In the fall, OUs football stadium is Norman's de facto town center.
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Sit down for lunch at Café Plaid in Norman and you'll see a little of everything: mothers with babies, students with laptops, and out-of-towners visiting the University of Oklahoma across the street. People flock to Norman from around the world to study and teach - and then to stay and raise a family.
The university not only helps draw educated workers here but also serves as a major source of entertainment. When the OU Sooners play football against longtime rival, the University of Texas, Norman schools are almost always closed on Friday (you read that right) and the town packs the stadium.
If you don't love all things gridiron, console yourself with the campus' world-class art museum, which houses works by Degas, Monet and Renoir. Affordability is another plus: Starter homes go for about $135,000. While Norman hasn't had huge run-ups in housing prices, the city has also been spared the devastating downside.
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