While other metropolitan areas struggled in 2008 and 2009, Tulsa weathered the economic storm like a champ. Like some other cities on the list, Tulsa didn’t experience a housing boom, so there was no bust to be had. Compared to tight urban areas on the coasts, land in Oklahoma is relatively inexpensive and extremely plentiful. The state’s agriculture and energy industries kept it afloat as long as it could, and once the recession hit, it didn't linger as long or have as big of an impact. In fact, even during the peak of the recession, Tulsa was growing. In 2008 it opened up its huge BOK Center arena, part of the city’s enterprising Vision 2025 project.
To top it all off, Tulsa is a city with rich history and culture. It’s part of America’s old frontier and is steeped in Native American history. It boasts a highly-rated opera company and two symphonies, among other big-city amenities that might surprise you. It's no coincidence that Livability called Tulsa "an underrated gem" last year.