After traveling through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs, Kansas, Route 66 entered Commerce, Oklahoma, and headed southwest through Miami, Chelsea, Claremore and into Tulsa.
Once inside Tulsa, Route 66 traversed the city east-to-west on 11th Street into downtown, crossed the Arkansas River, and headed westbound to Sapulpa, Davenport, Chandler, Arcadia and Oklahoma City.
As other segments of Route 66, alignments around Tulsa varied and improved over the years.
In general, it followed the route of present-day Interstate I-44.
The city is known for its art deco architecture in the central Deco District. Landmarks like the Philcade and Philtower buildings reflect a 20th-century construction boom fueled by the prosperous local oil industry. It is often called "The Oil Capital of the World". The city is home to Oral Roberts University, the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa.
Tulsa International Airport (TUL) is located about five miles northeast of downtown and provides non-stop flights to cities across the country. Also located at the airport is the global maintenance headquarters of American Airlines.
|Map of approximate Historic Route 66 path through the Tulsa, Oklahoma area
There are dozens of fun and interesting places to see and visit in Tulsa, both along and outside of Route 66.
Tulsa is an exciting, bustling city, an attractive destination for travelers.
The city offers a large array of museums, night life, events at the BOK Center, sports, lodging options and historic venues for visitors.
Tulsa has attractions ranging from trendy nightlife to first-class art museums, family fun destinations, shopping, Route 66 stops, and much more.
Listed below are but a few of the popular attractions in the Tulsa area.
The Meadow Gold Neon Sign
As the largest neon sign on Tulsa's landscape, the Meadow Gold sign is unique. With each face measuring 30 feet by 30 feet, the size and design of the Meadow Gold sign set it apart from all of the other signs that have been preserved and restored along historic Route 66.
Erected in 1934, the Meadow Gold sign stood above its rooftop perch at 11th Street (Historic Route 66) and South Lewis Avenue for nearly seven decades and served as a reminder of days gone by - days of the milkman and deliveries of dairy products to the porches and front doors of Tulsa, and America.
In August of 2004, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture (TFA) applied for and received a grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program administered through the National Park Service to restore the Meadow Gold sign at its original location.
Located in the Meadow Gold District - 1324 E. 11th Street
The Golden Driller
The Golden Driller is a 76-foot, 22-ton statue of an oil worker in Tulsa, located outside the Tulsa Expo Center.
It is the 6th tallest statue in the United States.
The plaque at the base reads "The Golden Driller, a symbol of the International Petroleum Exposition. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God’s abundance a better life for mankind."
Located at 4145 E. 21st Street in Tulsa.
Located in a former site of a 1950s PEMCO gas station, Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66 welcomes visitors from all over to celebrate the magic of the Mother Road with apparel, toys, souvenirs, home accessories, art, jewelry and more.
Stop by this unique retailer for a fun photo op with the 21-foot-tall Muffler Man, Buck Atom, space cowboy.
This bigger than life man is located at 1347 E. 11th Street in Tulsa.
More info at the
"You Said We Couldn't Do It" Mural
This mural commemorates a bridge built over the Arkansas River in Tulsa in 1904. The bridge wasn’t for rail traffic, so investors considered it a risky project. The government wouldn’t pay for it either. Instead, three citizens formed a toll company and paid for the bridge, a huge undertaking both financially and logistically due to the shifting river bed.
On the completed bridge they hung a sign, “You Said We Couldn’t Do It, But We Did.”
Located in the Meadow Gold District - 1306 E. 11th Street at S. Peoria Avenue
The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza
Two plazas in Tulsa celebrate Historic Route 66 and Cyrus Avery: Centennial Plaza on the east bank of the Arkansas River, and Southwest Plaza on the west bank.
A Skyway with observation deck leads pedestrians from the visitors parking lot across Southwest Boulevard to the plaza.
The park and sculptures are an artistic representation of the use of automobiles and highways spreading across the country in the late 1920s and 30s. Future plans for the Avery Centennial Plaza include a visitor’s center and the Route 66 Interpretive Center, to be located on the hill beside the Skywalk. It will feature Route 66 exhibits, historical perspectives, restaurants and gift shop.
Centennial Plaza is located at the east entrance to the historic bridge at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.
A visit to Centennial Plaza is highly recommended for Route 66 fans!
|View of Skyway looking west
|View of bridge from Skyway
|Observation walkway under I-244, looking east, old Route 66 bridge & Skyway to the right
Route 66 Bridge Over the Arkansas River
Directly west of Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza is the original Eleventh Street Bridge bridge built in 1915 to carry Route 66 over the Arkansas River. It is located between newer bridges on Southwest Boulevard and Interstate 244, and was closed to traffic in 1980 although it remained open for pedestrians for a time.
Gates were locked on the bridge in 2008, and it remains closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic today. The old bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and re-named the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge.
The Cyrus Avery Southwest Plaza
The Cyrus Avery Southwest Plaza is located near the west side of the historic Route 66 bridge.
The plaza includes replicas of three neon signs from classic Tulsa-area motels: Tulsa Auto Court, the Will Rogers Motor Court, and the Oil Capital Motel (see photos below).
|Will Rogers Motor Court
|Tulsa Auto Court
|Oil Capital Motel
Mother Road Market
Traveling down historic Route 66 and looking for a place to stop? Visitors will find a variety of places to eat and shop at Tulsa’s first food hall, The Mother Road Market. Browse local gift items, buy fresh produce and pick from unique restaurant options. Located at 1124 South Lewis Avenue in Tulsa.
Admiral Twin Drive-in
Built in 1951, this is one of a few drive-in theaters remaining in Oklahoma. It is the state's largest drive-in, with a capacity of more than 1,000 cars.
Tulsa has a large number of exceptional murals, such as this "Tulsa Vintage Postcard" mural.
102 E. Reconciliation Way
Woody Guthrie Center
The Center honors Woody Guthrie’s life and legacy by educating visitors about his relevance today and his important role in American history.
1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road
This popular museum houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive, 8 miles northwest of downtown Tulsa
2727 S. Rockford Road
Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art is housed in an Italianate villa that was once the home of a local oil magnate.
200 South Denver Avenue West
Boston Avenue Methodist Church
Completed in 1929, the Boston Avenue Methodist Church is considered one of the best examples of ecclesiastical Art Deco architecture in the United States, and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located at 1301 South Boston, in Tulsa
CityPlex Towers is a complex of three high-rise office towers located at 81st Street and Lewis Avenue in Tulsa.
The complex was originally constructed by Oral Roberts University as the City of Faith Medical and Research Center and meant to be a major charismatic Christian hospital. The tallest tower is 60-stories in height.
The Healing Hands sculpture, on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa
It is the largest bronze sculpture in the world, and towers 60-feet high.
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
The museum is located near the Tulsa International Airport and features a series of historical aviation exhibits, hands-on activities, and vintage aircraft.
A full-dome planetarium was added in 2006.
Route 66 Historical Village
This open-air museum is a unique experience to educate visitors about Tulsa's history in the oil, refining and transportation industries. The Visitor’s Center is a replica of a 1920’s Phillips 66 gas station. The tallest oil derrick in North America is a favorite with visitors. Located at 3770 Southwest Boulevard.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around or through Tulsa? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?
What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.
Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes in Tulsa. These portray the city in its earlier years and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive Route 66 today.
|Will Rogers Motor Court
|Little Mexico Restaurant
Route 66 Road Trips in Oklahoma
MORE OKLAHOMA ROUTE 66
Oklahoma Route 66 Passport
The Oklahoma Route 66 Passport from the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department helps Route 66 travelers find new destinations to explore and document their progress along the way. A new updated passport (yellow) is being offered beginning in 2023.
The Route 66 Passport, which is available free at TravelOK.com, features 66 of the state’s memorable Mother Road attractions. It includes iconic stops like Catoosa’s Blue Whale, Stroud’s Rock Cafe and Clinton’s Oklahoma Route 66 Museum along with many newer favorites.
Get your passport stamped at each stop, then take it to a Tourism Information Center to be verified and earn an exclusive Route 66 coin.
Both the new yellow and previous red Route 66 Passports are now available in a digital format. Download the official TravelOK Trip Planner app on the Apple App Store or Google Play to get started. When you get to each stop, you'll find a code displayed that you can enter to digitally check in.
Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are trip planners for all eight states on The Mother Road ...