Norman is located south of Oklahoma City. With around 118,000 people in Norman, it is actually the third largest city in the state, behind only Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Norman is paced firmly within Tornado Alley, which to some would make it seem like a dangerous place to live. However, the people who live in this city are fiercely passionate about it, and the threat of tornados doesn't seem to do much to dampen their civic pride. Norman is home to the National Weather Centre, which is one of the leading meteorological institutes worldwide. It is also one of the largest and most important employers in the city. Another key employer is the University of Oklahoma, who employs more than 10,000 people. Between the employees and the student population of more than 30,000, the University is a key force in the economy of Norman.
When to Search
There are a lot of homes that are available for rent in Norman during most times of the year. In actuality, there are enough that the season doesn't matter much in terms of your apartment hunt. However, if you look during the winter you should find the market a bit less competitive, and have an easier time getting approved for a place.
Staying in the Know
Think about what you're going to need before you start applying for apartments in Norman. For instance, almost all landlords will ask for references, so, you should reach out to a couple of past landlords or employers and verify that you can list them. Some landlords might request a credit check. It is not a bad idea to run a credit check and make sure everything is in order on that front as well.
Life in Norman
The bus in Norman is useful if you're a student, as it provides service to the University. You can also catch a bus from Norman into the downtown of Oklahoma City, which is great for shopping expeditions. However, for the average daily life of a Norman resident, a car is the most expedient way to get around.
Where to play
The University of Oklahoma is a Big 12 Competitor, so a Sooners Basketball or Football game promises a great show. The downtown area is full of small businesses that are primarily locally owned, including independent record stores and art galleries. Main Street, Boyd Avenue, and Asp Avenue are some of your best bets for finding local food. The Library Bar & Grill is a popular student hangout, within a short walk of the main campus.
As a college town, some of the best attractions in Norman are the various museums and other facilities that are affiliated with the school. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is a fantastic museum. It has lots of kid-friendly displays as well, making it an excellent choice for a family outing. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is another treasure within Norman, where you can see paintings by some of the historic masters. The final landmark of great importance on the University grounds is the University of Oklahoma Library. With more than 4.7 million books, only 26 research libraries on the continent have greater resources available to them.
Every city needs a great Mexican restaurant, and in Norman, that title goes to Tarahumara’s Mexican Café. The food is delicious, and the patio is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a margarita in the summer time. For a romantic night out with down home cooking, visit the Whispering Pines Restaurant. For another take on delicious Mexican food, try Juan Del Fuego. They are known especially for their brunch menu. For a big piece of delicious steak cooked in classic steakhouse fashion, you should try a visit at the Saltgrass Steakhouse. Hideaway Pizza is a good place to go if you like pizza, but like to try it with some unique flavour and ingredient combinations.
The Garage is a popular college-aged hangout, with good burgers and fries, along with relatively affordable beer. Another popular spot is Chip’s ‘N Ales, which is also a brew pub with some delicious in-house beer available. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse has embraced the craft beer movement, and has an ample list of beers to choose from at any given time. McNellie’s Abner Ale House is a beer bar through and through. The excellent beer list and the high quality food is why people come back time and again, as well as for the rotating list of beers available to sample through a beer tasting flight.
The main cultural attraction in Norman is definitely the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. In the year 2000, a gift was made to the University. The Weitzenhoffers Collection that the museum received was to date, the most sizable donation consisting of French Impressionist Paintings that any educationally owned museum had ever been gifted. Also at the University is the Catlett Music Center. Throughout the year there are performances from the various schools of fine arts at the University, with a focus on the orchestra, and jazz performances. There are also a handful of other organizations in the city that produce live theatre, including the Sooner Theatre.
The Medieval Fair in Norman has a history that now stretches back 40 years. Held throughout the first part of April, the event features all kinds of live entertainment and food, along with an environment that can't be matched by any other kind of event. Every year, thousands of people dress up in costumes to come enjoy the Fair, and the festive spirit is unmatched. The Norman Music Festival that occurs in April is a large festival featuring independent performers. More than 100 acts descend on the city, and almost every potential venue in the area becomes a concert space for the week.
The major shopping center in the Norman area is known as the Sooner mall. Downtown is a great place to shop because your shopping expedition turns into more of an experience than simply going to the mall. There are art galleries to browse, and plenty of coffee shops to stop in and refresh yourself. Campus Corner is another great place to go shopping. Located near the University, there are more than 75 different stores in the area to shop in. This is also where some of the nightlife in Norman is centered, so it is a great place to head for some evening shopping and late night dancing.
Norman is home to the University of Oklahoma, an institution that first opened it's doors in 1890. The team shares a name with many local landmarks, as they are known as the Sooners, a term used to refer to the early pioneers who got to what is now Oklahoma before land was legally available. The football program is without a doubt the most important part of the athletics at OU, and has produced a number of championship teams, and some top-tier players who have gone on to storied NFL careers. DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson and Troy Aikman are among the most famous NFL players who spent time at OU.
Norman is a proudly bicycle friendly community, and the city has a large network of paths and trails that are perfect for recreation or commuting. The best opportunities for outdoor recreation lie just to the East of Norman at Lake Thunderbird State Park. Here, you have more than 6,000 acres of lake to explore, providing a perfect opportunity for fishing, waterskiing, canoeing and more. There are also two beautiful beaches, which are perfect for catching some sun during the weekend. There are also a couple of good golf courses in the Norman area. The Jimmie Austin Golf Club and the Westwood Park Golf Course are both excellent options.