Oklahomans might scoff at the idea of Tulsa being called “underrated,” but to East/Left Coasters whose idea of the Sooner State is limited to Kevin Durant and famous musicals, Tulsa is indeed one of those hidden cities that’ll blow you away and defy your expectations.
Rich in oil money and art-deco architecture, Oklahoma’s cosmopolitan second city has always been the state’s artsy kid, home to both the Philbrook and the Gilcrease -- two of country’s top museums -- and its own ballet, opera, and symphony. But now, in the midst of a massive Downtown renaissance that’s left it flush with new stadiums/arenas, condos, and revitalized neighborhoods, it’s gotten even hipper with the rebirth of the Brady Arts District and addition of Guthrie Green, a highly acclaimed urban garden and performance space.
Tulsa is home to two universities (the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts), and plenty of fun, eclectic districts like Brookside and Blue Dome and Cherry Street that are filled with creatives, young people, and all the requisite funky/upscale/hipster shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Also, green space: Tulsa’s riddled with parks and running/bike trails and is currently adding a 100-acre waterfront park on the Arkansas River named The Gathering Place.
And finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the city’s highly underrated craft beer scene with brewers like Prairie Artisan Ales, Dead Armadillo, and Marshall, bars such as McNellie’s Public House, and a renowned Oktoberfest that consistently finds itself on the list of world’s best.
Must do: Stay at the Campbell Hotel, one of the best boutique hotels in the country, grab a slice at Andolini’s Pizzeria, try the barrel-aged Pirate Bomb imperial stout at Prairie Artisan Ales, and spend an afternoon touring the Philbrook. Also, stop at ANY QuikTrip you come across. Yes, this born-in-Tulsa convenience store chain is a beverage destination unto itself. Trust us. -- Dave Baldwin, Thrillist contributor
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