When you think about Tulsa, Oklahoma, you probably picture cowboys riding across a wide swath of open plains while tumbleweeds bounce and roll off in the distance. Fortunately for nurses heading to Tulsa on a travel nurse assignment, nothing could be further from the truth! Tulsa, or T-Town as the locals call it, is actually quite hip, and offers a variety of things to do while you’re there. With more than 130 parks and 50 miles of trails, Tulsa is perfect for outdoors lovers. But the city has numerous fun and interesting things to do indoors, as well. Here is our guide for travel nurses wondering what to eat, drink, do and Instagram while on a travel assignment in Tulsa.
We don’t normally recommend chain restaurants in our Travel Nurse City Guides, as we like to provide you with options that are unique to each location. But since Charleston’s is technically an Oklahoma chain (with a few additional locations in nearby states), chances are you won’t have heard of it or eaten there before you visit the city on a travel assignment. From juicy cheeseburgers – and even the new Impossible burger – to hand cut filet mignon and fresh salads, you’re sure to find something you love. If Tulsa had a symbolic food, it just might be chicken fried steak, and Charleston’s is hard to beat. A full bar and daily happy hour specials add to the restaurant’s appeal.
Located on historic Route 66, Tally’s café is a must-eat spot that will probably be a favorite of many travel nurses on assignment in Tulsa! This is a classic diner with a fun, nostalgic menu that offers a variety of choices to satisfy every palate. Go for breakfast and the sweet aroma of their homemade cinnamon buns will escort you through the door. Traditional breakfast options are available, but you could also branch out and try something crazy like the strawberry cheesecake pancakes! Breakfast is served all day, but you’ll definitely want to come back for items on the lunch and dinner menus, featuring diner staples including burgers, fries, chili, steaks, milkshakes and of course, chicken fried steak. We’ll let you decide if theirs is better than Charleston’s!
Tulsa has a number of excellent coffee shops and cafes, but a local favorite is Coffee House on Cherry Street, or “CHOCS” as it is sometimes called. This exceptionally charming spot offers numerous specialty coffees including espressos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, chais and teas, as well as a delectable assortment of desserts and pastries. All of their menu options are locally sourced, and local favorites include the honey badger, the monkey latte and the peanut butter pie. Yes, we said peanut butter pie. A limited number of breakfast and sandwich options are also available. Numerous seating arrangement allow you to work peacefully alone or enjoy a caffeinated treat with friends, both indoors and out, where you will find a rustic fireplace to keep you warm on chilly mornings.
If you like your beer with a side of Ms. Pacman, The Max Retropub downtown is your spot for drinks while on a travel nurse assignment in Tulsa. The décor and the drinks menu are all heavily influenced by 80s popular culture, with cocktails including the Richard Simmons, the Molly Ringwald, the Donkey Kong or the Jem: topped with Pop Rocks candy. A variety of arcade games, pinball machines and ski ball will fill you with nostalgic vibes. Many nights are themed, with bingo night, trivia night, and free game play night among the local favorites. Friday and Saturdays feature DJs spinning 80s and 90s music. The draft beer list includes several locally brewed options.
Nurses who want to take a walk on the wild side in Tulsa should definitely check out the Tulsa Zoo! Watching animals can be extremely relaxing and the animals here will both soothe your soul and spark your curiosity. This 85-acre, non-profit zoo has been charming locals and visitors alike for nearly a century. Animals featured here include African lions and penguins, Chinese alligators, California sea lions, giraffes, rhinoceroses, elephants, snow leopards and more! The animals are divided into exhibits that let you learn all about their individual natural habitats and habits. Regular events include an annual fundraising run in partnership with St. John hospital and yoga classes for both adults and children.
Music aficionados and even casual listeners will enjoy this museum, dedicated to the life and legacy of this iconic American folk singer, songwriter and social activist. The center is dedicated to spreading his message of diversity, equality and social justice. A variety of exhibits are both educational and entertaining, offering information about Guthrie’s life, Oklahoma history, and the Dust Bowl, which famously became the catalyst for his becoming a spokesperson for the disenfranchised. The center also features traveling exhibits of other well-known musicians. Tulsa’s popular “First Friday” event features free admission to downtown Tulsa’s museums and art galleries, including the Woody Guthrie Museum, on the first Friday of every month.
Seriously, can you think of a better place to take a selfie than the actual center of the universe? Okay, so not technically the center of the universe, but the strange phenomenon that occurs here will make you wonder what significance this magical spot actually has. This isn’t your typical tourist attraction, so you’ll need to find the location using an app such as Google Maps or Waze or ask a friendly local to point it out. While you are standing in the designated spot, and you say something, an echo is produced that only you can hear. This strange, otherworldly anomaly has been confounding tourists and locals alike since the beginning of time. This is the type of odd peculiarity you must experience for yourself – and don’t forget to take a selfie while you’re there!
This 45-acre public park, botanical garden and arboretum offers numerous photogenic landscapes, including a waterfall, a rustic bridge and a lush rose garden that is often the setting for professional graduation, engagement and other special occasion photos. Spend a few hours or the entire day here relaxing and enjoying nature’s beauty. Spring is the best time to see the park’s array of flowers, including gorgeous roses and azaleas in a rainbow of colors, but it is picturesque any time of year. After you’ve flooded your newsfeed with brilliantly colorful, like-worthy photography, you can walk to nearby Utica Square, which offers a variety of upscale stores and restaurants and is an excellent place for people-watching.
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