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.