Many people that come to town, whether by car or by plane, don’t quite know what to make of the city. A lot of folks know that Tulsa is famous for oil, but perhaps they don’t know that Tulsa was literally the Oil Capital of the World at one time. Route 66 not only runs through the heart of the city but the father of the road, Cyrus Avery, is from here. Our downtown isn’t huge by any means, but the oil boom prosperity during the Great Depression brought with it great architecture, including one of the largest collections of Art Deco construction in the country.
I’ve given small tours of Tulsa to friends when they visit and thought it would be a good idea to write up a list of ‘To See’ attractions in the city for visitors. Today’s post will stick to Route 66 directly (with one exception.) I have another post (here) that outlines more of the city (such as our downtown architecture, some great neon signs, and museums). This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, but should provide a good outline.
For now, enjoy a trip down Tulsa’s stretch of the Mother Road (east to west).
Note: the current alignment of Route 66 in Tulsa is also known as 11th Street. The 1926-1932 alignment is also known as Admiral Place.
If you’re entering Tulsa from the east (Catoosa) be sure to take 193rd E Ave by the Hard Rock Casino. Take that road south until you reach 11th Street, then turn right. If you’re entering Tulsa from the west (Sapulpa) Historic Route 66 merges onto I-44 at the city limits. Take your IMMEDIATE first exit (49th W Ave), take a left at the bottom of the off-ramp, and then a right onto Southwest Blvd. You’re back on 66!
Mingo Greenway / Plaza
Admiral Twin Side Trip (original alignment)
Golden Driller Side Trip
The Campbell Hotel
Mother Road Market
Kendall-Whittier Side Trip (original alignment)
Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios
Warehouse Market Building
Blue Dome District (original alignment)
Cyrus Avery Memorial Plaza
Howard Park Monuments
Route 66 Village
Ollie’s Station Restaurant
This is the end of Route 66 in Tulsa’s city limits. Off the route, there are many things to see and places to experience. I wrote a second post outlining those stops here. I highly encourage checking it out, as there’s some great neon & architecture in this town that isn’t on the Mother Road.
Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe.
After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world.
Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa.
Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.