I started this blog two and a half years ago with a post about ways to get to know T-Town. It got a huge response for the blog at the time (9 comments!), and I think you'll agree that it's high time for another installment.
The premise of the first post was to debunk the myth that there's nothing fun or exciting to do in Tulsa. First, Tulsa is not New York City. It's not Chicago, L.A., Austin or St. Louis. There's just not enough of a market in T-Town to support the up-that all-night lifestyle for which these cities are known.
We might not stay up all night very often, but we Tulsans still know how to boogey.
In Tulsa you get one of the best homegrown music scenes anywhere in the U.S. Some of the country's favorite artists and writers are based here, and our city hosts not just one, but two major, world-class art museums, not to mention the several community-sized ones. We Tulsans like our meat and potatoes, sure, but we still manage to offer one of the most exciting and diverse food scenes anywhere.
Events ranging from upscale wine dinners to all-night cult film festivals to roller derby smash-ups claim T-Town as their home base. Plus, Tulsa is home to a slew of weird, offbeat, beautiful and downright awesome attractions and landmarks.
To make a long story short, what you've heard about Tulsa is true: It's a large city with that small town feel. Sure, everyone is going to know when your sister runs away with the pool guy, but later you can lose yourself in a crowd of Alan Jackson fans at the BOK Center. You could even drown your sorrows with a pint or two of locally brewed beer at the same time.
To further make my case, here is a list continued from that post in March 2007 of ways to get to know Tulsa, Oklahoma:
Shop local. If you love hole-in-the-wall restaurants, you'll love hole-in-the-wall boutiques.
Get started with Dwelling Spaces downtown. Then head to Cherry Street, Utica Square and Brookside. Don't forget Southtown - there's plenty of indie shops to plunder on Main Street Broken Arrow, Jenks and Bixby.
Get on the bike. Tulsa wasn't named a bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists for nothing.
For one, check out our 180-mile trail system. For two, our bicycling community doesn't exactly feel the need to compensate for any shortcomings where size is concerned. For three, Tulsa is home to more indie bike shops per capita than that other major Sooner city. So, not only will you join the extensive club of drivers who'd rather sport bike racks than spoilers, but you'll also have the technical support needed when your bike is busted from traversing Tulsa's bike thoroughfares - Brookside, Riverside, Downtown and Avery Drive, just to name a few.
Take the bus. Did you know you could ride your bike and the bus at the same time?
Well, you can (sorta). Ride to a stop on your bike and when the bus pulls up, load your bike to the front of the bus and hop on (the bus, not the bike - otherwise, you might be in for a windy ride). For as low as $0.65 per day, you can text in transit to your heart's content. Or, you could make new friends and see Tulsa from a whole new perspective. - your choice.
Hop on Twitter. Think what you will about what I'm about to say, but I think it's time that it be known: My No. 1 source of news, both local and national, is Twitter.
Yikes, right? Feels a little funny to say, but it's true. Not only does any network news outlet worth its salt use Twitter to plug its most recent articles, but the smart phone owners on the ground where the news is actually happening do, too. Now I find out about what's happening in Tulsa without the middleman, sometimes long before it hits the news sites and often complete with photos and video. Don't believe me? Steal my followees. I have about 1,800 T-Towners feeding me all that's moving and shaking in Tulsa, all the time. Go ahead, abscond with them. I'm sure they won't mind.
Have a baby. Before our son came along, my husband had been to the Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum just one time, and that was to drop me off for volunteer duty.
He'd been to just one show at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd been to a park for reasons other than exercise or loitering a la high school days. Since our son burst onto the scene, we've re-visited landmarks that had, for us, faded into the backdrop. If it weren't for that little blonde busybody, we wouldn't know the pure and simple joy that is a splash park. We wouldn't go to half as many shows at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center or BOK Center, either, but thanks to the likes of Elmo and The Jellydots and our son's love of dancing in the aisles, we see plenty of live entertainment in some of Tulsa premier venues.
Be a bargain hunter. Ever since I started reading Sarah Roe, the coupon master supreme who writes 918CouponQueenBlog.com, I've hit roads less traveled - even to a sushi bar inside a the Jenks Reasor's location - to find the deals she posts on her site.
My coupon goggles thus activated, I started to notice coupons good at independent Tulsa businesses printed in local publications (and here and here), not to mention the local coupons that appear from time to time on Roe's site. It's easy to do the uniquely Tulsa stuff when good deals put you right in the arms of our homespun businesses.
What are your secrets for livin' it up in T-Town?
Photo of me acting like a weirdo downtown by Nicole Kelley of Backstreet Photo.
Reasor's sushi bar photo by Carrisa at And So She Blogs.