Gathering Place Captures Global Attention, Accolades as It Celebrates First Anniversary

In its first year, Tulsa’s Riverfront Park achieves fanfare and recognition, including USA Today’s Best New Attraction, TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places, Urban Land Institute’s Global Excellence Award, American Planning Association’s Great Places and one of National Geographic’s 12 Mind-Bending Playgrounds Around the World.

Gathering Place, Shane Bevel Photography (Photo: Business Wire)

TULSA, Okla.--()--Tulsa’s Gathering Place opened its doors in September 2018 and instantly became home to world-class attractions, one-of-a-kind experiences and dynamic programming. During those first 365 days, the Park garnered multiple prestigious accolades, including Best New Attraction by USA Today and one of National Geographic’s 12 Mind-Bending Playgrounds Around the World. Recently, Gathering Place added TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places, American Planning Association’s Great Places and an Urban Land Institute Global Excellence Award to this list. These awards highlight how the Park, created to promote inclusivity in Tulsa, captures worldwide attention for its mission, innovation and design.

To be recognized with these prestigious awards, especially at such an exciting time in our Park’s history, is a tremendous honor not just for our team but for the entire city of Tulsa,” said Tony Moore, Gathering Place Park Executive Director. “We recently celebrated the Park’s one-year anniversary and these awards highlight the aspect we are most proud of—the mission of inclusivity, accessibility and creativity. We are deeply appreciative of every visitor, partner and donor who makes Gathering Place the unique, meaningful place that it is.”

On TIME Magazine’s second annual World’s Greatest Places list, Gathering Place was ranked among attractions across the globe as a must-see destination. TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories—including museums, parks, restaurants and hotels—from their editors and correspondents around the world as well as industry experts. They evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence, according to their website.

From the beginning, we wanted to make Gathering Place one of the greatest places in the world,” said Jeff Stava, Construction Director & Trustee TGP, LLC. “Without the contributions of time, feedback and resources from the Tulsa community, the Park would not have been able to accomplish this mission. These awards are the embodiment of a community working together to create a place unlike anything our city and state has seen before.”

The ULI Global Excellence award showcases superior land use in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. According to their website, “Winning projects represent the highest standards of achievement in the development industry—standards that ULI members deem worthy of attainment in their professional endeavors.”

These awards share with the world what we’ve known for years—Tulsa is on the move,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Being home to one of the world’s greatest attractions is not only great for the economic development of our community but is also a tremendous honor all of Tulsa can be proud of.”

The American Planning Association named Gathering Place one of the Great Places in 2019, a list of attractions across the U.S. designed to encourage community and “bring people together through good planning.”

With the dynamic programming schedule set for the rest of 2019, including events like Tulsa in Harmony, Tulsa Beer & Wine Festival and Oklahoma Tribal Celebration, Gathering Place continues to provide incredible experiences while working to unify and celebrate the diversity in Tulsa. To plan your visit and discover more about Gathering Place, visit

To learn more about these awards, please visit:

About Gathering Place

A project of George Kaiser Family Foundation, Gathering Place will transform nearly 100 acres of Tulsa’s waterfront along the Arkansas River into a dynamic and active space when the project is completed. A public-private partnership, GKFF and numerous corporate and community philanthropists gave ownership of the $465 million park to River Parks Authority who in turn signed a long-term operational and management lease back to an entity of the foundation to ensure the highest quality operation, maintenance and programming for the life of the park.

Gathering Place for Tulsa is doing business as Tulsa’s Gathering Place, LLC. To learn more about the project, visit


Katie Bullock | 479.530.2615

Release Summary

Gathering Place receives national recognitions from TIME Magazine, American Planning Association and Urban Land Institute.


Katie Bullock | 479.530.2615