16 Things to Know About Living in Omaha

16 Things to Know About Living in Omaha

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By Molly Hammond, Storage.com

People are pretty quick to use terms like “flyover state” when referring to Nebraska, but the truth is there are tons of great people and amazing things happening in this Midwestern state, especially in its largest city, Omaha. In fact, Omaha ranks in best city lists for young adults, young professionals, launching startups, and raising a family. So whether you’re moving to Omaha, simply visiting the “Gateway to the West,” or have been living “The Good Life” for years, you’ll enjoy this countdown of 16 things that make Omaha great!

16. OMAHA IS GROWING.

Photo by Brett Booner
Photo by Brett Booner

With an unemployment rate at 4% and cost of living 6.5% below the national average, it’s no wonder Omaha keeps adding new residents each year to its nearly 900,000 metro population. For many, working for Fortune 500 companies like ConAgra, Union Pacific, and Mutual of Omaha are worth the move. But the city has plenty of opportunities in other industries, too. Health care organizations like CHI Health and Methodist Health System and school district Omaha Public Schools are among the biggest employers. Of course, the tourism industry grows each year as well since Omaha’s prime location in the center of the country brings major events like Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders Meeting, Big Omaha, the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, and the NCAA Men’s College Basketball March Madness tournament.

15. LET’S TALK ABOUT STEAKS, BABY.

Photo by Taryn
Photo by Taryn

One of the things most out-of-towners know about Omaha is that it’s home to amazing steaks, thanks to the national fame of Omaha Steaks. The delicious steak-shipping company was born and raised in Nebraska, alongside some of the country’s finest cattle—which means that the steakhouses in Omaha are completely next-level. Brother Sebastian’s is a local favorite, complete with Gregorian chants in the doorway and huge, rustic tables, but there’s nothing out-of-date about the flavors here. Billionaire and Omaha native Warren Buffett is known to frequent Gorat’s when he’s looking for a great steak, but plenty of locals would gladly throw down in favor of The Drover or Johnny’s. Even if your source for steak is a local butcher or grocery store, if you’re getting Nebraska beef, you know it’s going to be good.

14. THE REAL REUBEN.

Photo by stu_spivack
Photo by stu_spivack

Though other regions might try to take credit, Omaha residents know that their city is the home of the Reuben—the real Reuben. First served more than 80 years ago at the Blackstone Hotel, this famous corned beef sandwich is being served to this day. Crescent Moon, “Omaha’s Original Alehouse,” is only a few steps away from the original Blackstone and claims that their Reuben follows the original recipe to a tasty T. Of course, you can also try Petrow’s or Dundee Dell, both of which are also known for their Reubens.

13. THE DING-DING MAN.

Photo by m01229
Photo by m01229

While most Midwesterners call the purveyor of summertime treats “The Ice Cream Man,” people in Omaha refer to him as “The Ding-Ding Man.” And they’ll be very quick to notice if you don’t. While we’re on the subject of ice cream, if you’re not getting ice cream from the Ding-Ding Man, you get it at Ted and Wally’s or eCreamery. Ted and Wally’s is an Omaha institution, offering a vintage feel and old-fashioned quality treats. They make their ice cream on site, and it only takes one lick to know why it’s the area’s top treat. While eCreamery is newer to the scene, they’re quickly making a name for themselves for their rotation of 16 amazing flavors and a special perk—you can get eCreamery shipped to you anywhere in the country!

12. BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE.

Photo by Nelo Hotsuma
Photo by Nelo Hotsuma

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is an iconic piece of Omaha architecture. The footbridge is the longest bridge to connect two states, linking Omaha and nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa (though if you’re an Omahan, chances are you probably don’t care to visit “the Iowa side of the river”). This 3,000-foot long walkway above the Missouri River is perfect for biking or strolling, and the place where the state lines meet is well marked so that visitors can literally stand in two states at once!

11. OMAHA’S GOT GAME.

Photo by Brent Schumacher
Photo by Brent Schumacher

There’s no beating the college sports scene in this city. The College World Series comes to Omaha every summer with days of tailgating and thousands of people from all over the country flocking to TD Ameritrade Park (RIP Rosenblatt). Even if your alma mater isn’t playing, or you’re not in to baseball, the atmosphere around the CWS is something everyone should experience at least once. Of course, cheering for the Huskers during football season is obligatory when living in Omaha (though nearby Lincoln, Neb., gets the honor of hosting the team). And let’s not forget the Creighton Bluejays basketball team or University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Mavericks hockey team, which get bigger and better every year!

10. FALL FUN AT VALA’S.

Photo by jdog90
Photo by jdog90

While other parts of the country take their autumnal cues from the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes, Omahans take their cue from the opening of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. While Vala’s is technically in Gretna, Neb., there are few people in Omaha who haven’t been at least once. Vala’s is basically an autumn oasis with way more to do than simply picking a pumpkin for carving—although let’s be real, the gourds are always great. Corn mazes, haunted houses, themed areas (think pirates and live magicians), a petting zoo, and more food than you can fathom are all found at Vala’s. And don’t forget crowd favorites like pig racing and canine agility shows! Families and large groups can even reserve a campfire to make a day of it.

9. BEER IS HERE.

Photo by RLEVANS
Photo by RLEVANS

Between a number of Omaha-born breweries embraced by locals and festivals like Omaha Beer Week and Omaha Beer Fest, Nebraskans really know how to get down and drink up. Benson Brewery, Upstream Brewing Company, and Nebraska Brewing Company are among the great places to grab a pint or a flight of craft beers. If you’re grabbing your suds at a tailgate, though, be prepared to see something a little strange: red beer. Perfect for die-hard Husker fans, Nebraskans will mix any lager with V8 (or tomato juice) as a way to call beer a breakfast beverage. If the beer itself isn’t a big enough draw, there are hundreds of bars in the city. One of the coolest has to be Benson’s Beercade, though. Beercade’s selection of beers on tap is only rivaled by its arcade games, including classics like Pac Man, Street Fighter, and pinball.

Beer enthusiasts have to check out this page on storing home-brewed beer.

8. MUSEUMS FOR EVERYONE.

Photo by S C Hargis
Photo by S C Hargis

Joslyn Art Museum is the only art museum in Nebraska with a comprehensive permanent collection. In addition to a breathtaking campus, the museum boasts a wide variety of exhibits, from Greek pottery to Native American artwork. If you’re more history buff than art critic, The Durham Museum showcases the history of the American West and Omaha’s ties to the Union Pacific Railroad, as well as traveling exhibits from The Smithsonian and other museums. There’s also the Strategic Air and Space Museum, which is perfect for anyone interested in spacecraft and the U.S. Air Force, and the Omaha Children’s Museum, which is filled to the brim with interactive areas that aim to let kids learn and play at the same time.

7. FLYING HIGH.

Photo by Offutt Air Force Base
Photo by Offutt Air Force Base

One of the most popular reasons for relocating to Omaha is Offutt Air Force Base. The base, just outside of Omaha in Bellevue, is home to more than 23,000 active military, families, and civilians, houses the largest fitness center in the Department of Defense, and is the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command. It’s the area’s largest employer, too. Offutt also puts on an annual airshow in the summer that’s open to the public!

Interested in learning more about the convenience of military storage? Learn more here.

6. MIDWEST LOVES MUSIC.

Photo by Joe Crimmings
Photo by Joe Crimmings

No matter what kind of music you dig, Omaha has the right outlet for you. Perhaps most famous as the hometown of Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst and the band’s label, Saddlecreek Records, Omaha has a well-deserved reputation as a music town, from jazz to alternative to pop. Catch smaller shows at The Slowdown, The Waiting Room, Sokol Auditorium, and even bars like Harney Street Tavern or O’Leaver’s Pub. The CenturyLink Center, however, is where you’ll find huge music tours, like Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Maroon 5, and more. For more “indie cred,” check out Maha Music Festival. This summer will mark the festival’s seventh year, and while the lineup has yet to be announced, fans are sure it will be great!

5. STAGE AND SCREEN.

Photo by Paul Heaberlin
Photo by Paul Heaberlin

From Broadway tours to local productions and arthouse cinema, Omaha is a great place to take in a show. The Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center are two of the most popular venues for musicals and plays, Omaha Symphony concerts, performances by Ballet Nebraska, and other live events. The Rose Theater puts on shows catered to children, engaging them in the arts through classics like Mary Poppins while the Omaha Community Playhouse delivers high-caliber performances of shows both classic and contemporary, including the annual A Christmas Carol. There’s also Film Streams, where you can see movies off the beaten path, such as indie films, documentaries, and foreign releases.

4. IT’S GOING DOWN IN MIDTOWN.

Photo by shannonpatrick17
Photo by shannonpatrick17

There’s a ton of stuff to do in Midtown Omaha, but perhaps the biggest draw is Turner Park. In addition to being a gorgeous area for any recreation you can imagine, Turner Park is home to a handful of events that make it one of the best places in town, especially in the summer. Jazz on the Green is an annual concert series held in Turner Park, featuring live music on Thursday nights completely free of charge! Yoga Rocks the Park is another summer installment, where yogis of all skill levels can gather in the park for a free ($5 suggested donation) hour of yoga with professional instructors, live music, and plenty of other Nebraskans. When you’re not taking part in the park, Midtown Crossing is just a cool place to spend time. Between bars, restaurants, shops, and a dine-in movie theater, there’s always something to do!

3. THE OLD MARKET.

Photo by RLEVANS
Photo by RLEVANS

At the heart of Downtown Omaha is the Old Market. While tons of people live and work in the Old Market, you’ll most likely hear the term in reference to the nightlife. For dancing, head to Whiskey Tango or The Hive—but the pros go to The Max, Omaha’s resident gay nightclub. For more laid-back imbibing, you’ll want Wilson & Washburn or Havana Garage, the latter of which has cigars and a perfect patio for warm nights. Patrons looking for a hip feel will find themselves at home in The Berry & Rye, a cocktail room that’s all about experimental drinks. Whatever kind of night out you’re looking to have, the Old Market has it!

2. NOT YOUR AVERAGE MALL.

Photo by Jo Naylor
Photo by Jo Naylor

In Downtown Omaha, the Gene Leahy Mall has one of the biggest attractions for kids (and let’s be honest, grownups, too). It’s complete with a playground and sculpture garden, but the slides are the main event (and the lines get super long on nice days). For optimal speeds, locals recommend sliding on wax paper.

1. AND…


Did we miss anything? Tell us what’s best about living in Omaha in the comments!

[bctt tweet=”16 Things to Know About Living in #Omaha”]

If you’re moving to Omaha and need storage space to help with the transition, view Storage.com’s directory of storage units in Omaha, Nebraska.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.

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Molly Hammond is a member of the content team at Storage.com. An equal opportunity storage enthusiast, Molly writes about everything, from where to store your extra boat to turning your storage unit into a custom cosplay workshop. When she’s not learning about the evils of plastic bags for clothing storage, she’s eating french fries, watching HBO, and wishing for snow.
  • Dotty Mass

    RE: Photo 12
    Regarding your comments about the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge….(though if you’re an Omahan, chances are you probably don’t care to visit the “Iowa side of the river”.) to me, that is a little rude to say that “Omaha” people don’t care to come to this side of the river! “THIS SIDE OF THE RIVER” has a lot to offer also. Your “Omahan’s come to our casinos, music in the park, etc. just as Council Bluffs people come to “your Old Market, Museums, etc. it’s time “Omahan’s” stopped putting down “Our City”! We do finally have running water & electricity over here!! So give us a little credit!
    Proud of MY CITY……COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA!!

  • E

    Yeah… didn’t quite understand the “the Iowa side of the river” comment, either.

How Self Storage Helps with Living Downtown

How Self Storage Helps with Living Downtown

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By Graci Woodworth, Storage.com

Finding your place in this world can be pretty difficult, not to mention how hard it can be to move there. Storage.com is here to help with the moving process, either by providing storage or helping you find the ideal place to call home.

An apartment or loft right above the hustle and bustle of downtown is ideal for many young professionals today—and for good reason. The proximity to local hot spots, job opportunities, and vibrant cultural atmosphere are a few of the reasons why people are drawn to life in the heart of downtown areas.

Unfortunately, there’s a trade-off for living downtown. Apartments and lofts are pricey in urban areas. To put things in perspective, the median price for a one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Park, Chicago would cost you somewhere near $1,540 per month. Add another bedroom to that equation, and your price per month jumps up to around $2,295 on average. Move to a coastal city like San Francisco, and the median rent for a one-bedroom downtown apartment is $3,400 per month with the two-bedroom coming in at a whopping $4,580 per month. So your options are either ditch downtown or get used to being cramped.

That said, you do have another option, one that will make it easy to get both the cool downtown apartment or loft you’ve always wanted and enough space for all of your things. That option is self storage.

Storage

Save Serious Cash

While it’s logical to go with the smaller space that lines up with your budget, you don’t have to sacrifice space altogether—you can gain roughly the same amount of space as an extra bedroom with a 5×5 or 5×10 storage unit. With prices starting as low as $39 in Chicago and $49 in San Francisco, you can get more space for all of your belongings. Start searching for storage units in your city now!

RESERVE A CHEAP STORAGE UNIT NEAR YOU
CALL 866-432-8525 TODAY!

Safer Spots for Your Valuables

If your living space comes without a place to keep things locked up, let a storage unit do the safekeeping for you. In a city with so many people, a secure unit nearby is an easy way to keep your mind at ease when storing valuable items (or even just the things you want out of your roommate’s reach). When searching for downtown storage units, look for storage facilities that offer security features like gated access, alarmed units, on-site management, or video surveillance to better protect your belongings.

A Short Walk Away

Storing your belongings at a downtown storage facility that’s not too far from your living space is extremely convenient—especially if you’re a walker or rely on public transportation to get around. Many facilities are open 24/7 and offer a free or discounted moving truck with initial rentals, so be sure to inquire about those options to help make your visits for drop-off and pick-up as convenient as possible.

loft_living

Before you pour an entire paycheck into one month’s rent for more room in your downtown living space, find a storage unit! That way, you can have the best of both worlds: a great pad downtown and a unit nearby to keep any valuables, seasonal clothing, recreational gear, or extra furniture safe and out of the way.

FIND FOR SELF STORAGE NEAR YOU

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  • Shawn Letaro

    Thanks for the great post. I just bought a home in San Antonio http://www.drhorton.com/Texas/San-Antonio/San-Antonio/Riposa-Vita-Express.aspx and its perfect for me, i love the area and the general vibe that i get in Texas. But i have been in a search for the best places to visit, restaurant and attractions. I really appreciate your list.