts.
The Greenery by the Arkansas
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness is the largest of these green areas next to the Arkansas River. The area is popular for hikers, cyclists, and bird watchers. Its higher elevation makes it a great place to view the skyline of downtown Tulsa. The park has four major trails named after colors. They vary in length and can take up to three hours to hike.
The River Park Authority has two major trails that trace the flow of the Arkansas River. River Parks East is the longer of the two. It stretches 15 miles from 11th Street downtown to South 101st Street. Some of the attractions you’ll see along the way include River Spirit Casino, Helmerich Park, and 41st Street Plaza. At 96th Street, pedestrians can cross the river to visit the waterfront attractions on the west side like the Oklahoma Aquarium and Main Street shops.
On the other side of the river is the River Parks West trail. It also begins on 11th Street and runs to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness on South 71st Street. It’s 4.5 miles shorter, and it is relatively uneventful compared to the east trail. The west trail’s notable attractions include Oklahoma State University, the River West Festival Park, and Turkey Mountain.
If you visit during one of Tulsa’s regional festivals, you’ll more than likely end up at River West Festival Park. The park sits just north of West 21st Street and plays host to the city’s major celebrations, including Oktobertfest, Freedomfest, and Scotsfest.
Herbs, Rocks, and Blooms
If you fancy a more relaxed atmosphere outdoors, head over to Woodward Park, the 45-acre sanctuary that is home to the city’s arboretum and botanical garden. The park includes a Victorian-designed conservatory and the original mansion that showcases historical images of the park’s controversial past. When you’re there, stop by the Anne Hathaway Herb Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden. Entrance to the park is free.