As the second largest city in Oklahoma, Tulsa attracts its fair share of business travellers, but luckily for them, the city manages to combine vibrant metropolitan perks – from world-class art to top notch dining – with a hearty helping of hospitality. With that in mind, take a look at our guide to the top spots to visit when you’re next on business in Tulsa.
Where to stay: Nothing quite says effortless like stepping off the plane and straight into a Cadillac Escalade that’s waiting to whisk you away to the elegant environs of the Ambassador Hotel. If you’re lucky enough to receive such treatment on your business trip, you’ll find everything you could possibly need here, from the fully fitted business centre to a European café-style restaurant and in-room aromatherapy massages – perfect for beating jetlag. A state of the art business centre is also one of the perks at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Centre. Just 15 minutes from the airport, this hotel is particularly popular with guests travelling on business in Tulsa.
For a walk on the wilder side of business travel, the chic and stylish Mayo Hotel is the place to go. Dating back to 1925, and with a star-studded guest list replete with names like President John F. Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin, this Tulsa institution is a great place to rest your head during your stay.
Where to eat: Business travel can be gruelling so, to keep your strength up, a steak dinner seems like a sensible idea. And a steak from PRHYME in the Brady District downtown is not just sensible – it’s downright mandatory.
For those who prefer fish and seafood to more carnivorous choices, in the raw should tick all the right boxes. Found in two locations in Tulsa (the one in Woodland Hills has fantastic views of the city), the award-winning sushi and sashimi here guarantee a second visit.
And for fine dining, it would be a crime to take your clients anywhere other than The French Hen. This stylish bistro offers up a well-stocked wine cellar and an array of flavourful French and American dishes. The restaurant also offers a private dining service perfect for corporate events.
Where to go for evening cocktails: With so many great cocktail bars in Tulsa, the desire to bond with business counterparts over drinks, or just unwind at the end of the day, is easily accommodated. Try the signature bacon-infused Old Fashioned at The Tavern for a touch of old-school sophistication (they also have a great selection of craft whiskeys) or listen to jazz on vinyl and drink artisanal cocktails at Hodges Bend, which offers a low-key speakeasy vibe.
Downtown in the Brady District, neighbourhood bar Valkyrie serves up creative cocktails and a great selection of beer, with an admirable emphasis on American craft brewers. And if beer is what you crave, head over to the German-inspired beer hall, Fassler Hall for a pint and a portion of duck fat fries.
Top sights: Just because you’re doing business in Tulsa doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of seeing the sights. Carve some time out of your schedule to see the cultural hotspots, like the world-class Gilcrease Museum, devoted to American history, or the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Travellers with a love of all things aerial should poke around the vintage aircrafts and exhibits at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.
For art lovers, a visit to the beautiful Philbrook Museum of Art is definitely in order. Explore its extensive collection, which includes everything from Egyptian statuary to paintings from the French Impressionists, and spend some time in the peaceful landscaped gardens. For contemporary art, the Museum’s satellite, Philbrook Downtown, can be found in a converted warehouse in the Brady Arts District (especially popular for its First Friday Art Crawl).
Great gifts: If you’re in a rush to get gifts for the folks at home and don’t fancy dashing around town, you’ll find everything you might wish for at the open-air shopping centre, Utica Square. Alternatively, head over to charming local gift shop Dwelling Spaces for quirky presents (the Bigfoot Cuddle Monster is sure to be a hit with the kids). And for something a bit different, a bag of artisanal, locally roasted coffee from Topeca Coffee (they have a location right next to the Mayo Hotel, for added convenience) is sure to go down well.
Going local: When on business in Tulsa, do as the Tulsans do. That means: catching a show at the famed Brady Theater, watching a gig at Cain’s Ballroom (expect everything from country and indie rock to funk), or catching an art house flick at the independent non-profit, Circle Cinema. If you have a spare afternoon, take a hiking trip to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area – just seven miles from downtown – for spectacular views of the Arkansas River.
Where to break curfew: Great for cultured wanderings during the day, the Brady Arts District is a fantastic spot to enjoy the city’s nightlife while you’re on business in Tulsa. Indulge in a cigar from the walk-in humidor at Classic Cigars & Lounge; dance the night away at Club Majestic; or drink wine and listen to live music at Zin Wine Bar.
For more of a retro night out, step into some bowling shoes at the eight-lane 70s-inspired Dust Bowl: bowl a few frames, have a few drinks and before you know it, early morning will have rolled around (it stays open until 2am most nights).
Header image: Tulsa skyline © krasnal/iStock/Thinkstock
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Have you been on business in Tulsa? Where do you like to visit when you’re in town? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Written by Giverny Tattersfield