Explore Tulsa

Tulsa may be a bustling metropolis of nearly 1 million residents, but we’re a small town at heart. Tulsa boasts some of the nation’s largest and most charitable nonprofit organizations, and Tulsans pride themselves on hospitality and generosity. After all, we still wave to passersby and open doors for strangers.

But don’t be fooled — Tulsa is a big city, too. And it’s one whose low cost of living and short commute times go hand-in-hand with a bustling nightlife, world-class museums, historic music venues, beautiful parks and great schools — all of which has fostered a quality of life that has garnered accolades from a host of national publications. It’s also a city whose unique history and diverse people have created a hotbed of creativity centered on eclectic urban districts where young minds and established professionals come together in coffee shops, galleries, art studios and music shops.

Historically a Native American settlement and a booming oil town, Tulsa was also home to America’s historic “Black Wall Street” and the birthplace of some of the nation’s most prominent artists and musicians. Our story is long and colorful, but it’s only just beginning. You won’t want to miss what’s in store.

Welcome to Tulsa. We’re glad you’re here.

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Living

Housing & Real Estate

You’ll enjoy living in a city where the average home costs 33.5 percent less than the national average and apartment rents are 32 percent below average. Explore where to live below, and then find available housing at tulsahousingsearch.org or tulsarealtors.com.

No. 1 city for getting the most bang for your buck with apartment rent
Apartment Guide, 2013
No. 3 city in national home value growth
Zillow.com, 2012

Neighborhoods

From downtown lofts to elegant historic bungalows and white picket fences in suburbia, Tulsa and its suburbs have something for everyone.

Tulsa Core

In Tulsa’s core, a surge of interest in urban living has spurred an array of downtown housing options in the region’s top business and nightlife districts, where workday crowds bustle between offices and coffee shops, and weekend crowds flood nearby art galleries, performing arts venues and bars. Midtown Tulsa is a collection of historic tree-lined neighborhoods with housing ranging from affordable bungalows to massive mansions — all centrally-located and with quick access to most areas of the city.

North Tulsa & Beyond

To the north, the striking houses of early-day oil barons and their employees sprinkle the hilltops in Tulsa’s quaint Brady Hills and Reservoir Hill neighborhoods, and the estates surrounding Greenwood District harken back to a golden age when the neighborhood was known as “Black Wall Street.” Farther north, the affluent suburban community of Owasso has become one of the state’s fastest-growing cities, with quality big-box retail and plenty of new housing. Just to Owasso’s east is Claremore, a city known for its storied history, museums and a top-quality four-year university. The beautiful, quirky city of Bartlesville anchors the northern extremities of the Tulsa region.

East Tulsa & Beyond

In East Tulsa are some of the city’s most ethnically-diverse neighborhoods, with Tulsa’s Hispanic core thriving in areas where 27 different languages are spoken. Farther east and south, Broken Arrow has become the state’s largest suburban city — marked by construction of new housing and apartments, a bustling downtown district and big-box retail developments. Farther east, Coweta is a wonderful community with reasonable housing.

“Broken Arrow: No. 69 best small city for families”
—Money Magazine, 2012

South Tulsa & Beyond

The south Tulsa housing market has been one of the region’s most active for years, fed by proximity to some of the region’s largest suburban shopping districts. South of Tulsa, Bixby continues to experience rapid growth, and Jenks, Glenpool and Sapulpa offer quaint suburban lifestyles and outlying areas perfect for country living.

West Tulsa & Beyond

West Tulsa is defined by rugged terrain, the historical Red Fork neighborhood and the massive Tulsa Hills shopping center. It’s also one of the region’s newest housing hotspots. Further west, suburban Sand Springs and Berryhill offer a range of new and historic housing for Tulsa commuters.

Top 10 best places to live in oklahoma: Bartlesville & Jenks
Movoto Real Estate, 2014

Healthcare

As the nation’s largest and fastest-growing industry, health care flourishes in the Tulsa region. Tulsans benefit from access to some of the nation’s leading health care facilities and major medical centers, with a strong network of more than 1,800 physicians, 400 dentists, comprehensive health maintenance organizations, 24-hour ground and air emergency medical transportation and enhanced 911 services.

Saint Francis Health System, St. John Health System, and Hillcrest Healthcare System meet a majority of the health care needs for the area. Branch campuses and specialty treatment centers serve as specialists for much of the nation, including Tulsa Spine & Specialty Hospital, Saint Francis Heart Hospital, Oklahoma Surgical Hospital, Oklahoma Heart Institute and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Tulsa hospital — one of the largest cancer treatment hospitals in the country.

In addition, Tulsa’s MyHealth Access Network is one of 17 Beacon Communities testing innovative approaches to making improvements in health, care and cost.

 

Transportation

It’s easy to see why Tulsa has the nation’s second-fastest commute for a big city, at 20 minutes on average. Built on a convenient grid system, Tulsa is easy-to-navigate major streets cross every mile. For those who would rather ditch their cars, Tulsa Transit bus service provides curb-to-curb transportation, and an array of taxi companies — plus ridesharing services Uber and Lyft — make getting around on the go a breeze. We don’t forget our cycling community, either. Tulsa has a 180-mile system of bike trails, and still hosts North America’s first bikesharing service.

“Bronze award for bicycle friendliness” — League of American Bicyclists, 2013

Nation's second-fastest commute time
U.S. Census

Cost of Living

The numbers don’t lie: Money goes further in Tulsa. Not only does this city have a cost of living 12 percent below the national average, but its per-capita income is an average 11.6 percent better than the national average. Check out some examples below, then see how you’ll stack up in Tulsa with our cost of living calculator.

NO. 1 MOST AFFORDABLE CITY IN THE U.S.
-Relocate America, 2010
NO. 1 MOST BUDGET-FRIENDLY METRO
-Apartment Guide, 2014

Cost of living calculator

Learning

Tulsa has something in common with Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colo., Madison, Wisc., and so many others: It’s a college town. In fact, nearly 50,000 college students call the area home. But Tulsa’s passion for education begins long before college. Oklahoma boasts a nationally-leading pre-K system, and many of Tulsa’s secondary schools are ranked among the nation’s best.

The National Institute of Early Childhood Research lists Oklahoma as a model for Pre-K programs

Primary & Secondary

More than 90,000 students attend 15 school districts in Tulsa County, with offerings ranging from large suburban districts like Jenks Public Schools — a Malcom Baldridge National Quality Award recipient — to historic urban sites like Edison and Booker T. Washington high schools, both noted on Newsweek Magazine’s list of the top 1,000 high schools in the U.S.

But in a state that is consistently cited as a national model for pre-K education, it’s no surprise that Tulsa specializes in early childhood education. It’s the only city in the nation with three Educare sites, and nearly all school districts offer pre-K programs with no income requirement. Moreover, CAP Tulsa, recognized by the National Office of Head Start as one of only 10 centers of excellence nationwide, has 13 sites throughout the Tulsa area.

Find the right district for your family with the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Guide to Education, browse the state Department of Education website or view reports by the ImpactTulsa area-wide education collaborative.

Oklahoma’s average ACT score ranks 11th nationally

Higher Education

With 67,540 college students enrolled in a 50-mile radius, Tulsa is a college town, through and through. In fact, the city recently placed fourth nationally in a contest to increase the number of college grads over three years. One big reason is Tulsa Achieves, a nationally-recognized program that offers free Tulsa Community College tuition to all Tulsa County high school graduates who finish with a 2.0 GPA. That’s right — high school grads get free college just for living in Tulsa.

The University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University — both recognized among the nation’s top universities — offer quality private education in the heart of the city. Also thriving are branch campuses of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, as well as an OSU medical teaching facility and regional residential universities like Rogers State University and Northeastern State University. Tulsa Tech offers some of the nation’s best technical training.

There are plenty more options to continue education in northeast Oklahoma. The Higher Ed Forum links local high schools to colleges through academic service learning projects, internships career exploration and experiential learning. Find schools, education resources and job placement information at FinishForGreaterTulsa.com. For information about financial aid, visit the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website. What about on-the-job learning? For internship opportunities, visit InternInTulsa.com.

Tulsa Achieves pays 100% of tuition and fees at Tulsa Community College for qualifying Tulsa County high school grads.

Leisure

Culture

Tulsa has been called a lot of things: Quirky, artsy, classy, friendly — even hipster. But above all else, it’s surprising. A cultural mecca in the heartland, Tulsa is an historic city with a modern vibe and a culturally-diverse population bringing ideas, festivals and energy from all around the world.

Founded by the Creek tribe and settled by cultural influences the world over, Tulsa is home to 27 different languages and thriving Native American, African American and Hispanic communities. It also happens to be the birthplace of Route 66. Explore Tulsa’s cultural offerings below or check out VisitTulsa.com for more.

Art

Tulsa was built on the principle that art can be found anywhere. Since the 1960s, 1 percent of every public project in Tulsa has gone to commission public art. In fact, it seems at times that the city itself is a work of art. Home to the third-largest concentration of art deco architecture in the U.S., Tulsa is riddled with oil boom-era architectural marvels of international caliber.

Artists and art enthusiasts need look no further than the Brady Arts District. This historic entertainment district oozes creativity, with a collection of art galleries surrounding an innovative urban park that won World Architecture News’ award for the best urban design in 2014. Each month, thousands of art enthusiasts descend on the neighborhood during the First Friday Art Crawl.

Of course, Tulsa also has its share of world-class museums. Built on an oil baron’s breathtaking estate, Philbrook Museum of Art exhibits more than 8,500 works of art and is listed as one of America’s top art museums. Gilcrease Museum is one of the country’s finest facilities for the preservation, study and appreciation of American art and history, and the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is the largest collection of Judaica in the southwest. Visit the VisitTulsa website for more Tulsa art museums.

Third-largest concentration of
art deco architecture in the U.S.

Music

Tulsa has been named one of the nation’s top cities for live music, and it’s no wonder. This city’s obsession with music began decades ago, spurring the rise of the Western Swing genre in the 1930s, the “Tulsa Sound” genre in the 1950s and countless Tulsa-raised musicians from Hanson to Wayman Tisdale and the GAP Band.

Today, Tulsa is home to one of the most thriving local music scenes in the nation. It’s a haven for fresh styles and up-and-coming artists who get their big breaks playing for some of the city’s many trendy bars, often tucked away in renovated warehouses in the city’s urban core.

Two famous venues, Brady Theater and Cain’s Ballroom, are historic concert halls that continue to host some of the nation’s greatest musicians. And when the world’s most renowned performers come to the heartland, they come to the BOK Center, a majestic 18,000 plus-seat arena in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Meanwhile, the city is a hotspot for music festivals. The Center of the Universe Festival, which drew 80,000 spectators in its first year, Tulsa Mayfest and the Claremore Bluegrass & Chili Festival are just a few of the musical festivities that entertain Tulsans throughout the year.

Top 10 city for live music.

Attractions

From the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Tulsa Zoo — once named America’s Favorite Zoo — to museumsshopping districts, casino resorts, professional sports like the WNBA, world-class ballet and opera and plenty more, there’s more to do in Tulsa than you can handle in one visit. Get the full scope of Tulsa attractions with Visit Tulsa’s list of things to do in Tulsa.

No. 8 family spring break destination
livability.com, 2013

Parks & Recreation

No matter where you stay in Tulsa, there’s bound to be a park nearby. The City of Tulsa Parks Department oversees 8,200 acres of park land and 140 parks, and Tulsa’s 180-mile system of bike and pedestrian trails is unrivaled in the region.

A centerpiece of the Tulsa park system is RiverParks, which lines the Arkansas River through the heart of the city, offering more than 25 miles of asphalt-surfaced bike and pedestrian trails, several recreation areas, scenic overlooks, a disc golf course and excellent fishing. Also along the river is the Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area, which offers stunning views of the skyline, along with 300 acres of heavily-wooded crests and valleys connected by a maze of dirt trails.

Other notable parks include downtown’s Guthrie Green, a centerpiece of the Brady Arts District, and the nearby John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, a memorial to the Tulsa Race Riot and a monument to the role of African Americans in building Oklahoma. In nearby Bartlesville, Woolaroc is a cultural monument to the Wild West.

What’s to come is even more exciting. Now under construction, A Gathering Place for Tulsa is due to become the new iconic park of the region — a $300 million, 55-acre river destination with one of the world’s best children’s playgrounds and stunning landscape crafted by one of the nation’s leading landscape architects.

Food & Drink

From classic American faire to innovative fusions and ethnic traditions, Tulsa has the dining to satisfy any palate. Sure, we have chains. But Tulsa’s restaurant scene is true to the city’s grassroots spirit — which means local is king. Neighborhoods like downtown Tulsa, Brookside, Cherry Street and the Pearl District are riddled with locally-owned eateries and bars.

Meanwhile, the diverse cultures that have settled in Tulsa from all over the world have given the city an assortment of authentic ethnic food, from Thai and Vietnamese to Mexican and Italian. Learn more about Tulsa’s smorgasbord with VisitTulsa’s handy restaurant listing.

Festivals & Events

Festivals in Tulsa are as diverse and colorful as the countless cultures that have settled in this city throughout its history — and they give Tulsans a reason to celebrate nearly every weekend.

Tulsa hosts one of the largest and most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations in North America and a popular Germanfest. Other culturally-driven festivals include the Indian Art Festival, Tulsa Greek Festival, Scotfest, the Festival Hispano, a Cinco de Mayo Festival operated by the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Dia de Los Muertos arts festival, Shalomfest, Junefest and Cherokee Art Market.

And that’s not all. From art and music festivals to the nation’s largest two-day celebration of steak and a state fair that attracts 1 million visitors every fall, there’s a festival for everyone. Find more festivals at VisitTulsa’s festival listings.