Norman Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, activities to do, food to try, and tips for a safe and enjoyable trip to Norman, Oklahoma.

Introduction to Norman

Nestled in the heart of Frontier Country, Norman is a vibrant and lively city in Oklahoma that offers a diverse range of attractions for travelers. Known for its rich cultural heritage, sports events, and scenic landscapes, Norman is a great place to visit for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. This comprehensive travel guide will explore the top places to visit, activities to do, food to try, and tips for a safe and enjoyable trip to Norman, Oklahoma.

List of Places to Visit in Norman

Norman has plenty of must-see attractions that cater to all tastes and interests. Here are the top places to visit while in Norman:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History: This museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the natural history of the state, including displays of dinosaurs, fossils, and Native American artifacts.
  • Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: Showcases works by renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles Russell, in addition to collections of Native American art.
  • National Weather Center: A unique facility that is home to several organizations that study weather and climate, and offers interactive exhibits on meteorology and severe weather.

Natural Attractions of Norman: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lake Thunderbird State Park: This park offers a 6,000-acre lake that is perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming, in addition to hiking and biking trails.
  • Sutton Wilderness Trail: This scenic 1.3-mile trail is located in the heart of Norman and offers a tranquil escape in the midst of urban surroundings.
  • Tiger Safari Zoological Park: Provides a chance to see exotic animals up-close, including lions, tigers, and zebras.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Norman

Norman is an ideal destination for hiking and biking enthusiasts. The following are some of the best trails in the city:

  • George M. Sutton Wilderness Park: This park offers a 1.3-mile trail that winds through a wooded area and includes a stream.
  • Lake Thunderbird State Park: This park provides numerous hiking and biking trails that offer scenic lake views.
  • Legacy Trail: This 7-mile paved trail is located in the heart of Norman and offers stunning views of the city and nearby nature areas.

Best Things to Do in Norman: Activities and Tours

Norman has a wide range of activities and tours that cater to all ages and interests. Here are a few of the best things to do in Norman:

  • Watch a Football Game: The University of Oklahoma football team is one of the top college teams in the nation. Soak up the atmosphere at a game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
  • Visit the Local Farmer’s Market: Located in the heart of downtown, the Norman Farmer’s Market is the perfect spot to sample fresh produce and local products.
  • Take a Wine Tour: Norman is home to a number of wineries that offer tastings and tours, including Canadian River Vineyards and Winery.

Week-Long Itinerary for Norman

Here’s an outline for a week-long itinerary in Norman:

Day 1: Visit Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and Lake Thunderbird State Park. Day 2: Take a bike ride on the Legacy Trail and explore the University of Oklahoma Campus. Day 3: Visit the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and Tiger Safari Zoological Park. Day 4: Go on a wine tour and enjoy a leisurely afternoon at a nearby lake. Day 5: Explore Downtown Norman, including the local Farmer’s Market and local shops. Day 6: Learn about the history of the region at the Moore-Lindsay Historic House and the National Weather Center. Day 7: Go on a hiking trip to the Sutton Wilderness Trail and finish the day with a visit to a local microbrewery or pub.

Food and Drink Scene of Norman

No trip to Norman is complete without trying some of the local dishes and drinks. Here are some of the must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chicken Fried Steak: A classic Oklahoma dish, consisting of a breaded and fried steak with gravy and potatoes.
  • Frito Pie: A Tex-Mex dish made with chili, cheese, and Fritos chips.
  • Bison Burger: A healthier alternative to beef burgers, bison is a lean meat with a distinctive flavor.

Local Beverages

  • Prairie Artisan Ales: This local brewery produces a range of artisan ales, including barrel-aged stouts, sour ales, and hoppy IPAs.
  • Oklahoma-made Wine: From the full-bodied reds of Canadian River Vineyards to the crisp whites of Sparks Vineyard, there are plenty of local wineries to explore in Norman.

Where to Stay in Norman: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Norman offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are some of the top hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in Norman:

  • Sooner Legends Inn and Suites: Conveniently located near the University of Oklahoma, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
  • NCED Conference Center and Hotel: This upscale hotel offers a quiet retreat, complete with an indoor pool, spa, and fitness center.
  • Montford Inn Bed and Breakfast: This cozy and quaint guesthouse offers comfortable rooms, home-cooked breakfast, and a tranquil atmosphere.

What to Buy in Norman: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

From local artwork to handmade pottery, there are plenty of souvenirs and products to take home from Norman. Here are a few ideas:

  • Native American Jewelry: Norman offers a great selection of Native American jewelry, including silver, turquoise, and beadwork.
  • Local Artwork: There are several galleries and boutiques that showcase local artwork, including paintings, sculpture, and prints.
  • Oklahoma-made Food Products: From homemade jam and pickles to artisan cheeses and meats, there are plenty of food products to take home from Norman.

Local Culture and Customs of Norman

Oklahoma has a rich Native American heritage that is reflected in the region’s cultural traditions and customs. Visitors are encouraged to respect the cultural norms and be mindful of local customs when visiting Norman. In addition, Oklahomans are known for their friendly and hospitable nature, so visitors can expect a warm and welcoming reception.

Best Time to Visit Norman

The best time to visit Norman is between March and May, and September through November. During these months, temperatures are mild and comfortable, and there are plenty of outdoor events and activities to enjoy.

Do’s and Don’ts of Norman


  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Take advantage of the outdoor activities and scenic beauty of the region.
  • Try the local cuisine and visit the local wineries and breweries.


  • Ignore safety precautions when exploring the natural attractions.
  • Disrespect the local culture and traditions.
  • Litter or damage the natural environment.

Safety and Health

Safety in Norman

Norman is a relatively safe city, but visitors should still take precautions to ensure their safety. Basic tips include staying aware of surroundings at all times, avoiding poorly lit areas, and locking car doors.

Health in Norman

Norman has several healthcare facilities, and emergency services are available throughout the city.

Getting to Norman: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Norman

The closest airport to Norman is the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, which is approximately 25 miles north of Norman.

Bus Stations Near Norman

The Greyhound Station in Oklahoma City is the closest bus station to Norman, with frequent bus services available to and from the city.

Other Options

Travelers can also use personal vehicles, taxis, or rental cars to get to Norman from nearby cities.

How to Get Around in Norman

Norman is a relatively small city, with most attractions located within a few miles of each other. Taxis and rental cars are available, but many visitors opt to bike or walk to nearby attractions.

Where to Go Next from Norman: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Norman is conveniently located near several other cities and attractions in Oklahoma. Here are some nearby destinations to consider:

  • Oklahoma City: Just a short drive north of Norman, Oklahoma City offers a wealth of attractions and activities. Highlights include the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma City Zoo, and the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
  • Tulsa: Located about a two-hour drive northeast of Norman, Tulsa offers a vibrant art and music scene, as well as top-notch restaurants and shopping.
  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area: This scenic nature area offers hiking trails, swimming holes, and stunning geological formations.


With its rich history, captivating natural scenery, and unique cultural offerings, Norman is a must-visit destination in Oklahoma. Whether you’re interested in hiking, art, or sports, there’s something for everyone in this charming and dynamic city. We hope this travel guide has provided you with a helpful overview of Norman that will inspire you to plan a trip to this unique destination.