The Absolutely Free Guide to Tulsa
BY MADELINE ROPER, MATT CARNEY & ROOT STAFF
400 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103
In 2016, the Central Library reopened following an award-winning $55 million renovation. The sprawling space holds three stories of books, computer labs, a garden and more. Located at the intersection of 5th St. and Denver Ave., this branch of the Tulsa City-County Library keeps downtown stocked with free resources.
Youth programs include summer reading and after-school homework help. Adult educational opportunities range from coding classes to book clubs and more. You’ll find a full list of library events on their website. Whether you crack open a good book or try your hand at web design, the Central Library has something for everyone. —Madeline Roper
Tulsa Arts District; 1 E. Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74103
On the first Friday of every month, thousands of Tulsans gather in the Arts District to enjoy performances, browse galleries and museums and mingle with local artists for the First Friday Art Crawl. At First Friday, expect to enjoy free concerts at Guthrie Green and free or reduced admission to Living Arts, 108 Contemporary, AHHA and more. You will also find street vendors and performers showcasing their art.
Perfect for a date night or a night out with the family, First Friday showcases Tulsa’s creative spirit and thriving arts community. —Madeline Roper
511 S. Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tucked into the lobby of the Philcade tower, the Decopolis Tulsa Art Deco Museum displays Tulsa’s iconic art deco style.
The Philcade lobby alone is a breathtaking example of classic bronze and marble panels and ornate chandeliers. The exhibits include art deco art, furniture and clothing. The pieces, donated by local collectors, depict the era of the oil boom when Tulsa grew into the city it is today. The Philcade tower and the Tulsa Art Deco Museum capture a snapshot of the culture and art early Tulsans enjoyed in the Roaring ‘20s. —Madeline Roper
2650 S John Williams Way, Tulsa, OK 74114
Named America’s no. 1 Best New Attraction in a 2018 USA Today poll the year that it opened, the Gathering Place brings a sprawling green space to midtown Tulsa. From boat rides to playgrounds to sports courts to trails, the Gathering Place is an inclusive space for every Tulsan to learn, play and appreciate nature.
Children’s events include story time at the Reading Tree, music classes in the ONEOK Boathouse and environmental education programs. The park also hosts seasonal classes and guided riverfront nature walks. Whether you attend an event or explore the park on your own, the Gathering Place offers endless beauty and edifying entertainments for the whole family. —Madeline Roper
321 N. Detroit Ave, Tulsa, OK 74120
Located in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, Reconciliation Park honors the African Americans who helped build Oklahoma and memorializes those killed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
At the center of the park, you’ll find the Tower of Reconciliation. The tower depicts the history of black people in Oklahoma from the forced slave migration to the prosperity of Greenwood to the 1921 massacre and its aftermath. The park offers guided tours on the history of Black Wall Street and the massacre on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m, and Saturdays beginning at 10:00 a.m. —Madeline Roper
2727 S. Rockford Rd., Tulsa, OK 74114
Located at 31st and Utica, Philbrook Museum opens its doors to the public on the second Saturday of every month.
Once the home of Waite Phillips, the 72-room mansion and 23-acre gardens now hold a world-class collection of art. Admission to Philbrook is free for children 17 and under on Second Saturday. Visitors can enjoy galleries of classic and modern art. Each second Saturday also offers hands-on activities that explore one “Big Idea,” such as world music. The grounds of Philbrook offer hours of entertainment and art appreciation for the entire family. —Madeline Roper
6850 S. Elwood Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma
A Tulsa staple, Turkey Mountain offers 25 miles of trails and a tranquil escape located just a few miles from downtown Tulsa. The area is intentionally kept in a wilderness state so visitors can enjoy native flora and fauna in full bloom. The space offers four trails ranging in length from 0.08 miles to 5.7 miles, offering visitors the choice between a casual stroll and a more intensive hike.
As you wind your way through zig zag paths, you’ll take in the beautiful views from 300 feet above the Arkansas River. Turkey Mountain provides a secluded space for Tulsans of all ages to enjoy nature and spot wildlife. —Madeline Roper
Tulsa Tough is a three-day series of bicycle races held in downtown Tulsa every June. The race consists of three days of criterium rides and one day of Gran Fondo rides, thrilling for spectators and racers alike. On the first two days of races, crowds gather to watch competitors pedal their way to victory laps in the Blue Dome and Tulsa Arts Districts. On the last day of Tulsa Tough, Tulsans don colorful costumes and cheer on cyclists as they climb Cry Baby Hill.
Whether you ride, volunteer or spectate, Tough is a fun way to celebrate cycling in Tulsa. —Root staff
111 Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74103
Surrounded by downtown Tulsa’s unique skyline, Guthrie Green offers a bit of nature in the heart of the city. Equipped with a large outdoor stage, splash pad and restaurant, this urban park celebrates arts, diversity, health and wellness with its wide range of regular programming.
Weekly events include Thursday night movies in the park (from May through October), food truck Wednesdays and Sunday concerts featuring a variety of local and touring musicians. Guthrie Green also hosts free fitness classes including yoga, barre and zumba. (Head here for a full calendar of events.) From music to movies to fitness, Guthrie Green provides free entertainment amid the bustle of the thriving Tulsa Arts District. —Madeline Roper
108 E. Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74103
108 Contemporary’s mission is to support local contemporary fine craft artists and educate visitors on the art form. Visitors can take in a variety of rotating exhibits at the 108 Contemporary gallery, located in the Tulsa Arts District. Past exhibits include neon signs, jewelry made of construction materials and glass work.
Visitors can try their hand at making their own art with 108 Contemporary’s craft kits that correspond with the current exhibit. From yarn painting to needlepoint to origami, you can bring a part of 108 Contemporary home with you. —Madeline Roper
307 E. Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74120
Living Arts’ mission is to present and develop critically-engaged contemporary art to Tulsans. Through exhibits, performances, classes and more, the platform provides a space for local artists to showcase their work and create community. Visitors can walk the galleries and learn from working artists by signing up for its youth programs and camps.
Located in the Tulsa Arts District, Living Arts is a unique stop on your tour of all the fine art Tulsa has to offer. —Madeline Roper
2224 W. 51st St., Tulsa, OK 74107
The Henry Zarrow Regional Library offers a wide variety of services and educational opportunities for Tulsans. Located at the intersection of interstate 244 and the Arkansas River, the Zarrow library welcomes visitors for story time, art classes, Lego nights and more. The library is also home to many resources for Tulsa’s American Indian population.
You can visit Zarrow to learn more about the history of American Indians in Oklahoma. The library also offers classes in native languages such as Kiowa and Shawnee. —Madeline Roper
2435 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, OK 74114
Linnaeus Teaching Garden at Woodward Park offers a free, open space for the public to enjoy horticulture and learn about the benefits and joys of gardening. Teeming with greenery, the garden is home to shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables. The colorful flowers and flowing waterfalls bring a natural beauty to the middle of urban Tulsa. —Madeline Roper
605 S. Main St, Tulsa, OK 74119
H.A. Chapman Green was dedicated in 2008 to celebrate Oklahoma’s centennial. Today, the Chapman Green arts series hosts a variety of events in the heart of downtown Tulsa including free movies and comedy nights.
Located at the corner of 6th St. and Main St., the green also brings unique art installations directly to Tulsans. “Prairie Schooners” and “Be the One” sculptures stand tall for snapping pictures. —Madeline Roper
6500 W. 21st St., Tulsa, OK 74107
Comprised of nearly 200 acres of woods and clearings, Chandler Park is where you’ll find beautiful nature trails, rock climbing and playgrounds. Chandler Park is also home to a disc golf course and Oklahoma’s largest splash park—a great place for families to cool off in the heat of the summer free of charge.
Overlooking Tulsa from the west, the park boasts breathtaking views of the entire city and is a great spot to watch a gorgeous Oklahoma sunset. Visit Chandler to take in the native forests and enjoy the unique views. —Madeline Roper