About Norman Oklahoma – Places to Go – Things to See
Welcome to Norman Oklahoma
Cradled neatly into the intersection between State Highway 9 and Interstate 35 is the town of Norman, Oklahoma, located just 18 miles south of the state capital of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A town that is full of most of the adventures of any big city but still contains the simple feel of most small towns in Oklahoma. Its location offers a unique experience of both the prairie grasslands of western Oklahoma in west Norman and the green forestry of eastern Oklahoma to the east of Norman with Lake Thunderbird. Founded during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, the city is named after a 23-year-old land surveyor from Kentucky, Abner Norman who was the initial land surveyor of the area, the city spawned new life with a population of 787 American pioneers. Shortly after, former Purcell Railroad Freight Agent Delbert Larsh and Railroad Station Chief cashier Thomas Waggoner successfully lobbied the territorial government to establish the first state university in Norman with the passage of Council Bill 114, which officially established the University of Oklahoma, on December 19th, 1890. The Town was officially incorporated on May 13th, 1891 and from that point on, armed with a university and the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway, which had already been established 4 years prior in 1887; the town of Norman flourished and grew into the highly diverse, proudly inclusive community of an estimated 122,000+ people that you find today.
Modern Day University Town
Today, the town of Norman offers a wealth of adventures for just everyone to enjoy. The biggest attraction to the town of Norman, is the University of Oklahoma, which is a major driving force in the local economy. The University of Oklahoma has something to offer everyone, with it being a top performer in everything from athletics, to research and academics, to culture & history, as well as a wealth of career options. If you are a sports fan in search of world class sporting events, Norman is home to some of the Nation’s top coaches, players and teams. Oklahoma athletics are nationally ranked and win post season honors in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, men’s & women’s Gymnastics and cheerleading. These programs put out collegiate and professional sports hall of famers, legendary coaches, numerous conference titles and national championships, All-Americans, record-holders, and Olympic games participants. Academically, the University of Oklahoma ranks near the top in number of national merit scholars per capita on campus, is a leader nationally in research & academics in Engineering, Journalism, Meteorology, Business, Music, Drama & Performing arts, Psychology and Law school. So, if you are looking to expand your knowledge, education or do research in any of these fields of study, the University of Oklahoma and Norman could be a destination for you. Whether you are a student, an educator or researcher, Norman and the University of Oklahoma has a place for you. Lastly, if you are interested in touring Norman and need places to explore while in town, the University of Oklahoma offers a wealth of options. First, there is the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History located just southwest of campus on Chautauqua Street. Here you can find exhibits about dinosaurs, bugs, local animals, as well historical cultural aspects of the city of Norman and the state of Oklahoma. Next, if you are into the arts, the University also is home to the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, located on campus at the corner of Boyd & Elm in Norman. At this museum, which is most famous for housing the collection of its biggest donor, Max Weitzenhoffer, you can find art collections that range from space, to Native American culture, to western art. There is also a rotation of guest exhibits by famous artists throughout the year at both Fred Jones and traveling exhibits at the Sam Noble museum. The University of Oklahoma is also home to some wonderful drama, performing arts and music performances located at Catlett Music Hall and the Reynolds Performing Arts Center at Historic Holmberg Hall. They offer everything from Broadway inspired plays, to ballet, to musicals, and band and choir performances. Lastly, if you are interested in weather, The University of Oklahoma just happens to be home to the National Weather Center located southeast of campus at Jenkins Avenue and State highway 9. The National Weather Center features agencies from the Federal, State and Local levels, students taking meteorology courses, and even real-life tornado storm chasers. This is no accident as Norman is in the heart of Tornado Alley, the region of the United States where tornado activity is most frequent. Being a part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area also means Norman is in the most prone area of the state for tornado activity. This building works in partnership with the University of Oklahoma and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better understand many events happening in our atmosphere over a wide range of time and space. Some of the information for your local news weather forecast might come from information put out by the National Weather Center in Norman. The NWC features the Flying Cow Café and Science on a Sphere, but if you don’t call ahead to book a tour, that is all you will get to see. The tours, which fill up fast so be sure to book yours 1-2 weeks in advance, offer tours of numerous offices and weather observation spaces at the National Weather Center. There is also a proposal in the works to bring a National Weather Museum to Norman too in the future.
Places Eat or Grab a Drink in Norman Oklahoma
Norman is not JUST the University of Oklahoma of course. The town offers a unique arts district located in the center of downtown Norman on Main street. There you can find popular coffee shops such as Grey Owl Coffee or Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar, great burger joints such as The Garage or Bison Witches, art stores that feature local art & hip clothing and a tattoo shop. Main street also serves as home the Norman Arts Festival that takes place in May every year. The event features live music, lots of local art booths, food and drinks, and carnival rides for the kids. Or if medieval history is your thing, Norman is home to an annual Medieval Fair, which takes place every April at Reeves Park in Norman, just southeast of the University of Oklahoma Campus. If you are looking to experience great food while not straying too far from the University, historic Campus Corner is located on Boyd street just directly north of campus. Here you will find every cuisine imaginable, from pizza at New York Pizzeria, to Coffee at Starbucks, to Hotdogs at Diamond Dawgs, or you can take in the bar scene at famous Blackbird’s Gastropub, O’Connell’s or Louie’s. You can party it up over at club Seven-47 or if you have a sweet tooth to satisfy you can check out the famous Hurts Donuts.
Shopping Opportunities in Norman
Shopping is also great time in Norman. Norman is home to Sooner Mall at 36th and west Main street, numerous grocery stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Sprouts, Natural Foods and Crest foods, art stores like Hobby Lobby, shoe stores as well as video game stores like Gamestop and Vintage Stock. Norman is also home to comic book stores, organic goods stores and other unique shops. If you seek fun and adventure, Norman has indoor rock climbing at Climb Up in north Norman, or there is bowling, video games, laser tag, putt-putt and pizza at HeyDay, as well as a pool with water slides, batting cages and go-kart racing at Andy Alligators.
Norman’s Own Airport
Another unique feature of Norman is that it offers a local airport located in north Norman at the intersection of Flood & Robinson streets. While you won’t fly in or out of Max Westheimer airport on a big 747 plane, you can still fly smaller aircraft in and out of the airfield. Most of the use of the airport is Aviation students at the University of Oklahoma, as well as private plane owners who lease or own private hangers on site. Still, the airport offers some uniqueness for tourists and locals alike. First, the airport is home to a popular local cuisine, Ozzie’s Diner. Ozzie’s offers “some of the best diner food in the metro” according to their website, offering a menu of Steaks, Shakes and Pancakes. The view at Ozzie’s is special as well, as you can dine on delicious food while watching airplanes take off and land, so if you like good food and watching airplanes, this is the place for you. The airport is not just known for good food and airplanes either. World War II history buffs will be excited to find that Max Westheimer was also a military training site during World War II. The airport was originally built on land donated by the Neustadt family to the University of Oklahoma and the city of Norman in memory of their Uncle Max Westheimer in 1940. It was taken over the by the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was expanded from 269 acres of land to 1700 acres and turned into a training field for Navy pilots. After World War II ended, the U.S. Navy transferred the 1700-acre airfield back to the university on August 3rd, 1948.
Places to Live in Norman Oklahoma
Living space is fairly easy to come by! There are multiple apartments in Norman, Oklahoma which have a host of amenities to make your stay more appealing. Rent houses are easy to come by for students, and so are affordable apartments, condos and lofts! Whether you’re trying to live on campus, real close, or just in town, Norman Oklahoma has a very thriving real estate market! Apartments in Norman at Twin Village has amenities for students, pet owners, and just regular folks who want an amazing place to live! View more of our site to see what else is available!
Final Thoughts for Norman Oklahoma
If you are interested in travel abroad, learning about other cultures and other diplomatic ideals excite you, you will be glad to know that Norman is considered a “Sister City” to four other international cities. Those cities are Arezzo, Italy, Clermont-Ferrand, France, Colima Col, Mexico, and Seika, Japan. The U.S. Sister city program was founded under President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and is designed to foster cross cultural understanding by creating and strengthening relationships between cities in the United States and in other countries. More than 2,000 cities, states and counties are partnered in 136 countries around the world.
So, if you get the chance to visit Norman, you will not be disappointed, because we truly do offer something for everyone. This inclusive community welcomes with open arms, people from all cultures and walks of life. This diversity of people, culture and activities truly makes Norman the ultimate adventure destination.