When our family traveled through Tulsa on a recent Route 66 road trip, bad timing meant missing out on many of the museums and attractions we were hoping to see. Lucky for us, Tulsa does have all kinds of great Route 66 roadside landmarks and old signs that can be seen from the car or on foot. Here are some of our favorites:
The Meadow Gold sign seen on 11th and Quaker has been a Route 66 landmark since the 1930s. Originally located at 11th and Lewis, the sign was recently moved and restored to this new location for future generations of Route 66 travelers to enjoy.
The Golden Driller is several miles south of Route 66 but definitely worth making a detour. This 76-foot statue was built for the 1953 International Petroleum Exposition and is the largest free standing statue in the world. The Golden Driller is located in Expo Square at 21st west of Yale. There’s plenty of parking here and plenty of great places for shooting photographs.
Downtown Tulsa is filled with stunning art deco style buildings which are easy to view from the car or on foot. There are nearly 50 buildings of architectural significance in all. We recommend downloading the Tulsa Art Deco Walking Tour so that you won’t miss any of them.
If you only have time to get out of the car and walk around one building, make it the Boston Avenue Church at 1301 S. Boston, which is regarded as one of the finest examples of finest examples of ecclesiastical art deco architecture in the United States. Be sure to check out their website at BostonAvenue.org for details and tour times.
An early, pre-1932 alignment of Route 66 ran through the 2nd & Detroit areas which has been revitalized as an entertainment district. Known as the Blue Dome District, this area gets its name from a former gas station with a bright blue dome. The Blue Dome Gas Station can be found at the corner of 2nd and Elgin.
Motorists heading west on old Route 66 will run into the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza honoring the father of Route 66, Cyrus Avery. On the east side of the Arkansas river, there’s a nice little plaza with a view of the Cyrus Avery 1916 Art Deco Bridge to enjoy. On the other side of the river on Southwest Blvd is the Route 66 Village. The village is home to one of the world’s largest steam engines and the world’s tallest oil derrick.
Even though our family missed out on a number of Tulsa attractions, we did have a fun time driving through town and finding these iconic Route 66 roadside landmarks. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department has an excellent publication that is geared toward Route 66 travelers that can help your family plan an auto tour of Tulsa. We picked up our guide at the Route 66 Museum in Chandler, OK though you can also download a guide at TravelOK.com
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