On most Saturdays throughout fall, college towns in Oklahoma overflow with passionate fans celebrating their team's victory or commiserating in their team's defeat. Norman and Stillwater, home of the state's two largest universities, offer tailgating opportunities galore during home games. However, both cities also offer their fair share of entertainment away from the football field.
Even if you are not attending a game at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, food options abound in this college town. Eskimo Joe's holds the most fame when it comes to Stillwater food choices, and its American-style fare and fun atmosphere provide a special experience. Stillwater is also the original home to Hideaway Pizza, which has since grown to include various locations throughout Oklahoma. For a lesser-known staple on the Strip, visit Coney Island at 223 S Washington. While you are waiting for your coney dog with relish, you can rack up a game of pool or play some vintage arcade games.
The Strip is also the perfect place to find Stillwater's night life. Willie's Saloon, at 323 S Washington, showcased Oklahoma's own Garth Brooks in his first musical performance. The venue offers live music, a full-service bar and karaoke. The iconic Tumbleweed Dance Hall at Lakewood and Country Club roads offers the perfect place to boot-scoot to the sounds of live music ranging from country to alternative rock. After hosting more than 200 country music stars, including Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, Jr., this establishment has earned its ranking among Country Weekly's top 10 historic music venues to visit in the United States.
Norman, home to the University of Oklahoma, offers a host of shopping and dining opportunities at Campus Corner adjacent to the university on Boyd Street.
For university shirts, gifts, and home decor, stop by the Antique Garden at the intersection of Boyd and Buchanan. The store is packed full of special finds from around the globe. Just up the block at 566 Buchanan is Birdie, a florist and sustainable housewares shop that offers an artistic display of everything from bouquets to bath salts.
If you are craving caffeine, the Gray Owl at 223 Gray offers an open atmosphere alongside its delicious brews. With interesting artwork on the walls and plenty of seating space, this is the perfect place to relax or meet up with friends. If you are looking to check out the local music scene, grab your coffee to go and walk to the Opolis, at 113 N Crawford. This music venue offers several shows a month featuring bands from the indie music scene.
A little farther from campus, Norman's historic downtown on Main Street combines galleries, restaurants and stores into one convenient location. Once visited by Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," The Diner at 213 E Main is often crowded with local customers but is well worth the wait for its diner-meets-Southwest eclectic flavor. Guestroom Records, another music must-see, will persuade even the most digitally inclined music fan to buy a turntable.
If you have ever marveled at Oklahoma weather, a visit to the National Weather Center (NWC) at 120 David L Boren Blvd. is in order. Visitors can reserve a tour that includes a visit to the OU School of Meteorology, the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the NWC Observation Deck.
Kaylee McDaniel is a public relations and sustainable initiatives intern for the Travel and Tourism Division, state Tourism and Recreation Department.
Order a free Norman Visitor Guide or brochures on Stillwater's destination dining and attractions at www.TravelOK.com or by calling (800) 652-6552.