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Key to the City

The Guide to Tulsa You Didn’t Know You Needed Until Now

Key to the City BY courtney conway 02/07/2018

 

When we think of Tulsa, Oklahoma, we always think of the season in Friends where Chandler has a short stint there for work—talk about a plot twist, people! Anyway, let's just say he didn’t have a plugged-in local like Sarah Sullivan to help him make the most of it. You do, though: Not only has the artist and weaving expert has spent most of her life living there, but she’s also painted large-scale murals on some of the coolest shops in town. Below, 13 places she thinks you absolutely gotta see.

 

Stay

 

AMBASSADOR HOTEL

“With so many new things developing in Tulsa, there are new hotels popping up all over place, but my favorite is a classic, the Ambassador Hotel. It’s been around since the oil boom of the 1920s and is conveniently located close to almost everything on this list.”

 

Shop

 

JENKINS & CO.

“Located on historic Route 66, Jenkins & Co. is the most design-y shop Tulsa has. Everything they have is beautiful and unique, and the space itself is a dream. It’s also one of the only places you can buy Sullystring pillows in town!”

 

KIDDLESTIX

“The best toy store in town and home to my favorite mural I’ve ever done—also easily the most challenging. I have a deep love for children’s books and toys, so collaborating with the shop’s awesome owners was a match made in heaven.”

 

FIRST STREET FLEA

“Tucked away in a corner of downtown Tulsa is a crazy building covered in murals, a result of the Habit Mural Festival. Every year, artists from all over come to completely paint over the building with new work. I painted two separate walls last year, and you’ll most likely see me there again this year! The building also hosts my favorite flea market on the first Sunday of every month.”

 

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Eat

 

CHIMERA

“This place is my second office when I need out of my house. They have the best coffee and breakfast tacos in town and incredible sandwiches for lunch, and then it turns into a bar and event venue at night. I have spent entire days there, so I can confirm that the very friendly staff won’t kick you out.”

 

HODGE’S BEND

“This cafe and bar is open from morning to night, so clearly I like a place that I can visit any time of day. Case in point: They make a killer coffee cocktail. They’ve recently expanded their food menu, and every single thing is delicious. This is also the cutest place in town at Christmastime.”

 

VALKYRIE

“If you’re just looking for a drink, Valkyrie is the best cocktail bar in town. The bartenders are so friendly and insanely knowledgeable about their craft. It’s the kind of place where I can give them some vague adjectives like ‘I want a drink that’s both sassy and classic’ and get the cocktail of my dreams.”

 

HEIRLOOM RUSTIC ALES

“Like most cities, Tulsa jumped on the brewery train, especially now that we’re getting better liquor laws! Heirloom just opened last fall, and they hit the ground running with community events, art markets, and an amazing selection of beer.”



Do Things

 

PHILBROOK MUSEUM

“I could gush about Philbrook forever. It’s such a magical place. I’ve been visiting this nationally renowned museum since I was a child. The collection is unreal, and the gardens are spectacular. Now as a working artist, I participate in their events, sell items in the gift shop, and even decorated the director’s office with my work last summer. They’ve opened up a satellite location in Downtown Tulsa that’s a little more contemporary and also a must-visit.”

 

108 CONTEMPORARY

“Located next to the Philbrook Downtown, 108 Contemporary is a craft-focused arts organization and gallery. As a textiles enthusiast, I feel spoiled to have this place. It was the first space I ever exhibited a weaving in Tulsa, and I also sell a variety of woven goods in their gift shop.”


CIRCLE CINEMA

“Circle is Tulsa’s only independent movie theater, and it’s been around since 1928—it’s turning 90 this year! The programming is full of Oscar nominees, art-house flicks, and cult classics. They also have my favorite selection of movie snacks. I usually go with Matcha Kit-Kats and a coffee because I would definitely fall asleep without it, but you should know they have two types of cheeseburgers and a popcorn seasoning bar.”

 

THE COLONY

“Tulsa loves its local music, and for good reason. The best place to hear that famous ‘Tulsa Sound’ is at The Colony. You could throw a dart at the calendar and guarantee a great night out. Sit next to the fireplace on a winter night and prepare to have a pretty dreamy time.”


THE FIRST WARD

I cannot do a Tulsa guide without including one of my favorite places on this earth, The First Ward. First and foremost, it’s a perfectly designed hair salon full of the most talented, inspiring, and considerate stylists you will ever meet. But it’s also so much more. The team hosts parties of all kinds: art galas, fundraisers for youth organizations, town meetings on local politics—and also weird nights where you gamble on haircuts. It’s also home to another of my favorite murals, an homage to bangs.”

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