This piece comes from Brooklyn based CGT member JR Pepper, find her on instagram @girlduality
The United States has a few standard places recognized for it’ s creep-factor; Salem and New Orleans being prime creepy real estate, as well the main travel destinations for most creepy girls. However, there are many other places not far off the Creepy Girl Travel radar that can also offer a fine taste of the macabre.
Tulsa is a strange place, and it has been for as long as I have been visiting. I had first voyaged there over seven years ago to visit my sister-from-another-mister and my delightfully eccentric godson. It always seems to be battling between the old and the new, the conservative and the liberal and gentrification and the historical. Regardless of if you are stuck on a layover, or taking a random trip through - you can certainly have good-bizarre ole time.
For starters, I highly recommend the Brady Arts District. Here you’ll find the Jazz Hall of Fame, the famous Cain’s Ballroom and the beautiful Art Deco Mayo Hotel nearby.
Address: 13 E Mathew B. Brady St,Tulsa, OK 74103
Hours: 4pm-2am, 7 days a week
If you are in the mood for a fancy cocktail and probably one of the smoothest martinis I have ever had- I highly recommend The Valkyrie. Sit at the far end of the bar to see their collection of vintage-inspired Harry Potter travel posters or their fantastic Union Jack couch. The space is huge and the drink menu is tremendous. It is blissfully free of sports or televisions. Not exactly creepy, but if you are a fan of vintage cocktails and need to step out of the 100+ degree Tulsa heat- this is the place to do it.
Address: 21 East Brady, Tulsa, OK 74103
Hours: 2pm-2am Monday-Saturday and 4pm-2am Sundays
Looking for something cheaper, with some eclectic clientele? Or, maybe something more down-to-Earth? Try Caz’s a few doors down. Not for the faint of heart, or those with allergies to cigarette smoke- but you find some of the best drink deals in the Brady Arts District. If you are hungry, you can order from their restaurant across the way, and the delivery is free. Punk, Goth and normal folk alike all gather here nightly for the awesome jukebox and great beer selection. The walls are covered with amazing graffiti and various paintings from local artists. Every few years they repaint the walls and the artists get to work on a blank canvas/wall.
A word of warning though, Caz’s is one of very few places in downtown Tulsa that still allows smoking. That having been said everyone comes here to smoke. When you leave this place, every stitch of clothing even your damn bra will smell like smoke. Hell, I’ve been in here and even my frikkin’ socks have smelled like smoke. The friends I’ve made here though are well worth it. But heed the warning… it can literally take your breath away.
Other late nightspots in Brady Arts District
Other late nightspots? Got to recommend Yeti, which is a newish bar that popped up a few years ago. Highly recommend their backyard area - that gives you a fabulous view of downtown Tulsa.
Tulsa is also known for its late night music scene. The wonderful Cain’s Ballroom offers an eclectic mix of music. Brady Arts District often has free concerts in the nearby park. There are also several jazz theatres. If you are looking for something darker, then with any luck you will be in town for Assimilation - the local Goth/New Wave/Death Rock night. The thing with Tulsa is that you won’t just find your local Goths at Assimilation - you’ll find anyone with a penchant towards eccentricities and the odd. Horror makeup designers use the events as a way to show off their best designs. Costume designers use it as a means to show their newest threads. Well worth it, and bring a camera.
The Brady Arts District has a pretty detailed website which includes a business directory of all the other great places in the area, check it out here: The Brady Arts District
Museum of Osteology
Address: 10301 S. Sunnylane Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73160
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am - 5pm / Saturday 11am - 5pm / Sunday 1pm - 5pm.
Oklahoma has its odd side and it wears it on its sun beaten sleeve. Nearly a two-hour ride to Oklahoma City will take you to the amazing Museum of Osteology. What started off as Jay Villemarette’s collection, the museum now has around 5,000 specimens. It specializes in the study of skeletons and skulls and will even show you how they clean the specimens. Heads up, get food on the way…they have no café. Well worth the drive, the attentive and helpful staff as well as the fantastic and tantalizing gift shoppe- make the Museum Osteology is definitely a must see for any Creepy Girl Traveler.
Be sure to tell the raccoon skeleton munching on a box of candy I said ‘ howdy’.
Tullahassee Creek Indian Cemetery
Address: 700 Charles Page Blvd, Sand Springs, OK 74063
If you are swinging back by Tulsa, I have to recommend two surreal stop overs. First, you have to find your way to the Tullahassee Creek Indian Cemetery in Sand Springs. The cemetery was established in 1883 and only about half of them are clearly marked. In the 1960’s, it had been stipulated that the cemetery remains untouched. Over the years, though a strip mall grew around it. If you walk by at night you’ll see the silhouettes of headstones under the florescent lights of the Radio Shack.
Needful Things - Oddities and Antiques
Address: 1143 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK, 74120
Hours: 10am - 6pm Wednesday-Monday, closed on Tuesdays
Feeling doubly creepy after your strip mall cemetery jaunt? Get in your car, hit up the AC and drive over to the fabulous Needful Things - Oddities and Antiques. I happened upon this brilliant store by default. The bartender, Eric at the Valkyrie had recommended it as a result of my discussion about Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. The store had only been open a few weeks and we just made it there as they were about to close- but the staff was knowledgeable, helpful and super friendly. I honestly wish I had found out about the store sooner so I could have taken them out for a beer.
If you are a fan of oddities, antiques and adorable Goth rabbits (live ones not taxidermy) this is the perfect place in Tulsa for you. Not only do they deal in antiques, but they also sell jewelry and art from a variety of local artists. Although, I didn’t get to partake Needful Things does offer candle magick classes, tarot readings and a variety of other classes. After a lovely chat with Demi, and the purchase of my first planchette, we were on our way.
EDIT: Since I wrote this the Goth bunnies, named Hocus and Pocus have had a baby!
A couple practical notes and some more recommendations
I have a few things to note about traveling to Oklahoma. First, the weather is insane. The winters are some of the coldest I’ve ever been in. For December to February be certain to bring the warmest sweater you have. The summers by contrast can reach well over 100 degrees, so you are going to want to find a nice cool place with AC to spend your afternoons. Additionally, unless you are staying in the Brady Arts District, you will realize that folks don’t really walk around. You are going to need a car to get most places so be prepared.
The Oklahoma heat certainly can build a girl’s appetite and there are a number of recommendations. The Gypsy Coffee House has been a Tulsa staple for years and is well worth it. It was originally built for the Gypsy Oil Company in 1906. They offer Wi-Fi and open-mic night in a fun eccentric atmosphere. They also have a terrific menu with vegan friendly specialties. Highly recommended is their gigantic Chai latte and the avocado chicken salad with almonds (the actual name of the salad escapes me). Once you’ve had your fill of healthy food and caffeine, The Hunt’s Club a few blocks away makes simply awesome queso. If you don’t know what that is you sure as hell should.
If you only have one desert the entire time during your trip to Tulsa - go to the Glacier Confection’s. Everything they make is delicious but if you can only try one, try the Apple Ghost Caramel which is the single most decadent and flavorful candy I think I have ever tasted. There are dozens more to choose from and each is better then the last.
I might have a bias, Tulsa is one of my homes away from home. Sure, it’s off the beaten path. The food, the people and the weird make it worth it.
The Gypsy Coffee House
303 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Tulsa, OK 74103
The Hunt’s Club
224 N Main St, Tulsa, OK 74103
15 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103