Exploring Norman, Oklahoma

What To Do In Norman Oklahoma

The drive up to Norman, Oklahoma from Dallas is right around three hours, making Oklahoma a great choice for a weekend getaway! We jumped in the car bright and early Friday morning and drove up HWY 35, fueled by coffee and good tunes and filled with the excitement that comes from being on a road-trip with your bestie.

After leaving Texas and entering Oklahoma, we were surprised by how pretty the scenery was. We passed idyllic fields of cows, horses in open pastures, beautiful wild flowers, and multiple casinos. Another highlight of the drive was going through beautiful cliff formations, which you may have seen on our Instagram stories @FortuitousFoodies.

Fred Jones Jr Museum

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Our first stop of the day in Norman was the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The museum is located on the University of Oklahoma’s campus and admission is free! We were pleasantly surprised by the rich selection of artwork at the museum, with collections including Art of the Americas, European Art, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, and Photography. The museum’s permanent collection also boasts an impressive collection of French Impressionist works – our favorite!

art-norman

Additionally, the museum’s permanent collection includes multiple works that are emblematic of Oklahoma and the area’s roots, including Native American and Southwest American works. We also had a chance to see one of the museum’s special temporary exhibits – Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma. The exhibit is a photo essay by Todd Stewart that provides a striking glimpse into the devastation and destruction left behind from the tornado that tore through Picher, Oklahoma on May 10, 2008. The exhibit runs through September 10, 2017.

What to do in Norman Oklahoma

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Lunch at Volare Pizzeria

After working up an appetite at the museum, we dined at Volare for lunch. Volare features delicious made-to-order wood fired Neapolitan pizzas. The menu also includes a variety of small plates, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and desserts.

First we devoured the “Popper” dip, a jalapeno artichoke dip spiced up with fire roasted shishito peppers and served with crostinis. Choosing what pizza to pick was by far the most difficult decision we had to make all day! All of the pizzas looked tempting, but we finally decided on the “Ricky Ricotta” made with red sauce, ricotta, house-made Italian sausage, shredded mozzarella, house-made mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, pecorino romano, and finished off with fresh arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. We were also eyeing the “Truffle Shuffle” made with shredded mozzarella, marscapone, ricotta, truffle oil, and roasted mushrooms – yum! Needless to say, the pizza was delicious and we highly recommend dining at Volare when in Norman!

Volare Norman

Tour of the National Weather Center

After lunch, we went on a tour of the National Weather Center – allowing us to walk off our lunchtime pizza indulgence while learning about the epicenter of our national weather forecasting. The Center is housed in a five story building that includes an enclosed weather observation deck and a rooftop outdoor classroom. The building itself is designed to withstand up to an F4 tornado!

We loved seeing the women and men of the National Weather Service in action forecasting the nation’s weather in real-time. It was also shocking to learn that all of the nation’s severe weather watches and warnings are issued from this one location in the Storm Prediction Center.

Tours of the National Weather Center are free, but make sure to make a reservation!

Gray Owl Coffee

After our tour, we were in need of an afternoon caffeine fix before heading into Oklahoma City for the rest of the weekend. Luckily, we stumbled upon the cutest little coffee shop – Gray Owl Coffee. The display case was packed with tantalizing homemade goodies. The Lavender Shortbread Cookies and Ginger Molasses Cookies definitely caught our eye!

Grey Owl Coffee

The Cold Brew and Vanilla Latte provided the caffeine kick we needed to hop back on the open road and continue our weekend adventure.

Grey Owl Coffee

The coffee shop’s atmosphere was very relaxed and welcoming, making it the perfect place to take a break from exploring the city and enjoy a made-from-scratch pastry with your drink of choice. Gray Owl Coffee also offers a unique selection of loose leaf teas to choose from.

Grey Owl Coffee

Right across the street from Gray Owl Coffee we spotted several striking murals that made for great photo-ops! We always enjoy finding murals and street art in the different cities we travel to because they often give you a unique glimpse into the culture and history of the place. Also, if you’re ever in Dallas and looking for fun places to take your picture that are totally Instagram worthy take a look at our Deep Ellum Mural Guide.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Norman, Oklahoma and enjoyed exploring all that it has to offer. It was the perfect way to kickoff our Oklahoma weekend getaway!

Stay tuned for our upcoming City Guide on Oklahoma City detailing where to eat, what to do, and where to stay!

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Things to do in Norman Oklahoma

Cheers,

Barbara & Emily

 

Many thanks to Visit Norman for welcoming us to their city and hosting us for the day! All opinions and photos are our own.

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