The 13 Attractions (and 1 Buffalo Man) Featured in Our Tulsa Safely Ad Series
Have you heard about the new Tulsa Safely unveiling? If not, take a peek! Attractions all over town are making a commitment to abide by CDC and Tulsa Health Department guidelines to ensure that you can still have fun while visiting Tulsa safely. We want you to have a glimpse into what living life on Tulsa Time in our new reality is like, so we totally understand if the vibrant flashes of color and excitement leave you wanting more information. Read ahead to find out more about the stars of the first installment in our Tulsa Safely series!
Silhouette Sneakers & Art
In the heyday of Black Wall Street, there existed a store called Grier Shoe Shop, which boasted the bold slogan, “Try us once and you will try us twice!” Now, almost one hundred years later, a modern and innovative boutique takes its place by the name of Silhouette Sneakers & Art, discarding Oxfords for more artful apparel.
Founded in 2019 by former educator and avid sneakerhead, Venita Cooper, Silhouette is not just a shoe shop but a unique amalgamation of sneakers, art, and culture. She is one of the many entrepreneurs focused on restoring the Historic Greenwood District to an age of prosperity. A firm believer that sneakers can be a vessel for community, Cooper has curated the space to include rotating art exhibits both local and national, one-of-a-kind sneakers that are artfully displayed, and a collection of merch inspired by her personal tastes that features local sellers and honors street culture.
Silhouette has even served as a venue for local music and is the site of a recurring podcast that features the artists that come through Silhouette. Whether you’re looking for rare Jordans, Yeezys, or just looking to shop for trendy threads in a novel environment, Silhouette Sneakers & Art is a must-stop.
Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66
Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66 is hard to miss. Buck, a 21-foot tall space cowboy muffler man with a dazzling smile (currently covered by a mask for your safety) stands boldly on the side of the road and ushers you into the quirky boutique just like the muffler men of yore. And in truth, Buck was one of those muffler men.
Born in 1960 as a simple cowboy in Calgary, Alberta, the giant would eventually become rough around the edges (as is the cowboy lifestyle). It wasn’t until nearly 60 years later that the owner of the Cosmic Curios, Mary Beth Babcock, would breathe new purpose into Buck. Babcock transformed him into a larger-than-life replica of a mascot she conceived in her mind long ago. Hence, Buck Atom found his new purpose as a space cowboy and now stands as a symbol of the old and the new intertwined.
When you walk through the doors of the former 1950s gas station that is now the Cosmic Curios, the respect shown for the old in a new light is apparent. With a variety of Tulsa and Route 66-themed knick-knacks and merchandise, the Cosmic Curios is the place to find your way of showing Tulsa pride.
Tulsa Route 66 Main Street
Tulsa boasts a large chunk of Route 66 often referred to as the stretch where East meets West. It is loaded with sites to see and attractions to enjoy for travelers on the Mother Road.
Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art is yet another of Tulsa’s lavishly built mansions that stand as living evidence of the oil empires of old. The Italian Renaissance-inspired villa was built in 1927 by Tulsa oil mogul Waite Phillips, the same man behind the construction of the Gatsbian Philtower and Philcade buildings located downtown.
The property was eventually gifted to the city of Tulsa and now accommodates 160,000 visitors annually who come to see the breathtaking gardens and the museum’s diverse collection of art, spanning European, American, Native American, Contemporary, African, Asian, and Antiquity styles. Guests have also flocked to the temporary exhibits that have featured the likes of Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol.
While the museum is normally humming with activity that ranges from live music to yoga to films on the lawn, the inside galleries are unfortunately currently closed due to Covid-19. Fortunately, the weather is prime for being outside anyway, and the museum has curated a host of programs that can be enjoyed in their gorgeous gardens. Events the museum has on tap include: Ask a Horticulturist, $5 after 5 pm (where guests are encouraged to bring a picnic or board game to enjoy outdoors), and Second Saturdays (where visitors engage with one “big idea” of art on the second Saturday of each month).
The Chalkboard Restaurant and Catering Tulsa
Connected to the historic Ambassador Hotel on Main Street is where you will find The Chalkboard, one of Tulsa’s oldest restaurants offering some of the finest dining. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, brunch, serving meals that look as eloquent as they are savory.
The menu is extensive. You can’t go wrong with the Eggs Benedict for breakfast (Poached Eggs & Canadian Bacon on an English Muffin with Hollandaise), the Avocado Bowl for lunch (Confit Heirloom Tomatoes, Quinoa & Arcadian Greens, Avocado Vinaigrette, Fresh Avocado & Grilled Chicken), or the Tulsa Puttanesca for dinner (Tomato Sauce, Fresh Herbs, Garlic Chicken Fried Chicken, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, Fried Capers, Spaghetti). Better yet, all of this can be enjoyed with even the most eclectic pairings as The Chalkboard has an extensive bar of spirits that rivals the best.
If you’re wary of dining in, you can order through The Chalkboard’s QR scan menus and have your meal on their pleasant outdoor patio. You can also experience The Chalkboard remotely, as they offer curbside pickup and full-service catering. On particular days, you might even stop in for one of their many collaborative events with local breweries, wineries, and musicians. We recommend checking out their live music Tuesdays!
It can be difficult to put into words exactly what ahha is. Simultaneously a physical location in the Hardesty Arts Center and an entity representing what was formerly the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, the name “ahha” is much less a simple acronym and more a symbol of everything they stand for.
“Ahha”﹣an exclamation for a breakthrough; an exclamation that ahha hopes to bring out of everyone through their classes, workshops, open studio hours, outreach programs, artist residencies, and galleries that are always at the forefront of challenging their audiences. Ahha’s claim to fame, however, is their large-scale, semi-permanent, interactive art environment, The Experience: Imagine. The first novel iteration of this exhibit has come and gone, ushering in its sibling that is just as enchanting in every way.
In the Experience: Imagine, you will explore different zones designed and built by one of six Tulsa-based artists.
Together by Andy Arkley turns the casual observer into an influencer of the art by way of panels that alter the composition combining sculpture, animation, music and light.
Woo by Justice Gutierrez brings the visitor through a progressively more foreign landscape through a combination of saturated colors, flat shapes, and ethereal sounds designed to elicit a sense of euphoria.
Grow by Katherine Hair is a simulation of and meditation on the constantly evolving state of nature. Visitors are encouraged to create more layers of lichen for the installation that evokes a sense of our role in an ever-changing environment.
The Data Miner by Alton Markham is a commentary that uses the visitor as the subject and demonstrates how corporations mine our data to create a profile of us that can be exploited for profit.
The Tempest’s Parallax by Emily Simonds is a first-person sci-fi experience that puts the visitor in a world where nature and technology intertwine (for better or for worse). It is accompanied by a companion Youtube Series coming Fall 2020.
Into the Wormhole by John White puts the visitor through the consequences of humans as a reactionary species, where the neglect of sustainable resource management and proactive policies needed for ecological homeostasis will force us to look for a new home off-planet.
Go and experience!
Chris Mantle 〰Art Gallery
If you’ve ever happened upon the massive buffalo mural on East First Street and South Iroquois Avenue, then you’ve had the privilege of seeing one of the many colorful creatures in Tulsa that beckon us to take a deeper look. These are the signature work of Chris Mantle, the Buffalo Man himself.
Chris’ inspiration for painting buffalo started with his fascination with the strength and grace that the buffalo possess as depicted in the Bible. Adding to this infatuation is Chris’ Cherokee Heritage, as the buffalo have become symbolic of the natives not letting any part of the animal go to waste, a practice that speaks to a sentiment of interconnectedness and the cyclical nature of life on Earth. Paying homage to this theme, Chris has even let passersby make their own markings on his buffalo when painting in public. He doesn’t guarantee that the markings won’t be covered but always acknowledges them as an integral piece in the process.
You can find Chris Mantle’s impressionistic buffalo and many more of his incredible works at his gallery at 1307 E. 15th Street!
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and known locally as one of Tulsa’s treasures, Circle Cinema is a theater with a rich history and a thrilling future. Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s oldest-standing movie theatre. Its origins date back to 1928 when it got its start as a true neighborhood cinema for Tulsa families and visitors traveling along historic Route 66.
Circle Cinema would see many changes in the coming years, including the monumental shift from silent films accompanied by live scoring to movies with sound, or “talkies”. With the decline of Route 66 expedited by its removal from the U.S. Highway system, along with commerce and entrepreneurs moving further south in Tulsa, Circle Cinema became the New Circle Theater and began showing adult films.
Even though the theater’s reputation had decayed from its former glory, its novelty and aesthetics earned it stardom when it became a filming location for the 1983 film adaptation of The Outsiders. It wouldn’t be until the early 2000s, however, that Circle Cinema would retake its original moniker and reprise its role as a neighborhood theater, all the while bringing to the table a host of new programming and opportunities that have ushered in a new heyday for the theater.
The only non-profit cinema in the area, Circle Cinema is now known for showing a variety of independent, foreign and documentary films that receive critical acclaim and challenge viewers. Throughout the year, you can always check in to see what variety of film festivals, workshops and panels the theater might be hosting. There are even certain days where Circle Cinema pays homage to its roots and will show silent films with accompaniment from the original pipe organ that did so much to enhance the first films shown at the theater. If you get a chance, Circle Cinema is a must-stop when coming to Tulsa, especially if you make it out for their signature Two Dollar Tuesdays!
Cabin Boys Brewery
It all started with a cabin in the woods in Catoosa, Oklahoma. For owner Austin McIlroy, the cabin that his father recruited him to help build always stood as a symbol for the sharing of delicious beer, good company, and lasting memories. This laid the foundations for Cabin Boys Brewery.
McIlroy would soon join forces with best friend Ryan Arnold and wife Lisa McIlroy in starting Cabin Boys Brewery, a business built from the ground up just like the quaint cabin in Catoosa. If you visit the brewery, you’ll find that while in the middle of Tulsa, the vibe is not so different from that of the company’s origins.
With over 9,000 square feet of space designed for blissful beer-drinking, Cabin Boys is the perfect escape. Complete with table tennis and cornhole galore, you will have to suit up in your Reeboks and dad shorts for the beer garden fun that awaits you.
The beers at Cabin Boys are hand-crafted ales that are brewed with “spices, fruits, and a touch of pizzazz to put a twist on traditional beer styles”. Signature brews like the Bearded Theologian (a caramelly Belgian style quad) and the Prost King Pils (a crushable German lager) are indicative of McIlroy’s time spent at the World Brewing Academy in Munich.
What are you waiting for? Go grab a pint (or two) at Cabin Boys!
Right on Route 66 and connected to the boutique Campbell Hotell is the delightful Jane’s Delicatessen, an eatery that can be justified visiting at any time of the day.
Jane’s honors the culinary traditions of classic delicatessens serving a mix of Jewish, German, and French-Canadian inspired dishes, all of which can be enjoyed in their casual open space with views of the bustling Route 66.
All meat is cured and cooked in-house, while breads and other baked goods are made fresh daily, so no corners are cut when preparing delicious eats to be savored. House favorites like the Chas: a turkey sandwich on white bread with provolone, bacon, garlic aioli, and apple butter that combine for a well-balanced, sweet/salty profile, speak to the artfulness with which Jane’s makes their sandwiches. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the Reuben, American dunk, or the classic poutine made with local cheese curds. Jane’s also has a full bar, a small market, and custom catering.
American Solera’s neon signage that invites you into their vintage-revival, chic interior is the synesthesia of what you’ll find in their beer. This innovative brewery exercises their creativity by using an oak barrel aging process for their beer known as solera.
Solera, a practice popularized in Spain, is a system typically used for aging sherry and other fortified wines, in which younger wines in upper rows of casks are used to top up casks of older wines stored below to produce a consistently aged blend. American Solera uses this method to age their beer 6 to 18 months before bottling. This creates a unique flavor profile for each brew they craft, resulting in beers that are nuanced, complex, and simply tasty.
If you have an adventurous palette, you will love American Solera and find intrigue in their rotating taps. While their excellence in craft shines the most through their Pale Ales, Sours, and blends of the two, more conventional craft beer drinkers are sure to find delight in the brewery’s slight twists on traditional styles such as the Kolsch. But if all of that isn’t enough to entice you, American Solera’s reputation precedes them. Named the 2nd Best New Brewery in the World for 2016 and Best New Brewery in the United States for 2016 by RateBeer, American Solera is the place to visit for beer lovers searching for something unique in the Tulsa brewery scene.
Why pay for 10 dollar game day beer when you could get a beer for 2 dollars on Thursdays after 4 pm? Why stand for the entire game only to never be able to see any of the action over the sweaty guy in front of you when you could sit, chow down, and watch up to several games at once on 50 different TVs?
Game days have a special place in all of our hearts and we all dearly miss being able to physically be at the stadium rooting for our favorite teams, but when you’re at Elgin Park Brewery stuffing your gullet with delicious, coal-fired, gooey pizza and washing it down with beers sporting names like Ride the Pine Ale or Performance Enhancing Pils, you momentarily forget about all of your fanatical woes.
A McNellie’s Group endeavor, Elgin Park Brewery is an ideal spot to imbibe on game day (especially considering its proximity to ONEOK Field) . We recommend that you visit on Wednesdays for $10 specialty pies and $10 pitchers after 5 pm!
Mother Road Market
The Mother Road Market, a new staple along Route 66 and Tulsa’s first food hall, is an incubator for both promising start-ups and established restaurants in Tulsa looking to pilot new concepts in the market’s small shop model. The food hall features 20 different restaurants to choose from, ranging from street tacos to gourmet pizza. No fussing is necessary the next time you’re met with the dreadful decision of choosing where to eat.
In normal times, you would find areas for the kids to play, a full-service bar to unwind at, and even events like beer-tasting at WEL Bar or cooking classes in the market’s demonstration kitchen. Unfortunately, Mother Road Market has temporarily prohibited dining in due to COVID-19 precautions.
Don’t get too sad, though. You can still picnic on Mother Road Market’s outdoor patio and they still offer curbside pickup! This means that savory favorites like the Nashville Hot Chicken from Chicken and the Wolf, Kimchi Fries from Umami Fries and a juicy, delicious burger from Howdy Burger are all available to enjoy wherever you decide to enjoy them!
If you’ve got the shopping bug, you can hop over to the Shops at Mother Road Market after eating. An extension of Mother Road Market’s incubator model but for unique up-and-coming boutiques, the 6 different shops are Graham Collective (an organic and non-toxic beauty & wellness boutique), Felizsta (a food & gift shop celebrating Latinx culture), Gambill’s (a coffee & libations bar with retail options for self-made concoctions), Eleanor’s Bookshop (a bookshop for kids & families founded by two Tulsa teachers), and lastly, the Limited Time Only Market (an ephemeral art space offering merchandise corresponding with rotating exhibitions).
Known as Oklahoma’s one-and-only ocean, the Oklahoma Aquarium is a sprawling complex that spans 72,000 square-feet and is inhabited by a variety of species from every corner and every layer of our world’s vast waters.
At the aquarium, the tropical views of a Polynesian reef (rife with fish of every color in the spectrum) are only a walk away from the adaptive species of the Amazon or the marvelous species from the most obscure waters (such as mesmerizing jellyfish, toxic-yet-tiny frogs, and electricity-producing black ghost knife fish). Nothing is left to the imagination.
Upon visiting, you will even have the opportunity to explore the peculiar creatures of Oklahoma’s freshwaters, including an Okie-native named Grandpa. The young-at-heart alligator snapping turtle is estimated to have been born nine years before Oklahoma even became a state!
Of course, the main attraction at the aquarium that you must experience is the world’s largest bull shark collection. In this exhibit, you will see bull sharks circling overhead and side to side as you trek through a transparent tunnel where only glass separates you from the incredibly versatile beasts that thrive in both saltwater and freshwater and served as the inspiration for the 1975 thriller, Jaws. The Oklahoma Aquarium upholds the best that aquariums have to offer and is a great foray into the many intrigues and mysteries that populate a large majority of our planet’s surface.
The first place to go for an exciting weekend as well as the epicenter for a cultural renaissance, downtown Tulsa is conveniently walkable and offers an abundance of attractions at every turn. The City of Tulsa’s recent Parklet Permit Program even allows for safer dining & shopping experiences by giving downtown businesses the opportunity to expand their sidewalks to accommodate parklets where visitors can eat or shop without even having to enter a building. Elote’s Cafe & Catering (a staple Tulsa restaurant with delicious puffy tacos and a history of hosting Luchador wrestling) was the first to take advantage of this opportunity.
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