-by Angelica Wedell–
Traveling for local government conferences can take you to all sorts of interesting places, like Tulsa, OK. NRC Director of Research Sonya Wytinck and I have seen many cities all over the U.S., but neither of us had been to Tulsa before. So we didn’t quite know what to expect when we embarked from the Rocky Mountains and headed towards the Ozarks for the Alliance for Innovation (AFI) 2017 Transforming Local Government conference.
We learned that Tulsa has a long-standing history dating back to the 1800s, and was once called the “Oil Capital of the World.” Walking from one end of downtown to the other, we noticed beautiful historic architecture, wide streets and aesthetic public art. Our taxi driver did not lie when he said, “We sure eat good here.” Every restaurant we tried was delicious. Exploring Tulsa gave us a splash of fun and culture in the heart of Oklahoma. So here are the top ten things we did there, that you should do to!
1. Find Five Awesome Facts.
A colorful wall in the Cox Business Center shares some fun facts you might not know about Tulsa. We might have to come back for Oktoberfest!
2. Check Out the Art Scene.
Tulsa is home to a myriad of art galleries and museums. These feature everything from local painters to jazz and history.
3. Take a City Hall Selfie.
4. Visit the Woody Guthrie Center.
See and hear the pictures, instruments and folksy tunes of Woody Guthrie at this small but punchy museum. You will learn how his travels and strong messages shaped American music as we know it today, and realize what “this land is your land, this land is my land,” really means.
5. Indulge in a Donut.
Our excuse for diving into Hurts Donut Co.’s delectable rack of fried dough was AFI West Regional Director Nijah Fudge’s birthday. But any local donut shop with lines out the door and raved about by locals deserves a visit.
6. Shop the Cutest Cupcake Boutique Ever.
Where can you find mountains of candy, towers of cupcakes, cute dresses and pink lions? Pinkitzel, that’s where.
7. Rock Out at Cain’s Ballroom.
Cain’s Ballroom was famous in the 1920s for its Western Swing performances. Today it’s still a hot-spot for concerts of all genres, like this Desiigner rap show.
8. Tulsa Time! See the Civic Center.
You’ll find the public library, post office and courthouses in the Civic Center. A major bus station is located right across the street, making these community staples very convenient to frequent.
9. Enjoy Live Music.
Tulsa is home to talented musicians, like the funky FuZed band. Many restaurants bring in performers on weekends and even museum events celebrate live music and local its roots.
10. Explore Downtown Tulsa.
Tulsa’s downtown is a perfect place to get your steps in. You could walk from one end of it to the other in about a half hour, and pass by the lit-up fountain, sculptures, restaurants and historic buildings all along the way. View the full Facebook Album of our time in Tulsa.
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