We stayed at the Super 8 Motel close to where Skelly Drive meets Peoria Avenue. The room cost $49 a night before tax (because we stayed for two nights the whole bill came to $107). The cost included free parking, a small breakfast and use of a small swimming pool. The hotel was managed by a Hindu family that had come to the USA from Kenya via the UK. We found to our surprise that Tulsa has two mandirs. Amazing.
Tulsa was one of the trip’s surprises for all the right reasons. Downtown there are some excellent early 20th century buildings which benefited from the region’s past oil wealth. Once you have identified an interesting building (e.g. Atlas Building, South Boston, near where about half a dozen equally interesting buildings exist), enter the lobby, explain to people on reception that you are interested in architecture, and enjoy the interiors and their elaborate decoration. Lavish use will have been made of marble, bronze, stained glass, mosaic tiles and paint, the latter probably to immortalise an important historic event associated with the region.
Also visit Brady Street where there are more notable buildings.
For lunch, try New Atlas Grill in the lobby of Atlas Building (mains from $7), and, for drinks and snacks with a difference, try Kokoa Kabana, 507 South Boston. Kokoa Kabana specialises in all things chocolate. The ice cream is amazing, as are the sweets.
The suburb of Mapleridge, south of downtown and surrounding the Philbrook Museum of Art, is a very attractive area in which to drive or walk around, and the blocks along South Peoria Avenue close to 41st Street have some interesting shops, cafes and restaurants all easily accessed from nearby free car parks. This district is called Brookside, and among the places worth trying for food and drink is Charleston’s Restaurant, 3726 South Peoria Avenue. Because steaks, seafood, pasta, burgers and sandwiches are available, there is something for almost everyone. Burgers and sandwiches cost from $8, ribs and steaks cost from $17 and specials (which include fish) cost from $12. Starters, soups and sides are all good value. The atmosphere inside is lively and, if you sit at the excellent bar, you will soon be chatting with local people.
If looking for a more conventional diner, try Goldie’s Patio Grill (which has eight branches across town. We ate at 4401 South Yale Avenue). Starters cost from $5, burgers cost from $6, platters cost from $9 and sandwiches cost from $7. Goldie’s serves beer and is excellent value for food or drink.
Another district worth visiting, not least for food a little out of the ordinary, is along East 15th Street (especially in the area known as Cherry Street), which is not far from downtown. Although not quite as appealing as Brookside, there are, nonetheless, two or three good cafes for tea, coffee and light snacks; and Kilkenny’s Irish Pub, 1413 East 15th Street, serves Irish and English beers and sixty menu items at prices between those at Goldie’s and Charleston’s. One last location for interesting food is Brady Street just west of downtown. This area is emerging as an area with art galleries, cafes, restaurants and specialist shops, all of which are located in old buildings with an industrial or a commercial character.
We know that one of Tulsa’s nicknames is “the buckle of the Bible Belt”, but we found the town a wonderful place to visit, and not just because of the cost effective accommodation or the excellent eating and drinking options. Downtown has some stunning buildings and, along the Arkansas River, a pretty park is popular with people who like to walk, run or pick up a free bike to cycle along the extensive cycle paths. Oh yes. If you have a car cross the Arkansas River, preferably on Interstate 44. The views are excellent.