12 Tulsa Nicknames and the Stories Behind Them

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A city skyline next to smaller buildings and trees under a blue sky
Tulsa's monikers are inspired by various things, from its oil industry to its culture

Tulsa is one of the largest cities in Oklahoma, but most people don't know much about this part of the state. Learning about the area's nicknames is one easy way to get to know Tulsa a little better.

T-Town and Tulsey-Town are two of the most famous alternate titles for this metropolis, but there are numerous others that might surprise you. So, if you've been trying to improve your Oklahoma trivia knowledge, keep reading. Here are 12 Tulsa nicknames and the stories behind them.

12 Nicknames for Tulsa

A river near trees and a city skyline on a cloudy day
Tulsa was America's Most Beautiful City in the 1950s according to Time Magazine

America's Most Beautiful City

In the 1950s, America's Most Beautiful City was primed to be the most-used Tulsa nickname. The name was first coined by Time Magazine in the 1950s due to the area's metropolitan buildings, cleanliness, and friendly residents.

While the city has fallen into some disrepair over the years, particularly in South and North Tulsa, this name can still be found on some souvenirs. Efforts are also being made to make this old moniker relevant again.

Mecca for Arts in Oklahoma

One of Tulsa's most unknown nicknames is the Mecca for Arts in Oklahoma. This is primarily due to the large number of art installations and sculptures that can be found in the downtown area.

The name also refers to the city's thriving performing arts scene. Ballet, theater, and opera productions are regularly hosted at Tulsa's venues. However, this isn't a terribly widespread moniker, so it's typically just found when referring to performances.

Bronze statues of men with a road entrance archway at the back saying "Route 66"
One of the Tulsa nicknames is Capital of Route 66 due to its place on the route

Capital of Route 66

Another moniker for the city is the Capital of Route 66. While mainly used in reference to Tulsa, this is sometimes also used as a nickname for the state of Oklahoma. The moniker relates to the famous 2,400-mile-long route. It starts in Chicago and takes travelers to California, crossing famous bodies of water like the Arkansas River along the way.

While numerous cities can be found along the road, Tulsa considers itself one of the most important. This is because it was the original seat of the US Highway 66 Association in charge of maintenance. The nickname is a source of pride for the area. Therefore, you can find it on numerous souvenirs, travel articles, and historical texts regarding Route 66 trips.

Buckle of the Bible Belt

Not many out-of-towners know that Buckle of the Bible Belt is a nickname for Tulsa. The title comes from the local Oral Roberts University, an evangelical school that focuses much of its degree curriculums on religion and spirituality.

The Bible Belt is a large part of the Southern US known for having widespread socially conservative Protestant Christian values. Cities given the Buckle of the Bible Belt title are generally those with the most influence in these Christian communities, like Tulsa.

While it's common knowledge that Oklahoma is a relatively conservative and Christian state, this isn't a terribly popular name. So, it's only used in articles of a political or religious nature.

A landscaped garden in front of a mansion with red-orange roofs
Tulsa is dubbed as the Cultural Capital of Oklahoma for its cultural institutions

Cultural Capital of Oklahoma

Tulsa is known as the Cultural Capital of Oklahoma, with locals likening it to the heart of the state in terms of cultural elements like fine arts and recreation.

As one of the largest cities in the state, it's home to some of Oklahoma's most famous landmarks, including museums and art galleries. In addition, Tulsa has numerous theaters showcasing various performing arts shows, adding to the relevance of this moniker. However, the Cultural Capital of Oklahoma isn't commonly used and is generally only seen in articles.

Magic City

It might seem like Magic City belongs on a list of funny Tulsa nicknames, but it's actually a historic moniker. The title can be traced back to the early 1900s. An interesting Oklahoma fact about this period is that the economy was booming due to oil being found in the region.

Since a lot of these oil deposits were found around Tulsa, people were able to get rich in the area as if by magic, prompting the creation of the name. This isn't a very commonly heard slogan today, though. It's mostly found in historical texts or articles referencing Tulsa's history.

A white conservatory building with a water fountain and hedge shrubs in front
Due to its many natural and urban green spaces, Tulsa is called Green Country

Green Country

Northern Oklahoma is known for its thick green vegetation, lakes, and scenic landscapes. Tulsa serves as a gateway of sorts to this part of the state, which has helped the city earn the nickname Green Country.

Initially, this was just used to refer to the northeastern part of the city. However, it has since become synonymous with Tulsa as a whole. This nickname is found in official tourism information and articles about the city.


T-Town is one of Tulsa's most prominent nicknames. This particular name goes back to the area's origins. Originally, the city was known as Tulsey Town, a fact that helped inspire the T-Town moniker. It also plays on a national trend to take the first letter of a city's official name and add it to "town" to create an alternate name.

Over the years, the name has been associated with virtually all parts of Tulsa's history, from the tragedy of the Greenwood District in the 1920s to the city's music scene. It can also be found on souvenirs, brochures, and even sports jerseys.

City buildings and trees under a blue sky with white clouds
Tulsa is also called the 918 by locals, which is inspired by its area code

The 918

While Tulsa has two area codes, the one that shows up in most phone numbers is 918. Its prominence caused people to start associating the combination with the city, prompting the creation of the 918 nickname.

While you can find locals of all ages using 918 in conversation, it's most commonly heard among younger generations. It's also regularly used in articles, from those covering local culture and events to pieces spotlighting Tulsa residents.

The City of Roses

The City of Roses is a Tulsa name most often used to refer to the Broken Arrow suburb just outside the main city. When this area was first developed in the early 1900s, rose bushes were planted to beautify the district, prompting visitors to come up with the moniker.

Some out-of-towners refer to all of Tulsa by this name; however, that's a good way to show you're a tourist. In reality, Tulsans only call the Broken Arrow suburb by this name, which is supported by the fact that it's only found in information regarding this particular area.

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The Oil Capital of the World is one of the popular Tulsa nicknames
Tulsa's thriving oil industry plays a vital role in the city's identity and economy

The Oil Capital of the World

As can be inferred by the Tulsa landmark Golden Driller sculpture, oil has played an important role in the city's growth. In fact, In the early 1900s and into the 1950s, it was known as the Oil Capital of the World.

Though this moniker no longer applies to the area, it's still used in articles about Tulsa's history. The Oklahoma Historical Society has even hosted exhibits commemorating how oil contributed to the territory's growth using this slogan in the exhibition's title.

Tulsey Town

Many people are unaware that Tulsa's name comes from the Native American Lochapoka word "Tulasi," which means "old town." Originally inhabited by this indigenous tribe, the area was later settled by frontiersmen and outlaws during the 1800s. These new residents took inspiration from the city's original name and dubbed the area Tulsey Town.

While this part of Oklahoma eventually changed its name to Tulsa, Tulsey Town can still be found on some souvenirs. It's also frequently cited in historical texts and articles that recount the area's early years as a city.

In Summary

Tulsa often flies under the radar of non-residents, but it's a fascinating place with a long history worth learning about. Whether you already knew most of these names or none of them before reading, this list has hopefully helped you get to know Tulsa a little better through its many different nicknames.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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