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Tulsa

Tulsa is Oklahoma's second largest city and one of the 40 largest in the U.S. Along Route 66, only Chicago, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles are bigger.

Tulsa, though, offers the first real "skyline" along Route 66 since St. Louis. The Bank of Oklahoma Tower, a proud member of the skyline, anchors a sizeable downtown boasting a variety of cool architecture, several corporate headquarters, and new sports arenas. Tulsa features the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA, the Tulsa Talons of the Arena Football League, and the Tulsa Drillers, a Double A baseball team affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. Plus, there are two Division I college teams here – the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University.

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Route 66, after flirtations with Interstate 44, technically enters Tulsa on a seemingly lonely road, known as East 11th Street. Before long, though, you're in the city and heading into the heart of downtown. East 11th Street is a commercial strip, lined with all kinds of businesses, including some that show traces of old Route 66

A good stop for Route 66 road food is Tally's Good Food Café. Though older looking, Tally's only goes back about 25 years, so it's not part of traditional Route 66 lore. It does, however, have that "feel" and is a popular spot for locals, being voted "Best Diner" in Tulsa fairly often. It's especially popular during breakfast

Music fans will appreciate Cain's Ballroom, a versatile dance hall and performing theater that opened in 1924. Cain's Ballroom has hosted many an influential artist and bands, and its shows have helped lead to the development of Western Swing music, a precursor to rock ‘n roll, as well as the "Tulsa Sound", a mix of rockabilly, blues, and rock 'n roll, developed heavily by local musicians J.J. Cale and Leon Russell.

From downtown, Route 66 winds its way to Southwest Boulevard, where it crosses under a Route 66-themed pedestrian overpass and over the Arkansas River. The Arkansas River doesn't flow through the heart of Tulsa; it's on the southern end of the city. You cross the Arkansas River on a modern bridge today, but the former concrete arch bridge that carried Route 66 over the river, known as the Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge, during the road's heyday still exists.

Some long-shuttered motels and diners line this stretch, but Ollie's Station Restaurant continues to serve it up, along the railroad and adjacent to a marker commemorating Tulsa's first oil well. You want chicken fried steak? Here's where you get it.

Hotels:

Best Western PLUS Tulsa Inn & Suites
3212 S. 79th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74145-1317
(918) 858-2100
Best Western Airport
222 N. Garnett Rd.
Tulsa, OK 74116-6034
(918) 438-0780
Best Western PLUS Woodland Hills Hotel & Suites
10143 E 62nd Street S
Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133-1528
(918) 249-8100
Best Western Owasso Inn & Suites
7653 N Owasso Expy
Owasso
Tulsa Area, OK 74055-3339
(918) 272-2000
Fax: (918) 272-6664
Best Western Sand Springs Inn & Suites
211 S Lake Dr
Sand Springs
Tulsa Area, OK 74063-6561
(918) 245-4999
Fax: (918) 245-5862
Best Western Kenosha Inn
1200 E. Lansing St.
Broken Arrow, OK 74012-2099
(918) 251-2795
Best Western Glenpool/Tulsa
14831 S. Casper St.
Glenpool, OK 74033-3911
(918) 322-5201
 
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