Norman is the largest city in Cleveland County, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Norman is situated approximately 20 miles south of downtown Oklahoma City and is the third largest city in the state. As of 2006, the city was estimated to have 102,827 full-time residents. It is the business and employment center of Cleveland County.
Norman is best known as the location of the University of Oklahoma (with about 35,000 full-time students), making it a center of culture, technology, and scientific research. OU is home to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, one of the largest of its kind, and the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art. The Jones Museum made news in 2000 when it was given the Weitzenhoffer Collection, the single most important collection of impressionist art ever given to an American university, including works by Mary Cassatt, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro, among others.
Norman’s picture-book Main Street is a great source of pride for Normanites, as are the many shady, tree-lined housing areas that surround the OU campus. The west side of town has seen the most development in recent years, including affluent areas like Brookhaven, a sprawling neighborhood of townhomes, apartments, large estates and upscale retail and dining. Growth in Norman is also occurring close to campus, where there are infill developments underway that are making Norman a denser, and more chic college town. The central and eastern sections of town are older and include the areas around the OU campus and downtown. Both areas retain their historic appearance and resemble what most people would think of as the core area of a college town. In 2008, Money Magazine ranked Norman as the 6th best place to live in the United States, the highest of any city in Oklahoma.