Introduction Once known as the Oil Capital of the World, Tulsa has the strikes of the early 1900s to thank for much of what stands there today. The boom period that followed brought paved roads, railroad links and ornate Art Deco towers, and things just kept growing from there.
Oil baron Waite Phillips obviously had something other than “less is more” in mind when he built the opulent 72-room Villa Philbrook in the late 1920s. But only 11 years after this Italian Renaissance-style mansion was completed, he donated it to the city, and it has been the Philbrook Museum of Art ever since. In 1949 Tulsa oilman Thomas Gilcrease opened the Gilcrease Museum, a more modest building on the outside, perhaps, but with an equally impressive collection on the inside. You can find one of the most extensive collections of art of the American West here, including 18 of Frederic Remington’s 22 bronze sculptures.
If you’re looking for an outstanding example of the city’s Art Deco architecture, see the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. The church, built in 1929, is a prominent Tulsa landmark by virtue of its soaring central tower, which looks more like a Manhattan skyscraper than a church spire in the American heartland. Another Art Deco landmark is the blue dome of a former 1920s gas station on Route 66. It now serves as the beacon for the Blue Dome District, the heart of Tulsa nightlife.
Tulsa Metro Chamber/not available
Providing a pleasing contrast to the urban landscape and earning the city the nickname “Green Country,” a multitude of parks and gardens decorate the area. Take a stroll on the trail system along the banks of the Arkansas River, or visit the River Parks for some of the city’s biggest annual events.
By CarSeveral major highways lead to and from Tulsa. One of the most important is I-44, which approaches the city from the northeast as the Will Rogers Turnpike and from the southwest as the Turner Turnpike. Although I-44 bypasses the downtown area, the city's center is accessible from I-44 by way of numerous interchanges. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Expressway (I-244/US 412) is a major access route from I-44 to the heart of Tulsa.
US 75 leads into downtown Tulsa from both the north and the south; the southern segment is known as the Okmulgee Expressway, which becomes the Indian Nation Turnpike farther south.
US 64/412 approaches the city from the west as the Cimarron Turnpike, but becomes the Keystone Expressway before entering the city limits. The Muskogee Turnpike is a major access highway from the southeast. Converging with SR 51, it enters Tulsa as the Broken Arrow Expressway.
East of the city, the Mingo Valley Expressway (US 169) approaches from the north; it is connected to downtown via I-244. Historic Route 66, which at one time carried traffic from Chicago to Southern California, passes through downtown as 11th Street.
Street SystemThe east-west dividing line is Main Street, while Admiral Boulevard is the city's north-south bisector. Numbered streets run east and west beginning 1 block south of Admiral, unless otherwise designated. A right turn on red is permitted after a complete stop, unless otherwise posted.
ParkingAmple parking is available downtown. There are many commercial garages and lots, and most hotels provide free parking for guests. Rates in the commercial garages range $2-$5 for the first hour or $4-$10 per day.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The Tulsa area has a sales tax of 8.52 percent, a lodging tax of 13.52 percent and a rental car tax of 14.51 percent.
Time and Temperature
Hillcrest Hospital South, (918) 294-4000; Hillcrest Medical Center, (918) 579-1000; OSU Medical Center, (918) 599-1000; Saint Francis Hospital, (918) 494-2200; St. John Medical Center, (918) 744-2345.
1 W. 3rd St., Suite 100 Tulsa, OK 74103. Phone:(918)585-1201 or (800)558-3311
With service to most major cities in the United States,
Hertz, 7727 E. Young Pl., offers discounts to AAA members; phone (918) 838-1015 or (800) 654-3080.
Greyhound Lines Inc. and Jefferson Lines are the major bus lines serving the city. Both operate out of the terminal at 317 S. Detroit Ave.; phone (918) 584-4428 for schedule information.
The major cab company is Yellow Checker Cab, (918) 582-6161. Taxis are metered and charge $1.50-$2 plus $1.90 for each mile. There is a $1 charge for each additional passenger.
Tulsa Transit operates buses throughout the metropolitan area and includes stops at attractions and shopping centers. The main terminal is at 319 S. Denver Ave. at W. 3rd St.; phone (918) 582-2100 for schedules and information.