By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Football fans would be wise to arrive early on Saturday or sooner and spend a few hours discovering booming Norman. Recently, the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau asked Facebook friends to list great things to do in Norman. Their suggestions and further research yielded a multitude of results.
Following are a few suggestions for game day:
· Enjoy a Crimson and Cream Eskimo Frosty at Classic ’50s
The locally owned drive-in at 1521 W. Lindsey Street has been part of Norman tradition for decades. It’s a fun spot to have a quick lunch with menu items made to order.
· Eat at the Greek House
Crazy hungry fans report that the gyro’s are so filling, two people can split them — but don’t feel obliged. You can always burn off extra calories later cheering at the game. This family owned and operated restaurant, 768 Jenkins Ave., has recently changed hands but former owners Angelo and Helen Dimas ensured there was a smooth transition and the tradition of great food continues unchanged.
“The gyros are better than the one I had in Greece,” Norman resident Ty Kamm said recently.
· Check out the Norman Public Library Stamp Camp
The Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster Ave., will host a family Stamp Camp from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Children’s Area. The program is for ages 8 through adult. Representatives from the Norman Stamp Club and the U.S. Postal Service’s Norman office will be on hand. There will be free stamps provided for participants, as well as door prizes.
· Visit the dinosaurs at Sam Noble Museum
Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum at 2401 Chautauqua Ave., is walking distance from the stadium and a deal at $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for ages 6-17 and free for kids under 5.
Visitors are greeted by Sauroposeidon proteles, the world’s tallest dinosaur. Neck bones of this one-of-a-kind dinosaur were found in southeast Oklahoma in 1994.
The Hall of Ancient Life takes visitors on a tour through 4 billion years of Oklahoma’s prehistory. In the Hall of Natural Wonders, walk through a limestone cave and experience the life of bats. These and other exhibits offer hours of fun.
· Take a stroll through Campus Corner
With Boyd Street closing three hours before the game, Campus Corner is very pedestrian friendly. With dozens of restaurants, bars and coffee shops, there’s plenty to eat and drink.
Tradition rich O’Connell’s Irish Pub & Grille, 769 Asp, is favorite student and alumni hangout. New to the Corner is Diamond Dawgs, 753 Asp Ave., serving everything from coneys to specialty dogs, brats and a dozen styles of wings. Victoria’s Pasta Shop, 327 White St., offers homestyle Italian while Chimy’s, 529 Buchanan Ave., serves tacos, draft beer, specialty ’ritas, and other Mexican fare.
Campus Corner merchants sell OU collectibles, fan apparel and more. Browse the Antique Garden then stop by Crimson and Whipped Cream Bakery or Pickleman’s Gourmet Deli.
· Enjoy breakfast, shopping and lunch in Historic Downtown Norman
Downtown Norman is a great place to visit with new restaurants and shops opening weekly. Park in the newly expanded parking lot on Gray Street between Crawford and Peters Avenues.
The Diner, 213 E. Main St. is an established Norman staple with long tradition, while Syrup Breakfast and Brunch Boutique, 123 Main St., opened recently. Both offer breakfast, brunch or lunch choices.
After brunch, shop at any of the eclectic boutiques in the downtown area. Virtually all of them are locally owned and operated with unique products and gifts. Astronomics, 110 E. Main St., features a 4,000-square-foot showroom with 120 telescopes — the largest in the nation. Frisbee golfers will like Massive Downtown which also sells unique T-shirts. Music lovers should check out Bruce’s Vintage Guitars & Antiques, 306 E Main St. and Ampy Shanty, 527 E. Main St.
Whether shopping for incense, vintage clothing, fine jewelry or art, Downtown Norman is a great place to visit.
Take a break from shopping for a bite to eat at Blue Moon Sushi or try Tres for South American cuisine and tapas, Das Boot Camp for micro brewed German beer and authentic Bavarian food, McNellies Abner Ale House for an Irish pub experience or the Garage for burgers and sweet potato fries, all of which are located on Main Street in the heart of the downtown area. Top it all off with some java at Gray Owl Coffee, 223 E. Gray St., or Michaelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar, 207 E. Main St.
· And more ...
While these are a few of the many places to check out while in Norman, this list is far from all inclusive. Sooner Fashion Mall on Main Street west of Interstate 35 and the University North Park on 24th Avenue Northwest are also great venues with loads of shopping and dining opportunities.
Great eateries abound on Lindsey Street from upscale restaurants like Legends to family favorite drive-ins like Del Rancho. On the north side of town there’s family fun at Andy Alligators or HeyDay Entertainment Center — just take the Indian Hills exit off of I-35 and head north for a short distance on the service road.
For even more ideas of how to spend time in Norman, check out VisitNorman.com.
Stefanie Brickman of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau contributed to this article.
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