The best time to visit the downtown area in Tulsa is on the weekends, when the streets are all but deserted. From the very heart of town, where only pigeons or occasional workmen on high-rises might disrupt your private reveries, to the other scenic buildings in the outer blocks, the downtown area is almost comatose except for single skateboarders or other people who have come for the same reason -- to take pictures of downtown.
Up on the Roof
With numerous sly winks to the “Three Amigos” and a roof-top bar and dining room, El Gaupo Cantina in the Blue Dome District (see my "Nightlife" page) creates a festive atmosphere in which to savor some terrific Mexican food.
Those familiar with the 1986 comedy will enjoy finding the “Amigo” references, from the obvious name to the “plethora of piñatas” and the “it’s a sweater!” margarita. Everyone will enjoy the consistently flavorful Tex-Mex and more traditional Mexican dishes - ceviche de camerons, carne asada, huge burritos, flavorful enchiladas – and the handsome décor of the 100 year old, 2-story building housing the restaurant. Perhaps the main draw to El Guapo however, and the thing that distinguishes it from all other Tulsa eateries, is the open air roof-top dining area. With space for about 90, the roof-top provides an outstanding, up-close look at Tulsa's fine skyline. It is particularly stunning at night. Each floor contains its own bar, and long semi-communal tables on the 1st and 3rd floors, create a nice european vibe of shared community (and make the best use of the restaurant's somewhat narrow but deep configuration).
In the immortal words of Lucky Day: “In a way, each of us has our own El Guapo to face...”
Thankfully, in Tulsa, facing El Guapo is a genuine treat!
The Kennedy Building
Not listed on the National Register but a prominent absentee, the Kennedy Building stands amid the pomp and finery of Tulsa's past and present shrines. In 1891, the former Dr. Kennedy came to establish a practice at the site of the present building, which Kennedy built after he (like everyone else) discovered oil in northeastern Oklahoma and went into business with a partner. The present building was started in 1915, and today retains much of its original Italian and Vermont marble interior and Gothic details on the outside.