Ten things to love about Tulsa:

Tulsa is a happening place

Musician Jack White visited Tulsa, looked around and decided to acquire a residence here.

“The first day I came into town, just looking at it, I was really upset that nobody had ever told me about Tulsa,” he told the Tulsa World last year.

“It’s a nice place for me to just experience a part of America that I think is incredibly beautiful.”

White spelled out specific reasons why he “hearts” Tulsa, including the art deco influences, author S.E. Hinton and the films Francis Ford Coppola made here, including “The Outsiders.”

White donated $30,000 to the renovation of The Outsiders House, a home that was used during the making of the 1983 film. The person behind the renovation is House of Pain rapper Danny Boy O’Connor. Like White, O’Connor had no ties to Tulsa, but he found a lot to like and became an advocate for the city.

We are new and old at the same time

People visiting Tulsa for the first time in a decade or so are blown away by the makeover that has occurred in the Tulsa Arts District. A part of town that once was desolate now is a go-to destination — and it will become more so when the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture springs up across the street from Cain’s Ballroom. Combine the new-ness of the Arts District and Gathering Place (see below) with Route 66 history and established attractions like Gilcrease/Philbrook and you can reach a conclusion that the Oil Capital of the World is the new Rob Lowe. We’re aging well.

We have a great new drawing card

Gathering Place isn’t just a stunning new Tulsa park. It’s the top new attraction in the nation, according to an online poll conducted by USA Today. Instead of reading about the 66.5-acre park along Riverside Drive, go see it for yourself. Now.

We love our food

Though Green Country is blessed with a great outdoors worth exploring, our city is not located smack dab in the middle of a mountain range or next to a beach. Theory: Food is, therefore, more important to us than to people in some other geographic regions. Don’t interpret this to mean restaurants are our only staging grounds for adventure. That would be selling ourselves far short. But many indicators reinforce to us that Tulsans are foodies. Area eating establishments have raised their game to keep up with our expectations. As a result, we have great — not just good, but great — food.

We are a bargain

Businessstudent.com conducted research to find the 25 most affordable cities to live/work in 2019. Tulsa didn’t just make the list. Tulsa topped the list. You can find other studies that rank other cities atop similar lists, but, what the heck, let’s endorse this one.

We are the right size to avoid big headaches

Sometimes, the best of both worlds is less of one world. For instance: less traffic. The worst rush hour logjam in the metro area is barely an inconvenience when compared to gridlock in some of the nation’s largest cities. Barring unusual circumstances, you can get from anywhere to anywhere — Point A to Point B — in 20 minutes or less. Time is one of the most important things you’ll ever have in life. You won’t waste it amid bumper-to-bumper aggravation.

We sound great

The “Tulsa Sound” is a music style synonymous with a wave of local artists who, decades ago, became influential figures in the music world. Among them: Leon Russell and J.J. Cale. Tulsa is a music town. You can practically feel the history at Cain’s Ballroom, a former home of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and therefore the Carnegie Hall of Western Swing. The Bob Dylan Archives are here. The Woody Guthrie Center is here. BOK Center, entering its second decade, continues to be ranked among the top concert venues in the U.S. The seasoned Brady Theater and newer casino concert venues provide stages for music artists who need a “fit” other than BOK Center and Cain’s Ballroom. Someone’s playing somewhere today. We sound fantastic.

We have major college athletics

Don’t underestimate this. Within the city limits, Tulsa has two universities that compete in Division I athletics. Both institutions — the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University — have been within one victory of a Final Four appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The University of Tulsa plays major college football and offers some of the most reasonably priced college football tickets in the nation, just in case you like soaking up the sun on a perfect fall Saturday.

We are in the middle of everything

Why did the late, great Roy Clark spend the last 44 years of his life in Tulsa? Because it put him in the middle of everything, or at least the middle of the country. Clark was raised on the East Coast. At the height of his career, he was being booked for gigs and appearances all over the U.S. Tulsa-based music impresario Jim Halsey sold Clark on the idea that he would be able to spend more days at home if he moved to middle America. Clark bought a home in Tulsa in 1974 and never left. There’s something to be said for being in the middle of everything. You’re on a shortcut to everywhere.

We are diverse

Oklahoma probably gets stereotyped by outsiders as being this or that. Don’t look at us through that lens. Think multicolored kaleidoscope, instead. Tulsa, the heart of Native America, is a blending of cultures, and we are enriched by the qualities that all ethnic groups bring to the table. Have we solved the world’s get-along problems? No. Have we solved all of our problems? No. But we’re as united as we choose to be, and sometimes we just need a common enemy (like Texas during football season) to remind us we’re all in this together.

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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389


Twitter: @JimmieTramel

Scene Writer

Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389

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