Few colleges boast bigger football traditions than the University of Oklahoma. The Sooners are one of the NCAA’s ten winningest teams in history and are anchors of the Big 12 conference. With a full season back on tap for 2021, we’re here to help fans of the crimson and cream get the most out of tailgating service at the University of Oklahoma.
Before Game Day
Oklahoma Sooners 2021 Home Schedule
The Sooners play home games at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. If you’re short on time, it’s also called Owen Field. Here are the teams the Sooners will be facing at home on Saturdays in 2021:
- Sept. 11 – Western Carolina
- Sept. 18 – Nebraska
- Sept. 25 – West Virginia
- Oct. 16 – TCU
- Oct. 30 – Texas Tech
- Nov. 20 – Iowa State
Rivalry game: The Nebraska Cornhuskers (Sept. 18) left the Big 12 conference in 2009, but their fierce rivalry with Oklahoma remains.
Single-game tickets for Sooners football go on sale in August. It’s always best to get them far in advance, especially since big games will likely sell out. The Sooners also suggest finding tickets on StubHub. Hit the OU’s football ticket page to find out more.
Travel, Accommodations, and Transportation
Getting to Norman, Oklahoma
Owen Field is located close to the center of the University of Oklahoma in the city of Norman. It’s about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, so out-of-towners not coming from Texas will likely go through the capital.
Driving: Interstate 35 is the main route to the University of Oklahoma; you’ll take either Exit 108B or 109 to get to campus. I-40 and I-44 also cross the Oklahoma City metro area.
Air: Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) is 24 miles northwest of Owen Field. It accommodates 22 U.S. cities and 25 airports non-stop. The next closest airport is Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW), 175 miles south.
Nearby Hotels and Accommodations
The University of Oklahoma is well-served by several of the most notable hotel chains. This list of nearby hotels has accommodations to fit all budgets. If you’re hosting your own tailgating party, check with the hotel you’re thinking of booking to make sure they have space for all your equipment. If not, think about finding a nearby Airbnb or Vrbo listing in a more spread-out residential area for your tailgating service at the University of Oklahoma.
Getting to Owen Field
Owen Field is square in the middle of the OU campus, so tailgaters staying in area hotels aren’t really within walking distance. If you don’t have a car, taxi or public transit are your best bets.
The University of Oklahoma has its own transit system, Campus Area Rapid Transit (CART). It runs several routes throughout the campus and downtown Norman. On game days, CART provides an express shuttle from Lloyd Noble Center to the game starting three hours before kickoff.
How to Tailgate at University of Oklahoma
Tailgating at the University of Oklahoma isn’t quite the same as it used to be. Since 2016, tailgating on Lindsey Street has been prohibited due to the construction of new student housing. Tailgating is also disallowed in most of the parking lots adjacent to the stadium. But there are plenty of parties to be had if you’re willing to hoof it a few blocks.
Where to Tailgate at University of Oklahoma
Here are two of the key destinations for tailgating service at the University of Oklahoma:
Four blocks north of Owen Field on Boyd Street and Asp Avenue, Campus Corner is a must-visit locale. Many of the 100,000 visitors that come to Norman on game weekends find themselves at Campus Corner at some point to eat, drink and shop at local businesses. On game day, merchants and vendors set up beer tents and radio booths on the street. It’ll be great to see Campus Corner in full force in 2021.
The center of OU’s RV tailgating universe is SooneRVillage in the parking lot at the southeast corner of Lloyd Noble Center. During game weekends, it’s reserved for RVs, and especially on Fridays before the game, it’s the place where hardcore Sooner tailgaters congregate.
Along with vendors and pep rallies with the OU spirit squads, SooneRVillage offers 24-hour security and shuttles to the stadium. RVs start pouring into SooneRVillage beginning at 2 pm Friday and can stay until noon on Sunday.
Rules for Tailgating at University of Oklahoma
As mentioned, tailgating at the University of Oklahoma is a little more controlled than it is at other schools. This is partly because the University bans alcohol on all school grounds (yes, even the stadium). In spots where tailgating is permitted, there are a few pertinent regulations, such as:
- Tent and awning set-up is allowed beginning at noon on Fridays
- Tents must be more than 10 feet away from university buildings
- Permits are required for tents larger than 400 square feet
- Open flames are prohibited
- Gas and charcoal grills must be covered
For more information, take a look at the university’s official tailgating policies.
Tailgating at University of Oklahoma: Traditions
For the consummate Sooners tailgating experience, make sure to catch these game-weekend traditions:
Walk of Champions
This pre-game march to the stadium is a “new” tradition, launched in 2014. It begins a little more than 2 hours before each game at the intersection of Lindsey St. and Jenkins Ave., where spirit teams hold a pep rally waiting for the team buses to arrive. When they do, players and coaches walk to the stadium, while fans urge them on and, if necessary, give directions.
Party at the Palace
A family-friendly tailgate party (formerly called Sooner Fan Fest), this informal gathering starts 3½ hours before game time on a lawn just north of the stadium. Local food merchants and radio stations take part in the festivities. The Party at the Palace is largely promoted as a kid-oriented event, but there’s plenty of options for adults who don’t mind a few hours of sobriety.
The Legends Lobby at the Barry Switzer Center is a shrine to Sooners football. The museum houses all of the Sooners’ players’ awards (including 5 Heisman Trophies), championship rings, and Sooner Bowl trophies. There’s also a spectacular mural honoring Oklahoma football that has to be seen to be believed.
Off-Campus Bars and Restaurants
Campus Corner is your best bet for off-campus tailgating. The entire district turns into a party on game day, so any establishment you enter will be a hotbed of Sooner spirit.
O’Connell’s Irish Pub & Grille (locals call it “O’Conn’s”) is a landmark spot — drop in during game weekends and you’ll likely spot an OU coach, player, or sports media personality. The Library Bar & Grill is an “English-style meeting house” with 32 beers on tape and nearly a century’s worth of history.
Louie’s Grill & Bar — a local chain partially started by former Sooner head coach Bob Stoops — has a Campus Corner spot that’s obviously a prime game-day location. Google steers you to more of the top bars near Owen Field.
Campus Corner has a remarkably diverse selection of restaurants. Greek House is one of the city’s most beloved fast-casual joints, known for its gyros, falafel, and gigantic portions. The baseball-themed Diamond Dawgs on Asp has some of the most unique takes on classic American food, especially hot dogs. Here’s a list of some of Campus Corner’s top eateries.
Oklahoma Gameday Gear
With the new season fast approaching, it’s time to get some new Oklahoma Sooners game day gear to rep at your tailgate.
If you want to rep Oklahoma with your pop-up tent, this is a great option from Rawlings that you can find on Amazon. Linked here. Or if you want to opt for a plain colored tent, and spruce up your tailgate with other Oklahoma items, check out our Best Tailgate Tents: 2021 guide.
These Rawlings tailgate chairs are great. There are quite a few ‘fancier’ chairs out there, but these are all you need for a tailgate party. For the most part, you’re hardly even sitting. You can find them here.
For the grill master in your group – these are a great way to rep your team all summer! They’d make for a great Father’s Day gift, too. Linked here.
For all things attire, Fanatics: the University of Oklahoma is a great place to start. They have something for every member of the family. Be sure to only buy when they have promotions running, which is quite often!
Fanatics also has a fun Oklahoma Tailgate Party section that has cute decorations, car decals, and tailgate games. Outside of cornhole (bags) games, I’d stick to Amazon for your bigger tailgate items like tents, tables, chairs, etc. Or your actual team’s ticket office.
If you’re thinking of upgrading some of your basic equipment, be sure to check out the following blogs:
Tailgating at The University of Oklahoma is very different from most other schools, but it’s just as passionate, diverse, and visitor-friendly as the best of them. With a little legwork and advance planning, your tailgate party can help set the stage for another Sooner victory.
Are you heading to Norman this fall? Let us know in the comments below!
Please note: Tailgater Concierge is a participant in the Amazon and Fanatics Affiliate Programs and may receive commissions on purchases. Tailgater Concierge only recommends products that we find valuable for our tailgating community! Thanks!