Norman Oklahoma Community Guide

By: Andy Janko

"Already the third largest city in the state, Norman continues to grow and expand. Part of the secret may be that Norman is ideally located within driving distance of Oklahoma City and even allows for weekend trips to Dallas, which is three hours away.

Of course, Norman is about more than just a great location. It is also home to a number of attractions, including the University of Oklahoma, the largest University in the state. The University boasts a 2 million-volume library which is accessible to the public, and which local residents can use. Residents of Norman can also visit the University's two major museums and access the many programs and courses the school offers. If you love sports, you may enjoy catching a game -- the University's National Championship-winning football team and the men's gymnastics teams are both big draws. The women's basketball team at the University of Oklahoma is considered among the best in the country.

Norman's historic downtown core also offers much to see and do.

From gourmet grocery stores to small galleries, music venues, and independent stores, the downtown area offers much fun and recreation. Be sure to check out the beautiful architecture in the area as well as the many independent and funky businesses. Norman's Performing Arts Studio is a great place for concerts and exhibitions. Sooner Theatre is another good option for live music and theatre. The historic downtown area also has many wonderful cafes, bars, and restaurants. When you live in Norman, you can easily dine out on a different delicious world cuisine every day of the week!

If you enjoy the arts, Norman has a number of galleries and facilities that may be of interest. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art boasts a fine collection of French Impressionist art and an impressive collection of the Taos Society of Artists. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History contains a number of celebrated exhibits. If you prefer music, there are many live music venues and the Summer Breeze Concert Series is a popular - and free - attraction in the summer. If you enjoy soaking in the arts outdoors, visit the bronze foundry known as The Crucible. Here, you will find a gallery as well as an impressive sculpture garden. The Firehouse Art Center is another great local resource, offering art classes.

If you are looking for recreational options, Norman has a number of green spaces and parks. Be sure to visit the George M. Sutton Wilderness Park, which boasts many trails and a few ponds. You may also want to visit the Little River Zoo which rescues abandoned exotic animals. If you are willing to drive a little bit outside of Norman, Lake Thunderbird offers mountain bike trails, boating facilities, campgrounds, and horseback riding trails. Also outside of Norman is The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge which boasts many hike trails as well as many animals native to the region. The Refuge is about a 90 minute drive outside of Norman, so it is easily accessible to the community's residents."

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