Steadily shedding its reputation as a sleepy rural town comprised of pioneer settlements and cowboys, Tulsa is emerging as a colorful destination for tourists and business travelers alike with tons of Tulsa event venues. At the heart of its urban renaissance, the massive Vision2025 revitalization plan is changing the face of downtown with a fresh collection of restaurants, attractions and newly-defined meeting and event facilities.
Headlining this venture, the BOK Center opened in September 2008 as the city's top multi-purpose entertainment attraction. With a dramatic, curved glass façade, the 550,000-square-foot center offers 18,041 seats and four private party suites capable of accommodating a wide range of events. The BOK Center's downtown location places it conveniently across from the Tulsa Convention Center, the city's prime meetings site.
Also undergoing expansion, the Tulsa Convention Center will unveil its new 30,000-square-foot ballroom, the largest in Oklahoma, in addition to 10 new meeting rooms in fall 2009. Only nine miles from the airport, the center already boasts over 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 20,000-square-foot conference hall, and a 7,700-square-foot assembly hall, among other spaces.
Situated merely minutes away from the convention center, the popular Expo Square rounds out Tulsa's meetings space offerings with a variety of flexible facilities. Its Pavilion has seating for over 5,000 guests, while the 448,400-square-foot QuikTrip Center is one of the largest clearspan buildings in the world. Upon its opening, the 22,194-square-foot Exchange Center will be an ideal space for hosting an art exposition or black-tie gala. Serving as home to more than 400 events every year, Expo Square has done it all from auto shows to craft shows to the 11-day Tulsa State Fair.
Though many large-scale, purpose-built facilities are making waves on Tulsa's meeting scene, the city is also home to several unique facilities that give guests a chance to connect to its small town roots. A celebration of the city's homegrown jazz, gospel and blues talent, the 2,000-square-foot Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame offers many rooms for private events. The Italian Renaissance-style Philbrook Museum of Art, a 72-room villa once home to oilman Waite Phillips, is a classic backdrop for dinners and receptions. More than 300 guests can enjoy an unforgettable night under the majestic domed ceiling of the museum's Zink Rotunda and Mabee Reception Gallery. Add punch to a presentation by hosting it at the Gilcrease Museum's auditorium, or host an intimate dinner at its on-site Osage Restaurant.
Whether small or large, every meetings site in Tulsa promises quick and easy accessibility for attendees. In fact, it rarely takes more than 20 minutes to reach any destination in the downtown area. However, with many appealing attractions just outside the city limits, a day trip to the surrounding Oklahoma foothills remains an enticing option. Welcome attendees to Tulsa with its trademark Western charm by hosting a dinner at the casual Discoveryland!, an outdoor amphitheater just outside the city that serves as world performance headquarters for the musical Oklahoma! Only 30 minutes away, Stone Bluff Cellars, a family-owned Oklahoma winery, beckons guests to its expansive patio, capable of hosting up to 70 people for an upscale affair. From Tulsa's large-scale downtown event facilities to its exclusive unique event spaces scattered throughout the city and just beyond the city limits, Tulsa promises to provide planners with the ideal site for their next meeting or event.
Petroleum giants Excel Energy, ONEOK, Samson and Williams Companies are all headquartered in Tulsa. As its economy expands beyond the oil industry, energy, telecommunications and finance companies such as BOK Financial Corporation have established offices in Tulsa as well. Many colleges and universities have campuses in the city, including Oral Roberts University, the University of Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Northeastern State University.
Resting among rolling hills and lush forests at the base of the Ozark Mountains, Tulsa is the 2nd largest city in the state of Oklahoma. Dating back to Lochapoka and Creek Indian tribe settlements, the city made a name for itself in the 20th century for its profits in the oil industry. In fact, after the 1905 discovery of the large Glenn Pool oil field, Tulsa transformed from a self-described cow town into the "Oil Capital of the World." Though oil is no longer the mainstay of Tulsa's economy, the city's metro area remains prosperous with over one million residents, making it the most densely populated area in the state.
The city's early 20th century building boom left its mark on the face of downtown, now populated by several structures reflecting that time period's popular Art Deco architecture. Guests can see this unique style up close at downtown's inspiring Boston Avenue Methodist Church and soaring Mid-Continent Tower. Meanwhile, Greek revival and Craftsman bungalow styles characterize the Midtown district. Here, visitors can stop for pictures of the azaleas in bloom at the 45-acre Woodward Park, or shop at Utica Square's Miss Jackson's, Tulsa's oldest department store. Stroll through the aptly-named Blue Dome District, named after its signature Art Deco blue-domed service station. The district's many bars and entertainment attractions, such as McNellie's Public House, Dirty's Tavern and the Continental, keep the fun alive well into the night.
Tulsa's architectural wonders serve as more than just a beautiful backdrop. The cityscape is home to numerous attractions that appeal to any type of visitor, from cultural enthusiast to animal lover to music aficionado. Explore the Italian Renaissance art at the renowned Philbrook Museum of Art, ranked as one of the top 50 fine art museums in the nation. Spend a day getting to know the lively and curious Asian elephants Gunda, Sooky and Sneezy, three of over 1,500 animals at the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum. The soulful sounds of jazz and blues lure visitors to the 35-block Greenwood Historic District, known for being a prosperous center for black commerce in the 1900s. Visit the Mabel B. Little Heritage Center to learn about Greenwood's storied past, or stop by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame to delve into the city's roots in this musical genre.
Visitors to Tulsa are pleased to discover that its popular downtown attractions quickly give way to a stunning array of lush outdoor spaces. Often referred to as the gateway to "Green Country," the city offers over 144 parks to explore. Enjoy the sweet fragrance of 6,000 rose plants at the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden at Woodward Park, home to 45 acres of botanical gardens. Or, stroll through the Laci Dawn Hill Butterfly Garden at 32.5-acre Washington Irving Memorial Park. From its flourishing parks to the vibrant arts and music scene, Tulsa gives visitors an opportunity to experience a unique blend of Eastern elegance, Western charm and Southern soul that is sure to have them planning a second visit.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Situated by the Arkansas River and in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Tulsa enjoys a temperate climate marked by a mild average annual temperature of 63°F and average annual rainfall of 39 inches. Winter months are marked by light snow and average lows of 26°F in the coldest month of January. Summer months may see temperatures rise into the low 90s in July and August, accompanied by high humidity.
The city's proximity to Tornado Alley results in severe weather during spring and early summer. The best time to visit Tulsa is during the fall months of September to November, when warm, sunny days give way to cool nights.
Tulsa Convention Center
Winner of the Prime Site Award from Facilities and Destinations magazine in 2007, the Tulsa Convention Center is a 140,000-square-foot complex in the heart of downtown. Currently undergoing renovations as part of the city's Vision2025 plan, the center plans to open 10 new meeting rooms and Oklahoma's largest ballroom at 30,000-square-foot in fall 2009. Today the center boasts column-free exhibit halls totaling 102,600 square feet, a 20,000-square-foot conference hall, a 2,750-square-foot conference room, and a 7,700-square-foot assembly hall surrounded by 14 breakout rooms.
The convention center offers audio-visual equipment and sound, lighting and climate controls to help planners craft a customized atmosphere. The on-site catering staff is capable of serving the largest plated meal in the state for over 3,500 guests. Also noted for its convenience, the Tulsa Convention Center is a short 15-minute ride from the airport, has a 1,403-space parking garage, and is connected by a skybridge to the 417-room Doubletree Hotel Tulsa in downtown. With its experienced staff, affordable rates and wide range of event space, the center has unsurprisingly found that over 85 percent of its clients are repeat clients. These clients represent a wide range of groups from prestigious national associations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation to state groups such as the Oklahoma Dental Association.
Tulsa Expo Square
Originally established as a fairground in 1923, the Expo Square area first held a basic pavilion that has since been expanded into an enormous multi-use complex of facilities. More than 400 events are held annually at Expo Square, whose many versatile spaces sprawl outward from its 76-foot-tall "Golden Driller" statue, a nod to the venue's role as host to the International Petroleum Exposition until 1980.
Today, the Expo Square Pavilion has seating for slightly under 6,000 guests in its festival seating, folding-chair seating and 22 VIP skyboxes. Also on the grounds, the QuikTrip Center offers 448,400 total square feet of space on two levels, making it among the largest clearspan facilities in the world. The 43,000-square-foot Central Park Hall has two reception areas and two meeting rooms, among other spaces. Meanwhile, the Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex's 700,000 square feet of arenas and barns, including the 2,750-seat Ford Truck Livestock Arena and 250-seat Mustang Arena, is available for events. To top it all off, many of Expo Square's facilities feature amenities such as concession stands, parking access and dressing and media rooms, and wi-fi is available throughout the grounds.
In fall 2008, Expo Square's offerings will expand yet again with the opening of the Exchange Center. The extremely versatile facility features 58,500 square feet of exhibit space, three meeting rooms and two show offices.
Opened in September 2008, the BOK Center is downtown Tulsa's state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. The $180 million venue, constructed as part of Tulsa's Vision2025 plan, was designed by renowned Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, known for his work on some of the world's tallest buildings. With Tulsa elements of the oil industry and Art Deco architecture influencing the design, the center's dramatic, curved glass façade is an attractive addition to the city skyline. Comprised of 18,041 seats and four party suites, the 550,000-square foot arena is an attractive venue for large scale events. In fact, even before its grand opening the center was set to host performers such as Celine Dion and Neil Diamond and shows such as Cirque du Soleil.
Tulsa International Airport (TUL)
Approximate taxi fare: $22 USD
As downtown Tulsa is transforming so is the Tulsa International Airport, which will begin a $70 million renovation project in fall 2008. The project will expand and improve the concourses, adding a bevy of upgrades including heightened ceilings, clearstory windows, enlarged gate areas, and additional passenger services such as business centers and lounges. Each year, the airport sees roughly 3.3 million passengers, who take advantage of the non-stop service to 20 U.S. cities.
With only two concourses, navigating the airport is quick and easy. In addition to restaurants such as Camille's Sidewalk Café and Varsity Grill and Sports Bar, a number of newsstands, gift shops, a chapel and a minute-massage parlor provide passengers with comfortable amenities to pass the time. Wireless Internet is available throughout the airport for a small fee.
Tulsa International Airport offers short-term, long-term and valet parking, as well as an express shuttle to transport passengers between parking lots and the terminals. The airport is located within walking distance of two hotels that offer space for conventions and meetings: the 172-room Radisson Inn Tulsa Airport and 104-room Hilton Garden Inn.
Airline carriers serving Tulsa International Airport
The Tulsa Transit buses run throughout Tulsa and surrounding areas, including stops at the Tulsa Zoo, Gilcrease Museum and airport. Bus fare is $1 for children and $1.25 for adults. Fare for children ages 4 and under is free. A 10-ride fare card is $8 for children and $10 for adults, while a one-day pass, which includes unlimited rides, is $3.
Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty are represented at Tulsa International Airport. Counters are located next to the baggage claim area.
Traversing Tulsa is easy by taxi, with companies such as After Dark Taxi of Tulsa, American Taxi, Checker Cab, Tulsa Airport Taxi and Yellow Cab servicing downtown. Basic taxi fare is $1.85 per mile. The cost of a trip from the airport to downtown is around $22.
Photo Credit : Don Sibley
There are no current promotions in Tulsa, OK.
Interested in placing a promotion? Call Cvent for information on advertising opportunities at 1-866-318-4358.