Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Tulsa, OK

  • Published 2022/11/12

Tulsa in Tulsa County is the second biggest city in Oklahoma and is situated next to the scenic Arkansas River.

This city was once known to be the “Oil Capital of the World” because of the pivotal role it played in the oil production industry in Oklahoma during the 1900s.

Tulsa has a vibrant arts scene and bustling downtown district, making it the perfect place to enjoy many activities and attractions.

The best part about it is that some of these destinations are free to explore!

Here are the 15 free things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma:

Pose with the Gigantic Golden Driller Statue

Daytime view of the Golden Driller Statue

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The Golden Driller is a beloved Tulsa icon and a must-see for anyone visiting the city!

This 76-foot-tall statue that depicts an oil worker is known to be one of the tallest statues in the country.

The Golden Driller is also considered the Oklahoma State Monument, reminiscent of when Tulsa was the World’s Oil Capital.

Top half of the Golden Driller Statue

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This statue is also considered a dedication to the individuals who worked tirelessly in the petroleum industry

You can visit this majestic statue for free at the Tulsa Expo Center.

Enjoy the Beauty of Nature at Gathering Place

Kayaking at the Gathering Place

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See breathtaking sights and enjoy new activities without spending money at Gathering Place.

This riverfront park on South John Williams Way E is one of the best destinations in the city.

First opened in 2016, Gathering Place is a five-acre haven where you can enjoy programs, special events, and play structures.

Animal-shaped slide at the Gathering Place

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Play with your kids at the Chapman Adventure Playground, or splash around at Charlie’s Water Mountain!

You can also check out the QuikTrip Great Lawn and join fitness classes, concerts, and movie nights for free.

If you want to have a fun-filled day with your whole family, this is the perfect place.

Tower bridge at the Gathering Place

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Spot the Center of the Universe in Downtown Tulsa

Grounds of the Center of the Universe

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Did you know that the center of the universe can be found in Tulsa?

Although it might not be the actual center of the whole universe, a spot in Downtown Tulsa features a mysterious phenomenon.

Head to Archer Street and look for a small circular concrete spot marked on the ground.

Here, you’ll discover that if you stay right in the middle of this circle, any noise you make will echo back to you!

You will also discover that if someone makes a noise while standing in the middle of the circle while you are outside it, the noise you’ll hear will be distorted.

Many people have tried to figure such a “phenomenon,” but no one has succeeded.

Because of this, Downtown Tulsa is a must-visit, especially for those interested in weird scientific phenomena.

Venture into the Great Outdoors at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area

If you want to escape the city noise, consider exploring the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area on South Elwood Avenue.

This 300-acre park is a gem for those who love recreational activities and hiking and biking.

With its great location near the Arkansas River, you’ll surely enjoy stunning sights from this area.

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area is a must-visit for hikers since it features a wide range of elevation changes that will challenge you.

There are also two big ponds within the wilderness area that is perfect for those who want to spot wildlife or rest by the water.

Make sure to bring along a friend or two when you visit since it is still considered undeveloped property.

Nonetheless, it’s a great place for adventurers and explorers of all ages.

Marvel at the Exceptional Architectural Design of the Holy Family Cathedral

Exterior of the Holy Family Cathedral

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The Holy Family Cathedral on Boulder Avenue is an intricately designed building that will take your breath away.

Constructed in 1914, this historic church was designed with a combination of Classic Revival and Gothic architecture styles.

The church is also considered a cornerstone of the Roman Catholic community in the city as it is the head church of the diocese.

Interior of the Holy Family Cathedral

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When you first see this institution, you will immediately be amazed by its three pointy steeples that tower over the streets.

You can roam inside the cathedral, where you can feast your eyes on its magnificent altar, which mimics the church’s facade.

The Holy Family Cathedral is a great place to visit if you are a devout Roman Catholic or a certified architecture buff.

Top part of the Holy Family Cathedral

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See the World’s Largest Praying Hands at Oral Roberts University

Daytime view of the World’s Largest Praying Hands at Oral Roberts University

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Another popular tourist destination in Tulsa is Oral Roberts University.

Although this private university on South Lewis Avenue is known for its strict religious policies and exceptional academic programs, people visit this institution to see a majestic sculpture at the school’s entrance.

Leonard McMurray created the World’s Largest Praying Hands, first displayed at Oral Roberts University in 1991.

Close view of the World’s Largest Praying Hands at Oral Roberts University

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At 60 feet tall and 30 tons, the praying hands are the biggest bronze sculpture in the whole world.

This sculpture is intricately detailed, with each finger and knuckle realistically represented.

Seeing it up close will allow you to appreciate its craftsmanship.

Strike a pose with the striking structure at Oral Roberts University!

Learn about the City’s History at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

Race Riot sculpture at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

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John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park on North Elgin Avenue raises awareness of historical events to help prevent them from happening again.

This National Literary Landmark was established in 1986 and was dedicated to the late Dr. John Hope Franklin, a notable American historian.

This park commemorates the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the most severe civic disturbances in the history of the United States, and works to prevent that type of event from occurring again.

Close view of Race Riot statue at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

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Through this park, you can also discover more about the history of African Americans and their role in shaping Oklahoma.

You can roam around the park and see numerous bronze statues that tell a story from the Race Riot in 1921.

You can also schedule a guided tour where you can learn about the different events in the city’s history, including the Race Riots and Black Wall Street.

Bronze statue at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

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Spend Quality Time with Your Loved Ones at Chandler Park

Chandler Park is a beautiful, spacious park that offers unparalleled views of the city and Sand Springs.

This 192-acre park on West 21st Street has something for everyone to enjoy.

You can go biking or jog along the paved trails.

You can also climb on the rock formations on the hiking trails.

There are also picnic tables around the park where you can bond with your family over a delicious meal.

Moreover, there is a 9250-square-foot-splash park where you can cool off with your kids by running through the water-spouting structures.

Chandler Park is a great place to relax with your family and friends.

Marvel at the Art Deco Architecture of the Philcade Building

Exterior of the Philcade Building

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Discover an Art Deco paragon in downtown Tulsa by heading to Boston Avenue to see the Philcade Building.

Philcade Building is an iconic structure in Tulsa completed in 1931.

The entire building looks like it was taken straight out of the 1920s due to its stunning Art Deco architecture.

Details of Philcade Building's window

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Aside from its architecture, the building also has a magnificent and opulent interior filled with beautiful ceiling artwork and classy golden decor.

Because of its striking design, this building is often used as a backdrop for various photoshoots.

Enter a Stunning Natural Wonderland at Woodward Park and Gardens

Conservatory at Woodward Park and Gardens

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Reconnect with nature as you explore the greeneries and take in the beautiful scenery at Woodward Park and Gardens.

Situated on Peoria Avenue, this park is one of the public gardens constructed in the city.

Within this park, you can find the Upper and Lower Rock Gardens and the Tulsa Rose Garden.

These gardens are just two areas you can explore in this park.

A small arched bridge at Woodward Park and Gardens

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You can stroll around and see the charming Arched Bridge.

There are also lily pools and a rose garden where you can check out all the vibrant and blooming flowers.

Follow the walking trails, and you’ll find yourself in a dreamlike wonderland here at Woodward Park and Gardens.

Sculpture garden at Woodward Park and Gardens

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Visit the Architecturally Stunning Boston Avenue Methodist Church

Exterior of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church

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The Boston Avenue Methodist Church is a gorgeous, well-known church in Tulsa.

The church was completed in 1929 and is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco church architecture in America.

The exterior of the building is decorated with beautiful, detailed terracotta sculptures that make it even more eye-catching.

A hall in Boston Avenue Methodist Church

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The vertical lines you can see all over the church’s structure are also meaningful and suggest reaching out to God, while the downward lines symbolize God’s love.

One of the first things you will see at Boston Avenue Methodist Church is its magnificent tower, which stands at 255 feet.

Make sure to stop by this destination if you are into architecture.

You can sign up for their tours to learn more about the building’s history.

Gorgeous interior of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church

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Relax as You Gaze into the Beautiful Scenery at Hunter Park

Take a break from your daily worries and explore Hunter Park.

This park in East 91st Street is 71 acres big and features amenities perfect for those who want to relax or take a peaceful stroll.

Here, you can find numerous paved trails that will allow you to explore everything the park offers.

There is also a pond where you can watch fishes swim and sports areas where you can play with your friends and break a sweat.

You can also bring along your furry friends and play with them at the dog park, which can be found within Hunter Park’s premises.

Kids will also enjoy this park since it has a playground complete with swings and slides.

Take Snaps with the Statues at Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza

Statue at Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza

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Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza displays the statues of some of its most influential citizens.

This plaza on Southwest Boulevard was built in honor of Cyrus Avery, considered the “Father of Route 66.”

The flags of the eight states surrounding Route 66 are featured around this plaza.

Side view of a statue at Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza

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There are also several statues made of bronze.

The most iconic is called East Meets West, depicting a vehicle running into a horse-drawn carriage.

At Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, you can take pictures of the statues and admire their intricate details.

Unleash Your Inner Bookworm at the Central Library

Exterior of Central Library

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If you’re passionate about literature and are looking for a quiet place to stay for a few hours, the Central Library in Civic Center is the ideal spot.

This library, based in downtown Tulsa, has an impressive collection of literary works and academic books.

There are also meeting areas and study rooms where you can spend time with your friends or colleagues.

The Central Library is also kid-friendly as it has a children’s area where they can play and enjoy video games.

A 3D printing station is also available.

Deepen Your Knowledge of Horticulture at the Teaching Garden

Wood carving at Teaching Garden

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A trip to the Teaching Garden should be on everyone’s bucket list, especially for those passionate about nature and horticulture.

This garden, located in Woodward Park, is where you can find hundreds of perennials, shrubs, vegetables, and other plants.

You can roam around the garden and see all the modern gardening materials used by the volunteers.

You can also participate in the activities and learn more about horticulture!

Final Thoughts

Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers a variety of free activities that are sure to please everyone.

If you’re looking for a fun activity with your family or friends where you don’t need to spend, consider these free things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Plan your exciting adventure in the city of Tulsa today!

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