As home to the University of Oklahoma, the city of Norman enjoys a national spotlight and widespread name recognition, but not everyone realizes that the college town is part of the Oklahoma City metro area.
Norman is the “same distance from the Oklahoma City Will Rogers airport as it is to downtown Oklahoma City, so it is a very short drive,” said Stefanie Brickman, communications manager for Visit Norman.
Will Rogers World Airport has 30 daily nonstop flights, and Norman sits just south of Oklahoma City on Interstate 35, both of which “can be helpful in getting people from their location to here,” she said.
Norman is a college community that offers visitors plenty to do, from college athletics to arts and culture.
On the OU campus, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art houses a large collection of impressionist paintings.
“Everything you would go to Paris to see you can see in Norman,” Brickman said. “There’s a Monet, a Renoir, a Degas, a Van Gogh.”
Admission to the museum is free, and planners can hold events in the Sandy Bell Gallery, which seats up to 200 people, or an auditorium that can seat 148. Full-facility rentals are also available after the museum closes to the public.
OU’s Sam Noble Museum has five galleries that showcase thousands of artifacts spanning 500 million years of Oklahoma’s natural and cultural history. Visitors can ride a glass “dinovator” to come eye to eye with the world’s largest apatosaurus.
At Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, visitors will see five bronze statues of OU’s Heisman trophy winners at Heisman Park and can explore the newly renovated Barry Switzer Center to see Sooner memorabilia, including jerseys and championship trophies.
“It’s quite a collection of hardware for fans to see,” Brickman said.
Norman is also known as a city of festivals. The annual three-day Norman Music Festival is a free event held at venues throughout downtown, and the annual Medieval Fair — also free — takes place every spring at Reaves Park. Visitors can also check out the Norman Chocolate Festival, the Norman Film Fest, the National Weather Festival and the Aviation Festival.
The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at the National Center for Employee Development is Norman’s largest single meeting venue, and the complex also houses the U.S. Postal Service training center. The hotel’s 964 rooms include recently renovated guest rooms as well as dormitory-style accommodations — for USPS trainees — that work well for youth groups and sporting events. The conference center has more than 65,000 square feet of function space, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom that can seat up to 1,000 for a banquet. The campus also features an outdoor saltwater pool; softball fields; a driving range; a ropes course; and tennis, volleyball, racquetball and basketball courts.