About 110 nautical miles northeast of Oklahoma City/Norman, Oklahoma, and 36 nm north of Tulsa, Bartlesville is the little town with the big skyline that oil built. A century ago, Bartlesville citizens, made wealthy by oil, invested in architecture and supported the arts. Today, you can tour, and even sleep in, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed and built skyscraper. Explore the opulent estate of oilman Frank Phillips, visit local museums, and discover uniquely Oklahoman surprises.
Start at the visitor’s information center, housed in the century-old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Rail Depot, and check out the two rare steam locomotives. Next, visit the Bartlesville Area History Museum and the Phillips Petroleum Co. Museum, which includes an original 1914 Pusher airplane. A mile south is the Frank Phillips Home, built in 1909 and preserved by the family with possessions intact. There’s plenty of shopping to be had, but don’t miss the guided tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower, the only realized skyscraper by the legendary architect. The top floors have been restored to 1956, complete with original Wright mid-century modern interiors. You can eat, drink, and enjoy live music at the Copper Bar and even sleep here in one of 19 distinctive, high-design rooms on the tower's upper floors—continental breakfast and tower tour included. Next door, the Bartlesville Community Center is home to the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra, ballet troupe, choral society, and other performances. The OK Mozart International Music Festival takes place in Bartlesville each June and features live performances of classical music, jazz, light opera, and more. Past performers have included André Watts, Joshua Bell, and Itzhak Perlman.
Downtown is abuzz with energy; young professionals occupy remodeled historic lofts, and Hilton has opened a Garden Inn. Eateries like Frank & Lola’s Neighborhood Restaurant & Bar have spurred additional redevelopment. Another local favorite is the famed Hideaway Pizza, an Oklahoma original since 1957. Play roulette or catch a game on one of the big screens while they prepare your Hideaway Special, which presents a different topping on each slice of pizza. Follow with a slice of frozen lemonade pie, just the thing on a warm summer day.
Twelve miles southwest of town is the don’t-miss Woolaroc Ranch, Museum, and Wildlife Preserve. Named for the woods, lakes, and rocks indigenous to the Osage area, Woolaroc is the 3,700-acre country estate of oil baron Frank Phillips. As you drive in, look for more than 700 animals, including zebra, bison, elk, ostriches, and longhorn cattle. Check out the famous Woolaroc Travel Air 5000 monoplane that won the Dole Air Race. You’ll find a welcome center, walking trails, petting barn, and a museum with a huge collection of art, Colt firearms, and American Indian cultural items. Nearby Osage Hills State Park offers 1,100 acres of hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. Or, stay in a native-stone cabin constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The park is near Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, the world’s largest remaining intact tallgrass prairie, managed by The Nature Conservancy and home to 2,500 bison.
Art, history, architecture, and exotic animals—all this and festivals throughout the year make Bartlesville a great place to visit any time!
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