My Top 21 Things To Do In Tulsa
Happy 121st Birthday, Tulsa! I haven’t been around for most of those years, but I am so glad I ended up moving here for college in 2004. You truly feel like home now, and—not that I never think about moving to the UK—I am happy to be living and raising my family here.
In honor of this occasion, I thought it would be fun to make a blog post of 21 things I love to do in Tulsa. Keep in mind that, due to limited time and resources, I don’t necessarily do all of these all the time—but looking back on my years in T-Town and dreaming of a day completely unfettered, here’s what comes to mind:
- Hang out at Doubleshot Coffee Company—It’s been years since I hung out at Doubleshot regularly. As responsible adults with coffee addictions, my husband and I have figured out that the cheapest way to fuel our caffeine habit (without sacrificing quality) is by roasting our own coffee. But I started hanging out at Doubleshot during college and having this hub was probably one of the key components in making Tulsa feel like home. And, on the rare occasion that I have a couple hours to kill by myself, it’s at the top of my list of things to do.
- Picnic at Woodward Park—I know Gathering Place is getting all the buzz these days, but back in the day, my favorite thing to do was stop by Oak Tree Books (I miss you, Oak Tree!), grab a $2 Agatha Christie novel and head to Woodward. Thanks to the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, ample room to roam (and the fact that I don’t walk around in constant fear of losing sight of Joss), it’s probably still my favorite Tulsa park.
- Storytime Under the Stars—Speaking of Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, their Storytime Under the Stars should be on this list, especially the Fall event. See my blog post about this here.
- Ride the River Trails—This is the thing I probably miss the most now that I’m a mom of a young child who can’t be left alone. Before Joss came along, I was a frequent River Trails cyclist—and for a season, cyclocross competitor. I keep waiting for the day I figure out how to re-integrate cycling into my schedule. It will probably look something like keeping a bike in the office and skipping lunch, ha. One thing I don’t miss about this is fearing for my life when riding past the Frisbee golf course J
- Watch the Tulsa Tough—Again, this is something that’s gotten a lot more challenging since having Joss. Each year, I think, “Somebody PLEASE remind me to get a babysitter for Tulsa Tough next year,” but then the next year rolls around and I think, “Maybe it’ll be easier this year, I don’t think I need a sitter.” Ha! I do, because it is just so hot in June, and it’s none to relaxing worrying about your child somehow cutting loose and bursting through the barrier into a pack of cyclists going 35+ miles per hour! But I still consider it my favorite weekend in Tulsa and look forward to it every year. (On which note, someone PLEASE remind me in early June how much more enjoyable Tulsa Tough would be if I would just get a babysitter!!)
- Get ice cream at Rose Rock Microcreamery—I always love trying the newest, weirdest flavors, and Rose Rock always has something intriguing! This is something I enjoy doing with Joss, even if I’m always shocked at how his ice cream tooth (is that a thing?) is usually satisfied after a couple bites. Plus, after you’ve consumed your ice cream, you can wander around the other Boxyard shops, which is always fun.
- Wander around Utica Square—Even if I don’t buy anything, I love a good browse through Utica Square—especially around Christmas! Highlights for me include the sale room at Anthropologie, swinging through Williams-Sonoma hoping for a sample and The Snow Goose; highlight for Joss is cooking pasta in the display kitchen at Pottery Barn Kids.
- Staycation at The Tulsa Arts District—I’ve only done this one time (5th Anniversary!), but I’d do it again in a heartbeat! When my mom and stepdad offered to watch Joss overnight so we could get away, we decided the best place to stay would be the Fairfield in the Tulsa Arts District because everything we wanted to do was in walking distance! From dinner at Sisserou’s, to a drink at Valkyrie to brunch at Antoinette (ok, we also wanted to grab drinks at Soundpony and Inner Circle Vodka Bar, but it turns out I am old and like to go to bed by 10:30…) to morning chocolates at Glacier…and this was even before Magic City and all those other new Archer shops opened, so I can’t wait for the next time!
- Shop at Decopolis—If you haven’t been to Decopolis in downtown Tulsa yet, don’t wait! They have an amazing children’s book section, complete with puppet theater, geeky goodness like Harry Potter props, a giant dinosaur skeleton and more! Always makes me happy to spend some time here.
- Dress up for a Comic Con—I’ve been a regular Tokyo in Tulsa attendee for some years now, but I am most excited for the return of Tulsa Pop Culture Expo this year! We had so much fun (although hopefully Joss will be feeling better this time around)—and I just want to put it out there that if Tom Ellis from “Miranda” (and more relevantly, “Lucifer”) is a celebrity guest, I would pay so much money to get his autograph on my “Miranda” script book…
- Get crafty at Philbrook 2nd Saturday—This is one of my top favorite things to do with Joss, although I keep meaning to try out one of their regular Studio Saturdays now that we are members, in hopes that maybe parking will be just a wee bit easier. But before getting our membership, 2nd Saturdays were the best way to enjoy Philbrook for free, and we always enjoy strolling through the gardens, hugging the great dane statues, looking for selfie stations and spending some time in the gift shop.
- Read a book in Tulsa Botanic Garden’s tree fort—I have the cutest video of Joss reading “The Grouchy Ladybug” in one of TBG’s carved wooden thrones. Of course, another favorite activity at the garden is entering the Spring Giant’s mouth and playing music on the nearby chimes.
- Pie Night at Antoinette Baking Co.—I don’t go to this often because we usually have an abundance of treats at home, but I’m sure glad that Antoinette’s weekly Friday and Saturday pie nights exist.
- Get and spend store credit at Gardner’s—Now that my beloved Oak Tree Books is no more, I am ever grateful that Gardner’s is around whenever I have a pile of books that I’d like to trade in for another pile of books. This store is so HUGE, I always find something to add to my too-read pile!
- Drink an Egg Cream (or other old-fashioned treat) at Ida Red Soda Fountain—To be brief, I’m just so glad there’s a soda fountain in town again!!
- Attend a Social Justice Story Hour with Joss—See my full blog post about Social Justice Story Hour here.
- Eat tikka masala at Desi Wok, preferably before heading to AMC Southroads to see a movie!
- Storytime for Grownups at Central Library—Look for an upcoming blog post about this! But basically, the second Friday of each month at 12:15 p.m., adults can enjoy a special storytime JUST FOR THEM at Central Library.
- Work out at Guthrie Green—I love that Guthrie Green offers free workout classes through the summer, and they’re really fun, too! Or at least, Defend Together was a blast last summer, that’s…the only one I’ve actually tried. Maybe I’ll branch out this year! In the meantime, I’m grateful for classes at my neighborhood YWCA! (And on that note, attend pretty much any event at Guthrie Green, especially their free movie nights!)
- Learn random things at Central Library–Thanks to the library, I’ve taken classes on screen printing, using their digital literacy lab and audio equipment, and even a class on Krav Maga. Events I’ve wanted to participate in but haven’t been able to because of babysitting needs include: Yoga, Improv and Ballroom Dancing. There’s always something new to learn!
- Hike or mountain bike at Turkey Mountain–OK, I feel like a complete poser for putting this on here since “I’ve been meaning to take Joss back to Turkey Mountain!” has come out of my mouth several times in the past couple of years, with no movement in that direction. I just forget, when it comes to weekend planning, that that should always be an option if the weather’s right! But I’m still really glad Turkey Mountain exists and perhaps someday, when Joss has a mountain bike of his own and Daniel has time to go with us, they can do their best to give me a heart attack while I walk my bike up the trail till I reach the flat and easy parts.
Well, that’s 21! If it’s not obvious, I really like books, bikes, coffee, food and staying close to Midtown. I feel like it would be very easy to come up with a list of 21 Things I Want to Do in Tulsa But Haven’t. What are some of your favorite things to do in Tulsa? If you’re looking for more ideas, check out the article I wrote for TulsaKids’ June 2018 issue, “30 Tulsa Traditions, Old and New.”