We Don't Coast 2023

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Omaha is about community. Neighbors helping neighbors. We respect the different cultures and diversity that make up the fabric of our city. Here, we celebrate the good things and the good times. When you are in Omaha, you are as good as home.

Fans cheer at the College World Series. ANNA REED


It is with great excitement that I share with you my new-found conviction that Omaha is a great place to relocate to and live. Great things are happening, which makes this the perfect place to call home. You can feel the joy and excitement as you walk through the Gene Leahy Mall. You will sense the inspiration and opportunity crackling out of areas like Aksarben, Millwork Commons and Blackstone. You’ll observe the dedication and commitment fueling communities up and down Historic 24th Street. Omaha is making moves, in many different ways.

This magazine is a snapshot. An attempt to capture the Omaha region as it is now, with knowledge of where it’s been and an eye toward where we are headed. In the following pages you’ll learn about the people and places that make our Midwestern metro,

and its surrounding areas, such a compelling place to live, work and play. But, as is the case with all snapshots, there’s so much to experience beyond this magazine. We can only offer a peek.

Know that for every educator mentioned, there are many more who are teaching our future generations and making our school systems top notch. For every medical professional, a network of peers is caring for our community. For every leader, a dynamic team is working together to accomplish more. That’s the Omaha way. The Nebraska way.

So, flip through the pages with us and see what we have to offer. The fun. The food. The sporting events. The weekend getaways. The neighborhoods. The jobs. The convenience. The opportunities to fall in love with Omaha, again and again. We know that there is a lot to take in, and we promise, we’re just getting started.

Veta Jeffery President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber Mickey Anderson Chairman, Greater Omaha Chamber Board of Directors President and CEO, Baxter Auto Group 2022 Chamber Chairman Mickey Anderson and President and CEO Veta Jeffery. MIKE PECHACEK

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“Omaha: We Don’t Coast,” 2023 edition, is a Greater Omaha Chamber publication created and produced by the Omaha World-Herald to showcase the 30+ communities that make Omaha — Greater Omaha.

President and CEO, Veta Jeffery

808 Conagra Drive, Suite 400, Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-5000 info@OmahaChamber.org OmahaChamber.org SelectGreaterOmaha.com


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Street. LILY SMITH WE LIVE. ............................ 12 WE VIBE. ............................ 56 WE THRIVE. ............. 106 10  WE WELCOME OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG
Juneteenth parade along North 24th

AtKoleyJessenwedon’tcoast,simplybecausewe can’t-andwewon’t.Asactivepartners,ourclientsfrom acrossthenation,trustourforwardthinkingattorneysto identifyindustrychangeandchallenges.Thisproactive approachiswhatdrivesourcounselorstomakesmart, strategicdecisionswithyourbestinterestsinmind.

 Introduction  Education  Medicine  Communities  Transportation  Military  Parks A
honor our past, preserve our present and look to our future to ensure the best quality of life for our families, our friends and our communities.
our homes, schools,
and businesses, we live our best lives.
teacher and student at Fontenelle Elementary School. LILY SMITH
F u l l & P a r t t i m e p o s i t i o n s Full&Part-timepositions • OmahaPublicSchoolsoffers more APcoursesthananyother districtinNebraska. • Overthepastfiveyears,Omaha PublicSchoolsstudentshave earnedmore than65,647college creditswhileinhighschool. Did YouKnow? www.ops.org Did YouKnow? We Don’t Coast
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We are Nebraskans. We are Iowans. We love our homes, our family and friends and our communities. We innovate. We make up the city’s world-renowned healthcare workforce at hospitals doing cutting-edge, state-of-the-art work. Our schools work hard to prepare our students for the future. We make time to rest and relax, taking advantage of our abundant parks and recreation. Our communities are ever-growing and we welcome new neighbors. We’re here for each other. That’s just who we are.

A child plays in the water near a sculpture in downtown Omaha’s Gene Leahy Mall. EILEEN T. MESLAR

16  WE LIVE

Whether they are looking for a liberal arts, technical or faith-based experience, Omaha has a world-class selection of public and private institutions.


Schools are one of the most important cornerstones of every community and the Omaha-metro area is no exception. There are hundreds of award-winning, nationally recognized schools all across our eight-county area. Students of all ages, interests and abilities study arts, language, STEM and more.

There are strong public school systems in and around the metro, including:



Council Bluffs





Papillion-La Vista



As you move out from the city streets, you’ll find educational commitment from county to county, including Fremont, Council Bluffs, and Nebraska City. Once our high schoolers graduate, which they do at an impressive 90-plus percent rate, they have lots of nearby options for continuing their education. Whether they are looking for a liberal arts, technical or faith-based experience, Omaha has a world-class selection of public and private institutions.

Omaha Public Schools

With a roster of more than 51,000 students per year, Omaha Public Schools is shaping the way young people learn, think for themselves and inspire those around them. The district is made up of 80 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, nine high schools, a K-12 virtual school and eight alternative programs.

There’s a lot going on at OPS. OPS students come from a wide range

Students write in workbooks during the first day of school at Pine Elementary in Omaha. LILY SMITH

of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, as evidenced by the 108 different languages district students speak. The majority of graduates go on to college or technical schools. Students are doing great things.

And so is the district itself. OPS has launched a Green Schools Initiative in an effort to reduce the consumption of natural resources and reduce the district’s carbon footprint. Moreover, the effort aims to encourage environmental responsibility among students, parents and staff. Students at every school in the district collect recycling, pick up litter, plant trees, participate in related community events, serve as energy managers and more.

Millard Public Schools

Omaha’s Millard Public Schools is nationally recognized. Why? Consistent quality of education and achievement of their students. Thirty-six schools serve 24,000 families with different needs, interests and goals.

Technology is critical to Millard leaders. The district gives students round-theclock access to technology, including laptops for middle and high school students. Third through fifth graders can take home iPads, while younger students use them in the classroom. Last year, Millard launched blended learning — in-person and online — courses in U.S. government and college-level algebra for seniors at Millard North. Google Classrooms, where students can retrieve information from and submit work to their teachers online, was a game changer when it launched a few years ago and is now the norm.

A Millard South student celebrates a win during a wrestling match

The Archdiocese of Omaha Catholic Schools

For the Omaha Archdiocese, academic achievement is about more than good grades. A complete education includes guiding students through the Catholic faith. Seventy Catholic schools make up the archdiocese, focusing on developing each student’s mind, body and spirit. Nearly 20,000 students attend 70 schools. They live in one of 23 counties in northeast Nebraska.

“The Catholic identity and faith formation students encounter daily in our schools

is the foundation upon which academic excellence is delivered,” The Rev. George J. Lucas, archbishop of Omaha, writes on the archdiocese website. Catholic social teaching is a big part of the curriculum as well as lifelong learning and formation of values. The Omaha archdiocese welcomes students of all faiths, backgrounds and walks of life. Many go on to higher education at Creighton University or another private Catholic university or college.

in Omaha. LILY SMITH

UNO partners with employers to expand paid internship opportunities for students

In an effort to retain young talent and make graduating from college more attainable in Nebraska, the University of Nebraska at Omaha is partnering with more than 50 employers to offer paid internships to UNO students.

The Career Connect program is aimed at helping college students obtain career experience and giving employers access to interns who can help support their operations.

Partners range from Fortune 500 companies like Charles Schwab and Mutual of Omaha to community-focused organizations like Latino Center, and UNO Chancellor Joanne Li expects students to be able to earn a fair wage.

For most interns, Li proposed that pay can be $15 to $17 per hour. She noted that paid internships are expected to benefit a student body where 80% are working and one-third are eligible to receive Pell grants. She also noted that partnering with employers to offer paid internships fits into an oft-stated desire by the university, government and business officials to be leaders in workforce development.

“We don’t want to just talk about it (and) write about it. We just want to do it,” she said.

Participating employers must pledge at least one paid internship for a UNO student. The positions are generally focused among area employers that offer positions in fields the state has designated as H3 — high wage, high skill and high demand. Many H3 jobs are focused in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Paid internships, Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Anthony Goins said, “set the stage for graduates to succeed after college. That, in turn, sets the stage for growing the great state of Nebraska.”

UNO’s latest initiative comes as college affordability and the prevalence of unpaid internships continue to be an issue.

According to a 2019 Washington Post story, citing a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 43% of internships at for-profit companies were unpaid. Li said such internships present a difficult dilemma for college students who are already working.

“It is vital that our students pursuing internship opportunities are fairly compensated for their time, their hard work and their abilities,” she said.

University of Nebraska Omaha graduates at the school’s commencement ceremonies. JEFF BUNDY Dr. Joanne Li, chancellor of UNO. LILY SMITH

Tori Sims, a junior and the incoming UNO student body president and student regent, said UNO’s emphasis on paid internships shows the university’s support for its approximately 15,000 students.

“It just provides so much security for our students … as they go on and get their degree,” she told reporters.

Internships are expected to be available to students at all grade levels within the university. For example, Jona Van Deun, president of Nebraska Tech Collaborative, said the organization intends to hire interns in their freshmen and sophomore years. That will allow those interns to get their first internship experience and

expose them to Nebraska’s business community and the opportunities in their home state.

“You don’t have to flee to the coast to get an incredible experience in tech,” she said, noting Nebraska opportunities in fields such as health care and agriculture.

Students walking on University of Nebraska Omaha’s campus. LILY SMITH
Fa ithin HerFuture. Discovermorehere. MIDLANDUNI V ERSIT Y PROUDLYPROVIDING OPPORTUNITES FOREDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT. graduate.admissions@midlandu.edu midlandu.edu 402.941.6226 11213Davenport St.,Ste #100, Omaha,NE68154 . . . 5 8 4 MASTER’S DEGREES GRADUATE-LEVELCERTIFICATES GRADUATE-LEVELEDUCATIONENDORSEMENTS


Nationally ranked colleges and universities, two internationally recognized medical schools — University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University Medical Center — as well as community colleges and private schools that students and alumni brag about, Omaha gets stronger, smarter and more interesting every year. Students here study medicine, law, the arts, sciences and more with a passion for hard work — and all that Omaha has to offer.

Bellevue University

At Bellevue University, where 80% of students are over the age of 25, higher education isn’t just for students right out of high school. With robust online course offerings in addition to on-campus options, the private, accredited university in Bellevue is popular among working professionals, who are either seeking an undergraduate degree for the first time, or expanding their studies at the graduate level.

A student speaks at the spring commencement at Bellevue University. CHEYENNE ALEXIS

College of Saint Mary

As Omaha’s only Catholic university for women, College of Saint Mary (CSM) has 11 accomplished and award-winning sports teams and an enrollment of more than 1,100. Health sciences is a popular field at CSM, with many students studying to become physician assistants, nurses and occupational therapists. Education, business and legal studies also are popular. The college, located in the heart of midtown Omaha, was founded in 1923.

Creighton University

Creighton University is a longtime staple in the Omaha community. It’s known as a top-ranked private university, built on Jesuit principles and a strong commitment to social justice. Driven by this outstanding campus culture, Creighton students volunteer for thousands of hours of community service every year. The campus is located in

downtown Omaha, just a short walk away from the cultural and entertainment core of the metro. And of course, nothing compares to a Creighton home basketball game at CHI Health Center Omaha.

Metropolitan Community College

With multiple campuses across Omaha, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) offers more than 100 one-year and twoyear programs of study for students. By offering affordable, accessible education to students of all backgrounds and career interests, MCC has grown into the largest community college system in Nebraska, with enrollment nearing 50,000. Programs include business administration, technology, construction, nursing and allied health, social sciences, and more. The Institute for Culinary Arts, located on MCC’s Fort Omaha campus, is one of the leading and most affordable culinary schools in the country. MCC is an important connector in the

community, with academic transfer programs available for students to continue their education after MCC.

Midland University

This is modern liberal arts education at its best. Midland University offers students more than 30 academic areas of study, four graduate programs and a substantial number of diverse professional studies programs at both its main campus in Fremont and Omaha satellite campus. Founded in 1883, Midland University welcomes students of all types, including many who qualify for financial aid. This welcoming admissions policy propelled Midland University to become the ninth-fastest growing private, nonprofit baccalaureate higher education institution in the U.S. Midland also allows many local athletes to continue their careers, including unexpected opportunities like esports, powerlifting and women’s wrestling.

First year students receive assistance during Creighton University’s move in day in Omaha. LILY SMITH

University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) provides unmatched opportunities for students with a campus that stretches across the Omaha metro. UNO is Nebraska’s urban university with a midtown location close to everything — culture, arts, sports, nightlife, jobs and more. Even more importantly, UNO is one of the most affordable four-year universities in the region, with apartmentstyle housing on campus and academic learning communities that give students real-life experience; more than 80% of graduates report having at least one internship or job as a student at UNO.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Nationally recognized and globally impactful, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has educated

many of the best physicians in Omaha and across the country. At the same time, researchers at UNMC are working on cutting-edge solutions, including work toward the elimination of HIV. Training here is more than medical education, it’s a chance to be part of a team that changes the way healthcare is understood and applied.

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan University is a private Methodist-affiliated college in Lincoln with a campus in West Omaha. Adult undergraduate degree programs like business administration, nursing and teaching certification are popular among the city’s working professionals. Focusing primarily on a liberal arts education, Nebraska Wesleyan encourages students to question meaning and value alongside the pursuit of learning and understanding.

James Lawler, MD of the University of Nebraska Medical Center speaks during a conference in the Davis Global Center. KENT SIEVERS The iconic clock tower on the University of Nebraska Omaha’s campus. LILY SMITH
EVERYDROP. EVERYDAY. EVERYTIME. IfyourwatercomesfromtheMetropolitanUtilities District,you’llbehappytoknowallthewayswework todeliversafeandreliabledrinkingwater. Seethestats,factsandfiguresbehindwhat wedoinourlatestWaterQualityReport! Celebrating 150 YEARS Hereforyou VisitOmahaPublicLibraryinyourneighborhoodoronlineat oma ha library.org. Overtheyears & intothe future

Where ourpassion drives newpossibilities

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Omaha is at the heart of healthcare in the United States. We’re not only saving lives, but shaping the future of global pandemic response. And we’ve been doing it for a while.

The metro area boasts some of the top healthcare facilities in the world, including Boys Town National Research Hospital, CHI Health, Methodist Health, Children’s Hospital and Nebraska Medicine. From COVID-19 to cancer or the common cold, there is no need to travel to find the most innovative and soughtafter doctors, nurses, and treatment plans around. It’s all right here, in our own backyard.

The Omaha metro area, including its neighborhoods and suburbs, offer our community an organized, robust and caring healthcare system that ensures timely access to the highest quality, most attainable standard of care — whether you’re looking for a family physician or world-class cardiologist.

Omaha is on the cutting edge of research, treatments and cures, with two of the country’s top medical schools nestled a few miles from one another. We’ve got the best and the brightest here to help.

Doctors perform surgery at Methodist Eastabrook Cancer Center in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN

Boys Town National Research Hospital

Since its founding in 1977, Boys Town Hospital has been internationally recognized as a leader in clinical research programs focusing on childhood deafness, language development and related communication disorders. Today, the hospital is leading the charge in neurobehavioral research in children to improve interventions and treatments for children with severe behavioral and mental health problems. Major milestones since the opening of the hospital include the construction of the Lied Learning & Technology Center for Childhood Deafness and Vision Disorders, the construction of a new hospital on the Village of Boys Town, the construction of the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center adjacent to the new hospital in 2013 with additions in 2017, and the construction of the Psychiatric Inpatient Center in 2019.

CHI Health

With 14 hospitals and 136 clinics throughout Nebraska and western Iowa, CHI Health cares for more than 1 million patients per year. The faith-based hospital system — which includes CHI Immanuel and CHI Lakeside in Omaha and CHI Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs — is one of Omaha’s largest employers, with more than 11,000 employees. CHI Health’s vision is: “A healthier future for all — inspired by faith, driven by innovation, and powered by our humanity.”

Founded in 1996, the entire CHI Health acute hospital care network also includes Creighton University Medical CenterBergan Mercy and Creighton University Medical Center-University Campus. Medical services include trauma services, heart and vascular care, emergency services, surgery, maternity, cancer care, diagnostic imaging and more.

CHI Health also offers virtual quick-

care appointments 24 hours a day, seven days per week. The healthcare system employs more than 400 doctors across all specialties and disciplines.

A patient opens a gift at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is regionally recognized for its excellence in pediatric patient care, advocacy, research and education, from emergency room care to influencing a change on a legislative level. The staff at Children’s in midtown Omaha have dedicated their careers — and their lives — to improving the quality of life for every child and family that walks through the door. It’s the only full-service pediatric healthcare center in the state. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center offers more than 50 pediatric speciality services to children of all ages, including a regional heart center that consists of experts in pediatric heart transplantation, Nebraska’s only Level IV Newborn Intensive Care Unit, the state’s only Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, among other healthcare services. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center has been recognized as a “Best Children’s Hospital” by U.S. News & World Report in cardiology and heart surgery, pulmonology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and urology.

KAYLA WOLF Staff talk at CHI Health’s Psychiatric Immediate Care Center in Council Bluffs. JOE SHEARER


Children’s People, Facilities Ensure Bright Future for Children & Families

Running along the bustling Dodge Street corridor, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s state-of-the-art Hubbard Center for Children is the crown jewel of its campus. It is also a testament to Children’s trusted pediatric health care leadership in the growing Omaha metropolitan area and across the region. It represents the excellence, innovation and advocacy that Heartland families count on from Children’s, an organization nearly 5,000 team members strong.

Opened in 2021, the Hubbard Center for children is an expanded clinical facility befitting a commitment to providing the best outcomes and experiences for children and families, now and into the future. As Children’s has grown and advanced as the region’s pediatric health care leader, so has its team, thinking big to provide the best care and meet broad community needs.

“The Hubbard Center offers our community a cutting-edge environment that matches the amazing work our team has done for years, and it allows us to take better care of our people, too,” said Children’s President & CEO Chanda Chacón, MPH, FACHE. “Our organization attracts respected professionals with leading expertise and hearts for others, and they deliver nationally renowned care and an exceptional experience for our patients and families.”

30  WE LIVE

Children’s People First culture makes it a beacon institution across the state and region. The organization celebrates team members’ unique talents, encouraging a culture of belonging and well-being where each person can contribute meaningfully every day. This holistic approach is evident through Children’s clinical expertise and service excellence, as well as through the team’s extensive volunteering and involvement in the community.

“We are proud of the diversity that makes Children’s a special place to work and thrive,” Chacón said. “Our team is at the center of the significant growth and innovation happening across our organization. People power our mission, and they keep Children’s at the forefront of pediatric health care and a trusted, impactful presence in our region.”

The people of Children’s reflect the unwavering Midwestern work ethic:

determination and resilience, always coupled with care. And inside the Hubbard Center and Children’s facilities across the community, that means working each day with a clear mission: to improve the life of every child in Omaha, the region and beyond.

To learn more about Children’s, visit ChildrensOmaha.org, or follow @ChildrensOmaha on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

WE LIVE  31

Methodist Health System

Nearly all of the Omaha-area hospitals within the Methodist Health System have secured national awards and/ or accreditations for their level of care. The Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center, for example, is a National Pancreas Foundation-approved cancer center and has earned a Lung Cancer Care Continuum Center of Excellence designation by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. Methodist Fremont has earned an International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Award for its birthing center.

In Omaha, Methodist Hospital has earned a National Safety Council Award of Merit and was named one of the “Top 100 Great Heart Programs Nationally” by Becker’s Hospital Review. Then there’s Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs, which has earned an outstanding achievement award from the Commission on Cancer as well as a PRC Excellence and Healthcare Award for Emergency Services.

There’s no doubt that the Methodist Health System is one of the best in Omaha. As it turns out, we aren’t the only ones who think so. No matter where in the region you live, there is a Methodist Health System hospital or clinic near you, from the Bluffs to Fremont to midtown Omaha.

If you need quality health care, the Methodist Health System is right in your neighborhood.

Nebraska Medicine

Almost everyone in Omaha knows someone whose life has been touched by the state’s largest hospital, Nebraska Medicine. From offering leading safety protocols and caring for COVID-19 patients, to life-saving organ transplants and cancer treatment, Nebraska Medicine is one of the fastest-growing research hospitals in the country. That means patients have access every single day to the latest research and innovations that can keep them healthy — and in some cases save their lives. Nebraska Medicine includes more than 1,000 doctors and 40 specialty clinics. Two hospitals alone — Nebraska Medical Center and Bellevue Medical Center — have more than 800 beds combined. By partnering with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the hospital system is educating the

best and the brightest — and putting those doctors on the floor, equipped with the most cutting-edge research and extraordinary patient care available. People travel from around the world to seek care of Nebraska Medicine staff, a trend that goes back to 1869 when it was founded as the city’s first hospital.

Nebraska Medicine has an international reputation for life-saving cancer care, organ transplants and infectious disease treatment and prevention. Nebraska Medicine is one of those Omaha institutions we are proud of and is consistently awarded the “best in the state” by U.S. News & World Report. It is frequently listed as one of the “100 Greatest Hospitals in America” by Becker’s Hospital Review. Forbes considers Nebraska Medicine to be one of the best employers in Nebraska.

Medical workers tend to a patient at Nebraska Medicine. JOE SHEARER Staff walk through Methodist Jennie Edmundson Medical Plaza in Council Bluffs. JOE SHEARER
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Some people like the hustle and bustle of the city; listening to the cheers of a crowd at the College World Series or peoplewatching in the Old Market on a warm summer afternoon. Other folks like a slower pace, life in the country, such as the Loess Hills in Pottawattamie County or the agriculture-dotted expanse of Washington, Otoe or Dodge Counties.

The great thing about life in Omaha is that you get the best of all worlds in an easy, accessible and affordable area of the country. You can zip down Dodge Street in your car, bike on the city’s robust trail system or even take a horse and buggy to see a different view of downtown. The counties that make up the Omaha-metro area have something for everyone. It’s one of the great things about where we live. You can make a home in an urban apartment or on a multi-acre property.

A hot air balloon named America One prepares for launch at Zorinsky Lake Park CHRIS MACHIAN

Cass County

With a compelling and colorful pioneer history, Cass County offers a chance to live where you can see all the stars in the sky at night. From Plattsmouth and Louisville to Weeping Water and Elmwood, there is plenty of small-town charm across one of the largest counties in Nebraska. You can find a house on a lake or a home with plenty of land to roam. It just makes sense that Cass County is home to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, a scenic and popular getaway that celebrates Nebraska’s outdoor lifestyle.

Douglas County

It is the engine of Nebraska, both in population and culture. You have everything you need in Douglas County. First of all, it’s home to Omaha, where people from all over the world visit because of its music, hospitals, sports and attractions. You get wide stretches of land where you can stretch your legs and a hefty mix of urban vibe and country peace.

Dodge County

Dodge County is like the popular kid in high school: both charming and cool. For one thing it is home to historic Fremont and Midland University.

For another thing, residents work in established, wellpaying industries at respected hometown companies like Omaha Steaks, Christensen Lumber and Hormel. On a Saturday afternoon, folks drive down the Avenue of Flags, head to Fremont State Lakes or attend the Fremont Balloon Glow depending on the time of year. And, if Fremont isn’t your style, there are other communities in Dodge County to check out, including Scribner, Hooper, Nickerson, North Bend, Uehling and Winslow.

Mills County

Nestled between the Loess Hills of southwest Iowa and the Missouri River and just a short drive from Omaha and Sarpy County, Mills County, Iowa, boasts a history rich in culture and a present filled with opportunities. The communities of Mill County allow residents and visitors alike to have a small town experience in wide open spaces. Among the attractions within Mills County are the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, the Glenwood Archeological State Preserve and the Mills County Historical Museum and Earth Lodge. The city of Malvern also features a vibrant artists’ collective and an active Main Street business district.

Dancers enjoying Jazz on the Green at Turner Park in Omaha. EILEEN T. MESLAR Main street Malvern, Iowa. KURT A. KEELER Camping at Mahoney State Park. ANNA REED Early morning in Dodge County. KENNETH FERRIERA

Otoe County

Even though it’s tucked away just south of Douglas, Sarpy and surrounding eastern Nebraska counties, don’t overlook Otoe County. Anchored by Nebraska City, home of Arbor Day, Otoe County is quintessential country life for those who live there. Many residents farm in and around their respective towns while others work in local trade industries or at companies headquartered in Omaha. It truly is a historic place, situated right along the route Lewis and Clark took on their epic journey. Otoe County embodies the rural heritage of Nebraska, and provides plenty of opportunity to experience the modern meaning of The Good Life.

Pottawattamie County

A great way to experience the beauty and joy of living in Pottawattamie is to bike down the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, starting at Lewis Central in Council Bluffs and heading south, until you hit Page County, Iowa. That ride will fill your soul with the wonderful urbanto-rural transition available to residents on a daily basis. Council Bluffs provides a strong across-the-river complement to Omaha, with the two cities working together to create a vibrant lifestyle on either side of the Missouri — connected by the instantly recognizable Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Pottawattamie County stands out on its own among the Loess Hills, a great place to call home.

Sarpy County

Located south of metro Omaha, Sarpy County features a number of rapidly growing suburban communities. Gretna, Papillon and La Vista are burgeoning communities with great schools and family-focused neighborhoods. Bellevue is home to Offutt Air Force Base, and welcomes military service members and their families to put down roots during and after their tours. If you want to get a little farther away from the hustle and bustle, Springfield offers a small-town experience just a stone’s throw from the Platte River and the great outdoors. From building a home to building a life, Sarpy County is one of the most peaceful and rewarding places to live in Nebraska.

Washington County

Washington County is a perfect place to live for those who want it all. Why? You don’t have to choose between country peace and metropolitan action. Located just north of Omaha and nestled along the mighty Missouri River, Washington County offers multiple communities to call home. From Blair to Arlington, you can find the quiet place for that acreage you’ve always wanted, with good neighbors, a local watering hole and abundant opportunities for all the outdoorsy stuff you love. So settle down in Washington County and then hunt and fish, birdwatch, hike and bike to your heart’s content.

The Midwest Winds Kitefliers at the Papillion Recreation Center. KENT SIEVERS Farm machinery moves down a rural road near Kennard. CHRIS MACHIAN A hayrack ride at Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard at the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City. JEFF BEIERMANN River’s Edge Taco Fest at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. JOE SHEARER


Greater Omaha is a great place to live. If you’re looking to settle down, then we have some growing communities for you. Think great schools, bikes in the driveway and friendly dogs chasing frisbees. Throw in a fast commute nearly anywhere you work and incredible access to arts, entertainment and sports, and now you know why our quality of life is so darn good.


Long known as the home of Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue is a dynamic and historic Nebraska city with a robust civilian workforce. Starting off in 1822 as a trading post with local Omaha, Otoe, Missouri and Pawnee tribes, Bellevue’s Olde Towne is a charming throwback to Main Street. The city is the site of Fontenelle Forest, which consists of 1,400 acres of land and 19 miles of hiking trails, with breathtaking views of the Missouri River and the surrounding area. A favorite getaway for locals who love to birdwatch and lose themselves in nature.


Just north of Omaha, Bennington maintains its safe, small-town atmosphere with the conveniences of the larger metropolitan area. A popular community for families, the Bennington Public School district features five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. There are three parks and two sports complexes.

Council Bluffs

The second largest city in the Omaha metropolitan area, Council Bluffs features popular business and historic districts, two public and two private school systems, Iowa Western Community College, the Iowa School for the Deaf, numerous parks - including Lake Manawa State Park - and so much more. Council Bluffs is rich in railroad and Civil War history, and also has multiple museums, nature trails and entertainment options. There is always something interesting to do in Council Bluffs.


From its roots as a railroad outpost to its heyday as a thriving suburb, Elkhorn has a long history both intertwined with and proudly distinct from that of its bigcity neighbor. Elkhorn boasts some of the best neighborhoods in the Omaha metro, including Fire Ridge, Skyline Ranches and The Prairies.

Kids smile as they ride the swing during the Celebrate CB carnival at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. JOE SHEARER The Elkhorn South band performs the national anthem before the start of a football game. ANNA REED A patriotic parade makes its way down Mission Avenue during the Veteran’s Day parade. KENT SIEVERS Bennington teammates celebrate after winning a game. EILEEN T. MESLAR


Like a lot of cities in the area, Gretna has railroad roots. The city was founded after the Burlington Railroad built a short line between Omaha and Ashland in 1886. Gretna is still a small town in many ways, with a population under 5,000, but it is still one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. Gretna is situated conveniently between Nebraska’s largest cities, prime location for anyone who commutes to either Omaha or Lincoln.

La Vista

La Vista is tucked between Omaha, Ralston and Papillion on the north side of Sarpy County. It’s a rapidly growing city that balances the benefits of living in a small town and a big city. When you make a home in La Vista, you have access to everything Greater Omaha has to offer, with the city center nearby, and the great wide open just a few minutes south. At the heart of La Vista is City Centre, which draws crowds to its businesses and unique retail, dining and entertainment options. In addition, Vivere Luxury Apartments is a community within La Vista City Centre, that offers spacious living units. Amenity-rich and conveniently located, this upscale residential community offers both comfort and style.


Papillion is a terrific place to raise a young, growing family. There’s a lot to do in Papillion, from shopping, coffee shops, the 70-acre Halleck Park and other attractions not far from nearly every resident’s doorstep. It’s a safe city, with a bustling town center, affordable housing and lots of recreation. Among other things, you can catch an Omaha Storm Chasers minor-league baseball game at Werner Park. Commute time to downtown Omaha is under 15 minutes — even during rush hour. There are a lot of reasons to love Papillion and even more to live there.


Known as “Independence City,” Ralston is the proud home of the Ralston Arena, where fans catch the Omaha Beef indoor football team and the Omaha Lancers hockey team, along with a wide range of music and live events throughout the year. Ralston is investing a lot into their city center, creating a vibrant new hub of arts and entertainment for residents of this small town within the big city. The revitalized Granary District, which has undergone an multi-million dollar renovation, features unique commercial, residential and entertainment space in a historic part of the community. With all the activity happening in Ralston, it’s exciting to see one of the region’s most historic cities making moves toward the cutting edge.

Union Omaha teammates celebrate after a goal at Werner Park. LILY SMITH The Omaha Lancers mascot, Blades, throws t-shirts to fans during a hockey game. CHRIS MACHIAN Kids canoe on the water at Schramm State Park in Gretna. RYAN SODERLIN A family explores the new walking path in Civic Center Park. BRENDAN SULLIVAN


Where, oh where, should you live? Now that’s a big question for those looking to move to Omaha. With affordable and beautiful choices like Dundee, Benson, Aksarben, South Omaha, Blackstone, Old Market, Midtown, Highlander and more, Omahans from young professionals to growing families to retirees have plenty of options when it’s time to choose. It’s about the vibe, what fits best — and each neighborhood in the Big O offers something different for everyone. Prefer to live where you can shop locally? Check out Benson. Close proximity to work and nights on the town? Old Market. Whether you rent or buy, Omaha neighborhoods are an opportunity to find a home in an area that fits — and helps inspire — your life.

Aksarben Village

Once a horseracing hub, Aksarben Village is now a self-contained community with nearly everything someone would want in one convenient neighborhood. But better. Askarben is where people flock to watch the Maha Festival and UNO hockey at Baxter Arena. Afterward, they grab dinner and drinks in a lively food and beverage district. Students, families and empty nesters live here, and they all love it.


Members of a drill team play as they walk down Maple Street during the Benson Days parade. MOLLY ASHFORD

Foodies, artists and musicians love to live and work in Benson. The neighborhood has a colorful mix of coffee shops, vintage boutiques, tattoo parlors, art studios, bars, restaurants and more. Also, be sure to check out the newly Benson Theatre. It is a historic gem.

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A singer performs during AfroFest at Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park. MOLLY ASHFORD OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG

Blackstone District

Anchored by the swanky poolside vibe of the recently renovated Klimpton Cottonwood Hotel, The Blackstone District near Midtown is popping. With new restaurants and bars, comedy clubs, the area near 36th and Farnam has transformed to become one of Omaha’s most exciting destinations for food, family, nightlife and fun.


It seems like everyone in Omaha has either lived in Dundee, wanted to live in Dundee or pretended to live in Dundee (at least for an afternoon or evening). It’s easy to see why. It’s one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods, with historic houses, mature trees, large parks and incredible food, spirits and shopping.

Midtown & Morton Meadows

Located in the heart of Downtown Omaha, Midtown offers a diverse neighborhood and urban core, built around an active restaurant and retail scene at Midtown Crossing. There are often community events in nearby Turner Park including the annual Jazz on the Green concert series. The community within a city offers condominium and apartment life, a hotel, movie theater, grocery store, health club and more. Adjacent to Midtown is the Morton Meadows neighborhood, which is home to about 500 single-family homes —

— along tree-lined streets.

many historic Friends dance the night away during the Jazz on the Green kickoff at Midtown Crossing. KENT SIEVERS A Morton Meadows resident outside of his home. MEGAN NIELSEN The Blackstone District has revealed plans for a streetscape makeover that will include widening sidewalks. CHRIS MACHIAN A Dundee resident displays her horticulture success around her home. LILY SMITH

Millwork Commons

Millwork Commons is a collaborative community and a hub of tech, art, design and growth. More than 60 businesses call the neighborhood home. Designed to be a center of innovation in Omaha, Millwork Commons will soon have more than 300 apartment units, has a 900-foot-long Mastercraft Building and more coming to its 50-acre area.

North 24th Street

North 24th Street is a good place to start for people looking to experience local culture and support local Black-owned businesses and artists. There are unique local restaurants nearby on North 30th Street, as well as a handful of retail shops near historic 24th and Lake Streets. The area is home to the Great Plains Black History Museum, the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation and The Union for Contemporary Art.

North Downtown Makerhood

Seventy Five North

The vision of Seventy Five North is clear: To facilitate the revitalization of a healthy, sustainable, mixed-income community in the historic Highlander neighborhood. The effort has been a success by convening community members, educational partners, and the philanthropic community to empower a growing neighborhood.

non-profit Fashion

Just one more upand-comer. Downtown Omaha north of TD Ameritrade Park was once an industrial area for the railroad and manufacturing companies. In 2019, Peter Kiewit Foundation launched a $300-million revitalization project and the result is New North Makerhood, now home to the Fashion Institute Midwest, the Omaha Land Bank and more. In August, HutchFEST held its fourth annual Midwest makers’ fair in the Makerhood area that draws thousands of visitors, and hundreds of vendors, as well as local food, drinks and live music.

Old Market

There is nothing — really nothing — like walking the brick streets of Omaha’s Old Market. That’s why it’s the most iconic destination in Omaha. Old Market residents and visitors alike enjoy all of the action, just moments from recently reopened Gene Lahey Mall. Farmer’s markets, bars, entertainment venues, art galleries, restaurants, and more. If you want entertainment, dining and culture, the Old Market is where you want to be.

South Omaha

South Omaha, once nicknamed “The Magic City,” is a culturally diverse community, with portions of the population from Czech, Irish, Latino, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Hispanic and Sudanese backgrounds. This diversity is reflected in the area businesses, schools, churches and community organizations. Amid the neighborhoods of South Omaha, visitors can find several points of interest and local landmarks, including Little Italy, the Livestock Exchange Building, the South Omaha Main Street Historic District and Edgar Zabriskie Residence.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in South Omaha. SARAH HOFFMAN

The Institute Midwest created a workspace for fashion designers in North Downtown. KENT SIEVERS Founders Row West apartments are part of the Highlander Neighborhood Revitalization Project lead by the Seventy Five North Revitalization Company. BRENDAN SULLIVAN

Nebraska’s lone astronaut returns home to head SAC Museum

For 167 days of his life, Clayton Anderson floated far above the Earth.

But it’s his hometown of Ashland that Nebraska’s only astronaut has always gravitated toward.

Nearly a decade after his retirement from NASA, where he spent 30 years, including the last 15 as an astronaut, Anderson, 63, has landed the position of president and CEO of the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. The museum sits near his hometown along Interstate 80 between Omaha and Lincoln.

For Anderson, the opportunity to return home and be near family yet continue to work in a space-related field has proven to be a great draw. Anderson began his tenure in mid-2022.

“I’m just very excited,” he said in an interview. “There are special people here. There are dedicated, hardworking and amazing people that helped raise me … and made me the man I’ve become. It’s time for me to come home and give back.”

Anderson succeeds Jeffrey Cannon, who had led the museum since 2018 but stepped down for health reasons.

Anderson has been teaching intro to aerospace engineering to first-year students at Iowa State University. Since retiring from NASA in 2013, he has been writing, giving speeches and teaching.

As leader of the SAC Museum, Anderson hopes to continue the museum’s mission of educating, entertaining and inspiring anyone who comes through the doors. The museum will cerebrate its 25th anniversary in 2023.

“It’s a special museum in a part of Nebraska that’s truly special to me,”

he said. “I just think it’s become a gem of the Midwest, and I want to take it into the future.”

Gary Gates, chair of the museum’s board of directors, noted that one of the museum’s exhibits is a celebration of Anderson’s space exploration. “We are very excited to have Clay’s visionary skill set at the helm of the organization,” he said in a prepared statement.

Anderson envisions that he and the museum’s staff of around 30 employees will implement more interactivity that “can bring the museum even to bigger life.”

“That’s a passion of mine,” he said. “Educating people is a passion that I have. We need to continue that and carry it into the future for the next 25 years.”

Anderson’s future for himself crystallized on Christmas Eve 1968 when he was 9 years old. On that day, his parents roused him and his two siblings so they all could watch TV coverage of the Apollo 8 crew orbiting the moon. It was the first time

humans had ever reached the moon.

“My mom would tell you that I was 6 years old and we would discuss me becoming an astronaut,” he said. “It probably didn’t become something that I thought was a reality until I was able to secure a summer internship in 1981 at the Johnson Space Center.”

That internship kick-started his NASA career. For the first 15 years, the Hastings College and Iowa State University alum worked as an aerospace engineer and then in management at the space center in Houston. In 1998, NASA selected Anderson to become an astronaut.

Anderson’s 15 years as an astronaut include flying on two space shuttle missions and six spacewalks that totaled 38 hours and 28 minutes. Anderson describes being able to spacewalk as “the ultimate” milestone.

In fact, it was his first spacewalk that Anderson remembers most from his career. Occurring during a trip to the

Astronaut Clayton Anderson aboard the International Space Station in 2007. NASA

International Space Station, Anderson said his first spacewalk lasted seven hours and 41 minutes. One of the challenges was navigating a language barrier with a Russian cosmonaut. Despite that, Anderson and his colleague completed the spacewalk with no errors.

Crediting the training, equipment and support provided to him, Anderson said, “The idea is to be so prepared that if anything happens, we’re able to overcome it.”

Anderson said he would have liked to fly into space more. But with the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, that opportunity no longer was available to him.

With the rise of commercial spaceflights, Anderson thinks the world is on the precipice of a historic era as he equated the first flights from companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to the Wright brothers’ pioneering aviation achievement in 1903. Anderson envisions commercial spaceflights being able to “bring that experience that I had as a NASA astronaut and hopefully provide it for people just like airplane travel.”

“Now we’ve got a ways to go,” Anderson said. “But I’m excited for the possibilities. I’m excited that people in Nebraska may one day have the chance to see the Earth as I saw it. I think they’ll find it, like I did, to be incredible.”

In the meantime, Anderson said he’s looking forward to working with the museum’s “very, very dedicated” employees and meeting museum visitors.

“I’m very proud to be Nebraska’s astronaut,” he said. “I truly believe in what Nebraska stands for. Being back to help move this museum from its current spot to the future brings me great pride. I look forward to receiving support from folks all across Nebraska and the Midwest. I look forward to meeting every single one of them.”

OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG Clayton Anderson inside the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland. STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND & AEROSPACE MUSEUM

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Transit is as important to a thriving community as the people who live there. If residents can’t get from here to there, then they can’t connect with each other. Omaha has a growing mobile transit program that provides more inclusive transportation options for all citizens. The hope is to, among other things, reduce the need for cars, which leads to a lower carbon footprint and cleaner air. It also frees up parking and encourages better public health.

Bike Sharing

In Omaha, bike sharing through the Heartland B-Cycle program has become a green, popular way to get around. It’s freed up street parking, and reduced congestion. A B-Cycle is ready to ride anywhere and everywhere — at least from one of 70 stations throughout the city. It’s fun, affordable and good for the planet. Let’s ride!


Omahans can rent scooters for a fun, eco-friendly and affordable way to zip around. The program aims to reduce traffic and help free up parking, as well as reduce the city’s carbon footprint. In 2020, findings from the pilot program found that people used scooters for 36,283 trips covering 50,613 miles. The average distance traveled was 1.46 miles and took place downtown as well as in Midtown, Askarben and Benson.


In 2020, Metro Transit launched Omaha Rapid Bus Transit (ORBT). It was the most significant and important mass transit investment the region had seen in years. By using smart technology, enhanced workstations, spacious vehicles and streamlined travel, ORBT has given the city faster, more frequent and reliable transportation. Currently, the program serves an 8-mile route from downtown to Westroads Mall.

Residents travel on Omaha’s electric scooters. CHRIS MACHIAN Visitors ride Heartland B-cycle bikes near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. CHRIS MACHIAN Metro transit and Heartland Bike Share partnered to bring bike share stations and e-bikes to ORBT bus stations. METRO TRANSIT


From Fort Crook to Offutt Air Force Base and the Strategic Air Command, the U.S. military is an important piece of Omaha’s past and present. Omaha wouldn’t be what it is today without its military families and veterans who returned home after battle. Today, Omaha has a special relationship with Offutt, one of the state’s largest employers.

Offutt Air Force Base/StratCom

In 1948, the U.S. Air Force and Navy reached a joint agreement that made Offutt Air Force Base the host and headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. Today, Offutt Air Force Base supports a military and civilian workforce of approximately 10,000 people. The military’s impact on the economy averages almost $2.6 billion annually. On a more personal level, Bellevue and the entire region have given a home to our military families, embracing them whether they grew up here or are stationed here temporarily. Because of that, many military families return to the region after their tours of duty are complete and live a happy civilian life.

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

As you look up at the gigantic U-2 spy plane hanging from the ceiling, don’t be surprised if your pulse starts racing. When you get up close and personal with the F-4 fighter jet or the super rare XF-85 Goblin, don’t worry if the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It’s all part of the experience. You’re among some of the coolest, and most epic fighter jets of the Cold War era courtesy of Uncle Sam.

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum is located between Lincoln and Omaha near Interstate 80, and utilizes over 300,000 square feet of event space to educate, inspire, and entertain its guests who come from Nebraska, across the country, and around the world.

Here, visitors can delve into the history of the Cold War, explore perfectly restored aircraft, flip switches on the control panels of fighter jets, and come face-to-face with surface-to-air missiles.

As part of this commitment to education, the museum has recently established a partnership with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Office of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education to provide cutting-edge educational opportunities for students, teachers, families, and adult learners.

VA of Nebraska-Western Iowa

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated healthcare system, providing care at 1,293 healthcare facilities, including a state-of-the-art veterans healthcare facility in Omaha. The city’s $86 million, 160,000-square-foot VA Ambulatory Care Center opened in 2020. Built as part of the VA’s campus near 42nd and Woolworth Streets, the ambulatory care hub is equipped to handle 400 patients a day and links to the main 12-story VA hospital. The facility, which has eight primary care clinics, an outpatient surgery suite and other specialty services to the campus, is the country’s first private-public funded healthcare facility built under the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Vets Act. From COVID-19 testing and treatment to suicide prevention and mental health services, the VA works to improve the lives of all area veterans.

People explore the planes at the Indoor Air Show in the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland. SARAH HOFFMAN Offutt Air Force base staff. U.S. AIR FORCE


The state parks in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa have so much to offer folks who live here, whether they are in Ashland, Council Bluffs, or somewhere in between. They are less expensive than a private campground and have awesome features, such as hiking, swimming, trails, bike paths and beaches.

Like roughing it? We’ve got you covered. Or, do you prefer staying in style? Nailed it. And history? Too much to mention in one little book. There is something for everyone at our local state park system.

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Friends and training partners prepare for an upcoming half marathon. EILEEN T. MESLAR

Carter Lake

Carter Lake is unique in that it stretches across both Nebraska and Iowa. It’s smaller than other metro lakes, at 32 acres, but it’s great location and natural beauty make it a hot spot for boaters and swimmers on both sides of the Missouri River.

Fontenelle Forest

Founded more than 100 years ago, Fontenelle Forest is one of Nebraska’s oldest conservation organizations and one of the largest private nature centers in the United States.

Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area

Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area is one of the most popular in the state, with 40 acres of land and nearly 300 acres of water in 20 sandpit lakes.

Lake Manawa State Park

At 1,529 acres, Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs encompasses a lake that stretches across 752 acres. Lake Manawa was formed during an 1881 flood, so it offers visitors a history lesson as well.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park in Cass County is one of the most popular recreational areas in Nebraska, as well as the most scenic. The park includes a climbing wall, hiking and biking trails, volleyball courts, swimming, pony rides and more, along with camping and boating.

Louisville State Park

Knee boarding at the Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area. JEFF BEIERMANN

It’s one of those best-kept Nebraska secrets that isn’t so secret anymore, and that’s OK. Louisville State Park in Cass County ecompasses 192 acres, five sandpit lakes and 50 surface acres of water. You can have a picnic, go canoeing, catch a few fish, take your kids to a floating playground and more.

Platte River State Park

Archery, biking, cabins, camping, hiking and more. Platte River State Park has everything you want in a park and then some. It’s also smack in the middle of Omaha and Lincoln, so campers from either city can enjoy all of its amenities and state-of-the-art facilities.

Two Rivers State Recreation Area

Falconwood Park

In Sarpy County, Falconwood Park offers visitors a place to hang, camp, see a concert, watch a drive-in movie and more. It’s an all-encompassing arts and entertainment venue and home of the Hullabaloo Music Festival.

Two Rivers State Recreational Area is one of Nebraska’s most visited recreation areas. Among other very cool things, this park boasts 10 Union Pacific train cabooses that have been — wait for it — refurbished into cabins that sleep up to six people.

Kids swim and float in tubes at Carter Lake Park. MEGAN NIELSEN Horseback riding at E.T. Mahoney State Park in Ashland. BRYNN ANDERSON Fishing at Two Rivers State Recreation Area near Venice. NEBRASKALAND MAGAZINE

Plenty of people still rely on a tent and a sleeping bag when they go camping. But many more want a different experience.

Nebraska Game and Parks tries hard to accommodate everyone, says Bob Hanover, the assistant division administrator of state parks. Camping sites at Nebraska’s parks have been evolving for years in response to guests’ feedback.

“People want options. They want choice. They want unique opportunities,” Hanover said. “We intentionally try

to keep some rustic and natural. We intentionally try to make some more modern to accommodate the users.”

Camping with a recreational vehicle remains the top choice among Nebraskans. Cabins at parks such as Mahoney, Niobrara and Ponca also are very popular.

But through the years, Game and Parks has added options such as tepees, cabooses and glamping cabins, which include many of the luxuries of home.

The newest trend is a Tentrr, a canvas tent on a wood platform set up with everything a camper might need. There’s

also a picnic table and fire ring, so users just need to bring personal items.

“It’s for people who want more of a luxurious experience, but it’s not quite glamping,” Hanover said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

If you want to leave your sleeping bag or hammock at home, here are some unique opportunities from Game and Parks to check out. Make reservations at outdoornebraska.gov. You also can contact the reservation call center at 402-471-1414, which is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If a tent doesn’t appeal, there are lots of other camping options at Nebraska’s state parks
Campers enjoy the new glamping cabin at Platte River State Park in Cass County, Neb. NEBRASKALAND MAGAZINE/NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS COMMISSION

Tepees & glamping at Platte River State Park

Each tepee can accommodate six to eight people. Wooden floors replace the packed earth of the traditional dwelling, offering added comfort, and a fire pit, picnic table, grill, water hydrant and pit toilet are nearby. Three glamping cabins combine modern comforts with a nature-immersive experience. Each cabin sleeps two, and the queen-size bed may be rolled through oversized French doors onto the deck so guests can sleep beneath the stars. The cabins also come equipped with linens, robes and slippers, a modern bathroom with shower, kitchenette, raised-stone fire pit, s’mores kit, wine glasses and much more.

Cabooses at Two Rivers State Recreation Area

10 Union Pacific cabooses have been remodeled and restored for park lodging. Up to six people can stay in a caboose, with two bunk beds in the rear and two mattresses in the cupola. The cabooses are air-conditioned and each have a modern bathroom and shower. The kitchen includes a stove, microwave, refrigerator and sink. A table, with four chairs and couch for two, serves as the dining area. If you prefer dining outside, there is a deck with picnic table, grill and fire ring.

Tentrr Camping at Louisville State Recreation Area

The fully equipped, ready-to-go campsites are the newest way to experience Nebraska state parks. Spacious canvas safari tents come with a bed, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. Tentrr sites are a great camping option for couples, families and groups like outdoor clubs. In addition to the platform tent, each site is equipped with one pop-up tent for additional campers. Learn more and book your stay at tentrr.com.

OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG Campers enjoy the new glamping cabin at Platte River State Park in Cass County, Neb. NEBRASKALAND MAGAZINE/NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS COMMISSION Campers enjoy breakfast on the deck of their caboose cabin at Two Rivers State Recreation Area. ERIC FOWLER, NEBRASKALAND MAGAZINE/NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS COMMISSION

The Omaha area offers something for everyone. When it comes to living your best life, Omaha is the city of dreams for sports fans, art enthusiasts, music lovers, theater-goers, history buffs, foodies and more. No matter what your taste, you can find entertainment everywhere in Omaha.

 Sporting Events  Festivals  Museums & Attractions  Performing Arts  Galleries  Music Scene  Food & Drink  Golf Courses
OMAHACHAMBER.ORG Members of Los Raices de Mexico dance during a performance. LILY SMITH


Some of the sporting world’s biggest events take place right here in Omaha. It’s where college baseball national champions are crowned; college volleyball and basketball players take to the courts in hopes to secure places in championship games; and future PGA stars make the cut. It’s also home to some of the most intense, and highly passionate fan bases for soccer and hockey.

Yep. If you’re looking to lose your voice rooting for the home team, Omaha is the place to do it. But the spectators are only part of the sports equation. The event itself is the

real draw. At the College World Series, you can grill burgers with a family from the other side of the country.

When the U.S. Senior Open is in in town, you may see some of the country’s greatest golfers visiting area businesses and restaurants. You can cheer with the crowd when the NCAA Basketball Tournament comes to town.

In short, there is no off-season for Omaha. It’s big-time sports all year-round. So, grab your glove or your giant foam-finger, and get ready to cheer on your team!

An evening sunset during the College World Series. ANNA REED A player signs balls for fans following a game at the College World Series ANNA REED

College World Series

Every June, baseball fans from all across the country make their annual pilgrimage to Charles Schwab Field for arguably the grandest and most electric collegiate sporting spectacle: the College World Series.

This two-week event is marked with the plumes of smoke rising off the grills of hardcore tailgaters, where food and stories are freely shared among the

regional fan-bases. Across the street from the ballpark, you can stroll through Baseball Village, where you’ll find an eclectic collection of baseball-themed bazaars, live music, a beer garden, and if you’re lucky, more than a few celebrities in town for the festivities.

But this event is so much more than just a baseball tournament – it’s an energy; a state of mind; a rite of

passage that is passed down from one generation to the next. It’s where kids discover the magic of the game as they hustle for autographs of tomorrow’s major leaguers.

Oh, and in between all that, the eight best college baseball teams compete for the coveted title of National Champion. It’s no wonder this event is known as “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”

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College World Series fans. ANNA REED

Using chalk, Omaha teenager leaves her mark on the College World Series — one logo at a time

The 16-year-old, who attends Mercy High School in Omaha, doesn’t take art classes there. She doesn’t spend hours drawing in her free time.

But once a year when the College World Series rolls into town, Mills shows off her artistic skills on the sidewalk next to the tailgaters in Lot D outside Charles Schwab Field.

Armed with chalk, Mills draws the logos of all eight teams that qualified for the CWS on individual sidewalk squares. The drawings are all freehand. Mills said she pulls up a photo of the team’s logo on her phone and goes for it.

For some teams, the logo is simply initials, such as “ND” for Notre Dame. For Arkansas, Mills drew a teethbaring menacing Razorback.

Her two sisters, Lily, 14, and Marly, 12, have helped her color in the logos.

The hardest part, she said, is drawing the logos in the heat, although her parents make sure she takes breaks. Mills said she worries about getting trampled by fans while she draws the logos, but once they’re done, people go out of their way to avoid stepping on them.

The chalk art began in 2017 when Mills and her sisters were bored at a tailgate. They used chalk to write out the names of all eight teams in the CWS. In 2019, Mills said, she started doing the team logos.

“I was shocked at my own artistic skills,” Mills said of the results.

Angie Mills, Abby’s mom, said her daughter doesn’t give herself enough credit. On occasion, she said, Abby will draw things for her high school or her sister’s school, but it’s not as elaborate as what she does for the CWS.

To prepare, Mills said, she has to go to multiple craft stores to make sure she has enough chalk in the right colors.

For the 2022 series, Mills said she watched the regionals and super regionals and cheered on teams based on their logos. Do they have pretty colors? Does she want to draw the logo? Can she actually draw the logo?

Mills’ favorite logo to draw was Stanford University, which features a tree and an S.

Fans love the chalk art. Sometimes they will ask Mills to stop by their tailgate spot to draw a logo near them even if their team didn’t make it into the series.

Some fans have asked Mills if she pours water over the logos as teams are eliminated. Normally, Mother Nature takes care of that and washes away all the logos with rain. But this year, she poured water over the Texas logo after the Longhorns were eliminated.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever done it,” Mills said. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ because I’ve been waiting to do it, and the rain normally does it for me.”

Angie Mills said her family has had tickets to the CWS for 40 years, but now her daughter’s sidewalk chalk art is how people find them every year to reconnect.

“I think it’s cool people get so much joy out of seeing it,” she said.

Drawing of team logos on the sidewalk outside Charles Schwab Field before the College World Series. Z LONG Abby Mills sits next to her chalk art at the College World Series. She has been drawing the participating teams’ logos for a few years. MEGAN NIELSEN

A record crowd of 15,797 watch the Nebraska volleyball team take on Creighton at CHI Health. CHRIS MACHIAN

Creighton University Athletics

No matter the sport, the Creighton University Blue Jays have a long and storied history of hoisting championships, crowning national champions, and creating some of the most hard-core, die-hard fans in all of collegiate sports.

Recent seasons have been major triumphs for the Jays. The women’s basketball team made its first appearance in the Elite 8, while the men’s team reached the BIG EAST Tournament title game for the second year in a row and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The volleyball team won a school-record 31 matches, secured an eighth-consecutive BIG EAST regular season title and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight season.

Last season, five combined NCAA berths for the entire athletic department matched the highest total ever (2004-05). The six

NCAA Tournament wins were the most since 2016-17 and the second-most all-time. Eight different student-athletes took home player of the year or freshman of the year awards.

NCAA Volleyball

As a host site, the city of Omaha always comes up aces. In 2006, 2008, and 2015, the championship matches all set records for the largest single-match attendance in NCAA women’s volleyball history. In 2021, Omaha hosted the entire tournament. Overall, five of the 10 largest crowds in NCAA history have been either NCAA Semifinal or Finals matches played in Omaha.

Fun fact: the perennial national powerhouse University of Nebraska-Lincoln has reached the NCAA semifinals every time the event has been held in Omaha. Fingers crossed the pattern continues again, and again, and again!


Omaha Beef

If you happen to take in an Omaha Beef indoor football game and find yourself sitting in the first few rows, make sure your head is on a swivel. One minute you could be enjoying some tasty nachos, and the next you could have a gigantic football player in your lap, courtesy of him getting tackled over the boards.

Few sporting events are more exciting, more thrilling, or more affordable than a Beef game down at Liberty First Credit Union Arena in Ralston. Here defensive battles give way to high-powered, explosive offensive displays that rack up yards and points. So, grab your foam finger and head down to Ralston for football Omaha-style.

Omaha Lancers

The Omaha Lancers are considered to be one of the best Tier-1 junior hockey programs in the United States, and a premier training

ground for gifted players to develop their skills for the transition to future college and professional play.

Home games are often played to a packed crowd of 4,000-plus enthusiastic fans. Even though the players are amateurs, they are treated like professionals by both fans and media alike. In 35 years of play, the Lancers have won a total of 14 championships, the most of any USHL franchise.

This family-friendly venue is a perfect way to spend an evening cheering until your voice goes hoarse, pounding on the glass, and high-fiving total strangers as the Lancers score goal after goal.

The Omaha Lancers play at the Ralston Arena. MARK DAVIS Omaha Beef play inside the Ralston Arena. MARK DAVIS

Omaha Storm Chasers

The vibrant city of Papillion is home to some of the most exciting family-friendly entertainment around. Down at Werner Park, you can catch the Omaha Storm

Chasers, who are the Triple-A East and Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

Not only can you catch a glimpse (and possibly a foul ball) of tomorrow’s big leaguers, your kiddos can run wild in the

Kids Play Zone, where they’ll find a few bounce houses, a playground, a carousel, and a ball pitching inflatable. Just make sure to bring your mitt and a big appetite because the concession stands pitch some of the tastiest food around.

The Omaha Storm Chasers play at Werner Park in Papillion. BRENDAN SULLIVAN

Pinnacle Bank Championship

The final stop on the Korn Ferry Tour is right here in Omaha, Nebraska where golf’s best and brightest rising stars never fail to shine. The Pinnacle Bank Championship at Indian Creek Golf Course is four days of intense, pressure-packed golf as amateur golfers try to win the coveted PGA Tour Card.

But this tournament isn’t all business. You’ll find tons of family-friendly events that will make your experience truly memorable with a Pro-Am, Youth Day, charity events, and so much more. In the end, more than 100 golfers will compete, but only 25 will earn the right to call themselves “PGA Pros.”

University of Nebraska-Omaha Athletics

The UNO Mavericks took the Summit League by storm this past year with notable achievements all across the board. From men’s soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey to women’s softball, volleyball, basketball, and more. The Maverick’s continue to generate unrivaled excitement and thrills for their legions of die-hard fans.

Two teams especially stood out this past year: the women’s volleyball and softball teams. Not only did they establish themselves as teams on the rise, they put together late season campaigns that saw victories over heated rivals and brought them close to a berth in the NCAA tournament for their respective sports.

Union Omaha Soccer Club

Some professional sports teams retire numbers to honor former players. Union Omaha retired the #1 jersey to honor the city. That’s how important Omaha is to the overall success and story of the Union Owls. So, it’s no surprise that on any given game day, Werner Park is home to thousands of die-hard soccer fans that scream, sing, and chant their team to victory. Union Omaha is the only professional soccer team in

Nebraska and part of the United Soccer League’s League One (USL League One).

Two cool facts: the name, Union Omaha, is a nod to the Union Pacific Railroad; while the great horned owl, a species of

owl native to Nebraska, is the focal point of the team logo.

So, grab those scarves and get ready for soccer as only Omaha can do it!

Union Omaha celebrates their USL League One championship. Z LONG A player tees off at the 10th hole during the Pinnacle Bank Golf Championship at The Club at Indian Creek.
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At its core, a festival is a celebration of people. It’s a place where people arrive as strangers, and, with luck and a dose of Nebraska Nice, go home having made a handful of new friends. It’s a place where people can sample great food, listen to great music, dance, party, and socialize.

And Omaha offers some of the best festivals in the region. From culinary adventures to cultural pride and more, Omaha’s local festivals will provide you with a shared experience that

will last a lifetime — along with the memories that you’ll surely make.

So cancel your other weekend plans because these Omaha festivals have so much to offer: Community, connection, and an experience like no other.

AppleJack Festival

Apple pie, apple cider, apple cider donuts, candy apples, caramel apples, apple fritters, apple salad – anything you can possibly imagine made from this glorious fruit can be found and enjoyed at the annual AppleJack Festival.

Located in Nebraska City, AppleJack

Festival has been named as one of the top 10 Fall Harvest Festivals in America by the USA Today. This historic festival annually draws between 60,000 and 80,000 people to celebrate the apple harvest. In fact, there’s so much apple-loving fun to be had, that the celebration had to be spread over two weekends, rather than the traditional three-day stretch.

But it’s not all apples — there’s also a parade, car show (with more than a few vehicles painted candy-apple red), flea market, carnival, and craft fair. The festival generally starts mid-September and lasts until the final apple is eaten.

Orchard fun at Nebraska City’s AppleJack Festival. JEFF BEIERMANN

Benson First Friday

Known around the city simply as BFF, Benson First Friday started in June 2012 and has grown into a hugely influential creative and cultural experience. Founded and operated by Alex Jochim & Jamie Hardy, BFF Omaha gained nonprofit status in July 2015 after managing 3 years of monthly First Friday art walks.

The duo, along with many more acquired organizers, wanted to see the organization grow from a once-a-month gathering to one that supported

the area arts on a daily basis. So, they started producing projects such as public art, regional-outreach, gallery operations, youth engagement, merchandise and more.

Today, BFF continues to grow and gain regional attention as a major influencer for the area arts and creative culture, continuing to Build Community Through Arts Engagement. An 85% volunteer-run organization, the volunteer staff is comprised of local artists, business owners and operators, neighborhood staff, and community members.

Heartland Pride Parade & Festival

All the colors of the rainbow flag come to life during this annual celebration of the LGTBQ+ community. The festival kicks off with a parade in downtown Omaha and features ornate and splashy floats, lively dancers and flag twirlers. There are also plenty of fun outdoor activities that promote inclusion, diversity, and the history of this proud community. The event concludes with a concert at the Baxter Arena.

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Percussionists perform during Benson First Friday. RYAN SODERLIN A stormtrooper high-fives attendees at the Heartland Pride Parade in downtown Omaha. MEGAN NIELSEN

John C. Fremont Days

A fun and educational three-day, family-friendly festival that celebrates one of Nebraska’s most iconic statesmen. Held in the town that bears his name (Fremont), more than 140 historical, educational, and fun events take place throughout the city. History-based attractions include a number of re-enactments, from an Omaha tribal encampment to fur trappers to Civil War soldiers. Other attractions include a display of John C. Fremont artifacts, a Wild West show, street dances, and a Strategic Air Command Band concert.

Maha Music Festival

Music lovers throw up those glow sticks and rejoice! Aksarben’s Stinson Park in late summer headlines a music experience like no other. Yes, the Maha Music Festival is loaded with bands and performers from all across the country, but it’s also a multifaceted and multi-cultural community event that reveals Omaha’s more eclectic side.

Walk through Omaha’s largest outdoor music festival and you’ll not only catch local and Grammy-award winning acts, but also art installations, film screenings, fashion shows, and even a Ferris wheel. You can also catch DJ music, some of the best comedy groups this side of LA, and even slam poets.

And when it’s time for a bite to eat, just groove on over to the rows of Omaha-based food trucks and booths. If you’re over 21, you can imbibe on a variety of adult beverages including awardwinning craft beers from local Nebraska breweries.

Tickets generally sell out fast, so grab yours the first chance you get.

Omaha Freedom Festival

The Omaha Freedom Festival is a celebration of the Juneteenth holiday which honors the emancipation of those enslaved in the United States. The festival’s mission is to: Educate, Empower & Entertain the Omaha community about North Omaha culture. The event takes place at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation’s outdoor amphitheater. You’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities, local artists displaying their wares, musicians, food and beverage vendors, and so much more.

Memorial Park Concert

An annual outdoor summer concert that features tons of charttopping performers, up-and-coming local artists, and end-ofthe-night fireworks that always delivers plenty of oohs-and-aahs. In recent years, the fireworks show has been expanded and is now one of the largest in the region. The event is free and very family-friendly.

Live music at Maha Festival. MEGAN NIELSEN Sheryl Crow takes the stage during the City of Omaha Celebrates America concert at Memorial Park. LILY SMITH A dance performance during the John C. Fremont Days. ELSIE STORMBERG A float member hands out candy during the Juneteenth parade. LILY SMITH

Omaha Summer Arts Festival

A staple of the Omaha community for more than 50 years, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival (OSAF) is perennially considered one of Omaha’s best annual festivals. Even the Smithsonian.com regards it as a top art festival across the entire country.

OSAF typically takes place during the first week of June and is visited by 80,000 people annually. The festival features 135 artists from throughout the United States, an Artists’ Market, Young Artist Exhibition, an interactive children’s area with an exclusive kids only art-buying experience, a variety of stage performances, and film fest.

A vibrant masterpiece in every sense of the word, we recommend you skip a meal or two before going because you’ll find some of the best regional fare from vendors specializing in Mexican, BBQ, Greek, and other traditional festival favorites.

Every year you can expect a few new surprises and unexpected additions that make the experience all the more memorable.

Outlandia Music Festival

New to the scene in 2021, the Outlandia Music Festival has the potential to become the biggest fest in the metro. Located over 170 acres across Falconwood Park in Bellevue, Outlandia landed some hit-making headliners along with the biggest names in the Omaha music scene. There a lot of potential building with this fledgling festival.

Taste of Omaha

If you’re hungry for some tasty familyfriendly fun, or even a foodie on the lookout for something fresh to try, the annual Taste of Omaha is just the ticket.

Located in Elmwood Park in the Aksarben neighborhood, this 3-day culinary event is open to the public and free to attend. Just make sure to bring an appetite and taste for adventure as you can sample dishes that include Mexican, Italian, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean, American, and so much more. For those over 21, you can pair a local craft beer or wine with your food samplings.

Got a sweet tooth? Then you’re in luck because Taste of Omaha has plenty of desserts to indulge in. Dive into decadent slices of heaven, or should we say, cheesecake, or opt for a fresh scoop of ice cream. However, if you’re anything like us, you do both.

In between meals, check out the Nebraska Lottery stage where you can relax (or rock out) to live music from some of the hottest up-and-coming local bands, discover choreographed dances from a variety of cultures, and even get face painting done for the kids.


Winterfest, Council Bluffs’ annual holiday celebration, is a special community tradition. Activities include a holiday lighting ceremony in Bayliss Park, Santa’s Village workshop, food trucks, makers village, outdoor holiday movie, family activities and more.

A child enjoys the Musical Chairs ride during Taste of Omaha at Elmwood Park. LILY SMITH Children check out the holiday lights at Bayliss Park during Winterfest. JOE SHEARER A patron looks at artwork during the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. EILEEN T. MESLAR


Some of the best museums in the Midwest can be found right here in Omaha. Whether you’re entertaining family from out of town or looking to broaden your cultural horizons, all of these museums are worth exploring.

Members of the African Culture Connection perform at The Durham Museum. EILEEN T. MESLAR

Durham Museum

Inside Omaha’s historic Union Station, you’ll find one of the most gorgeous and well-regarded museums in the country. The Durham Museum blends radiant architecture, vibrantly personified by ornate art-deco lines, embellishments, and patterns, with the stories and experiences of the United States’ western region.

Trace the lineage of Omaha’s history, and the exciting stories of how it came to be. You’ll also find a fascinating collection of permanent exhibits, including Native American huts and artifacts, some of the world’s rarest coins and documents, and restored train cars from the 1940s and 1950s. The Durham also attracts traveling exhibits through its affiliation with the Smithsonian and close ties with the Library of Congress.

There’s also an interactive STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) area where kids can touch, feel, build, and explore fun activities.

Before you leave, pull up a stool at the authentic soda fountain and order a classic malt, phosphate, flavored soda, or ice cream treat.

El Museo Latino

In a city defined by history and trailblazing cultural landmarks, El Museo Latino is arguably the best of all. When it first opened its doors on May 5th, 1993, it became the first Latino art and history museum in Nebraska and the Midwest.

Today, it is committed to strengthening

the artistic and creative culture of the Greater Omaha area through the presentation of Latino arts, and increasing the visibility of Latino art forms. It also develops educational programs that include lectures, slide presentations, films, art classes, workshops, demonstrations, art history classes, gallery talks, guided visits, and dance classes.

Great Plains Black History Museum

The central mission of the Great Plains Black History Museum (GPBHM) has been the preservation and enhancement of knowledge about the history, culture, and contributions of African Americans in the Great Plains. It boasts one of the largest repositories of historical materials and resources on the African American experience in the United States.

You can also browse exhibits on African American homesteaders and a section commemorating African American political leaders in the Midwest region.

Fifth-grade children check out a display at El Museo Latino. KRISTAN GRAY An exhibit at the Great Plains Black History Museum. MATT DIXON

A new pavilion will add 42,000 square feet to the Joslyn Art

Joslyn Art Museum will soon feature $100 million addition

Construction is underway on a $100 million pavilion that will add 42,000 square feet to the Joslyn Art Museum, dramatically altering the museum’s profile and creating space for an important collection of modern art.

“It will be really great for the city for decades and decades to come,” said Jack Becker, Joslyn’s executive director and CEO.

The pavilion will be named for Omaha philanthropists Rhonda and Howard Hawks of the Hawks Foundation.

The Rhonda and Howard Hawks Pavilion is scheduled to open in 2024. The

museum, at 22nd and Dodge Streets, is closed until the pavilion is completed. Becker said that’s common for museum projects as a safety measure for staff, visitors and valuable art.

Howard Hawks is a founder of Tenaska, an Omaha-based energy company with offices in several U.S. and Canadian cities. In addition to being a longtime supporter of the museum and the University of Nebraska, he is a former member and chairman of the NU Board of Regents.

Architect Craig Dykers, who founded the firm Snøhetta in New York City, is leading the project. Dykers is working on the design with Alley Poyner

Macchietto, an Omaha architecture firm that’s listed as the architect of record for the project. Kiewit Building Group is the general contractor.

The design features access from the old structure into the pavilion building, which begins at the current glass atrium and extends in a curve. It’s built on the northeast side of the original structure.

New sculpture gardens wrap the site and weave the buildings and outdoor spaces together.

“It will be a better place for the sculptures and places to sit to enjoy the landscape,” Dykers said. “(And) it created a more useful garden for events and school groups.”


What this (project) will allow this institution to do is show more art, welcome more people, elevate the visitor experience and strengthen community connections in a space that will be celebrated and iconic and loved in this region and beyond.

He said the facade of the pavilion will be made of light-colored precast panels that will contain specks of pink from granite, quartz and other stones.

Perhaps the most important feature, however, is the relocation of the entrance to the northern edge of the site, off Davenport Street. It makes the door more visible and provides a new covered dropoff area for inclement weather.

And, Dykers said, designers also lowered a big wall on the southeast side so that people can see more of the original building as they drive or walk past.

Dykers and the team talked to Omahans as part of their design process, and those interviewed frequently mentioned the entrance and the large wall as issues.

“They also wanted us to create something that worked well with the existing buildings,” Dykers said.

Dykers visited Omaha as a student in the 1980s. That sparked his admiration for Nebraska architecture.

“I was really interested in the Joslyn because it’s a beautiful example of art deco and certainly one of the most magnificent buildings in the area, alongside the State Capitol (in Lincoln), which is also spectacular,” Dykers said.

The original Joslyn building, with its pillars and pink Georgia marble facade, opened in 1931. The first expansion, the Lord Norman Foster-designed Scott Pavilion, opened in 1994.

Because of his affinity for the iconic original building — which is considered to be one of the finest historical examples of its genre — Dykers said he was excited when he learned that Joslyn officials were seeking designers for the new project.

“Everyone in Omaha is really proud of the museum and so am I,” he said. “To work on it is kind of a gift.”

For his part, Becker said the architects’ approach was impressive.

“Both Snøhetta and Alley Poyner demonstrated this great respect for the existing buildings and how important they are,” Becker said.

Previous Snøhetta projects include the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City.

The Joslyn work also includes new community spaces and classrooms and renovations of office spaces in the original building.

The new gallery spaces will offer the

public unprecedented access to the nationally renowned Phillip G. Schrager Collection of Contemporary Art. Schrager’s widow, Terri, donated more than 50 pieces from the collection to the museum in 2016, greatly expanding its range of 20th century artists. Schrager, an Omaha businessman who founded the Pacesetter Corp., died in 2010.

The collection, Becker said, “will bring some of the best modern art to the city.”

Becker thinks the pavilion has the potential to create an identity for the city and build its reputation beyond the area. Great cities have great public schools, great public parks, great public libraries and great public art museums, he said.

The Joslyn has been free to the public for a number of years, Becker said, and will remain so after the expansion.

“What this (project) will allow this institution to do is show more art, welcome more people, elevate the visitor experience and strengthen community connections in a space that will be celebrated and iconic and loved in this region and beyond,” he said.

A rendering shows the new southeast garden at the Joslyn Art Museum. RENDERING COURTESY OF MOARE

Kiewit Luminarium

Situated alongside Omaha’s RiverFront, Kiewit Luminarium is a state-of-the-art space designed for all to discover and explore. The 82,000-square-foot facility will be a learning and entertainment destination offering interactive exhibitions and engaging programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Kiewit Luminarium was a collective response to a need to incubate the region’s workforce, enhance Omaha as a livable community, and help position the city as a center for innovation, workforce development, and engineering.

The project is a collaboration with Exploratorium, a global leader in the development of extraordinary science learning experiences, to create the center’s interactive exhibits and programming. Community partners are also actively engaged in the co-creation process of this community asset.

Among the attractions are a “geometric climber,” that allows visitors to learn about the art and symmetry of geometry by walking and climbing through a two-story exhibit. There will also be another two-story exhibit space devoted to the science of materials, where visitors will explore the weight, strength, and quality of materials used for construction and other purposes.

Lauritzen Gardens

Welcome to a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship.

Lauritzen Gardens provides memorable educational and an aesthetic experience that will dazzle people of all ages.

It’s where you can escape to an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility and discover a hidden sanctuary in the heart of the city. You can also relax while cultivating your mind in this living plant museum, conveniently located in the beautiful riverfront hills.

Nighttime exterior shot of the Kiewit Luminarium. RENDERING COURTESY OF MOARE The Holiday Poinsettia show at Lauritzen Gardens. CHRIS MACHIAN

North Omaha Music & Arts

North Omaha Music and Arts is located in the heart of historic North Omaha. Over the years, it has become a cultural institution by highlighting the contributions of African American artists from the Omaha area and across the country. The state-of-the-art facility also houses a performing arts center, exhibition space, gift shop, and classrooms.

Omaha Children’s Museum

It’s not uncommon to walk through the Omaha Children’s Museum (OCM) and feel as if you’ve been transported into the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. Bright, daring colors splash the walls, staircases, floors, and ceilings; rooms are affixed with crooked map lines of pipes and tubes that shuttle bouncy balls to and fro; and there’s even an occasional rainstorm in the Imagination Playground.

All that’s missing is that lanky cat with his red and white striped top hat!

Yes, for reasons like these OCM is the most visited museum in Nebraska. It’s an interactive museum that provides an ever-changing series of traveling and permanent exhibits, science shows, and special events. Let your kids (including the kids-at-heart) run wild in the Imagination Playground, the Arts Smart Center, Zooland, and so much more.

Don’t forget to pack the swim trunks because if it’s hot enough, your kids can head outside to Sandy’s Splish Splash Garden and play in the jets and sprays of the water feature.

Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

Highly regarded as one of the best zoos in the country, the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo boasts more than 160 acres of plants, animals, and unique habitats from around the world. Only here can you stroll through the world’s largest indoor desert, the Desert Dome. It features plant and animal life from three deserts around the world that’s separated by a 55-foot-tall mountain in the middle of the dome. Next, head over the Lied Jungle and explore the natural rainforest environment as you walk through America’s largest indoor rainforest.

Inside this exhibit you will hear waterfalls crashing, see gibbons swinging and feel the tropical environment surround you.

Inside the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium you can experience polar regions, temperate oceans, coral reefs and even the Amazon. You can also walk on the bottom of the ocean and come nose to nose with sea turtles as sharks circle above you in the 70-foot shark tunnel.

These exhibits are just the beginning though. You can also explore Asian highlands, African grasslands, an orangutan forest, elephants, giraffes, and so much more.

Children playing at the Omaha Children’s Museum. SARAH HOFFMAN Eugenia, an elephant calf, walks among the herd at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. CHRIS MACHIAN


When it comes to the performing arts, Omaha stands proudly in the spotlight. You’d be hard pressed to find another city with such an accomplished, talented, and ambitious collection of dancers, playwrights, directors, actors, and singers. This place is thriving, it’s energetic, and it’s limitless in originality. Our entertainment venues offer unique opportunities to see exhilarating performances in both traditional and non-traditional settings. We encourage you to not only find the shows that are close to your heart, but allow yourself to branch out and take in a performance that’s outside your comfort zone or leads you down a path less traveled. But no matter your taste, you’re guaranteed to experience a performance worthy of a standing ovation.

American Midwest Ballet

Stunning performances set to the stirring and spellbinding sounds of an orchestral score is what you can always expect from the American Midwest Ballet. As Omaha’s resident professional dance company, their dancers hail from around the nation and even abroad. The company plays a key role in the cultural vitality of our region, inspiring people through its expressive performing artists, acclaimed choreographers, skilled teachers, and stunning productions. Catch a performance at the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center, Orpheum Theater, and the Joslyn Art Museum.

Members of American Midwest Ballet perform inside the Polina & Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center. JOE SHEARER

Bellevue Little Theatre

The Bellevue Little Theatre, Sarpy County’s only performing arts center, offers value-packed, family-friendly theater to the community. Each year, the theater entertains thousands of people with professionally produced performances of live theatre. The season runs from September through May with five productions per season, each production is shown Friday through Sunday for three weekends. Tickets are general admission only with seating on a first-come, firstserve basis.

Bluebarn Theater

When you roll up to the Bluebarn Theater don’t be surprised if you mistake it for a trend-setting bistro or hot new nightclub. The eclectic, industrial-inspired design aesthetic exudes a raw, almost elemental feel to it.

And that’s exactly what you get inside. Raw, stripped down, vulnerable and fearless stories that challenge both theater artists and patrons alike. Expect passion-fueled performances that you’ll find yourself talking about and musing over well after you’ve gone home.

Since 1989, the Bluebarn has been bringing professionally-produced plays to Omaha with a focus on original content – content that’s meant to provoke thought, emotion, action, and change. If you love the performing arts, then you need to find time to catch a performance at the Bluebarn.

Omaha Community Playhouse

The Omaha Community Playhouse has played a vital role in helping to nurture a better appreciation and understanding for the performing arts in the region. As the nation’s largest community theatre, they bring about a full season of shows produced by artistic professionals with the talents of local volunteer artists and performers of all stripes.

The Playhouse features two state-of-the-art performance spaces — the 558-seat Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre and the intimate Howard Drew Theatre.

The Omaha Playhouse also offers a variety of classes for adults and children, plus workshops, residencies, study materials, tours, and special events. Their Education & Outreach Department is constantly working to develop new ways to engage the community in education through the fine arts.

A passerby takes a photo of the Bluebarn Theater. CHRIS MACHIAN The Omaha Community Playhouse. EILEEN T. MESLAR Performers rehearse for a show at Bellevue Little Theatre. CHRIS MACHIAN
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Omaha Performing Arts (Holland Center & Orpheum)

Try to describe the Omaha Performing Arts and one simple word jumps to mind: BRAVO! And that’s exactly what you’ll find yourself yelling at the end of the show.

As the largest arts institution in Nebraska, Omaha Performing Arts is dedicated to bringing the best touring artists and productions in jazz, dance, Broadway, blues, speakers, family and popular performers to the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center.

The Orpheum Theater located in downtown Omaha is a former Vaudeville house and serves as the home for some of the finest in local and national performing arts. Cross the threshold into the lobby and you’ll see original furniture, metal grill work, draperies, marble, and plaster sculpture that date back to 1927.

While the Orpheum channels an elegant,

old Hollywood glam-vibe, the Holland Performing Arts Center is all about sleek modern urbanism inside and out. With bold design and finely engineered acoustics, this performing arts center offers spectacular views of downtown Omaha, an intimate atmosphere for patrons, and a home for world-class artistry.

Omaha Symphony

What do Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Ben Folds, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, Neil Sedaka, and Martin Short all have in common? They are all world-renowned artists that shared the stage with Omaha Symphony.

From September through June, the Holland Performing Arts Center comes alive with exhilarating performances of live orchestral music courtesy of the Omaha Symphony.

With six concert series – MasterWorks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movie Music, Symphony Joslyn and Family – as well as a wide variety of education and

community engagement programs, tours and one-night-only special concerts, the orchestra reaches more than 120,000 people each year in Nebraska and western Iowa.

Opera Omaha

Opera Omaha, the only professional opera company in Nebraska, produces a season of original mainstage productions, presented at the historic Orpheum Theater.

They are internationally known for its productions of eight world premieres and four American premieres of classical masterpieces and is highly regarded regionally for an extensive education and outreach program that annually reaches thousands from elementary school through adulthood.

But while the performances are avant garde, the vibe among the patrons is very much laid back and comfortable. There is no dress code – simply come as you are and be prepared to have the night of your life.

AChristmasCarol Nov.18–Dec.23,2022 OnSaleNow!

Sister’sChristmas Catechism Nov.25–Dec.23,2022 OnSaleNow!

AugustWilson’s Fences Jan.20–Feb.12,2023 OnSaleNow!

RE NT Feb.10–March19,2023


Dreamgirls March3–26,2023


LittleShopofHorrors April14–May7,2023


PrettyFire April28–May21,2023






OmahaPlayhouse .com


PACE-Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center

An artistic renaissance has taken shape in Council Bluffs with the emergence of Pottawattamie Arts, Culture, and Entertainment (PACE). Housed inside the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, you can soak up vibrant performances ranging from symphony, to theater, to ballet, and more. You’ll also find a wide array of artistic outlets like rehearsal areas, a gallery, artist studios, classrooms and a teaching kitchen.

Ralston Community Theater

If you haven’t been to the Ralston Community Theatre (RCT) yet, we strongly encourage you to hop in the car and head on over. The RCT is routinely recognized as one of the premier summer performing arts organizations in Omaha. With its new home in the stunning Ralston Performing Arts Centre, RCT’s mission is to further the Ralston and Greater Omaha community’s involvement in theatre, to provide an

extension of the Ralston Public Schools performing arts program, and to foster public relations for the Ralston community.

The Rose Theater

The Rose Theater doesn’t offer performances. It offers pure, unadulterated magic for culture lovers of all ages. But, make no mistake – this theater, this Omaha landmark, was created for, and continues to be inspired by, the kids who walk in wideeyed and full of wonderment, eager to create memories with family and loved ones.

The Rose is the only resident, touring, professional theater company in Omaha and one of the largest in the country. Their mission is to inspire young people and their families to discover the magic of theater, to find their voices, and enrich their communities.

The Rose is accessible to all children. No child is ever turned away for economic reasons. “Pay-what-you-can” evenings

are offered for most productions, and thousands of tickets are given to area youthserving charities year after year.

But more than anything, The Rose is a community of inspired and passionate fans of the performing arts who are eager and excited to pass down that love of stage to their children and grandchildren.

We’reallbusiness. It’sourbusinesstocausepeopleto think, feeluplifted,andbeinspired! We’reproudtobe yourprofessionaldancecompany. Inspiringartistry.Beyondwords. AMBCompanyArtist
VictorSmith Actors perform at The Rose Theater. JOE SHEARER

Omaha Performing Arts building new $103 million venue next to Holland Center

Omaha Performing Arts is adding a new venue downtown. A $103 million Center for Arts Engagement will be built on the east side of the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The facility will sit on the green lawn space between Dodge and Douglas Streets. Omaha Performing Arts said it will fill the need for additional rehearsal, workroom and classroom space.

Performing arts education and engagement programs that serve the

community are a key part of its mission, OPA President Joan Squires said.

“These activities already reach over 100,000 students and participants annually from across Nebraska and beyond,” she said. “With our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we want to broaden these programs and launch new ones, and we simply do not have adequate space.”

The new venue will help spur other investments in downtown Omaha, including the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall, Squires said. Fundraising is

under way to cover the costs of the $103 million facility.

Project plans were developed after interviews with local organizations and community leaders, and research about similar venues around the country.

In addition to enhancing arts education options in the Omaha area, the Center for Arts Engagement will complete Omaha Performing Arts’ campus, which is centered on the Holland Performing Arts Center. This expansion includes Steelhouse Omaha, a live music facility that will open in mid-2023.


Steelhouse Omaha is being developed in a former parking lot between Dodge Street and Capitol Avenue, east of 12th Street, across from the Holland Center. The $104 million project is almost 100%

“ ”

The new venue will help spur other investments in downtown Omaha, including the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall.

donor-funded, according to Squires. The City of Omaha contributed $1.1 million to its creation.

The midrange concert venue is designed to accommodate shows too large for the Orpheum Theater and too small for the CHI Health Center. It will hold up to 3,000 people when it opens.

Omaha Performing Arts said more than 550,000 people attend events at the Holland Performing Arts Center and the Orpheum each year. The organization’s annual economic impact is $48 million, which is expected to increase to $61 million when Steelhouse Omaha opens.

The three venues are designed by Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership), original designers of the Holland Center, and Holland Basham Architects of Omaha.

OPA Board Chairman Jack Koraleski said the new facility will enable thousands more to participate in its programs.

“Our board and leadership teams are dedicated to providing vibrant arts and entertainment experiences in Omaha and the region,” he said. “This newest venue is about the future of our community — significantly contributing to Omaha’s quality of life.”


Omaha art fans rejoice: there’s no shortage of amazing galleries in the city. In fact, dynamic art galleries can be found all over Omaha where local and internationally recognized artists display their talents and creativity. Some of the best venues in the Midwest can be found right here.

Our pioneering venues have made Omaha a destination for both artists and art-lovers to come together and appreciate the ever-changing boundaries of art. From traditional paintings to cutting-edge sculptures to pottery, bronzecasting, and more, Omaha has something for everyone — even kids!

These galleries, while visually stunning, are also family-friendly places that can ignite a love for art within kids of all ages. In many instances, you can find classes and workshops that promote a hands-on learning experience.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Located inside Omaha’s historic Old Market district, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts needs to be added to your bucket list of art museums. Bemis is a non-profit that facilitates the creation, presentation, and understanding of contemporary art through an international residency program, exhibitions, and educational programs.

The Bemis Center offers artists private studios to live and work, financial support, technical and administrative assistance, and opportunities for intellectual discourse about contemporary art through free public programs.

While you’re there, make sure to check out LOW END, the Bemis Center’s music venue and an integral part of the Sound Art + Experimental Music Program. The unique artist-designed space located in Bemis’s lower level includes custom seating, theatrical lighting, an anamorphic perspective stage, and industrial-grade audio equipment. LOW END features free live shows by local, national, and international sound artists, composers, and experimental musicians.

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony performance at the Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts. KENT SIEVERS

Gallery 1516

Stroll into Gallery 1516 and your sense of culture and refinement immediately come to attention. This place is so much more than just a gallery. It works with museums, and educational, professional, and performing arts institutions to provide a space for traveling exhibitions, lectures, music, and more. A truly one-of-a-kind venue for the best artists from Nebraska and the surrounding region, Gallery 1516 provides a broad range of fundraising activities and community engagement, without charging artists commission fees.

Hot Shops Art Center

For a cool experience, head down to the Hot Shops Art Center where you can find working artists in glass blowing, pottery, bronze casting, and blacksmithing. Plus, explore 50 individual studios and several galleries to not only view and appreciate local art, but also see how it’s created. Hot Shops also welcomes the public at a monthly lecture series, CreativeMornings, which features local, creative talent. Admission is free.

Refurbished by internationally renowned sculptor Jun Kaneko and his wife, Rae, KANEKO is part art museum, part studio, part classroom, and part inspiration for creative artists of any and all media. Its vision is to celebrate creativity and it is committed to fostering it as the overriding mission with four major programming themes: Design, Ideas, Performance, and Innovation.

Admission is free and open to the public. If you’re lucky, you might just stumble upon Jun Kaneko working on a sculpture.


It’s wonderfully ironic that the three turn-of-the-century warehouses on the corner of 11th and Jones Streets house experiential art that is shaping the future of the Avant Garde medium.

Old Market Passageway Gallery

Old faded bricks line both floor and walls of this one-time alleyway is now known as the Passageway Gallery, where you’ll find two levels of boutiques, art galleries, and renowned restaurants.

Located inside the Old Market, the Passageway offers original works in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, pencil, sculpture, and so much more. Plus, you’ll also find a delightful array of hand-crafted seasonal items. Many of these specialties are featured at their First Friday events.

Art in the Old Market Passageway. KURT A. KEELER “Universe (The),” by John Buck was part of a previous exhibition at Kaneko. KANEKO


The Omaha music scene is absolutely blistering right now thanks to the air-guitaring, head-bobbing, and roofraising music-philes that pack our local venues on any given night. Sure, A-list entertainers like Justin Timberlake will always draw sold-out, standing-room-only crowds, but drill down a little deeper and you’ll discover that Omaha is home to a diverse and fanatical community of music lovers who are just as eager to listen to the local artists.


The Admiral, formerly Sokol Auditorium, is an iconic music venue in the heart of Omaha’s Little Bohemia neighborhood. Originally built in 1926, the Admiral has undergone an extensive remodel that has brought a new found vibe and personality to the venue. It’s the perfect spot to catch an indie rock show, comedy special, or even host a wedding.

Baxter Arena

Owned and operated by the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Baxter Arena is one of the top spots in the city to catch a concert or game. With seating for more than 7,500 people, and quick access to the bars and nightlife in Aksarben Village, the arena is a unique draw for some of music’s biggest names.

CHI Center

CHI Health Center Omaha opened in 2003 and has welcomed more than 15 million visitors to date. The Arena is home to the Creighton Bluejays men’s basketball team and has hosted hundreds of concerts and major sporting events such as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, NCAA Basketball Championship 2nd and 3rd Rounds, and NCAA Volleyball Championships.

It’s where you can catch t A-List entertainers as varied as Post Malone, Luke Combs, Matchbox 20, and 5 Finger Death Punch. Located in downtown Omaha, CHI is a short walk from some of the best bars and restaurants in Omaha.

The RiverFront

Founded in 2018, The RiverFront combines seventytwo acres and three parks in the heart of downtown Omaha into one sprawling identity. After undergoing renovations, the three parks now connect, serving as a gathering space between the historic Old Market and vibrant north downtown Omaha.

There’s a play area for the kids, an outdoor stage, a splash pad, and during the summer, you can even catch a movie under the stars.

Willie Nelson performs live at the Baxter Arena in Omaha. MATT DIXON Post Malone performs at CHI Health Center Omaha. KEVIN COFFEY Rehearsal of “FamE: The Musical” at the Gene Leahy Mall Pavilion. MEGAN NIELSEN

The Slowdown

Since 2007, the Slowdown has been one of Omaha’s best places for live rock music. Located in the trendy NoDo neighborhood, the Slowdown offers three to four shows a week, along with the ever-popular trivia nights. On the nights when a show isn’t scheduled, it functions as a bar where you can socialize, dance, play video games, or just hang out and watch the world go by.

Steelhouse Omaha

Steelhouse Omaha is a mid-size concert venue that’s larger than the Orpheum Theater but smaller than the CHI Health Center. Across Dodge Street from the Holland Performing Arts Center, Steelhouse has a flexible capacity setup that makes it perfect for a variety of up-and-coming artists. It’s where you’ll find tomorrow’s chart toppers today.

The venue’s name references its exterior siding, which, according to New York City architect Stephen Chu, is actually aluminum coated with a steel finish. And because aluminum weighs less than steel and won’t corrode, the brand-new venue will keep its industrial feel for years and years to come.

Stir Concert Cove

Located in the Harrah’s Casino just across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Stir Cove is one of the best outdoor venues in the Midwest. Summer weekends are packed with concerts by some of the most well-known and beloved bands and singers known for their crossover appeal. No matter your musical preference, you’re guaranteed to find a concert you’ll love.

SumTur Amphitheater

Grab a blanket, a special someone, and find a spot on the grass over at the SumTur Amphitheater. Owned and operated by the City of Papillion, it’s considered the premier outdoor performance venue in the Omaha metropolitan area. Hosting over 100 events during its May through October season, this 2,500-person capacity outdoor amphitheater provides endless opportunities for live family entertainment, private, nonprofit, and corporate rentals. Nestled on the edge of Walnut Creek Park, it’s a popular space for concerts, weddings, church services, and business events.

Turner Park at Midtown

This humble green space in the heart of the Midtown Crossing neighborhood has quickly become one of the most popular venues for outdoor entertainment. The park’s natural amphitheater serves as the location for musical events like Jazz on the Green. The venue hosts more than 150 community events each year.

The Waiting Room

One of the more popular joints for live music in Omaha, the Waiting Room in Benson features touring bands along with local faves from a variety of genres. While you’re there, you can also grab a tasty craft beer on tap or a special cocktail mixed by some of the best mixologists in the area.

Stir Concert Cove at Harrah’s Casino. THE DAILY NONPAREIL A musical performance at the Slowdown. Z LONG SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion. MATT MILLER Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing. ELSIE STORMBERG A performance at The Waiting Room Outdoors. KEVIN COFFEY


Come one, come all, and come hungry! Omaha has rightfully earned its reputation as a foodie city. While there are any number of great places to grab a bite, these eateries and watering holes have established themselves as local legends, complete with delicious folklore and ravenous fan bases.

These incredible executive chefs (many of whom are self-made), restaurateurs, and culinary entrepreneurs have all succeeded in delivering big flavor, big portions, and a big bang for your buck. And let’s be honest — there’s just something inherently cool about

frequenting that neighborhood gem or local haunt that might be off the beaten path. Those are the places where real memories are made, around food that is lovingly crafted, and graciously presented in a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Whether you’re in the mood for some down-home soul food, quick service burgers, or pub grub that will leave you happy and full, you’ll find all of it, right here, in Omaha.

So, read on and get acquainted with your new favorite restaurants. You can thank us later.

Plank Seafood Provisions in the Old Market. ANNA REED


Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering

If you’re hungry for big meals with big flavor, look no further than Big Mama’s. It’s the kind of place where you can find a downhome meal that nourishes both the body and the soul. Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering is a family-owned and -operated business specializing in soul food and traditional American cuisine.

They offer a unique variety of delicious home-cooked appetizers, entrées, and desserts. However, their famous oven-fried chicken and decadent sweet potato pie ice cream is nothing short of legendary. Their food is so good and so crave-worthy, that Big Mama’s has been featured on Food Network, the Travel Channel, Sundance Channel, and was even the subject of its own reality show.

Blatt Beer & Table

Named after the old Rosenblatt Stadium, a college baseball landmark, Blatt Beer & Table is a pub food restaurant and craft beer bar with a warm and inviting atmosphere. Walk through the doors and you’re greeted by friendly staff and some of the coolest Omaha-inspired décor around. The menu is packed with unique, upscale entrees like 100% Angus beef burgers, Chicken & Waffles, Bavarian Pretzel Bites, and so much more. You’ll enjoy Blatt Beer & Table as a destination to catch the game, or a gathering place for family and friends.


Welcome to Omaha’s original “fast food” restaurant that is still locally owned and operated. At Bronco’s you’ll find a valuepacked menu that delivers a mouthwatering dining experience, featuring fresh (not frozen) ground beef burgers. They also make their own French fries from real potatoes, cut and bread their pork tenderloins daily, and even prepare their own chicken. This is how they’ve been doing things for the last 50 years, and we certainly expect them to do so for the next 50.

Don & Millies

This is straight-up, great tasting food you’ll crave again and again. No gimmicks. No games. No clowns. But we suggest you come hungry – and thirsty. Not only can you get belt-busting burgers, perfectly crispy fries, loaded baked potatoes, and other favorites of American fare, but you can also indulge on super thick milk shakes and their signature margaritas!

Holiday Lounge

A classic cocktail lounge located in the center of the city, Holiday Lounge has been serving Omaha since 1965. Exuding dapper mid-century vibes with an ultra-cool sunken bar, this is the place to unwind after a hard day at work with an ice cold brew or a specialty cocktail that will knock your socks off.

Big Mama’s Oven-Fried Chicken with collard greens and cornbread at Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering. SARAH HOFFMAN A selection of pub food at Blatt Beer & Table. BRENDAN SULLIVAN

La Casa Pizzeria

Arguably the best pizza joint in Omaha (or Nebraska for that matter), La Casa’s pizza-pies have reached almost mythical status with its flaky, golden-crusted square slices. Known as Neapolitan pizza, La Casa has been keeping Omaha patrons stuffed and happy since 1953. You can also enjoy beer and wine tastings in the lounge, and the fried ravioli and eggplant parmesan is simply eccellente!

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria

You know you’re in for authentic, old-school Italian food when the façade of the restaurant looks like it belongs in the opening credits of the Sopranos. Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria was founded in 1919 and has been a thriving and iconic staple of Omaha’s Little Italy ever since. Enjoy fresh Italian cuisine and a variety of biscotti, cookies, and arguably the best tasting cannoli’s this side of Brooklyn. Choose either vanilla or chocolate – or do like most, and get both!

M’s Pub

Walk those cobblestone streets in the Old Market and you’re bound to find yourself on the doorstep of M’s Pub, which has been a mainstay for thirsty patrons since 1972. The menu offers an eclectic assortment of entrees that range from classic chicken tenderloin to something a tad more Avant Garde like the warm duck salad. The wine list is thoughtfully selected. The beer choices pair perfectly with the food. The seasonal cocktail menu is lively. Add this all up, and you get a night out that you won’t soon forget.


It’s a name synonymous with both a sandwich and a restaurant. A true Nebraska original, Runza restaurants have been serving their Runza sandwiches since 1949. These unique sandwiches are freshly baked bread stuffed with ground beef, onions, and cabbage.

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, they offer made-to-order burgers and fries that are crinkly, crispy, and crazy good. We should also mention the onion rings are cut thick, double-dipped in homemade breading, and then fried to a golden brown.

Sgt. Peffers

Old world Italian fare has never tasted so good or been so friendly courtesy of the Italian Battalion. Sit down to redcheckered tablecloths and dine on award-winning pizzas, homemade sourdough rolls, amazing pasta, baked casseroles, and more.

Spaghetti Works

An Omaha institution for over 40 years, it’s not so much a restaurant as it is an experience! Each location has a vintage truck that’s been converted into a salad bar that has over 20 selections of fixings and prepared greens. But they’re best known for their Boundless Bowls, which are all-you-can eat pasta and sauce. Pro tip: skip a few meals before going!

Twisted Fork

The “Fork” as it is affectionately known is a grill and saloon in Omaha’s historic Old Market District that serves American comfort food with a Cowboy Twist. Enjoy unique creations like Chicken Fried Bacon, Orange Saffron Salmon, a S’more Brownie, and so much more. And not that you’d need a reminder, but make sure to grab a pint of your favorite Nebraska craft beer, a glass of that perfect wine, or a house specialty cocktail that’s Instagram worthy.

Vic’s Corn Popper

This is the kind of popcorn that’s so good, you can’t help but eat it by the handful. From the sweetness of their special hybrid popcorn to their exacting quantities of ingredients and heat, they’re able to produce the precise taste, texture and flavor that’s simply unrivaled. That’s also why no preservatives are used in the preparation of any of Vic’s gourmet popcorns. Instead, they’re popped and packed the day you order – each time, every time.

Zio’s Pizzeria

Since 1985, Zio’s has been delighting Omaha with their authentic and totally addictive New York Style Pizza. Recipients of more than 35 best-pizza awards, you can top your ‘za with over 40 toppings. They also offer calzones, hoagies, cauliflower-crust pizzas, a gluten-free menu, and so much more.

A tartine appetizer from M’s Pub.
Diners enjoy the weather outside The Twisted Fork. KENT SIEVERS


Beacon Hills

A staple of New American cuisine that’s heavy on flavor and light on pretense. Their madefrom-scratch favorites like Old Fashioned Pot Pie and Burt County Meatloaf will have you cleaning your plate … though we doubt you’ll have room to think about seconds. They also offer a classic brunch menu as well as catering options.

Pitch Pizzeria

Honoring the traditional way the first pizzas in Italy were made, their pies are baked in a coal-fired oven that delivers a wonderfully crispy crust. The menu also features seafood, hand-cut steak, house made pastas, and flavor-packed burgers! Be sure to pair your entrees with a craft cocktail or locally brewed beer.

Plank Seafood Provisions

Yes, you can absolutely enjoy fresh seafood in the triple-landlocked state of Nebraska. Nestled in the Old Market, Plank Seafood Provisions has fish flown in daily, which allows them to curate an ever-changing menu filled with coastal flavor. This refined restaurant offers fresh, high-quality seafood and oysters and a full-service bar stocked with craft beer, cocktails and an eco-friendly tap wine system. And with a laid-back, casual atmosphere and attentive service, you just might not want to ever leave.

Charleston’s Restaurant

A West Omaha favorite for over 20 years. Enjoy a glass of wine from their extensive list, or try a signature cocktail like the Perfect Margarita or Peach Bellini. While you sip, marvel at the fromscratch menu that includes epic burgers, classic sandwiches, and the famous baby back ribs.

Gather in Omaha

Enjoy modern-eclectic American cuisine, craft cocktails, and a casual vibe that’s secondto-none. Savor local favorites like the Elk Bolognese, Pork Shank, or Korean Marinated Imperial Wagyu. It’s also the only restaurant in Omaha to offer an on-site vertical farm with fresh produce, greens, and herbs, all handpicked daily by their culinary team.

Mouth of the South

Get ready for Cajun cooking at its finest! From gumbo to jambalaya, ‘po boys, red beans and rice, and so much more, Mouth of the South is the tastiest Cajun restaurant this side of the French Quarter. Enjoy made-from-scratch meals, Southern cocktails, and decadent desserts that will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.


Serving traditional Italian cuisine for lunch, dinner, and happy hour. While you can certainly find all your favorite pasta dishes, the true stars of this Omaha gem are the Seafood Diavolo, mouthwatering Angus steaks, woodgrilled rack of lamb, and cioppino spezia. They also offer a kids menu and extraordinary wine list.

The Jewell

The name is an homage to local music impresario, Jimmy Jewell. Located in the Capitol District, it’s a unique music and New Orleans-inspired dining experience, where local, emerging, and national musicians come to celebrate jazz and other original American music genres.

Beacon Hills crab cakes. REBECCA S. GRATZ Petite Tenderloin Mushroom Ravioli at Spezia. SARAH HOFFMAN Roast beef po boy, a favorite at Mouth of the South. KENT SIEVERS

Young entrepreneur scoops up success in North Omaha

Seventeen-year-old North Omaha entrepreneur a’Ron Burns already has his own ice cream store. And it’s not even his first business venture (that had something to do with e-commerce.).

Roll-N-Sweetz is located near 59th Street and Ames Avenue. It sells rolled ice cream, created when a cup of a’Ron’s “secret mix” (refrigerated milk and sugar are two ingredients) meets a surface that’s cooled to 21 below zero.

Employees smooth it to a thin layer, mix in things like candy and cookies, then create rolls that are served in cups with a variety of toppings.

So far, Burns says, he’s pleased with the community’s response.

“It has been crazy ever since we opened,” he said.

That success doesn’t surprise Willie Barney, who founded the Carver Legacy Center with his wife, Yolanda, and another couple, Martin and Lynnell Williams. The center, a joint venture with American National Bank, helps Black entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

Owner a’Ron Burns cleans off his utensils before rolling ice cream at his business, Roll n’ Sweetz, in North Omaha. EILEEN T. MESLAR

Barney said a’Ron and his mother, Alexis, came to Carver for help earlier this year when they were running into snags as they renovated the space they leased for the store.

He was immediately inspired by Burns, who calls himself a serial entrepreneur.

“We were really blown away by their business plan and their strategy,” he said. “His brilliance really impresses everybody he speaks with — the homework he’s done, the research he’s done and his experience in entrepreneurship.”

The Carver people were so amazed following their initial talk with the Burnses that they took immediate action.

“After that meeting, we got in our cars and actually walked through the building with him,” Barney said.

The result was a $95,000 investment in the project from the Carver Center for the renovation and equipment Burns needed to open the store.

Burns said he’s been interested in business since he was a young kid. He read everything he could about entrepreneurship, including material about Kroc, who made millions in the fast-food business.

“He’s an influential person,” Burns said. “I watch a movie about his life every night.”

He got the idea for Roll-N-Sweetz from working at a similar store downtown. He targeted North Omaha for his first store because he wanted to support his community, not only with a business unique to the area, but also with the jobs it would create.

a’Ron Burns prepares rolled ice cream at his business, Roll n’ Sweetz, in North Omaha. EILEEN T. MESLAR

He canvassed neighborhood shop proprietors and conducted additional research to gather statistics for his business plan. He learned that 24,000 cars pass by the area every two days and that residents and business owners missed the Dairy Queen that used to be nearby.

And he did it all while faithfully attending classes at Central.

“I had to mature quicker than some of my peers,” he said.

He took summer school classes at Omaha Burke so he could graduate high school early, because he has big plans for the business. It already has more than 15 employees, including some adults, though his store manager, Ciara Mercer, is a senior at Omaha North.

She worked with him at the ice cream store downtown, where the owners gave him a lot of responsibility and offered him a chance for promotion before he decided to open his own place.

If they took such a chance on him, he said, it would be a contradiction not to trust her.

Besides, he said, “At first I hired a 26-year-old (as manager), but they didn’t show up.”

The store gets a fair amount of foot traffic. A couple of teen girls came in because one of them learned about the store on social media.

“I saw it on Instagram,” said JayCionna Fisher.

She ordered the No. 12, Candy Land: made with rolled-in unicorn snack cake, drizzled with strawberry syrup and served with whipped cream and cotton candy.

Burns said that his mom devised the menu, and that his favorite is the No. 2, Annie’s Brick, made with butter brickle candy, Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies, caramel topping, whipped cream and chocolate Pocky sticks. She also came up with the name.

Alexis Burns said her son wanted to keep the menu simple, but she prevailed.

“I was like, oh, no. Ice cream is my favorite dessert, and I knew if there were

multiple versions (at a shop), I would keep coming back,” she said.

Burns has plans for additional Omaha stores, one near the refurbished Gene Leahy Mall and one near the new Crossroads development at 72nd and Dodge Streets.

He also wants to branch out to Lincoln and eventually have franchises elsewhere.

Barney, of the Carver Center, said he thinks the plans for expansion are sound, even though Burns is Carver’s youngest client so far.

“He has a lot of attention from around the country,” Barney said. “People are contacting him already. He has knowledge of profit margins and the number of customers he has to have each day. He’s making it happen.”

a’Ron Burns (center) and store manager, Ciara Mercer (right) assist customers at Roll n’ Sweetz, in North Omaha. EILEEN T. MESLAR A sample of toppings available for rolled ice cream at a’Ron Burns’ Roll n’ Sweetz, in North Omaha. EILEEN T. MESLAR


801 Chophouse at the Paxton

Maybe it’s the romantic lighting, or the dramatic finishes that flourish the walls and tables. Or perhaps it’s the signature leather booths that conjure up images of New York in the 1920s. But step foot inside 801 Chophouse at the Paxton and you’ll quickly understand why this is considered Omaha’s premier steakhouse.

As for the craft of steak itself, the 801 hand-selection process allows them to select only the finest from the top 1% of total US beef production, creating a truly uncompromising steak experience. Whether you prefer wet aged or dry aged, ribeye or filet, finished with seared foie gras or bone marrow butter, this will be a steak-experience like no other.

But 801 isn’t all steak. You can also indulge in exceptional appetizers, prime rib, lobster, oysters, and some of the thickest, juiciest pork chops around.

Gorat’s Steakhouse, Inc.

An Omaha tradition for more than 70 years, Gorat’s is a traditional-style Italian steakhouse that serves up hearty pasta dishes, fresh seafood, chicken, and steak. Oh, and it also happens to be billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s favorite steakhouse. So, sit back and enjoy the wonderful service from a knowledgeable staff, great cocktails made in the old-school fashion, and an ambiance that truly is one-of-a-kind. And if you’re lucky, you might just spot the Oracle of Omaha himself in a nearby booth.

J Gilbert’s Wood Fired Steaks & Seafood

The sweet, woodsy aroma of smoke greets you the moment you walk through the doors at J Gilbert’s Wood Fired Steaks and Seafood. Here, the chefs grill the steaks over a mesquite fire which imparts an equally sweet and smoky flavor that scintillates the senses and imparts incredible depth to the world-class beef. But aside from the steaks, J Gilbert’s also offers fresh seafood, juicy pork chops, old-world pasta, a stellar wine menu, and some of the best tasting classic cocktails around. Oh, and make sure you save room for dessert because your sweet tooth won’t be disappointed.

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse

A filet at Mahogany Prime Steakhouse in Omaha.

In a city known for outstanding steak, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse is considered by many to be the best of the best. From super tender filet mignons to prime New York Strips, ocean-fresh seafood, and so much more, Mahogany’s is every bit a special occasion restaurant. Their steaks are crafted from the finest custom-aged U.S. Prime Midwestern Beef, known for its excellence in marbling, texture, and flavor. You’ll also love the old-school sides and classic cocktails to keep you happy all night long.


Rooted in the cowboy days of the Old West, the menu captures the flavor of the open campfire, featuring Certified Angus Beef® steaks, chicken, and seafood chargrilled to mouthwatering perfection. All breads, dressings, soups and desserts are homemade from scratch, including the signature Beer Bread and Two-Fork Cheesecake.

The double bone Iowa pork chop at the 801 Chophouse. REBECCA S. GRATZ


Blue Sushi Sake Grill

It’s not that you’ll love Blue Sushi Sake Grill just for the exceptional sushi, but rather for the unique and exciting sushi experience that envelopes you the moment you pass through the doors. No matter which location you choose, your first impression is likely to be visceral – intense décor; clean lines; and glowing hues of blues surround you. Meanwhile, the menu echoes the design aesthetic: diverse yet traditional, with a creative bent towards the maki, sashimi, and nigiri. The drink menu is equally impressive as well as adventurous with favorites like premium cold sake, signature cocktails and martinis, beer, and hot teas.

Javi’s Tacos

Casual, quick-service Mexican food made from eclectic, non-traditional ingredients. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Javi’s also boasts massive burritos that can weigh upwards of two pounds! They also offer a kids menu, desserts, and some of the tastiest margaritas around.


Pronounced “POH-keh,” Pokeworks has taken Omaha by storm. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.

Hook & Lime

A modern, airy twist on Mexican street fare, everything on the menu is made in-house from a scratch kitchen. Bring an appetite because you’ll want to indulge in their gourmet tacos and tortas while you sip (and then sip some more) on their award-winning margaritas made fresh to order.

Pokeworks is a fast casual poke restaurant located in the One Pacific Place shopping center that offers a build-your-own style poke menu that lets you customize your meal with fresh and healthy ingredients. You can create your own poke bowl, poke burrito, or poke salad with a wide variety of proteins, sauces, and toppings to choose from.

Primo’s Mexican Restaurant

The Hawaiian classic bowl at Pokeworks. CHRIS MACHIAN

In 2010, three cousins from the Rocha family brought their time-honored family recipes to life. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can expect a delicious variety of authentic Mexican dishes along with some American favorites that sport a south-of-the-border twist.

Okra African Grill

Okra African Grill is a fast-casual, build-your-own-meal style restaurant in the vein of Chipotle. The ingredients and methods of preparation are an homage to all African cultures and the transcontinental history that have influenced Togolese foods. Okra’s delicious, slow-cooked foods include the freshest African ingredients, traditional proteins like steak, chicken, and fish, along with a wide variety of vegetables.

Romeo’s Mexican Food & Pizza

Locally owned family business since 1976, Romeo’s offers a come-asyou-are vibe alongside some of the tastiest Mexican food in town. You’ll find all the traditional favorites, plus pizza, dessert, and American staples like burgers, fries, and chicken strips.


This is Tex-Mex done right! Enjoy homemade flour tortillas, refried beans, chile con carne, fajitas, enchiladas, and more. Famous for their house lime margaritas, their vibrant atmosphere reflects the name, which imparts a deep sense of fiery hot energy to complement the cuisine.

Dinner at Blue Sushi Sake Grill. JAMES R. BURNETT


Annie’s Irish Pub

Housed in the Capitol District, Annie’s offers an open-air concept with both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a long day (or week) and catch a game while enjoying their extensive beer, wine, and mixed drink list.

Brickway Brewing & Distillery

Located in the heart of the Old Market District, this is a joint that would be a regular haunt for the likes of Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. Brickway Brewery and Distillery is Omaha’s first combination brewery/distillery since pre-prohibition days. Every brew and every spirit are produced right on the premises according to strict standards and recipes that have stood the test of time. For something truly unique, we recommend the Brickway Single Malt Whiskey, which has won three international gold medals, a silver, and a bronze.

Corkscrew Wine & Cheese

You’d be hard pressed to find a more laid back and approachable wine shop than Corkscrew Wine & Cheese. Boasting over 700 choices for wine (yes, 700!), you can find a bottle that fits any budget, style, or flavor preference. From lunch to close, they serve 20 wines by the glass, beer and spirits, along with a menu of snacks and desserts that are perfect for enjoying on the outdoor patio.

PROOF Whiskey Bar & Craft Cocktails

Born of the Prohibition-era, they offer more than 300 premium whiskeys, in small ounce pours or bottles. In addition to the whiskeys and bourbons, there’s also a wide selection of fine wine, craft soda, and quality brews. Located in Midtown and West Omaha.

Scriptown Brewing Company

Scriptown’s mission is to brew classic examples of traditional beer styles, using local ingredients whenever possible. All beers are brewed on-premise, with 14-16 tap choices at any given time. You’ll also find a wide selection of liquor and wine, plus a house-made ginger beer that makes for the perfect Moscow Mule. As an added bonus, the beers, howlers, growlers and kegs are available to go.

The Casual Pint

Like that famous bar in Boston, the Casual Pint is a place you can go where everybody knows your name. After all, you’re not a customer here – you’re a neighbor. And that’s the kind of vibe you’ll notice right away. It’s a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere much like a coffee shop, but instead of baristas, the Casual Pint has “Beer-tenders.” Choose from 30 craft beers from the tap wall, or you can grab your beer to go with Growler Fills, Mix-A-Six Packs, or packaged beer off the dry shelves. Kegs are also available for those special occasions.

Upstream Brewing Company

Located in Omaha’s historic Old Market is a two story, 110-year-old renovated firehouse. Inside is Upstream Brewing Company, a renowned brewery and restaurant that has been an Omaha favorite since 1996. Enjoy an extensive menu of new American pub fare including: appetizers and thin-crust pizzas, superb steaks featuring hand cut “Omaha Steaks®” beef, fresh fish specials, pasta dishes, main course salads, hearty sandwiches and a great children’s menu. And while you nosh, wash it all down with a pint of their 12 fresh-brewed handcrafted beers or house-made root beer on tap.

Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing

Sitting on 30 acres of land just south of Omaha on a high hill that overlooks the tranquil Platte River Valley, Soaring Wings Vineyard is a must try for wine and craft beer aficionados alike. Their easydrinking wines have won over 200 medals in international competitions and the beers are equally impressive. Grab a table on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and you can relax to a variety of live music that always sets the perfect vibe.

Beer flights at Upstream Brewing Company. MEGAN FARMER Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing. CHRIS CHRISTEN


Artemis Tea

For those who love a daily cuppa, Artemis Tea & Botanical in the Blackstone District has just what you need. Artemis Teas are hand-crafted, small-batch artisan tea blends created with mindful precision to arouse the senses, stimulate the mind and imagination, and to support vibrant well-being. It’s also the place where you can shop a wide variety of loose-leaf tea types, unique teaware, and specially curated tea collections.

Hardy Coffee Co.

Hardy Coffee Co. is a specialty coffee roaster and bakery with three Omaha locations: Highlander, Benson, and downtown. Hardy serves made-from-scratch baked goods, house-made chai, and specialty coffee that is roasted and served with local customers in mind. Their mission is to create products that are worth slowing down for and physical space for the community to connect, socialize, and solve the world’s problems one glorious sip at a time.

Scooter’s Coffee

Scooter’s isn’t in the coffee business – they’re in the people business. And they’ve been a Nebraska institution since 1998. From perfectly brewed coffee, to espresso-based drinks, smoothies, pastries, and more, Scooter’s is guaranteed to have your next can’t-live-without-drink ready in minutes –complete with those iconic smiley-face stickers! But above all, you’ll get outstanding service from friendly, knowledgeable baristas who take great pride in giving you your morning boost or late afternoon pick-me-up.

Stories Coffee Company

People. Love. Coffee. That’s not just one of life’s basic truths, it’s also the driving force behind Stories Coffee. Their mission is to invest in the stories of their customers, vendors, partners, and anyone else in need in the community. With four locations throughout Omaha, Stories offer a variety of coffee, espresso, muffins, donuts, breakfast sandwiches, as well as light lunch and dinner options. They also serve locally roasted specialty coffee in small batches. Plus, a portion of their profits go to support organizations helping the less fortunate in Omaha.

Detox Sober Lounge

A lounge that truly captures a bar environment with drinks, music, dancing, and games. But here, there is no alcohol. Enjoy a full menu of mocktails, sodas, coffee, and energy drinks out of mason jars.

Dundee Double Shot

The Dundee Double Shot is a place that can jump start your day or help you relax after a long one. Inviting, charming, and downright comfortable, it’s been a staple in the Dundee community for years. It boasts more than 32 of its own roasts and an atmosphere that welcomes friends, neighbors, newcomers and visitors alike. Every guest is sure to find their favorite drink and roast while enjoying great company among new friends.

The Tea Smith

If you’re in search of the perfect cup of tea, or at least how to make the perfect cup, the Tea Smith should be ground zero for your exploration. The Tea Smith is dedicated to providing customers with artisan-quality, loose-leaf teas and accessories, with knowledgeable staff that can expertly answer all your questions because they are passionate about tea. In

addition to the finest estate teas, you can also enjoy bubble and fruit tea smoothies.

Urban Abbey

A nonprofit, fair trade coffee shop, bookstore, and progressive church located in the heart of Downtown Omaha’s Old Market. Ten-percent of the coffee sales are donated back to a charity, so with every purchase you are helping to support the Omaha community.

Artemis Tea uses a variety of tea blends. BRENDAN SULLIVAN Scooter’s iced coffee. MEGAN FARMER


First Watch

An award-winning Omaha restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. They specialize in both traditional favorites and innovative seasonal creations all freshly prepared to order. Six locations throughout the metro.

Railcar Modern American Kitchen

When Executive Chef and Owner Jared Clarke created Railcar Modern American Kitchen, they wanted patrons to feel as if they just stepped foot in the dining car of a locomotive. Railcar isn’t just a unique twist on the date night experience, it also delivers classic American fare inspired by the rail dining cars of yesteryear. You’ll enjoy food that blends flavors from different cultures, from all corners of the melting pot that is the United States.

LuLa B’s Breakfast, Brunch & Bar

Located just outside of Omaha’s Capitol District, LuLa B’s serves up a hearty brunch that includes everything from French toast and pancakes, to huevos rancheros and enchiladas. A rather unique concept, it’s American favorites with a Mexican twist. The restaurant has a party room that can accommodate 75 guests and an outdoor patio with a crackling fireplace. Coincidentally, the coffee served at LuLa’s is from Stories Coffee Co., which has a kiosk inside the restaurant for to-go orders.

Lisa’s Radial Café

Four words to describe Lisa’s Radial Café: Worth-Every-SinglePenny. A fixture in the Cathedral neighborhood for twenty years, it’s a classic American diner that serves a beltbusting, rib-sticking, and heart-warming brunch along with some of the friendliest service around. Come hungry (actually, VERY hungry) and try their signature dish: the Titanic. It’s hash browns with biscuits, gravy, chicken fried steak, and eggs. They also have pancakes the size of frisbees, burgers, patty melts, and so much more.

Timber Wood Fire Bistro

The two tastiest facts about Timber Wood Fire Bistro are: 1. Everything is made to order; and 2. Everything is made from scratch. Add to this the super friendly staff, the rustic-chic décor, and the scintillating aroma of a wood fire that hangs gently in the air, and you have the makings of an unforgettable brunch. So, grab a special someone or a group of friends, and find some time either on a Saturday or Sunday morning. and head down to Timber.


A locally-owned restaurant and catering business located in North Omaha that serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. They also offer a private party room that can accommodate groups up to 50, full catering services, and even casual drop-off meals like business lunches.

First Watch specializes in a variety of breakfast and lunch options. MATT MILLER Banana Pancakes with walnuts pictured at Lisa’s Radial Cafe. SARAH HOFFMAN Helen’s Caesar Salad from the Railcar Modern American Kitchen in Omaha. ANNA REED


Carousel’s Soft Serve Icery

Unlike a typical ice cream or Italian ice shop, Carousel’s serves up “icery,” which is a family-secret recipe of fruity, frozen ice with a creamy texture and a condensed tidal wave of flavor. These luscious frozen treats are made without the dairy, fat, and calories of other frozen favorites.

eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato, featuring Carson’s Cookie Fix

With so many decadent and mouthwatering flavors to choose from, one visit to eCreamery Ice Cream and Gelato is certain to turn your sweet tooth into sweet teeth! Located in the Dundee neighborhood, eCreamery offers 16 ever-rotating, daily flavors of specialty ice cream, gelato & dairy free sorbet. You can also create your own custom flavors with over 50 base flavors and 40 mix-in options to choose from.

Carson’s Cookie Fix is located inside the eCreamery parlor. Carson’s specializes in custom hand-decorated cookies for special occasions. From birthday, wedding and new baby packages to corporate branded logo cookies and everything in between, Carson’s Cookie Fix has it all – including a Cookie Fix Food Truck.

Happy Girl Sweet Shoppe

Specializing in homemade caramel apples, chocolate covered pretzels, strawberries, Oreo truffles, brownies, the owner’s famous chocolate chip cookies, and so much more. Located in midtown.

Mixin’s Rolled Ice Cream

An ice cream shop that serves it a little bit differently. Here the creamy confection is rolled into small logs with “mixins” like cereal, cookies, fruit, and candy, and then perfectly placed inside a cup. Located in downtown Omaha.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

A modern twist on the classic bundt cake. Hand-crafted in a variety of delicious flavors, each cake is crowned in their rich and decadent signature cream cheese frosting. They offer cakes in 8-inches, 10-inches, tiered, and individual-sized.

Square Donut

As the classic 1980s pop song goes, It’s hip to be square! And that’s especially true when it comes to donuts! Square Donut in West Omaha is a locally owned and operated artisan donut bakery. They make fresh, from scratch donuts every day. This process is labor intensive, taking several hours to make, proof, fry, and then decorate the donuts, but the results more than speak for themselves. If you’re looking to try Square Donut, we highly recommend you get there early because they sell out quickly.

Sugar Coma Custom Treats

As the name suggests, this shop is loaded with confections that will drive your sweet tooth crazy! A made-to-order bakery shop featuring cakes, cookies, hot cocoa bombs, cupcakes and other desserts for any celebration, as well as in-store grab and go items.

Ted & Wally’s

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ultra-premium 20% butterfat ice cream! Why does that percentage matter? Because butterfat gives ice cream its richness, density, and luscious mouthfeel. And at Ted & Wally’s every glorious spoonful is an OMG-inducing experience like no other. The made-from-scratch ice cream uses all-natural ingredients, and is slow-churned the old-fashioned way with rock salt and ice in antique white Mountain freezers. They offer cones, floats, sundaes, mix-ins, old school phosphates, and so much more.


Family owned and operated business, Zesto’s has been an Omaha landmark for more than 60 years! They specialize in creating icecream desserts, but they also offer a full service, made-to-order lunch and dinner menu consisting of burgers, footlongs, fries, and more. They were also recently voted Omaha’s best ice cream.

Ice cream is scooped at eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato. MEGAN FARMER Maple Bacon doughnuts at Square Donut. LILY SMITH


If you’re looking to satisfy your golf fix, you’re in luck because Omaha has established itself as the region’s reigning lord of the links! From rolling wooded hills to tree-lined greens with expansive, picturesque views, Omaha has plenty of championship 18-hole courses and executive par 3’s to challenge all skill levels.

You’ll find the Omaha courses to be extremely welcoming and without pretentiousness. Got kids? Great! Just learning the game? No worries. Eager to play a PGA-level course? You can do that, too. Omaha offers a myriad of fun, family-friendly courses with wide fairways and forgiving roughs to help your kiddo learn the game. For the more skilled golfers, you can tee off on the same course where amateurs from all over the globe come to try and earn their PGA pro card.

All that aside, though, Omaha courses are hands down some of the most scenic and idyllic courses in the Midwest. Good round, bad round or somewhere in between, a day spent on these Omaha golf courses with friends and family is just what you need to make lasting memories.

Benson Park

Benson Park Golf Course is one of Omaha’s most scenic city courses. The hilltop clubhouse overlooks the rolling wooded hills of northwest Omaha, and gives an idyllic view of the large fairways and greenside bunkers that will test your club selection. A creek and a variety of fullgrown trees makes for a gorgeous canvas on the back-nine.

Sinking putts on the practice green at Tiburon golf course. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD Tee off at Benson Park Golf Course. REBECCA S. GRATZ

Champions Run

Champions Run is a demanding 18-hole course that offers excitement for every class of golfer. One meandering creek and two lakes keep you on your toes on nine of the 18 holes. The first and tenth holes have a creek right in front of the green and, depending on your drive, a second shot is generally necessary. Strategically placed grassy knolls create some interesting stances, should you have the misfortune of landing in one.

Elkhorn Ridge

A fun, walkable par 3 course that doesn’t have sand traps or water hazards. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging –golfers need to be prepared for the change in elevation which can cause more than a few headaches if you’re not careful with your shots.


Elmwood Golf Course in the rolling, wooded hills of Elmwood Park, is over 100 years old, making it the oldest 18hole course in Omaha. You can expect fabulous views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level.

Indian Creek

Home to the Indian Creek Invitational and the Pinnacle Bank Championship, Indian Creek Golf Course offers three distinct and challenging 9-hole courses. With 37 acres of pristine fairway, 80+ well-placed bunkers and 15 holes with the threat of water, Indian Creek is sure to become your new favorite golf course in Omaha.

Eagle Run

Eagle Run Golf Course offers two 9-hole courses: a straightforward par 3 for beginners, and a more challenging 9-hole executive course for more seasoned golfers. The newly renovated clubhouse and menu are designed to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere for golfers before and after their rounds.

Nationwide Tour Cox Classic golf tournament at the Champions Club. KILEY CRUSE Playing a round at Elmwood Park Golf Course. CHRIS MACHIAN The Pinnacle Bank Championship at The Club at Indian Creek in Omaha. LILY SMITH

Johnny Goodman

With broad fairways and large greens, Johnny Goodman is a fun and fairly challenging course with a decent number of hills. On each par 3, a pond lies between you and the green, adding to the scenery and your anxiety. Just make sure you pack your driver because there are four par 5’s that are plenty difficult.


The Knolls Golf Course is located in northwest Omaha, with grassy mounds and trees that border most of the fairways. The back nine is more open than the front, and tracks up and down a mild grade, providing up and downhill lies. Water comes into play on several holes and requires some sort of clever shot to get over the drink.

Lost Rail

One of the newest elite golf clubs in Nebraska, the Lost Rail blends the exclusivity and intimacy of a destination course with the convenience and character of a classic club. Located in Gretna, the course is uninterrupted by houses or roads, and features 18 distinct holes that weave in and out of vastly different environments, which make for an exhilarating golf experience.

Milt’s Golf Center

Milt’s Golf Center is a straightforward par 3 course with expansive flat greens and a single pond that comes into play on two holes. It’s another great course for kids, beginners, or anyone who wants to work on their short game. Next door is a 16-acre practice facility with 75 stations and a practice green.

An Omaha student chips onto a green at Miracle Hill Golf Course during the Papio Golf Invite. RYAN SODERLIN

Miracle Hills Golf & Tennis

Miracle Hills Golf & Tennis offers a championship 18-hole golf course with broad, tree-lined bluegrass fairways. There’s also a year-round indoor driving range powered by Toptracer. During the warmer months, you can take advantage of the outdoor grass range, two putting greens, and a practice sand bunker.

Pacific Springs

It’s a public course that plays like a private country club. Pacific Springs Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course that provides an enjoyable yet challenging round for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Lakes, creeks, wetlands, and mature trees cover the course and emphasize the need for accuracy off the tee.

Spring Lake

This 9-hole executive course has some unique features that make it a local favorite. While traditional hazards like sand and water are absent, you’ll find blind approach shots and even a street in their stead. With elevated greens and tees with low-lying fairways, many approach shots feel like.

Steve Hogan

With lush fairways and true greens, Steve Hogan Golf Course at Miller Park is a 9-hole course that offers great value and a relaxed atmosphere in the clubhouse. Golfers can expect mostly straight shots, plenty of established trees, and water hazards on two of the holes.

Warren Swigart

Warren Swigart is another scenic par 3 course owned and managed by the city of Omaha. The course is flat and straightforward, with smooth, wellkept greens that are lined with Linden trees. This is an excellent course for beginners, and an ideal place to teach your kiddos the great game of golf. range with a bar and a kitchen. Players take aim at several enormous targets scattered around the range. The more accurate your shot, and the farther away the target, the more points you get. A solid hour of fun for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike.

Westwood Heights

Stone Creek

This 27-hole championship course features five sets of tees, 93 bunkers, seven ponds, and a winding creek that snakes through several key holes. It’s also the largest natural grass golf range in Nebraska. During the winter, take your game inside to the golf simulator to play a round of golf or practice.

Westwood Heights Golf Course in west Omaha is mostly flat and has few hazards except for the aptly dubbed “Hell’s Creek”. The creek traverses the length of the course and comes into play on several holes which can ruin the day for those incapable of straight fairway shots. A sure-fire fun place to play and a good course for juniors and beginners looking to work on their game.

Tiburon Golf Course

With a name that means “shark,” you can rest assured that your round at Tiburon Golf Course will be anything but boring. Tiburon is a gorgeous 27-hole golf course, with over 12 acres of natural rolling hills and lakes. It also offers great practice facilities with a driving range and two chipping and putting greens. Located just off 168th and highway 370.

Top Golf

Along the 680 just north of Dodge is a sprawling complex with netting that looks as if it stretches up into the heavens above. That’s Top Golf and it’s a multi-level driving range with a bar and a kitchen. Players take aim at several enormous targets scattered around the range. The more accurate your shot, and the farther away the target, the more points you get. A solid hour of fun for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike.

Members of the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart golf team hold practice at Milt’s Golf Center in Omaha. SARAH HOFFMAN


As the Gene Leahy Mall again breathes life into downtown Omaha, an outline of what’s to come for the city’s two remaining downtown parks is beginning to take shape. Visitors to the newly opened Gene Leahy Mall can stand on the eastern edge of the park and watch as construction on Heartland of America Park continues to expand toward the Missouri River. The construction sites are part of a public-private overhaul of Omaha’s downtown parks.

Visitors enjoy a summer evening in downtown’s Gene Leahy Mall. THE RIVERFRONT


Overhaul of Omaha’s riverfront parks continues as key features take shape

The newly-renovated Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha is the first among several shining stars of Omaha’s downtown riverfront.

Visitors to the newly opened Gene Leahy Mall can stand on the eastern edge of the park — past the children playing, the downtown workers typing away on laptops and ducks splashing in the mall pond — and watch as construction on Heartland of America Park continues to expand toward the Missouri River.

With a glance toward the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, visitors can see that work also is underway on the northernmost component of the riverfront, Lewis & Clark Landing.

The construction sites are part of a public-private overhaul of Omaha’s downtown parks.

In addition to the city’s $50 million contribution to the $400 million, threepark project collectively called The RiverFront, another $10 million from the city likely will be used to expand a trail system along the riverfront.

The Leahy Mall reopened during the summer of 2022 with accolades and excitement after a more than three-year overhaul.

Not far from the mall, a pier stretches over the Missouri River just past Omaha’s eastern edge. To the west, the foundation of a skate ribbon rises from the dirt; and to the north, a philanthropically funded science museum overlooks what will become an “urban beach.”

All are features of the ambitious overhaul of Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park — final pieces in a

private-public renovation of Omaha’s downtown parks.

Included in the renovations, the new Lewis & Clark Landing playground will be the largest children’s play area of all three parks and will be four times the size of the playground at Gene Leahy Mall.

Closer to the river, an urban beach area will include sand volleyball courts, seating areas and bonfire pits.

A short walk to the south, and future visitors will be able to take in the Heartland of America Park skate ribbon.

The skate ribbon will be about the length of a football field and will resemble Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon, a design from which planners of Omaha’s skate ribbon drew inspiration.

A rendering of the future skate ribbon at the Omaha RiverFront. OJB LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

When it opens, the skate rink will be concrete, accommodating roller skaters. As the weather gets colder around October, the ribbon will open for ice skating.

The park also will feature a lakeside amphitheater, bocce courts and Farnam Pier, which will stretch over the Missouri River.

Both parks are on schedule to reopen in late summer 2023.

A $101 million riverfront science center funded by philanthropists called the Kiewit Luminarium will open in April.

Among the attractions of the new center will be a “geometric climber,” in which visitors will be able to learn about the art and symmetry of geometry by walking and climbing through a two-story exhibit.

Another two-story exhibit space will be devoted to the science of materials. Visitors will explore the weight, strength and other qualities of materials used for construction and other purposes.

The state-of-the-art science center is expected to open to the public in the spring of 2023.

Work continues on Heartland of American Park and Lewis & Clark Landing. CHRIS MACHIAN A construction worker on a lift as work continues on Heartland of American Park and Lewis & Clark Landing. CHRIS MACHIAN


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Mutual to build downtown skyscraper; Omaha to add streetcar system

Downtown Omaha will soon be home to Mutual of Omaha’s stunning new, highrise corporate headquarters and a new midtown streetcar line.

Mutual of Omaha will reshape the downtown skyline with its planned skyscraper headquarters that could become the city’s tallest. An architect’s concept rendering depicts a glassy 40plus story building rising above the block at 14th and Douglas Streets.

The tower would sit along the route of a three-mile city streetcar line that would run from the University of Nebraska Medical Center to Omaha’s riverfront.

Those new developments would include not only the new Mutual headquarters but the sizable redevelopment of Mutual’s current midtown campus once the company vacates it to move its 4,000-employee Omaha workforce downtown.

“Mutual of Omaha’s plan to build a new downtown headquarters is the first example of what is possible, and why now is the time,” Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said. “The momentum we have to change our urban core forever is undeniable.”

The plans jointly announced by Stothert and Mutual of Omaha CEO James Blackledge carry the potential to visually and economically transform the landscape of both downtown and midtown Omaha.

The new Mutual tower will be the first significant addition to downtown Omaha’s skyline in almost a generation. The new headquarters will become the city’s tallest building when it opens in 2026, company CEO James Blackledge said. There also may never have been a bigger single infusion of workers into Omaha’s downtown core.

And at a time businesses across the nation are crying out for skilled workers, Mutual and the city said the new developments will attract young professionals, talent and other new businesses into Omaha’s urban core.

A view of Mutual of Omaha’s new tower from the new Gene

Leahy Mall. PICKARD


“It about knocked me off my feet,” Stothert said of the first time she saw an image of Mutual’s new building. “We knew that site was prime real estate, and we knew whatever was going to go there had to be something really great. Because in the future when you see the skyline or picture of Omaha, this is what you’re going to see.”


A rendering of Mutual of Omaha’s new tower shows a skyscraper that will be Omaha’s tallest building.


Plans call for construction to begin on both projects in 2023, with both open and functioning by 2026.

While the two proposals are not technically linked, Blackledge said the city’s commitment to a modern streetcar line was critical to the decision of the Fortune 500 company to locate in the heart of downtown.

In September 2022, the Omaha Streetcar Authority voted to approve a streetcar route concept that, according to a map outline, would see streetcars run east along Harney Street and then turn north along 10th Street up to about Cass Street near the CHI Health Center. The streetcars then would head back south on 10th to Capitol Avenue.

From there, the route would run a couple of blocks east to Eighth Street near the city’s riverfront before turning west onto Farnam Street. The cars then would travel to the route’s western terminus at 42nd Street near the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

As proposed, the streetcar system would have 6.16 miles of track, but a round trip would be about 3.1 miles. City documents show that it would take about 30 minutes for a streetcar to complete the route.

Jay Noddle, president of the Streetcar Authority, said the approved route would minimize traffic congestion by diverting southbound streetcars east to Eighth Street.

Noddle said the streetcar project is on track to be operational in 2026. He added that cost estimates will be updated in a few months when a contractor is hired and more design work is completed. Noddle said authority board members will begin to think through the right-ofway design, especially as it pertains to pedestrians, bicyclists, loading docks and other transportation issues. Noddle

said the board’s action to approve the route was necessary so the design team from HDR could begin to focus on specific areas.

“It’s very much a beginning,” he said. Not only does Mutual value having its new headquarters on the line, he said, the streetcar system brings enhanced financial value to the redevelopment of its current campus. Not only does that assure the midtown area will be viable without Mutual’s workforce, he said, it helps make possible the downtown skyscraper that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

Mutual’s new headquarters will arguably be the first major addition to the downtown Omaha skyline since Union Pacific announced its headquarters building in 2001, which opened in 2004. First National Tower, which at 45 stories is the city’s tallest building, was announced in 1998 and opened in 2002.

Blackledge said the exact number of floors won’t be known until Mutual completes an ongoing study of its space needs in a post-pandemic world, when it’s believed many workers will continue

to work remotely or in hybrid ways. But given the size of Mutual’s current campus and Omaha workforce, he said, he believes the new building will be on the scale of the First National Tower or taller.

Just what takes shape in the redevelopment of Mutual’s current midtown campus will be up to the developer, though Mutual officials say they foresee the possibility of housing, corporate offices and retail, either in existing buildings or new ones.

In addition to its campus, Mutual developed the neighboring Midtown Crossing complex and owns land between Turner Park and Interstate 480 that is primed for development.

Blackledge said the tower is the chance to create an inspiring workplace for Mutual’s workers while contributing to making downtown Omaha vital. He said he’s excited that the new building will face Omaha’s new downtown and riverfront park redevelopment.

“We are inspired by the energy in downtown Omaha,” he said, “and recognize the importance of a vibrant urban core for the city’s future.”

This rendition shows the impact that Mutual of Omaha’s new headquarters will have on the city skyline. PICKARD CHILTON: LIFANG

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Chamber eyes ‘big moves’ to transform Omaha’s urban core

the chamber’s vision, north downtown would see much more dense development, and the elevated I-480 would be taken down to street level.

If you think Omaha’s plans for a streetcar system and a downtown skyscraper were ambitious, wait until you hear what else local business leaders are dreaming about.

The streetcar line and Mutual of Omaha’s tower are just the beginning of business leaders’ ideas for breathing more life into Omaha’s urban core — what they call the region’s heart and soul and engine for economic growth.

In the Greater Omaha Chamber’s vision for the next 20 years, numerous other new high rises and dense construction would pull 30,000 more workers and 30,000 added residents into the area stretching from midtown Omaha through downtown and to the river’s edge in Council Bluffs.

Imagine the aging gray elevated Interstate 480 freeway, which forms a northern barrier for downtown, being razed in favor of a slower, street-level boulevard lined by new housing, offices, restaurants and shops.

Just to the west, a unique two blockwide, landscaped “lid” built over another part of I-480 would create a public space that connects burgeoning west downtown into thriving midtown. A similar lid would span Saddle Creek Road south of Farnam, bridging cuttingedge new facilities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

To the east, a golf course across the Missouri River in Iowa would take on new life as a bustling housing and business development on the scale of Aksarben Village, all just minutes away from downtown Omaha via a new pedestrian bridge and streetcar spur line.

Other streetcar lines and transportation improvements would connect downtown into North and South Omaha and help move workers and fun-seekers from all over the metro area into and around the revitalized core.

Chamber leaders say there’s an urgent goal behind the “Urban Core Strategic

Plan”. They say achieving the plan’s vision is vital if the region is to attract and compete for the workers who will drive economic growth here for decades to come.

“This is the next really big step, and we know it’s mission-critical for the long-term viability of our community,” said Jay Noddle, an Omaha developer who chaired the chamber’s urban core committee. “We want our region to be a first-choice community for talent and employers. And in order to get there, we have to have an extremely vibrant, appealing urban core.”

There’s no price tag for all the bold ideas in the chamber plan, which would cost billions of dollars.

But chamber officials say each would be accomplished much like past development in and around downtown: through billions in privatesector investment, with the city assisting on related infrastructure


improvements and philanthropists backing public amenities that enhance the city’s quality of life.

The city is committed to its role in that partnership, said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. She stressed that the strategic plan is equal parts practical and aspirational, and some parts of the plan are higher priorities than others.

Before moving forward on the I-480 lid, for example, she said the city would first focus on the transportation improvements, assuring available affordable housing and infrastructure.

“Our role in implementing actions in the plan is to be a good partner,” Stothert said. “Nearly everything we’ve accomplished as a city is a result of these strong partnerships we have.”

Hundreds of thousands of people in the Omaha metro will continue to live and work in the suburbs. Chamber officials say Omaha needs to be a place that features diverse and affordable housing options to fit all needs and tastes, from acreages to suburban apartments to downtown condos.

But even people who live in the suburbs far from the core should support the vision if they enjoy sports, the arts, music, good food, or if they want Omaha to be a place where their kids and grandkids would choose to work and live and start a family. Chamber officials say taxpayers across the state also will see the benefits of a stronger Omaha central core.

Business leaders say they’re confident of achieving the plan’s broad vision of affirming the urban core’s place as the region’s premier hub for employment,

entertainment and culture. One thing that gives them that confidence, Noddle said, is how some of the first dominoes have already begun falling into place.

Some $400 million in philanthropic dollars is funding a major overhaul of the downtown park system and a new science center, amenities that figure to lure thousands to Omaha’s riverfront.

Mutual of Omaha is set by 2026 to remake Omaha’s skyline with a towering new headquarters that will root the Fortune 500 company’s 4,000 workers in the heart of the downtown corporate district.

Private investors behind developments like the Capitol District, Mercantile District, Blackstone, Builders District and Millwork Commons are bringing hundreds of residential units, offices, shops and restaurants to the core.

UNMC is set to invest $2.6 billion in Project NExT, a national center for disaster preparedness that could employ thousands.

And all those vital assets will be linked by the modern streetcar system that Stothert threw her support behind early in 2022.

This rendition of downtown Omaha includes many familiar buildings as well as a number of envisioned ones. The Greater Omaha Chamber’s 20-year vision for downtown includes much denser development. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER How that same view would look with an I-480 “lid,” a two-block wide landscaped public space over the freeway that would serve as a bridge between west downtown and midtown. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER

“It’s a little bit of back to the future,” said Mickey Anderson, president of Baxter Auto Group and the chairman of the Omaha chamber. “We know that a vibrant downtown is critical to attracting young people to our community.”

Indeed, the proposed changes are largely being driven by a new generation, one that’s proving very different from the earlier generations who first took America to the suburbs.

For years now, economic development consultants have said creating a vibrant urban lifestyle is particularly critical if cities are to compete for the tech-savvy, creative millennials — young people whose talents are fueling much of the job creation and job growth around the country today.

The millennial generation — those born between 1981 and 1996 — are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce,

surpassing the baby boomers. And by 2025, they are projected to make up 75% of workers globally.

Millennials have proven markedly different when it comes to where they seek to live, many looking for urban landscapes that are engaging, aesthetically pleasing, diverse, open and walkable. And they don’t necessarily want to own a car.

The face of Omaha’s inner core appears set to change, with a new commitment to bringing back workers and improved public transit
An bird’s-eye conception of what a more dense downtown might look like under the Omaha chamber’s 20-year vision. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER

The generation after the millennials, often called Generation Z or the zoomers, is proving equally focused on urban living. More businesses also are moving into America’s urban core, seeking to go where the workers they need are choosing to live.

When the chamber in 2015 conducted a survey of young Omaha professionals, they described what they were looking for in a city: a larger city that has a more dynamic, dense urban environment downtown. Somewhere where they could walk to their favorite restaurant or maybe walk to work or take mass transit, and reduce personal vehicle usage.

The chamber realized it needed to become more aggressive in attracting young talent. In 2017, it made enhancing Omaha’s urban core a focus of its new 20year strategic plan. And that ultimately led to the February 2018 formation of the chamber’s urban core committee.

The committee was made up of representatives from the chamber, the city, UNMC, major downtown corporations, developers and charitable foundations. The committee in turn sought input from dozens of other stakeholders before coming up with its final report.

The urban core is one place Omaha can keep growing. The report defines Omaha’s urban core as generally bounded by Cuming Street on the north, Leavenworth on the south, 48th Street on the west and 35th Street in Council Bluffs, including Dodge Park Golf Course and the River’s Edge development on the east end of the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge.

The urban core, the report says, can’t be a “slightly more dense version of suburbia.” Instead of four- and five-story buildings surrounded by acres of parking, Omaha needs more 20-story office towers and 10-story residential buildings, all with shared parking and proximity to transit, the report says.

The report includes renderings of downtown featuring multiple new highrises and other clusters of buildings. Most of those structures at this point are just conceptual, with no definite redevelopment plans yet on the books.

The plan also seeks to sharply reduce the amount of space devoted to parking. Businesses and attractions would be grouped in districts and utilize shared parking structures, with visitors able to “park once” and move around the district on foot. It’s similar to the parking concept currently in use at Aksarben Village.

Such parking changes would in turn free up more land for more redevelopment.

Among the key components of the plan are what some chamber leaders are calling the “11 bold moves” — each a step that uniquely contributes to the drive for a more dense urban core.

Some of those big moves have already been announced, such as the downtown library block redevelopment where Mutual’s new tower is going up, the streetcar system and Project NExT. But

others are new, and several are focused on reclaiming land to provide for dense redevelopment.

The plan envisions eliminating the 20th Street exit from I-480 and reconfiguring the exit at 30th Street. Each move would free up several blocks of downtown land.

More land would be reclaimed, and a barrier to growth would be eliminated, by taking down the elevated I-480 that runs through north downtown from Creighton University to the CHI Health Center Omaha and replacing it with a street-level throughway. Chamber officials say the time to make such a move would be some future date when the current structures have exhausted their useful life and are in need of replacement.

Two of the big moves would involve redeveloping the Dodge Park golf course, set right across the river downtown, and then connecting it into Omaha with a pedestrian bridge and streetcar spur.

The new neighborhood created would seamlessly become part of downtown,

A view of what Omaha’s planned streetcar might look like as it travels through town. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER

as well as offer some of the best views anywhere of the downtown skyline. Chamber officials said that project alone — which Council Bluffs officials seem eagerly committed to — would provide a sizable chunk of the housing needed to bring more people into the core.

Other big moves include the two lids — essentially wide bridges featuring public green space that connect two areas separated by a physical barrier like a freeway. The lids east of Midtown crossing and at UNMC would be modeled after Clyde Warren Park, a lid that goes over a freeway in Dallas.

It’s not listed among the big moves, but the block occupied by the State Office Building at 13th and Farnam, the former Peter Kiewit Conference Center, is also mentioned as a potential downtown redevelopment site.

The transportation improvements proposed by the chamber are critical to the plan’s success, with the planned streetcar system a vital element. The streetcar has long been a particular focus of the chamber’s core committee, seen as a critical catalyst for urban core

investment and the public transportation link that ties it all together.

In addition to the three-mile streetcar route already planned between the riverfront and UNMC, streetcar extensions are contemplated into both North Omaha and South Omaha. Such lines would provide more equitable access to jobs within the urban core for Black and Hispanic Omahans.

The plan also calls for more rapid bus transit within the city, noting Metro Transit is already planning north and south extensions of its Dodge Street ORBT line.

“One of the pieces that really caught my attention were steps to make the central business district more accessible south and north, so that we become a more inclusive downtown community and provide opportunity on the entire eastern part of the city,” said Baxter’s Anderson. “There’s a lot of synergy in connecting the community in a more meaningful and intentional way.”

Further into the future, as the urban core builds momentum, the plan says additional modes of transportation could

become necessary. Those could include light rail systems connecting suburban neighborhoods into the core and commuter rail lines to Lincoln or other bedroom communities like Fremont.

The plan calls for more conversions of one-way streets in downtown to accommodate two-way traffic, with Leavenworth, Harney, 13th, 14th, 19th and 20th all considered candidates. Additional biker-friendly amenities are also contemplated, including additional bike lanes, trails and bridges.

The report notes that the combination of the current Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and the proposed streetcar/pedestrian bridge to the Dodge Park development would create a two-mile recreational loop trail on both sides of the river.

The overall goal, the report says, would be a transportation plan that balances the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation and personal vehicles.

Stothert said affordable housing is also important to her, along with transportation enhancements improving North and South Omaha’s access to the urban core.

There’s no denying there is much momentum in the urban core. And Stothert also believes Omaha’s strong philanthropic sector gives the city an advantage in taking on major public projects, much like the current downtown parks makeover.

She shares the belief that a stronger core benefits everyone in Omaha.

“We have a plan for a healthy downtown and a vibrant downtown to bring in businesses and residents and young professionals,” she said. “That helps all of Omaha to be a healthy city.”

The Greater Omaha Chamber’s 20-year vision for the city’s urban core emphasizes dense development, including new high-rise buildings. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER
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Veta Jeffery, the new CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, said she sees great potential for Omaha to become an even better place for workers, businesses and families.

She was attracted to Omaha by the proven ability of the city’s civic and corporate sectors to work together to move the city forward. She wants to continue that.

“I think the clincher for me was seeing how well the public and private partnerships are developed and how much has been able to be accomplished,” the St. Louis native said in April of 2022 after being introduced as the new chamber leader. “It’s a big deal.”

Jeffery brings to the job the unique experience of helping rebuild Ferguson, Missouri, after civil unrest sparked in 2014 by the police shooting in Ferguson of an unarmed 18-year-old Black man. Jeffery’s hiring came at a critical time in the city’s history and development. The city is in the process of remaking its downtown and urban core in an effort to attract more young workers. And the state has just appropriated more than $300 million that’s targeted for redevelopment of underserved communities, particularly North and South Omaha.

The hiring of an African American woman to lead the chamber shows how Omaha embraces diversity and inclusion to attract and retain the workers needed to spur future growth.

While Jeffery’s hiring could be viewed as an example of business leaders’

commitment to diversity, chamber officials also made it clear Jeffery was simply the best person for the job.

“Our committee was 100% unanimous that Veta was the right choice,” said Mogens Bay, the retired CEO of Valmont. “She stood out from the other candidates, and we found her to be very thoughtful, very committed and just impressive during every step of the search process.”

Jeffery grew up in St. Louis before earning a degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She then embarked on a career in banking, rising through the ranks to senior vice president of community and economic development for Midwest BankCentre in St. Louis.

business community in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis region.

Jeffery also helped establish workforce development programs to assist underserved communities and helped form a state program that provided internships for disadvantaged college students in Missouri.

Families want to be part of something that they feel is growing and thriving. Omaha has all of the right combination of ingredients to continue that.

“ ”

Then, following the Ferguson protests and unrest in 2014, she was appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as manager of the Office of Community Economic Development for the state. In that position, she brought together public and private stakeholders to rebuild the

Jeffery also served as chief diversity officer for St. Louis County. In that position, she helped coordinate the spending of the county’s federal COVID-19 recovery dollars.

And through her work in Ferguson, she proved her ability to bring together people with disparate interests in a way that productively moved the community forward.

Jeffery said she will work to make Omaha a place where young people will want to stay, as well as to make sure that Omaha’s businesses are well cared for and can thrive and grow for generations to come.

She noted Forbes magazine already ranks Omaha among the nation’s great places to raise a family.

“Families want to be part of something that they feel is growing and thriving,” she said. “Omaha has all of the right combination of ingredients to continue that.”



YMCA of Greater Omaha President and CEO Rebecca Deterding is the first woman to lead the organization in its 154-year history.

Deterding previously served as the Omaha organization’s chief financial officer. Officials said she brings a background of finance, strategic planning and leadership development to the organization.

She holds a degree in business accounting from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a master’s degree in business administration from Bellevue University.

YMCA of Greater Omaha President and CEO Rebecca Deterding. YMCA OF GREATER OMAHA

Before joining the YMCA, she worked for a technology company where she served in several positions, including operations, sales and marketing and chief financial officer.

As president and CEO, she oversees 10 metro-area locations, five early learning centers and three youth achievement sites.

“As we continue to recover from the impact of the last two years, I remain excited and hopeful for what the future will bring and look forward to setting that strategic vision with our dedicated staff and volunteers,” she said in a statement. “I am honored to serve in a place that I call home in such a meaningful way.”


Ava Thomas, the president and publisher of the Omaha World-Herald has been promoted to a group president position within Lee Enterprises, parent company of the Omaha World-Herald, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, Bellevue Leader, Papillion Times and Gretna Breeze.

As a Nebraska native, Thomas said she has always admired The World-Herald’s commitment to Omaha and the state. She joined Lee Enterprises in 1995 and held several leadership positions at the Lincoln Journal Star, including advertising director and general manager, before being named publisher in 2014.

“The Journal Star and World-Herald have always had a unique

blend of competition and collaboration that has benefited the readers, businesses and communities we serve,” Thomas said. “I want to continue to foster that.”

Thomas was also named a senior corporate sales executive by Lee in 2015. She was named OWH publisher and CEO in 2021.

“Time and time again, Ava has succeeded in key leadership roles within our company,” said Nathan Bekke, Lee’s operating vice president and vice president-consumer sales and marketing. “She has consistently demonstrated that she has the talent, energy and experience to lead our digital media organizations at a very high level, and I know that our properties in Omaha, Lincoln, the rest of Nebraska and Iowa are in great hands.”

Lee Enterprises’ publications serve 77 markets in 26 states.


Children’s Hospital & Medical Center President and CEO Chanda Chacón is a hospital executive who has spent her career in pediatric health care.

She came to Omaha in 2020 from Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where she has been executive vice president and system chief operating officer since 2016.

Chacón said that Children’s focuses first on listening to and learning from the hospital’s leadership team, its medical staff, community physicians and the families the hospital serves “to really understand where the community wants us to head and where the children of Nebraska and beyond need us to head.”

“It’s really about being able to build partnerships and collaborative relationships so that we make the right decisions together,” Chacón said. “That’s the kind of leader that I am. I’m very focused on having the right people at the table to make the best decision for the children and the families that we care for.”

Chacón said she believes that children deserve what children’s hospitals can provide. “We have people trained to help kids understand what’s happening,” she said, “and that for me was absolutely the reason I’m in health care. I don’t want any family to experience what my family experienced. Families deserve better than that for their children.”

Ava Thomas, president of the Omaha WorldHerald. LEE ENTERPRISES Chanda Chacon, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital. CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
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Two north downtown developments will be part of new Builder’s District

Rendering of the future Dizzy Mule development in Millwork Commons, a mix of commercial space and apartments. ALLEY POYNER MACCHIETTO ARCHITECTURE

Two developments will bring office space, retail, new apartments and a new office building to north Omaha, near 15th and Mike Fahey Streets as part of the larger Builder’s District.

At about 120,000 square feet, the office building will have room for commercial and office space as well as first-floor spots for restaurants and a fitness center. It features unique — and environmentally friendly — design features. Plans also include two rooftop decks, a pedestrian plaza and a park.

The overall development, dubbed the Builder’s District, would see offices, apartments, an urban park and the potential for a small grocery store brought to the area. The project is being developed by the Noddle Companies.

The development would run from Cuming Street on the north to Cass Street on the

south. The western edge is on 17th Street with the eastern edge on 14th Street.

About five blocks northeast of the Builder’s District, a different team of developers plans to rehab a historic building near the Millwork Commons Development.

Known as the Dizzy Mule project, it would create about 18,000 square feet of commercial space as well as more than 170 apartments near 13th and Izard Streets. The existing building would undergo extensive renovations. A new five-story building would go up on the east and west sides of the building, creating an L-shape. The design would make the project look like six individual buildings to fit in with the character of the area.

The first floor would include parking garages, commercial space and amenities for residential units.

OMAHACHAMB ER.ORG An area that developers are proposing a Builders District. CHRIS MACHIAN
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Council Bluffs

Plans call for another bridge to Council Bluffs, development on golf course land

A bridge that would allow for streetcar, pedestrian and bicycle traffic between downtown Omaha and Council Bluffs could spur major development opportunities on the Iowa side of the Missouri River.

Plans for the bridge as well as a number of other potential projects in Omaha’s urban core have been unveiled by the Greater Omaha Chamber.

The bridge, which officials estimate could cost between $80 million and $100 million, would sit south of Interstate 480. Along with the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and other trails, it would create a 2-mile loop for walkers, runners and cyclists.

It also would make way for redevelopment of Dodge Park — Council Bluffs’ only public-owned golf course — and could lead to a streetcar line connecting Omaha and the Bluffs.

The bridge is the “linchpin” of the project, said Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh.

“We believe the bridge can happen and that will, in and of itself, get the development we need,” he said.

The bridge would start at about Douglas Street on the Omaha side and would end up in land that now holds Dodge Park golf course, said Brandon Garrett, chief of staff in the Bluffs mayor’s office.

Walsh said about 19,000 Council Bluffs residents commute every day to jobs in Omaha.

“We’ve always been part of the urban core, but we think that this is big-idea thinking and transformative for the entire metro area,” Walsh said.

An urban core committee’s planning document shows an image of a bridge in Oregon as an example of what the Omaha-Council Bluffs bridge could look like. The Oregon bridge is divided, allowing for pedestrian and bicyclist traffic on one side and a streetcar line on the other.

The report went on to say that the bridge would be instrumental in linking housing and jobs and would be a catalyst in achieving the urban core plan’s employment and residential goals.

Bluffs officials also want to extend a streetcar line through the city, stretching from the riverfront to Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and CHI Health Mercy Hospital.

The streetcar would run adjacent to a new trail running along the First Avenue corridor. The trail was constructed to leave enough room for a future streetcar

line off to the side, Walsh said.

Bluffs officials are talking about the bridge and streetcar projects with consultants, Walsh said.

Dodge Park, where the streetcar’s first Council Bluffs station would sit, would undergo major redevelopment. The golf course would become a residential development with some mixed-use elements, including restaurants, shops and, potentially, office space.

“It’s more an extension of downtown Omaha coming into Council Bluffs,” Garrett said.


Bellevue officials announce plans to revitalize Olde Towne area

A multi-story building featuring luxury apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail space will rise in Bellevue’s

A rendering shows a proposed redevelopment plan that would convert Dodge Park in Council Bluffs into a residential development with mixed-use elements. The plan also would call for a bridge across the Missouri River and a streetcar line. HDR/GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER

Olde Towne, paving the way for the revitalization of the city’s core.

The new building will rise at the northeast corner of Mission Avenue and Washington Street. The site previously was home to Bellevue City Hall.

The four-story building, dubbed The Bridge Flats in the Frontier District, would feature 53 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments on the upper levels, said Jeff Gehring, co-owner of Mercury Builders, which is behind the project. The main level would include 18,000 square feet for retail.

It also would feature a landscaped and furnished courtyard with an outdoor kitchen and grill station as well as space for such activities as yoga or bocce ball.

The plan calls for redeveloped façades for businesses on the south side of Mission Avenue. Officials said that would give the area a more uniform look.

The new building would be the catalyst for a major streetscaping project along Mission Avenue, Bellevue Mayor Rusty

Hike said. The streetscaping project would span about three blocks, running from Washington Street to Hancock Street.

The city and the developer would like to see such features as a small grocery store, restaurants and a fitness center occupy some of the commercial space.

The streetscaping project will require updating the infrastructure below the street, Hike said. Once rebuilt, the street would be narrowed to two lanes in an effort to slow traffic. On-street parking would be converted to diagonal stalls to allow for more parking.

The project also would expand sidewalks, making the area more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly.


Housing, retail space, offices planned for 84th Street & Highway 370

A development slated for Papillion will bring housing, retail and office space to the 120-acre Tower District near 84th Street and Nebraska Highway 370.

Developers have stuck to a strict vision to be sure the space has a similar neighborhood charm as such districts as Blackstone and Dundee in Omaha, said Jesse Calabretto, a partner and developer on the project.

The development will include 900 housing units, with the potential, Calabretto said, to house between 1,500 and 2,500 residents.

The area also will include townhomes and senior-living cottages.

About 300,000 square feet will be dedicated to retail and office space. So far, several tenants have signed onto the project, although officials aren’t yet disclosing details.

While some chains will appear in the retail section of the development, Calabretto said he hopes to see momand-pop businesses, too.

A park will sit in the center of the development. Calabretto said officials envision holiday ceremonies, live music, pop-up food tents and other activities could take place in that space.

The development is also designed to be pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Trails through the development will connect to a trail system that takes users to Prairie Queen Recreation Area.

Many hands have been involved in the project, Calabretto said, including HDR and officials with the City of Papillion.

Houses, apartments and commercial spaces should start to rise by summer 2023.

“We’re proud that this development will truly appeal to all income ranges, and that’s what we want,” Calabretto said. “It will cater to every demographic and every price point.”

A rendering shows The Bridge Flats in the Frontier District in Olde Towne Bellevue. The four-story building would feature luxury apartment units and retail space. It would be the centerpiece of revitalization. MERCURY BUILDERS AND CMBA ARCHITECTS


Startup Omaha Week

Startup Omaha Week is a week-long celebration of events focused on building a stronger and more collaborative startup ecosystem within the Greater Omaha area.

Entrepreneurs of all types are welcome to participate. Startup Omaha Week is a volunteer and community-led and organized event. All events are organized by those hoping to make a difference within the startup community and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the greater Omaha community including startup founders, startup employees, support organizations, and many more.

Omaha entrepreneur CharDale Barnes stands outside of his marketing, branding and web services business, Stable Gray, in a newly renovated building. CHRIS MACHIAN

Silicon Prairie News

Omaha isn’t just about Fortune 500 companies. Several smaller firms are looking to expand and the Omaha area provides the perfect opportunities for that.

To get the word out about some of those opportunities, Silicon Prairie News has a mission of growing, connecting and inspiring technology innovation in communities throughout the Midwest, with a primary focus in the Omaha-Kansas City-Des Moines “triangle.”

As part of that mission, Silicon Prairie News raises awareness about entrepreneurs and start-ups through its media publications and website, siliconprairienews.com.

The Mastercraft & Millwork Commons

The Mastercraft is a place rich with history that now helps local entrepreneurs prepare a better future in Omaha. It has office and community space for more than 50 start-ups, nonprofits, creatives and entrepreneurial businesses. The Mastercraft building is located in the heart of the Millwork Commons in Omaha’s bustling downtown area.

Launched about four years ago, Millwork Commons is trying to create a 45-acre collaborative and residential community that will provide a live-work- play campus for tech and other creative businesses. Investors are directing up to $300 million for the effort.

An anchor of Millwork Commons is the Ashton warehouse, built in the 1880s, which covers nearly 200,000 square feet. The Ashton features a spacious lobby called The Dock, where people can watch movies on a giant screen and socialize over a cup of coffee or house-made beer from local vendors.

Modus Coworking

Coworking spaces like those at Modus Coworking are affordable, turnkey shared workspaces and offices that offer amenities and services that are conducive to productivity and provide a much-needed break from the monotonous work life by its unconventional environment. Whether you are a freelancer looking for a drop-in space, or an established team seeking a dedicated desk or private office, coworking solutions allow you to pay for only the space you need.

MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program

MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program is a global initiative dedicated to strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems in communities like Omaha. Lead by the Greater Omaha Chamber, MIT REAP’s Team Omaha works to build partnerships and relationships with other entrepreneurial development teams in Kansas City, Des Moines and St. Louis. The team’s goal is to make the Midwest a premiere place for startups to establish, grow and scale their businesses. In Omaha, MIT REAP works to pinpoint the opportunities that Omaha’s unique entrepreneurial ecosystem has and discover how it can work with other cities, such as Lincoln and Council Bluffs.

A skateboarder tries to land a trick at Millwork Park, part of the Millwork Commons north downtown. EILEEN T. MESLAR


Milan Laser Hair Removal’s corporate office expands while more clinics open nationally

The nation’s largest laser hair removal company, Milan Laser Hair Removal, calls Omaha, Nebraska, its home. Many have driven by the clinics in central and west Omaha, but not everyone knows Milan Laser’s corporate headquarters is housed in west Omaha too. The office has recently been revamped to better accommodate its nearly 500 and counting Omaha-based employees.

“We’ve experienced so many milestones this year—we became the largest laser hair removal company in the country with more than 220 locations nationwide, surpassed the 1,000+ employee mark nationally, celebrated our 10th anniversary, and unveiled our updated and expanded 45,000-sq. ft. headquarters,” said Dr. Shikhar Saxena, co-founder and CEO of Milan Laser Hair Removal.

Milan Laser’s humble beginnings started in Papillion, Nebraska, with a single clinic providing body contouring, botox, and fillers in addition to laser hair removal. Saxena, and his high school best friend and Milan co-founder, Dr. Abe Schumacher, decided to focus only on laser hair removal because it yielded the best, most consistent results and proved to be life-changing for clients.


When Milan started, it was evident clients were receiving lackluster results from laser hair removal treatments at other companies. They were also frustrated with the hidden fees and the need to pay more to get additional sessions to achieve their desired results.

“We tapped into the frustrations clients had about subpar laser hair removal results,” said Saxena. “Most companies were selling limited treatment packages, so clients would have to keep coming back to get the results they wanted while continuing to pay more.”

Over the past decade, Milan has been revolutionizing the laser hair removal industry (and the aesthetics industry as a whole) by offering technology to treat all skin tones and guaranteeing every client’s results for life at one affordable price with their exclusive Unlimited Package™, which comes with every body area purchased. This unique package gives clients


unlimited treatments on any body area purchased—though the average client is 95%+ hair-free in seven to 10 treatments.

As a medically based company, Milan Laser is continually refining its proprietary protocol and highly trained medical professionals who are overseen by physicians perform every treatment. By leaning into its medical roots, they provide the safest, most effective laser hair removal treatments in the industry. Laser hair removal has only recently become mainstream, and Milan Laser has led the effort to increase public awareness.

“Our clients can always rest easy knowing they’re getting treated by experts,” said Saxena. “Not only are they getting the most effective treatments, but they’re also getting them done safely.”

Milan Laser performs over 50,000 treatments and has more than 220 locations nationwide. Along with the new headquarters in West Omaha, Milan Laser also has a warehouse distribution center and a call center in the Omaha Metro area to accommodate the company’s rapid growth. Milan Laser now has 1,600+ employees across the country. “We’ve grown a lot over the last few years, but our mission remains the

same—and it’s at the heart of everything we do at Milan,” emphasized President Colleen Papek. “We operate on Milan time, which is faster than most companies, but our goal will always be to deliver the best results in the industry while providing every client an

exceptional customer experience.”

We don’t coast. We innovate. We grow … and change the lives of employees and clients everywhere. To learn more, visit MilanLaser.com or follow @MilanLaser on Instagram and Twitter.

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