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.
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: +1 405 681-3311.
Amtrak serves Norman with its once-daily Heartland Flyer, running between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. The southbound train depart around 9AM while the northbound leaves just before 9PM. 1 Norman Station is located at 200 S Jones Ave, close to Main St.
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. CART, the local bus service with some service to Oklahoma City, is free to OU students and faculty and affordable for others.
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:
- 1 MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E Main St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM; also 6PM-10PM on second Fridays. A commercial gallery that shows cutting edge work by artists from near and far.
- Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave. A hip live music venue.
- The Performing Arts Studio, 200 S. Jones Ave. Inside Norman's cute historic train depot, hosts concerts and exhibitions.
- 2 Sooner Theatre, 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.
- 1 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave (on the OU campus), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Houses a notable collection of French Impressionist art and a large collection of the Taos Society of Artists.
- 2 Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- 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. 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, 110 E. Tonhawa St. A bronze foundry, gallery and sculpture garden. It is a couple of blocks from Main St. but worth the walk.
- 3 Studio Zen Salon, 301 S Porter Ave, ☏ . M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 10AM-6PM. A full service salon and spa on the corner of Main and Porter in downtown Norman.
- 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.), ☏ . 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.
- 4 National Weather Center, 120 David L Boren Blvd, ☏ . The National Weather Center is the headquarters of the OU School of Meteorology and houses many weather agencies, including the National Weather Service Norman forecast office, Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Oklahoma Mesonet. The National Weather Center also houses the Flying Cow Cafe. Reservations are required for tours, and visitors are encouraged to make reservations two to four weeks in advance. Visitors must check in with security upon arriving.
If you win...
Chances are that, if you win it big in Norman and you are not a U.S. citizen your winnings will be subject to a 30% withholding tax from the IRS. That $10,000 slot winning can dwindle quite quickly if that is taken off the top. Not to worry though you can reclaim your gambling winnings tax through a 1042-S form. You should get this from the casino so don't lose it...it is your starting ticket to getting your gambling winnings back.
- Goldsby Gaming Center, 1038 W Sycamore Rd (Exit I-35 at Highway 9 and head east, continue to W Adkins Hill Road. Turn onto W Sycamore Rd and follow to Goldsby Gaming Center.), ☏ . 24/7. Goldsby Gaming Center is open 24 hours. Here, you can play games ranging from eGames to Bingo. Easy to access from I-35 and has a nice vibe for a smaller casino option. Grab a burger at the Goldsby Grill or head to the bar to watch sports on the big screen and enjoy a drink.
- 5 Riverwind Casino, 1544 State Highway 9 (From I-35, Take Exit 106), ☏ . 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Riverwind Casino has over 2,700 electronic gaming machines with a poker room, 20 table games, keno and off-track betting. Inside are several restaurants including Willows Buffet, Chips 'N Ales and Seasons Food Court, which contains a Taco Bueno, Panda Express, Rick's Cafe and Burger King. There is a hotel on-site with 4 conference rooms and a 24-hour fitness center. For entertainment, there is the River Lounge, which houses local and regional music acts, and the Showplace Theatre, which brings in national touring music and comedy acts.
- Thunderbird Wild Wild West Casino, 15700 East State Highway 9, ☏ .
- The Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave., offers classes in a variety of artistic forms.
For truly distinctive Norman souvenirs, pick up T-shirts from Rusty's Frozen Custard and Guestroom Records.
- Norman's Historic Downtown. Has a number of interesting shops, listed above in the "See" section.
- Campus Corner (just north of Boyd St. adjacent to the OU campus). Is also worth a shopping visit, especially for OU gear. Has a number of shops, bars and restaurants worth exploring.
- 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.)
- The Earth Natural Foods, 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.
- Encompass Interiors, 224 E. Main St. Features custom designed furniture.
- Forward Foods, 123 E. Main St. A nifty little gourmet grocery with a wonderful array of US and imported cheeses.
- Guestroom Records, 125 E. Main St. An independent record store with a very cool T-shirt.
- L & B Yarn Co., 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.
- Vintage Vibe, 311 W. Main St. A vintage clothing store that also rents out period outfits (especially to OU students headed for theme parties).
- Benvenuti's, 105 W. Main St (historic downtown). An expensive Italian restaurant that garnered an immediate following when it opened in March 2006.
- Chelino's, 1331 Alameda St. Mexican food.
- Copia on the Corridor, 326 E. Main St (historic downtown). An intimate spot for weekday lunches, open 11AM to 2PM
- The Diner, 213 E. Main St (historic downtown). A popular place for breakfast and brunch.
- Hideaway Pizza, 577 Buchanan Ave. Gourmet pizza. Tues evenings they have a Dim Sum style buffet.
- Il Dolce Gelateria, Robinson Crossing (NW Corner of 1-35 and Robinson). Norman's first real Italian gelato and espresso. Locally owned and operated.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pepe Delgado's, 752 Asp Ave (Campus Corner). Good Mexican food with great daily specials. Vegetarian friendly.
- The Custard Factory, 1000 E. Alameda Square. A Norman landmark. Previously known as Rusty's Frozen Custard.
- Sweet Basil Cafe, 211 W. Main St (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.
- 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 St (Campus Corner). Homemade pasta with a variety of sauces.
- 1 Van's Pig Stand, 320 N Porter Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. BBQ.
- Bison Witches Bar and Deli, 211 E. Main St (historic downtown).
- The Spirit Shop, 1117 Garver St (Corner of Main and Berry Road), ☏ . 10-9 M-Sat. Norman's oldest and most extensive wine and liquor store. Thousands of hard to find wines.
- 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). 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, ☏ . Bubble tea and espresso. New Campus Corner location now open.
- Michelangelo's Coffee and Wine Bar, 207 E. Main (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 Wi-Fi.
- Residence Inn by Marriott, 2681 Jefferson, ☏ . 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.
- Montford Inn and Cottages, 322 Tonhawa St, ☏ . Check-in: 4-9PM, check-out: 12PM. Built in 1994. $99-$229.
- Lake Thunderbird, 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 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|
|END ← Oklahoma City ←||N S||→ Purcell → Fort Worth|
|Oklahoma City ← Moore ←||N S||→ Purcell → Dallas/Fort Worth|
|Wellington ← Newcastle ←||W E||→ Seminole → Fort Smith|