Bristow, OK, may not be a town on your bucket list, but it should be a place to consider when driving through the golden plains of Oklahoma. Located along the historic Route 66, Bristow offers a glimpse into the past, where days seemed slower, and life was simpler. Because of this, Bristow, OK, is a must-stop on any classic road trip.
Where Is Bristow, OK?
Bristow, OK, is tucked away along the famous Route 66 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It’s about 40 miles southwest of Tulsa and 80 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. Its central location gives visitors an easy way to hide away for a moment from the hustle and bustle of Oklahoma’s larger cities.
Did You Know? Route 66 winds through 8 different states. Start planning your cross-country Route 66 road trip!
What Is Bristow, OK, Famous For?
Getting its beginnings and growth initially from cotton and the railroad industry in the late 1800s, Bristow, OK, is now a tourist destination along the historic Route 66. But maybe its biggest claim to fame is the legendary country-western star, Gene Autry.
In the 1920s, Autry worked as a telegrapher at several local train depots. As the story goes, Will Rogers came in one day waiting for a train and noticed Autry’s guitar. Rogers asked that he play a tune or two to pass the time. Unbeknownst to Autry, Rogers had a radio show and mentioned Autry’s guitar skills on his show. And as they say, the rest is history. Gene Autry became a western country star!
Maybe Autry never forgot about his beginnings because he later returned to Bristow to host a radio show at KFRU, “the first radio in Oklahoma,” held at the Roland Hotel. You can still see the former Roland Hotel Building when tooling around Bristow, OK.
What Is There to Do in Bristow, OK?
You won’t find streets full of nightclubs or expansive shopping malls here. But you will find history and fun within the museums, golf course, and brick-lined historic streets. Let’s see how to fill your day in Bristow.
Go to the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum
You can’t miss this museum of classic wonder. A group of car lovers started the Heart of Route 66 Museum, and it shows. It has the world’s tallest gas pump located out front. Who else but a group of car lovers would think of that? While this isn’t an operational gas pump, it serves its purpose well in attracting the many visitors who frequent this cool museum.
With frequently rotating classic and collectible cars and memorabilia, you may have to come back here more than once to experience the beauties housed here. They include a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr, a 1939 Cadillac Convertible Coupe, a 1961 MG TF, a Chip Foose Built 1965 Chevy Impala, and more.
See the Bristow Historical Depot and Town Square
Another claim to fame for Bristow, OK, is that it’s home to more brick streets than any other town in Oklahoma. So when you’re coming in off Route 66, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the historic depot and town square.
At the Bristow Train Depot, you’ll learn more about Bristow’s Native American heritage, along with the railroad that started the town with its many displays and exhibits. Here, you can also pick up a brochure highlighting the town’s 37 historical sites and buildings. These include the historic Post Office, the Wake Island War Memorial, the Firestone Building, and the Bristow Motor Co. Building.
And while you’re wandering the town square experiencing all of this first hand, you’ll also come across a vintage neon sign. It hangs outside the 1930s Firestone Building, commemorating days gone by.
Golf at Bristow Golf and Country Club
Opened in 1923, the Bristow Golf and Country Club is a brilliant way to experience history while playing a round of golf. It’s a semi-private, nine-hole golf course with everything you’ll need for a day of golf. You’ll have access to the pro shop, golf carts, a snack bar, a driving range, a putting green, and more.
Take a Day Trip to Tulsa, OK
With Tulsa being less than an hour’s drive away, it makes for a perfect day trip. Hop in your car to experience a world of culture, nightlife, shopping, restaurants, and scenic walks.
If you like art and museums, don’t miss the Philbrook Museum of Art. It’s located in a 1920s villa with expansive manicured gardens. Another must-see art experience is the Cave House. Here, you’ll be surrounded by both art and history in this uniquely designed cave-style building. For nightlife, head over to the Blue Dome District. And for shopping, wine bars, and dining, you can’t miss the Brookside Neighborhood.
If you need a nature fix, Tulsa has that, too, with its many parks. One of the best-known parks is Woodward. Here, you can wander while viewing the beautiful flora or relax with a picnic. River Parks is another well-known park with 26 miles of paved paths running right alongside the Arkansas River. Whatever you choose in Tulsa, there’s plenty to do here for a day trip from Bristow, OK.
How Big Is Bristow?
Bristow may not have an expansive reach at just over four miles, but it’s the people who count. From its early beginnings in 1900, there were just over 600 people in residence. Today, this small town, while still small, has just over 4,000 residents.
Is Bristow, OK, Worth a Visit?
If you’re a small-town history buff who loves the simple life, then Bristow, OK, is worth a visit. From its roots as a cotton and railroad town to its current status, complete with a golf course and its charming brick-lined historic downtown, Bristow is a place to get away from it all.
What are your favorite small Route 66 towns?