Since our family moved to Oklahoma in the spring of 2013, I’ve made a keen observation of our new home. In fact, I started investigating Norman even before we moved here to be sure we settled in the best place possible for our needs. And here’s what I’ve come up with as the 5 best things about Norman, Oklahoma.
- Awesome downtown area. Downtown Norman is this cool combination of old-town America and arty new-wave chic. Whatever the hell that means. To translate, it has tons of cool little shops and restaurants, artwalks every month from the spring through the fall, funky sculptures and public art pieces scattered along the main drag, and the public library is within easy reach of anywhere in downtown.
- Scratch. As mentioned above, downtown Norman has lots of neat restaurants, cafes, and bars in downtown. One of the best is Scratch. To quote from their website: “We’re fanatical about flavor. Food fills our thoughts between meals. We spend our free time devising dishes, honing knife skills, studying spices, dissecting spirits, and preparing ourselves for the next time you sit at our table.” And that really shows in their food. It’s homey but refined; refined but not snobby. The staff are all very friendly and knowledgeable. And their homemade ice-cream – you will never look at ice-cream the same way.
- Annual Chocolate Festival. Do I really need to elaborate on this?
- Great Public Elementary Schools. I can’t really comment on the middle and high schools yet since my kiddos are still shrimpos. But I can tell you that I have been so impressed with the two schools attended by my sons: Reagan Elementary and Kennedy Elementary. For those who don’t know, my oldest son, Mr. C, is autistic. He started school right here in Norman in the Reagan Elementary special needs preschool when he was three. If you want to know why teachers DESERVE to make lots more money than they make now, come and meet Ms. April Keene (special needs preschool teacher) and Ms. Denise Wake (autism teacher) plus their dedicated and compassionate aides. I have never, not for one moment, felt any unease leaving Mr. C with either of these teachers or their staff. As for Mr. Z, he has a slight speech delay and started taking speech therapy at Kennedy last year. Since then, I’ve seen his speech improve by leaps and bounds. And his teacher and teacher’s aides this year are wonderful, wonderful women are treat my kid with love and firmness. Again, I’ve never felt any hesitation leaving Mr. Z in their care. For anyone who has kids, you know exactly what a burden off my shoulders that is.
- University of Oklahoma (OU). My husband loves this one because of the football team. I could not care less about that. But there is definitely something about living in a university town. It imbues the community with a particular energy you cannot find anywhere else. Norman actually reminds me a lot of Bloomington, IN – arty, fun, and friendly. Not to mention all those college students donate the required reading books from their courses to local Goodwill stores. So, our Goodwills have some of the best book sections I’ve ever seen!