Artists and hipsters are transforming this heartland town.

By Travel & Leisure
July 11, 2014
Chic Midwestern Getaway in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Credit: © 2014 Philbrook Museum of Art

Tulsa has a rugged western spirit but it’s also unexpectedly hip, thanks in large part to an influx of young professionals and a bourgeoning arts community. Travelers should check out cool downtown districts such as Blue Dome, Brady, and Utica Square, each with its own flair and distinct vibe. They’re also loaded with date night-worthy restaurants, lounges, and retro past times like outdoor movies on a downtown green.

Ida Red

You’ll find responsibly sourced gifts—Tom’s shoes, Lily and Laura bracelets which are crocheted by women in Nepal, graphic tees by Oklahoma-based designers Louis & Cluck—at this creative gift shop.

Guthrie Green

This downtown acreage is a backdrop for lots of city events, including concerts, a Sunday flea market, and free movies.

Philbrook Museum

Stop in the former mansion of the Philips 66 family, now an impressive art museum, to see pieces ranging from ancient Egyptian coffins to contemporary works by Gary Simmons. Also walk hand in hand around the pristine grounds dotted with fountains and flowering trees.

Juniper, Tulsa

This on-trend restaurant impresses with its exposed brick walls and contemporary vibe, as well as beautifully plated dishes such as seared foie gras PB&J and fragrant rosemary chicken with a decadent potato parmesan hash.

Mayo Hotel

At 19 stories, this revamped property in downtown Tulsa was the tallest structure in Oklahoma when it was built in 1925. In 2009, it went through a $42 million renovation and now has 102 rooms with bold accents such as red chairs and zebra-printed TV consoles. Pair cocktails with city views on the rooftop lounge.