The 13 Best Kept Secrets In Norman, Oklahoma

The 13 Best Kept Secrets In Norman, Oklahoma

The best places to hangout both on and off campus.

Spending four years in any one place can be challenging when you're a creative twenty-something looking for adventure. For many of us, when we aren't studying for exams or writing papers, we're sleeping or taking a Netflix binge for a moment of rest, but there are so many interesting places waiting right outside our apartment doors! While Norman, Oklahoma may seem like a small, uneventful town, there are many hidden gems both on and off campus. So, next time you're looking for a good, quiet place to study or to grab a quick bite to eat, or even just take a break from life for a moment, check out one of Norman's best kept secrets.

1. The Earth Café and Deli

Located a quick bike ride from campus on flood ave, the Earth is home to some of the best vegetarian and organic friendly meals as well as an assortment of smoothies and fresh juices. With the goal "to serve our community and our planet to the best of our ability by offering clean food, minimal waste, and a home away from home for folks to gather while nourishing their bodies and souls," The Earth is unlike any place in town.

2. Oklahoma Canyon Garden

Located on the west end of the Bizzell, near the clock tower, the Oklahoma Canyon Garden may look like an accident of overgrown vegetation, but is actually home to local boulders and trees. Funded by President Boren and First Lady Molly Shi, this garden is a perfect place for a quiet study session or simply enjoy nature amidst a crowded campus.

3. Kaufman Lounge

Renovated this fall, the second floor lounge of Kaufman Hall is a convenient and comfy place to study or catch up with friends on campus. With a coffee corner near by, get ready to snuggle up in the window seats and settle in for a good episode of netflix or a quick cram before an exam.

4. Stash

Secluded on Main Street, Stash is often overlooked for local shopping, yet it's home to many of Norman's best gifts and stationary. Ranging from candles to rope swings and baby toys to old photographs, Stash has something stashed away for every gift opportunity you'll ever encounter.

5. Sarkey's Rooftop Garden

Home to many energy and engineering majors, Sarkey's is a dreaded walk from the dorms and a confusing building when attempting to find a class, yet amid this catastrophe sits the beautiful rooftop garden. Grab your puppy and take a quick walk through the gardens this spring, or pick up a textbook and study amidst some floral beauty.

6. Lightwell Gallery

Found on the second floor of the school of art and art history, the Lightwell Gallery is a three story tall space of uninterrupted natural lighting. Often featuring student's works as well as guest artists, the Lightwell Gallery showcases much of the talent within the art school. Check it out during one of your awkward in-between-class hours!

7. Il Dolce Gelato

Just off Interstate Drive, Il Dolce Gelato is home to Norman's most authentic Italian gelato. With a range of flavors as well as Lavazza coffee and other goodies, this gelateria is ready to celebrate you with the best of flavors. Treat yourself after midterms!

8. Burton Hall Lounge

Tucked away far from the South Oval, the lounge within Burton Hall is a forgotten gem. Resting cozily near the Goddard Health Center, Burton is home to many communication and literature classes. With giant windows, comfortable seating, and few inhabitants, Burton's lounge is a must for lazy reading or intense studying.

9. Couch Practice Center

Newly renovated this summer, the Couch Practice Center on the first floor of Couch Tower is quickly becoming a fun and different way of studying. Much like the Collaboration Center within Bizzell, the Couch Center offers group study and individual study spaces. One fun and interesting thing about Couch Practice: there are treadmill desks! Next time you're up well into the night cramming, think about working your body as well as your mind and study while you tread!

10. Midway Deli

Just off Eufaula Street, Midway will transport you back in time with its signs of life before the turn of the century. Still home to some of the best food in Norman, Midway is an easy walk from campus and full of food for any picky eater! Take your books for a study lunch or grab some friends for a fun lunch on the patio...and don't forget to get an icebox selfie!

11. Devon Hall Outdoor Terrace

Climb your way to the fifth floor of OU's engineering building Devon Hall for a spectacular view of campus and the perfect quiet spot on a spring afternoon. Whether you need a moment of thought and contemplation to yourself or a time of studying and writing, the outdoor terrace is the perfect place. Grab a cup of coffee from the nearby Bedrock Café and settle in.

12. Fine Arts Library

Tucked away on the first floor of the Catlett Music Center, the Fine Arts Library is home to a vast collection of scholarly books on art and art history, music, sculpture, photography, and so much more. Take a trip to see and learn about some of the world's greatest artists, and, if you're lucky, perhaps some student art will also be featured!

13. Firehouse Arts Center

Whether you're looking to take a class on ceramics or guitar lessons, the Firehouse Arts Center offers everything you're looking for. On Flood Avenue, near The Earth, Firehouse not only offers classes, but also after school programs, community collaboration projects, and puts on Norman's Chocolate and Midsummer Nights' Festivals! Look into becoming a member or just stop in the gift shop to see the great things taking places within.

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches New Girl knows about True American. This crazy, non-sense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in Season 1 Episode 20.

The game, as described by New Girl character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game number one: the player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game number two: the player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game number three: the player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your New Girl-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly and enjoy!

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The Best Summer Job And Lobster Roll In Connecticut

It's truly the coolest summer job.


I work at a restaurant on the Connecticut Shoreline called Lobster Landing. Lobster landing is located on the water in Clinton, CT. I work every day in the kitchen helping to serve food, take orders, and cook food. Having a summer job can be really boring at times, but not when you work at a place like this because there's always something going on. Deciding to apply and work at Lobster Landing was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Lobster Landing is owned by two amazing people, Enea and Cathie Bacci. The two of them have worked incredibly hard by devoting much of their time and energy into getting their business to be as successful as it is today. They always welcome their customers with a warm smile or even sometimes a big hug. Cathie and Enea make it an unforgettable and happy experience for everyone that comes to their restaurant. Lobster Landing is a home away from home for not only the customers but also for the staff. They have a very small staff of about 13 people who act like a close-knit family.

Lobster Landing is a very simple restaurant. There are only three things on the menu. Lobster Landing is most famous for their Lobster Rolls. Their Lobster Rolls could be considered to be the best in the state of Connecticut. Because I'm a little biased, I would say they're the best in the world. They also offer a sweet Italian sausage with peppers, onions, and a spicy mustard vinaigrette sauce and lastly, they offer all-beef hot dogs with cheese or sauerkraut. They are also BYO (bring your own.) You can bring anything they don't serve including wine, beer, French fries, side salads etc. For side's, they offer coleslaw, bags of potato chips and at the end, they have cups of gelato! I am definitely guilty of eating lots of gelato at work, but don't tell anybody!

So what makes the Lobster roll so amazing? Lobster Landing serves only hot lobster, not cold. They serve their lobster rolls European style, which means they don't have mayo on them. They use fresh lobster meat, steamed and cut that day in their roles. Each roll contains a quarter of a pound of heated lobster meat. After the lobster is put in the roll, fresh lemon is squeezed on it. Then, warm melted butter is poured over the top of the roll. Lobster Landing also offers a gluten-free option for those who need it!

Not only are the Lobster rolls the greatest of all time, the environment and view is also incredible. They have ocean side seating. The upper deck next to their famous building is built over the water. You can sit anywhere at the restaurant and have a beautiful view of Connecticut oceans. The breeze that comes off the water is perfect for a hot summer day. Lobster Landing is built right next to a marina so there's always boats passing by with eager people waving to their wonderful customers.

One of the main attractions of Lobster Landing is the building itself. The building has been here for a very long time and has survived large storms, hurricanes, floods etc. This rustic building is very beautiful and you'll often see people taking pictures of it or in front of it. I've even seen prom pictures, wedding pictures, and special occasion photos being taken in front of the building.

Lobster Landing offers such a nice environment for its employees and it is always so much fun to work there. The customers are always so nice and talkative, and it is always wonderful to see the regulars that are there almost every week! If you haven't tried a lobster roll here, you seriously need to, it's worth it!
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