Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Norman, OK

  • Published 2022/11/03

Norman is a picturesque city located in Oklahoma, United States.

It is known for its astounding natural beauty, incredible nightlife, and rich history.

Whether you’re looking for wild adventures or a relaxing vacation, Norman offers something for everyone.

Explore its incredible wilderness, outstanding museums, galleries, numerous casinos and bars, and enchanting parks.

You can also enjoy a broad array of outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, camping, wildlife viewing, and more.

The diverse wildlife here includes deer, coyotes, bald eagles, hawks, foxes, lizards, alligators, and more.

Plan your next holiday at this amazing destination.

Here’s a list of the best things to do while vacationing in Norman:

Check Out Humongous Dinosaur Skeletons at Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Front view of Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Ken Wolter /

Founded in the late 19th century, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is one of the prime attractions in Oklahoma.

It focuses on the natural history of this region and has over 7 million exhibits relating to the flora, fauna, geology, and natural resources native to the state in its five galleries.

The museum’s exhibits are one of a kind and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Its collection includes the largest Apatosaurus skeleton on earth, Pentaceratops skeleton, oldest rocks of the region, Saurophaganax skeleton, Tenontosaurus skeleton, a meteorite, Arctodus skeleton, and so on.

Skeleton of dinosours at Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Vince Smith from London, United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hall of the People of Oklahoma gallery here features exhibits that depict the history of the native people of the region.

The displays include ancient weapons, painted skulls of animals, handprints of tribal people, replica clothing and toys, and more.

The Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair is hosted by this museum annually.

Explore the ancient exhibits of this museum and be amazed.

Go on a Lakeside Picnic at Lake Thunderbird State Park

Scenic view of Lake Thunderbird State Park

crotonoil /

This park features a picturesque lake surrounded by splendid greenery.

Enjoy a lovely lakeside picnic here and admire the gorgeous views.

You can dive in for a refreshing swim in the lake or explore the waters by canoeing.

Hike or bike on the verdant trails and view the diverse wildlife.

Lake Thunderbird State Park

RaksyBH /

You can spot many deer and eagles here.

The park’s several campsites let you explore the region’s wilderness.

The lake also provides access to fishing.

In winter, this is a popular site for skiing.

Lake Thunderbird State Park

crotonoil /

Knock Down Pins at HeyDay Entertainment

HeyDay Entertainment brings a new meaning to the party!

One of their most well-known places is the Bowling Lounge, which serves 16 state-of-the-art bowling lanes in the downstairs, all-ages area.

Their Revolutions Bar upstairs is 21+ up and features eight cherry wood bowling lanes more, a patio, and a fireplace.

Its full-service bar offers amazing drink specials, including wine, beer, and specialty cocktails.

HeyDay Entertainment is not only the leading laser tag venue in Oklahoma; it also houses fun activities like the laser maze, ropes course, and virtual reality arcade.

There’s a mini-golf course outside, too — great for a family fun time or an afternoon with friends.

Explore Art at Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art

Front view of Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art

Ken Wolter /

This museum dates back to 1936 and features over 20,000 exhibits in its permanent collection.

It includes Native American art, Asian art, American art, and French Impressionism.

Artistic works from the 16th century and beyond are displayed here.

Additionally, rotating exhibitions are organized at this museum throughout the year.

Renowned artists whose works have been featured include Ansel Adams, John Singleton Copley, Maria Martinez, Vincent Van Gogh, and several more.

Admission is absolutely free for all visitors.

Explore George M. Sutton Wilderness Park

If you’re looking for a great way to clear your mind and help you unwind, then try exploring the Sutton Wilderness Trail.

It’s an easy 2.3 km trail with a lovely lake area that will help you forget about all of the day-to-day stresses.

The trail makes for great scenic exercise and can be enjoyed any time of year.

George M. Sutton Wilderness Park is also rich in history.

The Griffin Memorial Hospital used to own this property, and its patients would spend time relaxing by doing what they loved most — fishing in its pond!

Dogs are permitted on this trail but must remain leashed at all times.

Enjoy the Nightlife at Riverwind Casino

Colorful lights at Riverwind Casino

Kym Koch Thompson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Being one of the largest casinos in Oklahoma, Riverwind is a perfect place to enjoy the nightlife.

It features more than 2,700 fruit machines and numerous table games, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more.

Try out mouth-watering food and delicious drinks at the several restaurants, cafes, and bars here.

Attend a concert or a comedy performance at their theatre, which has featured many big names in the entertainment industry.

Groove to the beats at the river lounge dance place.

Play Golf at Westwood Golf Course

Playing at Westwood Golf Course will be like being on holiday.

Even if you’ve never stepped foot on a golf course before, the team here will take care of your game so you can unwind and enjoy yourself without having to worry about how to play.

The Westwood Golf Course is a relatively new one, and it lies in Oklahomans’ hearts as an old favorite.

It has undergone renovations but hasn’t changed its feel.

Wide and elegant, fun fairways and trees make this course not only challenging but memorable.

The greens are closely lined with trees and often require finesse over force (ideally) in order to get past them.

Overall, there are twenty water traps throughout the course, along with plenty of sand traps everywhere that make any putt difficult, even if you’re playing from the tee instead of from the rough.

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out on some of Oklahoma’s most legendary greens, or you’re a pro looking for tournament rounds, this place is sure to impress anyone!

Watch a Game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

View of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

RaksyBH /

Established in 1923, this is one of the largest stadiums in the world.

It is the home ground of the Oklahoma Sooners football team and can accommodate over 80,000 patrons during a game.

Located on the University of Oklahoma campus, it is a fantastic place to catch a glimpse of the local culture and enjoy a great game.

Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

Ken Wolter /

Go Wine Tasting at Native Spirits Winery

Native Spirits Winery is Norman’s popular spot for wine tasting and attracts locals and tourists alike.

Taste their renowned wines and take a tour of their enchanting vineyard.

Visit this place on a Friday night to enjoy great musical performances by local artists while sipping delicious wine.

They host a variety of events throughout the year.

The wine blending class here provides hands-on experience and allows you to learn a great deal about winemaking.

Travel Back in Time at Moore-Lindsay Historic House Museum

This historic building dates back to the late 19th century and was formerly the home of the Moore family.

The Moores were real estate investors and were the president of the Norman Building and Loan Association.

They sold the house to the Lindsay family, who started living at this place in 1907.

Today, the house is a museum that focuses on the local history of Norman.

It has been maintained by the city to accurately represent the lifestyle of the elite of this region during the 1900s.

It has on display thousands of historical artifacts, local memorabilia, documents, albums, rare books, and more.

Admission is absolutely free.

Play Poker at Goldsby Gaming Center

This popular casino features over 360 games, a bingo hall, a bar, and a diner.

Spend a wonderful and fun evening with your friends here.

Try out the numerous games and win money.

You can enjoy an amazing beer at the bar and gorge on delicious meals at the restaurant.

Explore Native American Art at Jacobson House

Front view of Jacobson House

David Dobbs / CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons

This historic house was formerly the home of renowned artist Oscar Jacobson.

He was the first director of the School of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

Today, this house is a museum that emphasizes Native American art.

Explore the gallery and check out the outstanding pieces of American Indian artwork.

Various events are organized here throughout the year.

Admission is absolutely free of charge.

Shop Fresh Produce at Norman Farm Market

The farmer’s market in Norman is organized from April to October every year on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

You will find a wide variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, eggs, poultry, dairy produce, spices, wine, and more.

All the products are sourced from local farms.

On Tuesdays, it is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m on Saturdays.

Watch a Show at Elsie C. Brackett Theatre

This theatre is affiliated with the University of Oklahoma campus and presents outstanding plays, ballet, musicals, opera, and various other live performances.

Established in 1965, it can accommodate about 600 guests.

This venue is an amazing place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Visit this theatre and enjoy a great show.

Have a Morning Workout at Andrews Park

View of Andrews Park Norman

David Dobbs / CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit this park for your morning workout and watch the sunrise.

It has playgrounds, picnic areas, a basketball court, a splash pad, a skate park, walking trails, and an amphitheater.

It hosts various entertaining events, such as Groovefest, jazz performances, and musical concerts.

Explore this scenic park, play a game of basketball, beat the heat in the splash pad, and enjoy a lovely picnic here.

See Different Animals at Discovery Cove Nature Center

Encounter and interact with various regional animals kept on display at this place.

They also showcase numerous regional artifacts, skulls of various native animals, mounted creatures, bones, and more.

Tour the museum and learn more about the native fauna of Oklahoma.

They have live turtles, snakes, pythons, tarantulas, bearded dragons, and several others.

You can also enjoy the eagle-watching tours that are offered here.

Go Hiking at Sutton Wilderness Trail Park

Encompassing 160 acres, this park features dense foliage, a serene lake, diverse wildlife, nature trails, and plenty more.

Explore the vast spreading wilderness and admire the scenic views.

You can spot deer, exotic lizards, foxes, colorful butterflies at this park.

The mesmerizing lake provides access to fishing.

Enjoy an invigorating hike on the verdant trails and view diverse species of birds patrolling the sky.

This is also a great place to walk your pet.

Play Paintball at Oklahoma Paintball & ATV Games

Oklahoma Paintball & ATV Games offers an amazing paintball field that hosts groups of varying sizes.

Grab your friends and visit this place to enjoy a mind-blowing experience.

The field is military-themed and is frequented by both tourists and locals alike.

It is one of the most fun places to organize a party and features replica tanks and helicopters.

All equipment and gear are provided on the site.

Enjoy an action-packed, fun day with your friends here and create unforgettable memories.

Watch Movies at Lions Park

This park features a playground, picnic tables, tennis courts, beautiful lawns, and greenery.

A multitude of entertaining events is hosted here all year round.

Open-air movies are played during the summer months, which attracts myriads of movie aficionados to this park.

Bring along your blanket, pack a nice picnic, and enjoy the cinema with your loved ones.

Attend the amazing musical concerts that are organized here during summer evenings and groove to the beats of popular bands.

Feel the Relaxing Ambiance at Riverwind Hotel

Front view of  Riverwind Hotel

Kym Koch Thompson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 100-room Riverwind Hotel complements the elegance of the gaming atmosphere while bringing the intensity down to a more relaxed level.

When you arrive, take advantage of their valet service; once you’re ready to play, use their sky bridge for secure, comfortable access to and from the gaming floor at all hours.

Various accommodation types and package options, free high-speed internet access, a 24-hour fitness facility and business center, in-room dining, and their renowned, freshly baked cookies are all available to guests.

Choose between a suite, double queen accommodation, or a deluxe king room boasting garden tubs and adaptive features.

Enjoy a chic, contemporary room design with opulent fixtures and a relaxed boutique ambiance for your weekend comfort.

Appreciate the Down’s Family Christmas Lights

A local family in Norman organizes captivating and incredible Christmas light displays in the winter months every year.

This is a popular local attraction of this city.

Visit this place, explore the amazing decorations, and enjoy the music.

Admission is absolutely free.

Visit the National Weather Museum

Established in 2016, this museum displays a broad array of meteorological instruments.

It aims to educate its patrons about weather forecasting and related sciences.

The museum is open from Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm.

Tour the museum to learn about the history of weather research and check out the cool displays.

The admission fee ranges from USD 3 to USD 7.

Children below the age of 3 can enter for free.

Enjoy Playing Games at Sooner Bowling Center

The original family has owned and managed Norman, Oklahoma’s popular Sooner Bowling Center since it opened its doors in 1984.

Facilities boast wood entries, pinsetters, and 24 synthetic lanes, plus free WiFi is available throughout the facility for customer comfort.

The Spare Time Grill, a comprehensive dining outlet at Sooner Bowling Center, offers delectable meals, catering, and ice-cold drinks.

Fifty people can sit pleasantly at cocktail tables in the exclusive conference space.

Rechargeable gaming cards, billiard tables, and family-friendly video games are all available in the recently remodeled arcade.

A lovely, spacious concourse area is ideal for big parties, socializing, and fundraising.

Admire the Works of Artists at Tribes Gallery

With a focus on Native American, Oklahoman, and Western artwork, Tribes Gallery is Oklahoma’s top gallery.

Their major objective is consistently increasing public engagement with the services and goods they offer.

Since it opened its doors in 1990, this straightforward strategy has successfully powered its development.

They have developed into a much wider spectrum of genres and media.

The original paintings inside the walls are considered stunning pieces, including vintage, abstract, modern, classic, and pop artworks.

You may also find various modern and conventional hand-created jewelry, ceramics, baskets, fabrics, beading, bronzes, cultural objects, manuscripts, and baskets onsite.

Young artists have the chance to develop and learn important skills for a career profession while working alongside some of the most experienced and well-known artists in the field.

Try Something New and Throw an Axe at Oklahoma Axe Factory

Axe-citing experiences await you at Oklahoma Axe Factory!

Master how to throw an axe properly in addition to the dos and don’ts.

With parental or guardian consent, there is no upper age restriction; throwing an axe requires strength.

A quick introduction at the start of the session is given.

For people of all ages, there is also cornhole and Jenga.

An evening out with pals is perfect for axe throwing!

Reserve Oklahoma Axe Factory for your upcoming celebration such as birthdays, business gatherings, team-building exercises, and other events.

Join a Workshop by Cimarron Opera Company

The Church Circuit Opera Company, which in 1981 changed its name to Cimarron Circuit Opera Company, was created in the spring of 1975 by Thomas and Carol Brice Carey.

They are teachers of music at the University of Oklahoma and well-known worldwide performers who actively encourage young singers to appear on stage.

They offer chances for performers to participate, along with a possibility for the general audience to view and hear the best operatic and lyrical works.

Cimarron Circuit Opera Company supports creating musical learning opportunities for artists and viewers.

They provide workshops and organized performances for kids and teenagers to foster interest and comprehension and secure the continuation of the art.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Play at Newcastle Casino

Entrance of Newcastle Casino at Oklahoma

Kym Koch Thompson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the most popular casinos in the state.

They offer electronic games, table games, and bingo.

It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. and also features a restaurant and a bar.

You can play blackjack, roulette, Mississippi stud, ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, and more at the 14 tables here.

Visit this place with your friends, win money, enjoy great drinks, and have an amazing time.

Try Different Outdoor Recreation at Tom Strouhal Little River

With multiple ponds, hiking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, a splash pad, and beautiful lawns, this park provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Sit by the ponds and admire the scenic views or enjoy a good book.

You can take a relaxing stroll and watch the picturesque sunset.

It is also an amazing place to enjoy a picnic.

Try your hand at fishing in the mesmerizing ponds and have fun at the splash pad.

Go Picnicking at Parmele Park

Spend a relaxing day at this amazing park located 15 minutes from Norman.

It has a splash pad, playground, basketball courts, picnic tables, and hiking trails.

This is a trendy spot for weekend fun.

Explore the park, indulge in a game of basketball, cool off in the splash pad, and end your day with a delicious picnic.

Final Thoughts

Norman, Oklahoma, has an enviable position—it’s an ultimate hub for all kinds of entertainment.

From fun activities to live shows and sporting events, this captivating city will keep you occupied all year round.

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