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Renter's Guide to Tulsa
Spread over 196 square miles, Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma. It’s only 100 miles from Oklahoma City - its larger neighbor. Home to countless entertainment options, music events, museums, galleries, and ethnic festivals, it is considered to be the cultural and arts center of the state. In addition, for most of the 20th century, the Tulsa oil and gas industry earned the city the title of being the “Oil Capital of the World.”
Also, an interesting, though overlooked distinction, is that America’s most famous road, Route 66, owes its existence to the foresight of a Tulsa businessman, Cyrus Avery, who is known as the "Father of Route 66." It was he who in 1925 initiated a campaign to create a road linking Chicago to California, thus earning Tulsa the nickname of "Birthplace of Route 66".
Situated in the northeast corner of the state—258 miles from Kansas City, MO and 242 miles from Dallas, TX—Tulsa weather is affected by the fact that it lies at the edge of the Great Plains and at the foot of the Ozark Mountain Range in an ecoregion of rolling hills, forest, prairie, and the Arkansas River that flows through the city. Climate in Tulsa is rather temperate, with an average annual temperature of around 60 degrees. However, winters can be chilly and the city does see some of the white stuff from December through February, though Tulsa snowfall rarely totals more than 12 inches.
Tulsa, OK Demographics
- Total Population401,352
Female 194,853Male 206,499
- Median Age34.9
Cost of Living in Tulsa, OK
The Tulsa cost of living index is more than favorable (67.43) when compared to other large cities in the U.S., like New York. In particular, Tulsa public transportation is very reasonable, with bus fares as low as $1.50 and a Tulsa transit bus tracker available to make it much easier to use the system. Discounts are also available for military, students and seniors as well as those who purchase daily and monthly passes. For those looking for a more personal ride, Tulsa taxis blanket the city and fares start at $2.75, though a fare finder is available to calculate the cost of any ride in the city.
Whether eating out or at home, you won’t spend a lot on food, where an average meal at an inexpensive restaurant is only $10 and a mid-range meal around $45; groceries are also cheap compared to other large cities.
Utilities for a 900-square-foot apartment in Tulsa average around $153 per month and the bill from Tulsa cable providers for unlimited Internet access is only around $50 per month.
Average Rent in Tulsa, OK
- Tulsa, OK Average Rental Price, December 2019 $712 /mo
Tulsa, OK Apartment Rent Ranges
- < $50010%
Tulsa, OK Rent Trends
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Living in Tulsa
If starting a Tulsa business is in your blood, then the city is more than ready to help. Over the past few years, Tulsa has been recognized by WalletHub as a top ten best city in the country to start a business. Nerdwallet also named it as one of the hottest cities in the country for small business and as one of the best cities in the country for young entrepreneurs. It also ranks high in Areavibes’ livability score (76), which is above the national average due in no small part to its low cost of living, sunny weather, and a plethora of local amenities. Add to that the fact that Tulsa is one of the country’s more walkable cities, and you can see why Tulsa emerges as one of the best places to live in America.
Let’s not forget that Tulsa is considered the cultural and arts center of the state and that a number of Tulsa neighborhoods are historic districts as well as on the National Register of Historic Places. A walking tour of some of the historic neighborhoods – such as the Swan Lake Historic District in midtown Tulsa, the Riverview Historic District and the Buena Vista Park Historic District in uptown Tulsa, Brady Arts District on the north side, and the East Village downtown - will showcase many of the beautiful places in the city and examples of its art deco architecture. Tulsa is also a very diverse city, counting among its population 15% African-American and 14% Hispanic among a number of other ethnicities.
Things to do in Tulsa
Tulsa may not be among the largest cities in the country, but there is certainly no shortage of things to do here and some of the best things are free. The mood is set for fun all year long with dozens upon dozens of cultural, music, and film events and festivals staged throughout the city, including the Tulsa United Film Festival, the Tulsa International Mayfest, the Juneteenth Blues and Jazz Festival, Cherry Street Farmers' Market, Oktoberfest, Wunderfest, and Tulsa State Fair.
Residents can also enjoy the nearby Ozark Mountains or stay in the city and visit any one of the 140 parks around the city that encompass over 8,200 acres of green space. Chandler Park is a great spot for outdoor fun, with rock formations for climbing, a swimming pool, 2 large playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course, and more!
Being a mecca for the arts, one will find art deco masterpieces prevalent throughout many of Tulsa’s downtown buildings and churches as well as outstanding works of art along many of the trails in the city’s lovely River Parks. If you happen to be in Woodward Park, make sure you look for Cyrus Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirit. This beautiful statue is truly inspiring! For a nice movie night out, Cinemark at Tulsa and AMC Southroads 20 feature all the recent releases; and the Tulsa Zoo is a top area attraction for families with kids.
The city also boasts numerous museums, such as the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Gilcrease Museum, the Tulsa Art Deco Museum, and the Woody Guthrie Center, among others. Broadway plays and musicals can always be found at the Performing Arts Center and the Tulsa Ballet Company. Founded in 1956, Tulsa Ballet blends classical dance with dramatic theater and its company includes internationally recognized dancers trained in the Ballet Russe tradition. All of this rich cultural legacy certainly enhances the quality of life for Tulsa’s citizens.
College football is well represented in Tulsa with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The University of Tulsa currently sponsors 17 intercollegiate sports including women’s golf, basketball, tennis, and volleyball; and men’s basketball, football, soccer and tennis.
With so much to do, anyone would work up a healthy appetite and restaurants in Tulsa are some of the finest to be found anywhere. If your tastes are for good old Tulsa BBQ, there’s Burn Company or you can have some juicy, deep fried ribs at Kilkenny's Irish Pub. If it’s great pizza with deep Italian roots that you’re after, Andolini’s is one of the best pizza places in Tulsa; and for good old American fare that is locally sourced, there’s Smoke restaurant. Plus, Texas Roadhouse has some of the best hand-cut steaks in Tulsa. Of course, this is just a short list of the variety of ethnic and gastronomical delights found in Tulsa to satisfy just about every appetite.
Employment and Economy in Tulsa
Tulsa is home to some of the nation’s largest companies, covering a wide spectrum of key industry sectors including aerospace, energy, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and transportation. One of the many reasons is that Tulsa offers the fifth-lowest cost of doing business in the country and it has a highly educated workforce - 87.3% graduated high school or higher, 31.0% have a bachelor's degree or higher, and 10.5% have a graduate or professional degree. Some of the largest employers in Tulsa include the City of Tulsa, Tulsa Public Schools, AT&T, Bank of Oklahoma, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, American Airlines, QuikTrip, and the University of Tulsa.
Tulsa, OK Households
- Total Number of Households164,381
Family 94,733Non-family 69,648
Children 49,169No Children 115,212
- Average People Per Household2.4
- Median Household Income$44,577
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$825
Education in Tulsa
On January 20, 2016, the TPS (Tulsa Public School) Board of Education unanimously approved a strategic plan called Destination Excellence - the future of Tulsa Public Schools. Serving approximately 42,000 students in 86 schools, this is indeed a bold plan that aims to place every child on a pathway to realize his or her full potential and should appeal to anyone who is looking to locate in Tulsa and raise a family.
Tulsa Tech, a public independent school district affiliated with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, serves students from 27 public high schools and 24 private schools. It offers full-time programs, part-time programs, and training programs for business and industry.
As to higher education, Tulsa has 15 institutions that include two notable private universities in the University of Tulsa, a top-ranked national doctoral university founded in 1894; and Oral Roberts University, founded by evangelist Oral Roberts in 1963 and ranked as among the West's top 50 Master's Universities. Other highly rated education options in Tulsa include the Tulsa Community College, which serves approximately 30,000 students, and Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma, both of which maintain campuses in the city as well.
Tulsa, OK Education Statistics
- No High School5%
- Some High School34%
- Some College26%
- Associate Degree7%
- Bachelor Degree18%
- Graduate Degree9%
Tips for Renting in Tulsa
Familiarize yourself with the State of Oklahoma Landlord and Tenant Acts under which the City of Tulsa is governed. Generally, this act states that tenants in Oklahoma have the right to habitable living conditions in housing that meets basic structural, health, and safety standards and is in good repair. Should a landlord fail to make necessary repairs to keep the premises in safe, livable condition, a tenant has the right to withhold rent until those repairs are made. Before actually withholding rent or using the right to repair and deduct when taking care of the repairs yourself, always make sure your actions comply with the Oklahoma state law—including giving the landlord written notice of the problem.
If you’re moving to Tulsa from Boston, you may not need a lot of cold weather clothing, since the climate is rather temperate, but it does get chilly in the winter so some outerwear for the cold is still necessary. A large percentage of Tulsa’s population is college educated, so it’s a great place to live if you're looking for a place with a high education standard.
Finally, if you love the outdoors, Tulsa is a great place to live given its proximity to the Ozarks and the vast rolling hills and parkland in the city.
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