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Tulsa Neighborhoods

Tulsa's kind of funny, geographically speaking. Instead of radiating out from downtown, as so many cities tend to do, it spreads to the east and south, leaving the areas north and west of downtown relatively undeveloped. (Part of it is the geographical boundary of the Arkansas River that flows along the west side of town—but seriously, people, it's not like there aren't bridges.) Most of Tulsa unfolds in an orderly fashion away from downtown and the river, with easy-to-navigate streets laid on a grid system with major thoroughfares occurring predictably at every mile. With a couple of exceptions, Tulsa isn't really broken down into recognized neighborhoods; rather, most people talk about what major intersection they're near.

South Tulsa

From Midtown, Tulsa continues to spread south until it devolves into suburbs such as Jenks and Bixby. At each mile along the way (51st, 61st, 71st, etc.), you'll find major streets lined with restaurants and stores (more like Chili's and Safeways than cafes and boutiques), with residential neighborhoods concealed behind them. This area isn't inherently interesting, but there are specific destinations worth driving to. At 96th Street, you'll find the RiverWalk Crossing development, and just across the river is the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Expo Square

To the east of downtown at 15th and Yale are the city's fairgrounds, Expo Square, which is surrounded by residential areas and lots of chain restaurants and stores. Expo Square is watched over by the Golden Driller, a 76-foot-tall statue of an oil worker that is simultaneously beloved and pilloried for its campy execution and mustard-gold color. Nearby, at 11th and Harvard, is the campus of the University of Tulsa and Skelly Stadium, along with the corresponding college-area establishments, like bars and sandwich shops.

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Midtown

Just south of downtown, this area includes (roughly) the streets from 11th through 31st, from the River east to, let's say, Harvard Avenue. (It's hardly an exact science.) Within these boundaries you'll find some of the city's most beautiful historic mansions, including one that's been turned into the Philbrook Museum of Art, as well as the tony shops of Utica Square. As home to the city's more moneyed residents, this is where you'll find the more upscale eateries.

Downtown

Tucked away in the northwestern corner of the city, Downtown is situated right on a bend in the Arkansas River. It's more oriented toward commerce than tourism, and can be sleepy on evenings after the workforce heads home, especially when there aren't any events to liven things up. Relatively crime free, the downtown area is clean and, for the most part, well maintained, with beautiful art deco buildings that make it surprisingly attractive.

Brookside

Where's the party? Definitely Brookside. Although it includes the surrounding residential area, the name Brookside has become synonymous with a stretch of Peoria Avenue between 31st and 41st streets, maybe a little beyond. The street is chockablock with shops, restaurants, bars and clubs, and it enjoys a steady stream of traffic from breakfast till 2AM. If Utica Square is where the old money is, Brookside attracts a younger, more fashionable crowd that likes to spend money, dine out and celebrate the day's accomplishments with a cosmopolitan.

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