February 2, 2014

A Hanson Fan's Guide to Tulsa

If you're a big Hanson fan, chances are you're going to wind up in Tulsa, Oklahoma at least once in your life. For many of us, "Hanson Day" has become this strange annual fan pilgrimage, an event where you can reunite with friends who are usually separated by states and countries and entire oceans. Tulsa has since grown to become more than the home of our favorite band; it's a place for our eccentric family reunion (and it comes complete with that weird cousin you always avoid. You know it's true).

Really, this is not new information. Hanson has given us several guides to Tulsa in the last few years, and if you're a repeat offender, you've probably been to most of these places already. But just in case you've missed the guides and are looking forward to a future trip to Tulsa, here are a few places you might want to check out. Places with * are within walking distance of 3CG/most downtown hotels:

Restaurants


Chicken & Waffles at Caz's
  • Mexicali's*:Yummy Mexican cuisine, conveniently located about half a block from 3CG. 
  • El Guapo's*: More Yummy Mexican cuisine, and you can eat on the roof for a good view of downtown! I recommend the trio of Tacos El Guapo.  
  • Caz's Chowhouse*: Southern fried goodness. I linked this one directly to the menu because that's all you need to convince you to check it out. Also about half a block from 3CG.
  • Joe Momma's*: The perfect late-night pizza stop. One of the few places open late in downtown Tulsa.
  • Blue Rose Cafe: I haven't actually eaten at this one to attest for the food, but it has a prime location right on the Arkansas River. Maybe I'll finally try it this year. (I hear there's an autographed drum head from Hanson hanging on the wall somewhere, too.)
  • Fast Food: I always forget how exciting it can be to come across a chain restaurant you don't have at home while traveling. Here are a few fast food stops you might not have back home that you can drive to once you've figured out downtown Tulsa has no food at midnight: Taco Bueno, Whataburger, Sonic, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Steak 'n Shake.

Shopping


  • Dwelling Spaces*: Before there were annual MOEs & thought-out PDF guides to Tulsa from Hanson, there was Dwelling Spaces. We all knew it, and we all owned their I Heart Tulsa shirts. Inside you'll also find Joebot's Coffee Bar. If you're nice, they might even make you a coffee with a Hanson symbol on top. 
  • Ida Red: Like Dwelling Spaces, a clearly Tulsan boutique. You can find more cute souvenirs and t-shirts here along with a ton of unique soda flavors and foreign candies.
  • Utica Square: If you want to do real shopping and not just hunt for souvenirs, hit up Utica Square. It's sort of an upscale outdoor mall.
  • Glacier Confections*: You know those fun flavored chocolates you see on Hanson.net every Valentine's Day? Those are coming from Glacier Confections. If you care about chocolate at all, do it, and try something exciting. 
  • I Heart Hanson Pop-up Store*: Okay, so you don't need me to tell you to go to this. What you do need me to tell you if it's your first time is to 1) expect to wait in line, and 2) expect to spend money. If you show up at the store at 5 and have dinner planned for 6, you may wind up having to choose between tacos and t-shirts. 
Inside the first I Heart Hanson Pop-up Store.

Spoils from Dwelling Spaces, Ida Red, & Hanson. I wasn't kidding about expecting to spend money!

Sight Seeing


  • The Center of the Universe*: It's located at the top of a pedestrian overpass downtown. Go stand in the middle and figure it out. For all its "unique" appeal, I will say there is a place just like this in Charleston, SC with no plaque or official name to draw any visitors. My friends and I found it by climbing on stuff; go figure. 
  • TBS Video location: You can visit the shooting location for the "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'" video at the intersection of N. Greenwood and E. Archer St. If you walk about a block past the intersection and under the overpass, you'll see the mural used in another scene in the video. 
  • Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza: You can see a little bit of Route 66 History at the old 11th Street
    Bridge. Who knew one of the founders of Route 66 was from Tulsa? "Championed by Tulsa, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery when the first talks about a national highway system began, U.S. 66 was first signed into law in 1927 as one of the original U.S. Highways" (wikipedia). And that's the most history you'll EVER hear out of me.
  • The Golden Driller: Because who doesn't want to stop and take a picture with a 76-foot school-bus-yellow oil drilling man? 
  • Guthrie Green*: This one is pretty new to Tulsa. It's a public park that holds all kinds of events from farmer's markets to food trucks to one mile barefoot walks, if you attended Hanson Day in 2013. 
  • The Philbrook Museum: The gardens here are gorgeous. If you're into art and photography and can catch this place on a sunny day, go take some pictures. Tip: It's free on the 2nd Saturday of every month! There's a list of other discounts and free admission guidelines on the website.
The Philbrook
And I don't care what the 10 day, 5 day, or 24 hour forecast says...pack a jacket!

Got any questions or suggestions of your own? Leave a comment.





2 comments:

Katie said...

We went to Blue Rose a couple years ago. Unfortunately we were not all that impressed with the food or the staff. It is a nice scenic location though. (We weren't able to order the grilled cheese that Hanson noted in the Tulsa guide that year because apparently it was only for Saturday and we went on Sunday which was strange because you'd think grilled cheese would be one of the easier things to make!)

The Good Groupie said...

As a gal who lived in Tulsa for five years, I LOVE your list! It covers some great spots. Only two things I would chime in with: checking out Brookside or Cherry Street, just to walk and wander. There's lots of great restaurants/coffee shops/stores in both areas. And you must get anything with the mac & cheese at The Brook. That is the one place I always have to go when I come back.