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Tulsa Moving Guide

April 21, 2022

Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Tulsa, OK

Many cities and towns claim to be the origin of the famous Route 66, the Main Street of America, or Mother Road. The truth is that Tulsa was the official beginning of the road and, to this day, tells the story of Tulsa's oil and transportation industries that made it the most recognizable highway in the United States.

Tulsa is a hidden gem at the center of the United States with a rich history and proud culture of inclusivity sound-tracked with country music. Its headquarters is a sprawling city with a vibrant metropolis best known for its outstanding geographical features and some unenforceable strange laws.

If you plan on moving to Tulsa, realize that it is one of the finest cities in the country, with top-rung amenities and a long list of unique facts. Here are some of the most important things about Tulsa you need to know before you start packing your bags.


Tulsa City is the second-largest city in Oklahoma and the county seat of Tulsa County. However, the city's metropolitan area is 197.5 square miles, and it extends into six other counties: Osage, Okmulgee, Pawnee, Rogers, Wagoner, and Creek.

According to the US Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 401,190 in 2019, working out to a population density of 2031 people per square mile. Here is the racial composition of the city's populace in 2019:

  • White - 54.0%
  • Hispanic - 16.5%
  • African American - 15.2%
  • American Indian - 4.5%
  • Asian - 3.4%
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander - 0.1%
  • Mixed races - 7.5%

There were about 164,000 households in Tulsa City in 2019, with a median household income of $47,650 in the same year, according to the US Census Bureau. This income is significantly lower than the national median household income of $62,843 in the same period.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is about 8% lower than the national average, according to payscale.com. The median value of an owner-occupied house in the city in 2019 was $139,900, which was notably cheaper than the national median value of $217,500, according to the US Census Bureau. The median gross rent in the city was $829 in 2019 when the national median gross rent was $1,062.

Are you planning on renting when you move to Tulsa? According to bestplaces.net, a studio apartment in the city will cost you $595, a one-bedroom $667, a two-bedroom $852, and a three-bedroom $1,123. Houses of the same size will cost $638, $715, $914, and $1,204, respectively, in the higher-priced Tulsa Metro area.

PayScale points out housing and housing expenses, transportation costs, and food and grocery items as contributors to the city's affordable living costs. For instance, the site estimates healthcare to be 9%, groceries 5%, and gas 2% lower than the national average. However, you can expect to pay more for utilities, including phone bills, energy, and water, by as much as 18% higher than the national average.

Employment and Job Market

If you hope to land a job as soon as you relocate to Tulsa, you may be in luck. Tulsa has an excellent job market compared to cities of similar size with comparable population sizes, and the city is home to some of the largest companies in the country.

The job market has registered notable growth over the past couple of years, and various industries are constantly in need of skilled labor. The key drivers of Tulsa City's economy are aerospace, technology, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. 

The rate of unemployment in the city as of August 2021 is 4.5%, slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2019, 31.5% of the population aged 25 years and older held a bachelor's degree, while 87.3% completed high school.

Here are the top ten employers in Tulsa as of 2020, according to TulsaWorld.com:

  1. St. Francis Health System (Healthcare)
  2. Walmart (Retail)
  3. Tulsa Public Schools (Education)
  4. Hillcrest Health System (Healthcare)
  5. American Airlines (Transportation)
  6. St. John Health System (Healthcare)
  7. City of Tulsa (Local Government)
  8. Bank of Oklahoma (Finance)
  9. QuickTrip (Energy)
  10. Union Public Schools (Education)

Public Transportation and Commuting

The most popular way to get around Tulsa is via the Tulsa Transit buses. They are efficient, affordable, dependable, and run for six days a week from Monday through Saturday- but with limited schedules on Saturday evenings. Regular fares go for as little as $1.85 for unlimited daily rides and free rides for children aged under 18 years, seniors, and the disabled.

The Downtown Trolley is a free and efficient circulator bus line that connects many key points of interest in the city. The bus service runs on Friday and Saturday nights between 6 pm and midnight. Check out TrolleyMap.com for the complete map and route information for when you visit.

There is increasing popularity of shared electric scooters in Tulsa. There are many Lime and Bird scooter stations all over the city that residents and visitors can pick up by scanning a QR code on their phones.

When you want to get anywhere in Tulsa fast, the best mode of transportation is a Rideshare. Lyft and Uber operate in the city, but they are typically the costliest options to get around. There are also many old-school taxi companies in operation, including the Yellow Checker Cab that you can hail when you need one. If you are in town for a few days or weeks, you may want to consider renting a car.

Rush hour traffic and parking spaces are not a big problem in Tulsa. According to GeoStat.org, traffic peaks between 7.30 pm and 8 pm, and the average commute time is 18 minutes. This is significantly shorter than the national average of 26 minutes, according to bestplaces.net.

Culture and Attractions

Tulsa city has a vibrant and inclusive culture that can be traced to the early 20th century when the city was the oil capital of the world. The city is also home to some of the top attractions in the country, including Art Deco architecture, the most extensive curation of architectural work in the United States.

While the city has grown into a modern urban city that offers mid-west comforts and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, T-Town, as it is affectionately nicknamed, has not lost track of its history and culture. Here are the top ten attractions you should consider adding to your must-see list when you visit the city.

  1. Philbrook Museum of Art on South Rockford Road
  2. Tulsa Zoo on 36th Street
  3. Tulsa Performing Arts Center on 2nd Street
  4. Tulsa's Riverfront Park - An expansive and beautiful gathering place along the Arkansas River with nature trails, gardens, boathouses, and sports courts.
  5. Tulsa Botanic Garden on Tulsa Botanic Drive
  6. Tulsa Air and Space Museum on 74th East Avenue
  7. The Tulsa Arts District - One of the oldest districts in the city with repurposed red brick buildings
  8. Blue Dome District - A popular event-hosting district with countless shops, galleries, entertainment spots, eateries, and residential apartments in the heart of Tulsa.
  9. Discovery Lab - A children's museum on Maybelle Avenue.

Food and Nightlife

Should you ask a local for food recommendations in Tulsa city, there is a good chance they will recommend a hamburger at Ron's Hamburgers & Chili. This is the city's most iconic food that you should try when you visit. There are, however, hundreds of great restaurants, diners, bars, and clubs that serve local foods and drinks. Here are some of the most notable places that Tulsans love to eat and hang out.

  1. White River Fish Market on Sheridan Road serves the freshest fried fish combo platter in town.
  2. Weber's Root Beer on Peoria Avenue is the oldest family-owned and run restaurant in Brookside. It serves the famous Weber Superior Root Beer made with all-natural ingredients.
  3. Amelia's Market & Brasserie on Boston Avenue, Art District, is the only French brasserie and Gourmet Market in Tulsa.
  4. Deco Lounge, also on Boston Ave in the Art District, serves the crunchiest and tastiest fries with burgers in town.
  5. Club Majestic on North Boston Avenue is the hottest nightclub with the best live performances, pool tables, and an outdoor patio.
  6. Rodeo Nightclub on 46th Street is a college-friendly country bar and club popular for singles.
  7. Bull in the Alley or 'The Bull' located in Reconciliation Way is an exclusive restaurant in the Arts District.
  8. Palace Café on Cherry Street is a classy and romantic joint that serves high-end cuisine in small intimate settings.

Weather and Outdoor Activities

When you move to Tulsa, expect to experience all four seasons. The summers are hot and muggy, and the winters brief but bitingly cold and windy. According to WeatherSpark, it is partly cloudy all-year-round, and the temperatures range between 30°F to 94°F but rarely drop below 16°F or rise above 102°F.

If you plan to visit and explore Tulsa, the best time for outdoor activities is between mid-June and early September. Here are some of the top outdoor and recreational activities you can look forward to engaging in:

  1. Picnic at the Gathering Place
  2. Catch a live show at Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa Theatre, or the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
  3. Have fun and try your luck at the Hard Rock Casino
  4. Visit the Tulsa Zoo and Oklahoma Aquarium
  5. Explore the Tulsa Arts District
  6. Visit the River Parks and enjoy a 26-mile stretch of running and cycling trail
  7. Experience diverse wildlife on a bike at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
  8. Go on a Kayaking, canoeing, or rafting experience on the Arkansas River
  9. Enjoy drag racing at the Tulsa Raceway Park
  10. Visit the Tulsa Farmers Market and discover the wide variety of local fresh produce

Best Neighborhoods of Tulsa

Unlike any city you have been to, Tulsa has well-organized neighborhoods and a central portal that offers official information about each neighborhood. The City of Tulsa has made it easy for locals and visitors to discover neighborhoods and find their ideal places to live.

Here are the top five most exciting neighborhoods you should know about.

Downtown Tulsa

The neighborhood is full of outstanding Art Deco buildings and affordable homes. The neighborhood is most popular among professionals and people commuting to the city.


A new and upcoming neighborhood ideal for the socially active. It is popular for its many bars, clubs, restaurants, wineries, and antique shops.

Riverview District

This historic middle-class neighborhood district features homes that are over a century old. There are also many upcoming condos and apartments in the neighborhood.

Cherry Street

This is the perfect neighborhood for young families. The neighborhood has the most shopping malls, schools, and entertainment spots in the city.

Pearl District

Consider moving to this neighborhood if you are looking for the top schools or wish to start a business. Pearl District is famous for startups and is a go-to neighborhood for the elite young in the city.

Schools and Education

Information about public schools in Tulsa is accessible on tulsaschools.org. There are 55 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, 13 high schools, and seven charter schools in Tulsa. If you have school-going children, you would want to move to the greater Tulsa area. The schools in the suburban districts are consistently ranked higher than those close to the city center.

Information on higher education, including colleges and universities, is available here. In summation, there are nine universities and colleges in the city, namely:

  1. The University of Tulsa, Tulsa
  2. Tulsa Community College, Tulsa
  3. Langston University, Tulsa
  4. Oral Roberts University, Tulsa
  5. University of Oklahoma-Tulsa
  6. Northeastern State University, Broken Arrow
  7. Oklahoma State University-Tulsa
  8. Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa
  9. Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa

Important Considerations for Cross-Town Relocators

Here are a few things you should bear in mind if you are moving to Tulsa from outside Oklahoma:

  1. The City of Tulsa charges a sales tax of (3.65%), a 'Use Tax' of 3.65%, and Right-Of-Way user fees.
  2. Tulsa has some of the craziest laws you will come across. For instance, it is illegal to kiss for longer than three minutes, and you may not take your pet elephant into the downtown area.
  3. College football games are a serious affair in Tulsa. The biggest rivalries are between Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, but you can only pick one side to die for.
  4. Gas is much cheaper in Tulsa than anywhere in the country. You can compare gas prices on TulsaGasPrices.com to get the best deals.
  5. The City of Tulsa encourages new residents to get to know their neighbors by hosting or attending block parties and volunteering in their communities.

Ready to Move to Tulsa?

There is no doubt Tulsa is a great place to live in. After all, many people retire to the city, largely for its friendliness, affordability, and easy living. Whether you are looking for a quiet but lively place to retire or wish to start a family or business, you would not be wrong to consider Tulsa.

Perhaps the greatest challenge you may face in your move to Tulsa is finding the right neighborhood and planning the moving logistics. With the latter, it is best to let the professionals help you. Contact College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving when you are ready to move and let the experts handle the heavy lifting and moving logistics so you can focus on finding a place to live