Norman, Oklahoma at a Glance
Location: Central Oklahoma
Access: Interstates 35 and 40, Will Rogers World Airport
Major Meeting Spaces: Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel and Conference Center, NCED Conference Center and Hotel
Hotel Rooms: Approximately 3,000
Off-Site Venues: Sam Noble Museum, NOUN Hotel
Norman, Oklahoma, is an eclectic city thrumming with energy. The activity isn’t siloed within one pocket of town; it’s spread out among several historic neighborhoods and districts, including the University of Oklahoma campus, Historic Campus Corner and Historic Downtown Norman.
“We like to say we’re kind of a small college town with that kind of charm, but we have all of the amenities of a big city while also being much more budget friendly,” said Taylor Mauldin Wagner, sales manager for Visit Norman. “We offer things like free parking, easier accessibility, walkability — kind of all the fun stuff, but it’s also nice on your wallet too.”
Within this “big” little city, which sits just south of where interstates 35 and 40 meet, amenities abound. For example, Norman is home to a diverse selection of restaurants, bars, breweries, galleries, museums and shops, not to mention a plethora of outdoor attractions. The area features several green spaces and parks. A local favorite is Lake Thunderbird State Park, where visitors can go biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming and more.
Thanks to the University of Oklahoma’s presence, college sports — from football and basketball to gymnastics and rowing — can be found on the calendar most of the year. While entertaining, athletic events aren’t the only part of the university open to the public. Visitors can take campus tours, sit in on a speaker series and attend a performance at the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center, among other things. Plus, this part of the city exudes a youthful, spirited atmosphere that can be traced back to the staff and students’ Sooner pride.
Norman’s various districts and collection of amenities make it an ideal location for companies of all sizes to host meetings. Two main event spaces include Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel and Conference Center, which is in the northside of the city, and the NCED Conference Center and Hotel, which is in the southside of the city. Multiple unique venues are also available upon request, from a boutique hotel to a museum of natural history.
Located approximately 10 minutes from both downtown and the University of Oklahoma campus is one of two major meeting hotels in Norman — Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel and Conference Center. The venue offers 283 hotel rooms, and its 28,800-square-foot Oklahoma Ballroom can hold more than 2,300 people. Several breakout rooms are also available, making the venue’s total event space 42,111 square feet.
Roughly the same distance from downtown and the university is the NCED Conference Center and Hotel, which comprises 940 hotel rooms. Overall, the facility offers more than 75,000 square feet of space, with 39 meeting rooms and three ballrooms. Both hotels offer on-site catering as well as technical services.
Norman is home to several smaller unique facilities. NOUN Hotel, which opened in 2022, is a boutique hotel located within Historic Campus Corner. Its two banquet halls named “Boomer” and “Sooner” measure 3,900 square feet, while its boardroom is 900 square feet. NOUN offers catering and technology capabilities as well as a fleet of vans, which groups can use to travel around the city.
Sam Noble Museum, located on the University of Oklahoma campus, boasts several spaces that can be utilized as meeting rooms. A few examples include its Great Hall, which seats 304 people, as well as its W.R. Howell Pleistocene Plaza, which seats 144 people. The venue is equipped with technology services and offers a list of approved caterers.
Depending on the experience they’re looking to have, groups can find several team-building activities in Norman. The NCED Conference Center and Hotel, for example, offers classes for groups centered on its ropes course. During classes, participants focus on group trust, teamwork, conflict management, leadership and group dynamics. In addition to NCED activities, groups can utilize the resources offered through the University of Oklahoma. Ideas include booking a keynote speaker or requesting a customized group activity. Lake Thunderbird State Park also offers space and summer camp-like amenities for group activities.
In between or after meetings, Norman offers plenty of activities to keep groups entertained. Individuals can explore the city’s excellent food scene, including restaurants like The Mont, an American/Mexican eatery that is known for its Original Sooner Swirl, a frozen margarita with sangria. Plus, groups can tour the University of Oklahoma campus, including its athletic facilities, admire the city’s downtown outdoor arts scene and peruse the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, which offers free admission year-round.