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Norman (Oklahoma)

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United States of America : Great Plains : Oklahoma : Frontier Country : Norman
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Norman is a city in the Frontier Country region of Oklahoma and in Cleveland County, is the third largest city in the state and is home to the University of Oklahoma (popularly known as OU), the state's largest and flagship University.

Get in[edit]

Norman is located less than 30 minutes due south of Oklahoma City, and approximately 3 hours north of Dallas, on I-35. It is easiest to access by car, though there is limited Amtrak service to the area (train does stop in Norman), as well as bus service from Oklahoma City. An Airport Express shuttle will transport you from the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City directly to your destination in Norman: (405) 681-3311.

By bus[edit]

  • Megabus, [1]. Service from Dallas. Bus stop is located in the parking lot of the Lloyd Noble Center. Fares from $1 and up.

Get around[edit]

Norman has a small transit system, so it's easier to get around by car. Areas around the OU campus can be accessed on foot. Local bus service [2], with some service to Oklahoma City, is free to OU students and faculty and affordable for others.

See[edit][add listing]

Norman is home to the University of Oklahoma, a member of the Big XII conference. The OU campus, the heart of the city, is located north of Highway 9 and south of Boyd St. in between Elm St. and Jenkins. It has a 2 million-volume library open to the public, a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs, a law school, National Championship-winning football and men's gymnastics teams and one of the top women's basketball teams in the nation. It houses two major museums (see below, under Do).

Norman's small historic downtown, located on and around Main St. east of University, hosts an increasingly thriving array of local businesses, including:

  • Forward Foods [3], 123 E. Main St., a nifty little gourmet grocery with a wonderful array of US and imported cheeses.
  • MAINSITE Contemporary Art [4], 122 E. Main St., a commercial gallery that shows cutting edge work by artists from near and far.
  • Opolis [5], 113 N. Crawford Ave., a hip live music venue.
  • Guestroom Records, 125 E. Main St., an independent record store with a very cool T-shirt.
  • The Performing Arts Studio, 200 S. Jones Ave., inside Norman's cute historic train depot, hosts concerts and exhibitions.
  • Encompass Interiors, 224 E. Main St., features custom designed furniture.
  • Vintage Vibe, 311 W. Main St., a vintage clothing store that also rents out period outfits (especially to OU students headed for theme parties).
  • Sooner Theatre [6], 101 E. Main St., hosts a variety of live music and theatre performances.

Notable restaurants, bars and cafes in the historic downtown (see full listings below under Eat and Drink): Benvenuti's (Italian), Sweet Basil Cafe (Thai), Winan's Fine Chocolates and Coffee, Coach's (microbrewery), Bison Witches Bar and Deli, The Diner (just like the name says), Pho Sooner Vietnamese Restaurant.

Campus Corner [7], located just north of Boyd St. adjacent to the OU campus, also has a number of shops, bars and restaurants worth exploring.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave (on the OU campus), (405)325-3272‎ (), [8]. houses a notable collection of French Impressionist art and a large collection of the Taos Society of Artists.  edit
  • Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave, (405) 325-4712 (), [9]. Make sure to see the "Cooper Skull," the crushed skull of a now-extinct bison, which is the oldest known painted artifact in North America.  edit
  • George M. Sutton Wilderness Park, 2000 12 Ave. NE, is a great place to find a little country right in the city. It is small, but has so many trails that you can explore for hours. It is a peaceful and scenic place to walk or jog, with two or three ponds and native Oklahoma scenery.
  • Norman has a surprisingly active local music scene [10]. See especially the free Summer Breeze Concert Series, organized by the Performing Arts Studio and held in the evenings in local parks during the warmer months.
  • The Crucible [11], 110 E. Tonhawa St., a bronze foundry, gallery and sculpture garden. It is a couple of blocks from Main St. but worth the walk.
  • Salon Zen, 104 S. Porter, 405 310-6313, [12]. a full service salon and spa on the corner of Main and Porter in downtown Norman.  edit
  • Tribes 131 Native American Fine Art, 131 24th Ave. NW (24th is the 2nd light east of I35 on Main, the gallery is in the Westwood Shopping Center on the immediate right side of 24th, as you turn North off Main.), 405.329.4442, [13]. 10 -6. Norman's premier gallery for Native American Fine Arts, Jewelry & Gifts. A 20 year fixture in Norman, previously on Main street. The gallery has a vast inventory of some of the Nation's most seasoned artists. From contemporary to traditional and ledger art, all styles all mediums are represented. Website: tribes131.com Free.  edit

Gambling[edit]

  • Gaming Center, 1038 West Sycamore Road, +1 (405) 329-5447, [14].
  • Riverwind Casino, I-35 and Hwy 9 (West), (From I-35, Take Exit 106) (405) 322-6000, [15].
  • Thunderbird Wild Wild West Casino, 15700 East State Highway 9, +1 (405) 360-9270.

Learn[edit]

  • The Firehouse Art Center [16], 444 S. Flood Ave., offers classes in a variety of artistic forms.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Norman's Historic Downtown has a number of interesting shops, listed above in the "See" section.
  • Campus Corner [17] is also worth a shopping visit, especially for OU gear.
  • The Earth Natural Foods [18], 309 S. Flood Ave., is a small but useful natural foods store that sells a great variety including bakery items, fresh produce, bulk spices, and Burts's Bees.
  • L & B Yarn Co. [19], 425 W. Gray, has a beautiful selection of gourmet yarns and many knitting classes and events.
  • Sooner Mall, 3413 W. Main St., is undistinguished but supplies the basics.
  • Ed Noble Parkway, which begins across Main St. from the Sooner Mall (just west of I-35), houses many large chain stores and restaurants (Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Chili's, Applebees, etc.)

For truly distinctive Norman souvenirs, pick up T-shirts from Rusty's Frozen Custard (under Eat) and Guestroom Records (under See).

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Benvenuti's, 105 W. Main St., in historic downtown. An expensive Italian restaurant that garnered an immediate following when it opened in March 2006.
  • Cafe Plaid, 333 W. Boyd St., in Campus Corner. A nice lunch place, though it tends to be crowded. Now open until 9PM
  • Chelino's,1331 Alameda St. Mexican food.
  • Copia on the Corridor, 326 E. Main St., in historic downtown. An intimate spot for weekday lunches, open 11AM to 2PM
  • The Diner, 213 E. Main St., in historic downtown. A popular place for breakfast and brunch.
  • The Earth Café & Deli, 750 Asp Ave., has wonderful veggie burgers, vegan baked goods, and several other vegetarian/vegan options as well as espresso and a fresh juice bar. Dining area is small, so it may be difficult to find a seat during peak lunch/dinner hours.
  • The Fat Sandwich Company, 759 Asp Ave. in Campus Corner. An innovative shop fashioned after the New Jersey grease trucks, with a cult following among bar-goers. They deliver every day until 3AM Order on Soonerfood.com or call (405) 701-8627.
  • Gaijin Sushi, Main and Porter. Great sushi in a new bigger location. Locally owned and operated.
  • Hideaway Pizza, 577 Buchanan Ave. Gourmet pizza. Tues evenings they have a Dim Sum style buffet.
  • Himalayas [20], 814 N. Berry Rd. Sizable Indian buffet open daily, with South Indian offerings on the weekends (Fri. - Sun.).
  • Il Dolce Gelateria, Robinson Crossing NW Corner of 1-35 and Robinson [21]. Norman's first real Italian gelato and espresso. Locally owned and operated.
  • In the Raw, 575 S. University Ave. Right next to campus and has fairly tasty sushi. Cool trendy industrial atmosphere. Chain also has locations in OKC and Tulsa M-Sa 11AM-late [22]
  • Misal of India Bistro, 580 Ed Noble Parkway. Great Indian food and lovely atmosphere. Won Norman Transcript Reader's Choice Awards for Best Healthy and Vegetarian Restaurant, Lunch Buffet, and Best Place to Take a Date in 2007. [23].
  • Pad Thai, 119 W Boyd St & 1309 Jenkins Ave., Now has two locations near OU, one near campus corner on Boyd and the other near the stadium just southeast of campus. Great Thai food, locally owned and operated. The one on Boyd is larger and a little more upscale. Nice lunch specials. ***The location on Jenkins has been demolished for OU dorm expansion.
  • Pepe Delgado's, 752 Asp Ave., in Campus Corner. Good Mexican food with great daily specials. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Pink Elephant Cafe, 301 E Main St. Very eclectic, excellent organic freshly prepared food & Sunday brunch spot. Now open for dinner from 5-9PM as well.
  • Rusty's Frozen Custard, 1000 E. Alameda Square and 2296 W. Main [24]. A Norman landmark.
  • Sweet Basil Cafe, 211 W. Main St., in historic downtown. Thai food served in a nice atmosphere in Norman's historic downtown.
  • Tarahumara's Mexican Cafe, 702 N. Porter Ave. Great food - expect to wait on the outdoor patio before being seated.
  • Taste of India, 1000 Alameda St # 140B. Norman's favorite authentic Indian restaurant. It even has Indian popsicles. [25]
  • TEA Cafe,1241 Alameda St, Asian fusion food and bubble tea.
  • Thai Kumkoon, 1347 W. Lindsey. Excellent lunch buffet.
  • Thai Raja, 761 Jenkins Ave., a bit east of Campus Corner. Reasonably priced lunch buffet with many vegetarian options.
  • Turquoise Cafe, 786 Asp Ave., Elegant gourmet dining in Campus Corner. Locally owned by two chefs and featuring local ingredients.
  • Victoria's Pasta Shop, 327 White Street in Campus Corner. Homemade pasta with a variety of sauces.
  • Van's Pig Stand [26], 320 North Porter. BBQ.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Bison Witches Bar and Deli, 211 E. Main St., in historic downtown.
  • The Spirit Shop, 1117 Garver St (Corner of Main and Berr), 405 321 3100. 10-9 M-Sat. Norman's oldest and most extensive wine and liquor store. Thousands of hard to find wines.  edit
  • Cafe Plaid, 333 W. Boyd St. Coffee shop and cafe across from OU campus. Free wi-fi (turned off during lunch).
  • Coach's, 102 W. Main St., in historic downtown. Microbrewery and restaurant with lots of seating space. A fun place to watch OU sporting events.
  • Gray Owl Coffee, 223 E Gray St., in historic downtown. Artsy new coffee shop. Great teas and pastries as well.
  • Il Dolce Gelateria, Robinson Crossing, at the NW Corner of 1-35 and Robinson [27]. Brewing Italy's Lavazza espresso.
  • The Library Bar & Grill, 607 W. Boyd St. Walking distance from OU campus. Small bar with relaxed atmosphere and a pleasant outdoor patio space. Serves beer from Coach's microbrewery.
  • The Mont, 1300 Classen Blvd. Bar and restaurant within walking distance of OU campus. Big outdoor patio space.
  • TEA Cafe, 1241 Alameda St. & 788 Asp Ave +1 405 366-1555. Bubble tea and espresso. New Campus Corner location now open.
  • Michelangelo's Coffee and Wine Bar, 207 E. Main, in historic downtown. Coffee shop with a nice atmosphere and good chocolates. Cafe style menu with artisan pizzas, panini, etc. Local art and performances, wine bar, gourmet coffees and teas, free wifi.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Embassy Suites, 2501 Conference Drive, (405) 364-8040. Spacious and lovely, with a bar and a buffet-style hot breakfast.  edit

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Residence Inn by Marriott, 2681 Jefferson, +1-405-366-0900. This hotel specializes in extended stay suites, making the rooms larger than the average hotel rooms with accommodations to make it feel like a home away from home.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Montford Inn and Cottages, 322 Tonhawa St, (405) 321-2200, [28]. checkin: 4-9PM; checkout: 12PM. Built in 1994. $99-$229.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Lake Thunderbird [29], a few miles east of Norman, offers great mountain bike trails (the Clear Bay Trails) as well as boating, camping and horseback riding.
  • The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge [30] offers some nice hikes, plus the likelihood of a buffalo or longhorn cattle spotting. These are not enormous mountains, but the trails are scenic and relatively diverse. Approximately 90 minutes from Norman by car.
Routes through Norman
Oklahoma CityMoore  N noframe S  Pauls ValleyDallas/Fort Worth





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