November 11, 2019

Guide To Omaha Food Halls

Omaha has a brag-worthy culinary scene. And now, in recent years, Omaha diners have embraced the food hall scene. Here’s what you can expect at each of the city’s food halls, including which local Omaha restaurants have a location at a food hall. Plus, I share tips on what to order and which restaurants have kid-friendly grub.

Looking for a new restaurant in Omaha to try? Head to one of Omaha's popular dining halls to try foods from both locally-owned restaurants and new concept quick-service restaurants. Use this guide to find out where to go, what to order, and which restaurants have kid's meals or specials. #Omaha #Restaurant #Nebraska #Breakfast #Lunch #Brunch #Dinner

What’s a food hall

Think of a food hall as an upscale food court, typically with a focus on locally-owned restaurants with a few new-to-the-city concepts. I call them hipster food courts. And I mean that affectionately.

Where are Omaha’s food halls?

Omaha’s first food hall, Flagship Commons, opened at Westroads Mall in late 2015. Westroads is a pretty conveniently located mall near busy Dodge Street, as well as near Interstate 680.

It’s definitely not like any mall food court you may have encountered. Flagship was the first of its kind in the entire state.

Interior of Flagship Commons, Nebraska's first food hall located at Westeroads Mall

Most of Flagship’s seating is in a common area, with a mix of typical table seating, bar seating, and my favorite spot, couch seating by a fireplace. Most seating is indoors, though if you dine at The Blatt, you can snag a table outside.

In 2019, Inner Rail Food Hall opened at Aksarben Village. Unlike Westroads, this isn’t a mall setting in the traditional sense. Aksarben Village is an entertainment district with a mix of shops, restaurants, apartments and businesses, as well as a large green space and playground. Inner Rail is within that development in its own space with indoor and outdoor seating.

Things to know about the Inner Rail

Inner Rail Food Hall is all quick-service restaurants with a definite world flavor appeal to it. Located at the ever-growing Aksarben Village, it’s in Midtown Omaha and not nearly as easily accessible to get to as Westroads.

(If you’ve ever driven 72nd Street during rush hour in hopes of reaching Aksarben Village, you’ll understand my rage.)

Exterior of Inner Rail Food Hall, a collection of restaurants at Aksarben Village in Omaha

Being the new kid on the scene, you can expect a wait to order at most counters at Inner Rail. You’ll find some counter seats, and a lot of traditional table seating. 

Inner Rail has a great outdoor space with two firepits and a lot of seating. When the weather’s nice, you might see a giant Jenga and bean bag games set up.

Fun side note for all of you youngsters or out-of-towners: Inner Rail is a racing term that references the former life of the area where Aksarben Village is located. It was once Aksarben Race Track and Colosseum, a horse race track.

Restaurants at Inner Rail include:

The Bánh Mì Shop – This restaurant has a devout following at its Bellevue location, so no doubt, Midtown people love to have a close location now. The quick service restaurant here serves up the most popular sandwich in Vietnam, the Bánh Mì. It’s a baguette served with mayo, sweet carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber and cilantro. (LOCAL)

Noli’s Pizzeria – Noli’s original location is in the hip Blackstone neighborhood. These guys take their New York-style pizza seriously, even getting the water filtered to mimic the granite filtered qualities of New York’s water. (LOCAL)

Maharani Indian Kitchen – Indian cuisine with a few good options for vegetarians out there.

Sofra Creperie – This place serves savory and sweet crepes. I have one word for you all: Nutella. They have Nutella. I had the savory So Cal and it was pretty good, though maybe it’s more of a testament to my appetite, I was still hungry afterward.

ACTQ – This is the third taqueria to be opened by Brooklyn chef and restaurant Akhtar Nawab. It stands for Alta Calidad Taqueria and the food is defined as Mexican-inspired (and it’s yummy).

B Squared Burger – What could be better than burgers and tater tots?

Briggs Bean – Here’s where you go to get your caffeine fix, including nitro cold brew. They also happen to serve pastries from the local pastry shop, Sweet Magnolias.

Kathmandu Momo Station – These guys were the popular as a pop up and now they have this great little space in Inner Rail. Kathmandu serves up Nepalese street food including momos (stuffed dumplings) and Burmese ramen. (LOCAL)

Ela’s Creamery – Serves up soft-serve ice cream in two flavors that rotate each week. I had the luck of sampling Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I was there. If that’s ever an option for you, get it!

Backstretch Bar – The bar! What more need I say? OK, I can say more. The perk of Inner Rail is that you can order a drink at Backstretch and take it outside with you to sit by a firepit.

Best food to order at Inner Rail Food Hall

I’ve eaten at Inner Rail an impressive amount of times since it’s only been open like a month and I don’t even work near there. 

Busy night inside Inner Rail Food Hall in Omaha

The surprise winner was the roti at ACTQ. It’s a flat bread that’s great for sharing. I had the vegetarian roti, which had queso and avocado.

I also highly recommend getting the naan with whatever entree you order at Maharani. It’s top notch.

SO MANY people told me to try the momos at Kathmandu. I tried both the fried and the traditional steamed ones. I preferred the steamed dumplings, though truth be told, good luck trying to get your kids to try one.

What’s kid-friendly at Inner Rail

Since Inner Rail is so new, we haven’t had many chances to test places out on our kids just yet. However, they are fans of the Noli pizza slice.

I didn’t notice many kid’s menu options at the restaurants, so unless your kid has a big appetite, just plan on sharing with him or her.

I’ll tell you what, my kids want nothing to do with momos. There. I said it.

Related food: Best Omaha Restaurants For Families

Things to know about Flagship Commons

Flagship has mostly quick dining restaurants, as well as a bar, coffeehouse and one full-service eatery. A few Omaha favorites have opened a location there, including my favorite, Blatt Beer & Table. 

Entrance to Flagship Commons, a food hall in Omaha

Restaurants at Flagship Commons include:

Blatt Beer & Table – Blatt makes every “best of” restaurant list I ever write. I love the Blatt, and so does my family. It’s the only full-service restaurant at Flagship. The drink specials here are pretty good. (LOCAL)

Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob – Small menu, big tastes. I can’t get my kids to like the falafel here, but if I’m dining without them, it’s a solid choice. (LOCAL)

Aromas Coffeehouse – This is the place to go for your caffeine fix, or if you’re so inclined, dessert. I personally like the baked goods there more than the coffee.  (LOCAL)

Yum Roll – Run by Blue Sushi Sake Grill, this is your sushi joint, if that’s what you’re craving.

Yoshi-Ya Ramen – Classic ramen quick service. Some people swear this place is the best. I’ve never embraced the whole ramen scene, though, so I’ve got nothin’.

Weirdough Pizza Co. – Weirdough serves Roman-style pizza al taglio. Surprisingly, my kids won’t eat this pizza.

Juan Taco – Love fancy tacos? Juan Taco serves food-truck style tacos.

Clever Greens – This is an upscale salad quick-service restaurant.

The Bar – It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Best food to order at Flagship

There are a few places I frequent regularly at Flagship Commons. If you go to Blatt, you have to try the Dirty Bird at least once. It’s a chicken sandwich that’s absolutely horrible for you, which means it tastes delicious.

For something a little quicker, head to Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob. I absolutely love the falafel here, as well as curry fries.

What’s kid-friendly at Flagship Commons

Like I said before, we’re a Blatt family. The kid’s menu has great food, and the staff is typically pretty great with the kids.

Kids was pastries from Aromas, a coffee shop at Flagship Commons Food Hall.

There is also a great discount on Wednesdays at select restaurants. Family Wednesday means ½ price kids meals for ages 12 and younger at Juan Taco, Blatt Beer & Table,

Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob, Clever Greens, Weirdough Pizza Co., Yum Roll and Yoshi-Ya.

Flagship has started Family Bundles at a few restaurants, where you can get a meal for four for $30 (upgrade to feed more mouths). These bundles are offered at Juan Taco, Weirdough, Amsterdam and Yum Roll. Pre-order your bundle and they’ll be available any time from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Happy Hour at Flagship

Like your food and drinks discounted? Of course you do. Two places at Flagship Commons has happy Hour specials: 

The Bar

Fridays, 3 to 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays, 3 to 6:30 p.m.

Sundays, noon – close.

Blatt Beer & Table (dine-in only) 

Mondays through Saturdays, 3 to 6:30 p.m.

Fridays & Saturdays, 8 to 9 p.m.

Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.

If you love food, head to an Omaha food hall! Here's a guide to Flagship Commons and Inner Rail Food Hall, including which restaurants are there, what to order, and where to take the kids. #Omaha #Nebraska #restaurants #foodhall #foodie #guide

Go beyond the Omaha Food Hall

Food halls are great because of the variety of food options paired with high-quality ingredients. However, if you’re looking for something with more service, check out other restaurants in Omaha. Here are a few lists to get you started:

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November 8, 2019

Best Places To Ice Skate In Omaha

From outdoor skating to skating on ice named in honor of a hockey legend, the Omaha area is home to several ice skating rinks that allow open or public skating on a regular basis. Rent skates or bring your own, ice skating is a blast! Here’s a breakdown of Omaha’s favorite ice rinks.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking the link, I receive a small referral stipend.

Ice skating in Omaha is a popular winter activity for families! Here's where you can find the indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks in Omaha (and nearby) | Things to do in the winter in Omaha | Omaha winter | Nebraska winter | Omaha winter fun #Omaha #Winter #Nebraska #USA #iceskate

Downtown Omaha ice skating

The Capitol District Ice Rink opens its season Dec. 6 and offers outdoor ice skating through Jan. 21. Located near the Marriott hotel, bring your own ice skates and enjoy time on artificially cooled ice.

Outdoor ice skating in Downtown Omaha at The Capitol District

While you’re there, look for figure skating teams, which sometime perform short acts for visitors. A portion of the admission fee is donated to Shine the Light on Hunger, which helps fund the Food Bank of the Heartland.

The ice rink is perfectly situated in the Capitol District, so you and your family can grab a quick bite at any of the area restaurants, including DJ’s Dugout and Lighthouse Pizza

Where to ice skate in Midtown Omaha

Motto McLean Ice Arena honors its namesake’s love for the ice by offering family specials, which include skate rentals, ice time and a drink. You can also bring your own skates to the Omaha Parks and Recreation arena on South 45th Street.

Motto McLean was a Canadian hockey player whose professional career brought him to Omaha, where he was a member of the Knights minor league team. He lived in Omaha for several years.

Note: The arena is currently closed due to a leak under the ice. It will reopen as soon as possible. 

The University of Nebraska Medical Center hosts outdoor ice skating Nov. 29 through Feb. 2, depending on weather. UNMC and other University of Nebraska system students and employees, as well as patients and their families, can skate for free with identification. The public can also skate for a small admission fee.

The rink, which is located between 40th and 42nd streets and Dewey and Emile streets, allows you to bring your own skates.

Note: The ice rink is outdoors, so it closes if the wind chill drops to zero degrees. 

Omaha’s newest indoor ice skating facility, Grover Ice Arena offers public skating in addition to its hockey and broomball leagues. Bring your own skates or rent theirs for a nominal fee.

You’re sure to have a fun time skating on the ice at the former Scoco Supply building, near 60th Street, off of Interstate 80.

Grover Ice also offers skating lessons for people interested in learning to ice skate.

Baxter Arena, home of the UNO Mavericks’ hockey team and other sports, occasionally offers public skating.

Ralston ice skating

The Ralston Arena is home to the Omaha Lancers juniors hockey team. The Lancers have long been a power in the United States Hockey League. The arena has also hosted the Curling World Cup in 2018.

Curling World Cup at the Ralston Arena in Nebraska, where there is also open public skating seasonally.

Ralston Arena also hosts open skating for the public throughout each month. You’ll want to check the arena’s website for dates and times, as well as admission fees. Bring your own skates and enjoy an hour or more on the ice. 

West Omaha ice skating

The Tim Moylan Tranquility Iceplex boasts NHL- and Olympic-sized ice sheets, which present an outstanding opportunity for young hockey players to develop their skills. The iceplex is also home to outstanding figure skating facilities.

The Moylan Iceplex offers more than 1,500 hours of open skating for the public. Skate rental is included with your admission.

While you’re spending time at the ice rink, grab refreshments or something to eat at their concession stand.

Cass County ice skating

Located near Ashland, Neb., just off Interstate 80, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is home to a large outdoor ice skating rink.

Outdoor ice skating at Mahoney State Park, near Omaha in eastern Nebraska

Requiring a state park permit or a daily pass to enter, Mahoney offers an opportunity to enjoy a day outside skating and then checking out other activities at the park. The rink does have a $2 admission fee and skate rentals are $3 per person.

The season runs from early December through March. After spending time on the ice, you may want to check out sledding, ice fishing or cross country skiing. 

Related post: Guide To Mahoney State Park In The Winter

Ice skating in Omaha - Find out where all the indoor and outdoor ice rinks are in Omaha, Nebraska. Tips include how much it costs, which Omaha venues offer ice skating lessons, and where hockey teams play. #Omaha #iceskate #winter #Nebraska #Guide

More winter activities in Omaha

From outdoor skating downtown at the Capitol District to enjoying a leisurely skate at West Omaha’s Moylan Iceplex, Omaha is home to some fun and outstanding ice skating rinks. Strap on your blades and have a fun skate around town.

However, if you’re looking for more things to do when the weather gets cold, check out this list of 30+ Things To Do In Omaha In The Winter.

About the author

Tim Trudell is a freelance writer in Omaha, who cowrites The Walking Tourists blog with his wife, Lisa. Together, they have authored “100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die” and “Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha.” He has also written articles for the Omaha World-Herald and Omaha Magazine.

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October 26, 2019

25+ Omaha Date Night Ideas

Have a date night coming up and don’t know what to do with your night out in Omaha? Here are a ton of Omaha date ideas. This list includes romantic restaurants, active date ideas, and great neighborhoods to simply explore together.

Plan something special for your next date night in Omaha! This list includes romantic restaurants, quirky date ideas, cheap date suggestions, as well as ideas for day trips from Omaha. Great list of things to do in Omaha for an anniversary, birthday, or just a quick date. #Omaha #Nebraska #Guide #Romance #Date

Omaha restaurants & bars for dates

Romantic restaurants – Some of Omaha’s most romantic restaurants are in the Old Market, including V. Mertz and La Buvette. For Midtown, I recommend places like Dario’s Brasserie or Marks Bistro in Dundee. Out West? Try either Dolce or Dante Pizzeria

For more ideas, here’s a list of more romantic restaurants in Omaha.

The exterior of V. Mertz in the Old Market of Omaha.

Quirky restaurants – Looking for something less formal and something even a little weird for a date? Here are 15+ quirky restaurants in Omaha. Need a starting place? Try the monster movie themed restaurant and bar, Monster Club.

Play games – Try out a new game at Spielbound for a casual and fun date night. Spielbound has both a café and a bar, so this makes for a good afternoon or evening date spot.

Pairing dinners – I love a good wine pairing dinner. My go-to spot is the Sage Bistro at the Metro Community College School of Culinary Arts.

Throughout the school year, there are pairing meals, and not just pairing wines with food. I’ve been to a margarita and tapas dinner as well as one that paired Irish spirits. 

Exterior of the Institute of Culinary Arts in North Omaha, where Sage Bistro is located.

Casual restaurants – Sometimes you just want to find a date night restaurant that’s low-key and comfy. My go-to restaurant for that kind of date night is the Crescent Moon.

Unique bars – Just have time for a one-drink date? Make is somewhere memorable like the speak like the Old Market tiki bar Laka Lono Rum Club, The Wicked Rabbit (a speakeasy), or go for the retro feel of the Blackstone bar like the Red Lion Lounge.

Unique things to do for couples in Omaha

See live theater – We’re lucky to have a ton of theater companies producing shows almost year-round. Not sure where to start? Some of my favorites include Bluebarn Theatre, Omaha Community Playhouse and Apollon Art Space.

Durham Museum after-hours – If you are both history buffs, The Durham Museum is an obvious, low-key daytime date. However, you can plan unique experiences by doing a history trolley tour together or one of the after-hours themed nights. 

Durham Museum's River City History Tours trolley

Zoo after-hours – Any time of day, a trip to the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is always a nice, no-pressure date. However, the zoo plans after-hours events throughout the year for adults that are unique and memorable. Think comedy, food trucks or even camping.

Putt putt – Playful competition might be a good thing, right? There are eight places to play putt putt golf in the Omaha area.

Axe throwing – Why not? It was a new experience to me and because of it, fun (and challenging). Omaha has three options. I can recommend Axe Games, but there’s also Craft Axe Throwing and Flying Timber Axe.

Axe Games Omaha - A fun date spot for couples or group dates

Comedy show – There are two local venues that are sure bets for comedy every weekend: Funny Bone Comedy Club and The Backline. You may catch occasional touring acts at The Orpheum Theater or The Holland Center, as well. The Backline is going to be the most affordable option.

Escape room – See how creative or smart your significant other is under pressure. It may be a less frustrating experience if you do a couples date to an escape room. You get one hour to figure out all the clues to get out of the room. The only one I’ve tried is Get Out Omaha – it’s a lot of fun!

Group date to Get Out Omaha, an escape room in the Old Market of Omaha.

Favorite concert venues – I think the best date night venue for music is the 1200 Club at The Holland Center. Picture it: Candle-lit tables in an intimate concert hall and absolutely amazing performances.

Those concerts aren’t frequent, though, so I also recommend checking to see who’s playing at The Waiting Room and Slowdown.

Amphitheater concerts – My husband and I have seen great shows at Stir Concert Cove at Harrah’s in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as well as SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion, Neb. Check the concert lineup to see if one appeals to you (both venues are seasonal, obviously).

SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion, Nebraska

Free concerts – Summer is the best time for free dates, especially thanks to the many free weekly concert series around Omaha. My favorite is Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing. Pack a picnic (with wine or beer, if you like), bring chairs, and enjoy the world-class show.

I maintain a list of 100+ free concerts (and movies) every summer. Check out that list here.

Ideas for cheap dates in Omaha

Movies and concerts aren’t the only inexpensive date options in Omaha. Read on for date inspiration that’s either free or low cost.

Joslyn Art Museum – Beautiful art in an iconic building in Omaha? Joslyn Art Museum a classy date. And the best part is, it’s FREE. The restaurant at the Joslyn is going to be a little pricey if you’re on a budget.

A budget-friendly date in Omaha: Visit Joslyn Art Museum, where admission is free.

If the weather’s nice, pack a picnic to enjoy in the outdoor sculpture garden.

Related post: There are more museums and galleries with FREE admission. Find them among this list of 20+ museums you should visit in Omaha.

Friday Art Walks – Visit a lot of galleries at once during First Fridays events in Benson and the Old Market. The FREE monthly events showcase a variety of artists and styles, and there is often complimentary food and drinks at galleries.

Alternative Programming – Omaha Community Playhouse offers a series called Alternative Programming. It’s completely FREE to attend. Usually it’s a staged reading and sometimes it’s an finished script, sometimes it’s a chance to peek inside the creative process of developing a script.

Shakespeare on the Green – Over a few weekends in June and July, Nebraska Shakespeare presents two outdoor plays. Admission is FREE, and if you pack a picnic and bring your own beverages, you can have a positively lovely night without spending a penny (unless you want to donate!).

Storm Chasers game – You can get pretty cheap berm tickets (seating on the grass) to Omaha Stormchasers games. Save money on parking by parking in the gravel lot for FREE. And time it with a promo and your ballpark dinner or drinks could be pretty cheap.

Berm seating at Werner Park during an Omaha Storm Chasers game.

Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewery – For the price of a glass of wine (or bottle), you can sit outdoors at Soaring Wings with a serene view and a FREE live concert on select nights at this winery in Springfield, Neb. Check the calendar first before you go, as some nights aren’t free.

Half-day dates in Omaha neighborhoods

Want to spend more time together than just a meal or concert? These date ideas have recommend places for a meal and things to do in a few of Omaha’s popular neighborhoods:

The Benson date – For this neighborhood, it’s all about low-key fun with surprisingly good food options. For casual dinner out, try a slice at Virtuoso Pizza or head to the Benson Brewery or Barchen for a good beer and food combo. For a meal to impress, get reservations at Au Courant or Yoshitomo.

It’s easy the whole evening in Benson, especially if you see a concert at The Waiting Room. No concert? I think it’s fun to get a drink and play games at The Beercade.

The Dundee date – It’s more than just bars (though those are nice). I recommend lunch at Mark’s or Dario’s, they’re upscale enough to make you feel like you’re on a date, but they serve the best mac and cheese (Mark’s) and french fries (Dario’s) in town.

Mark’s has a great wine selection and Dario’s has an impressive offering of Belgian beer. And they both have outdoor seating (see a trend?). 

Drinks at Dario's in Dundee

If you want something more low key, New Amsterdam has darn good falafels and fries. Around the corner is the Dundee Dell, where you can order some tasty fish and chips and if you’re into it, sample one of the many scotches they’re known for. 

Cap the afternoon off with ice cream at eCreamery. If you have more time, go see a movie at the Dundee location of Film Streams or see a performance at Omaha Community Playhouse.

The Old Market date – If it’s summer time and before 1 p.m., stop by the farmers market located at 11th and Jackson streets. Sample some goodies, maybe nudge your date to buy your some flowers, and listen to some live music. 

For lunch, pick a restaurant with an outdoor patio, such as Stokes, Upstream Brewing Co. or Plank Seafood.

Walk off lunch and visit some stores – there are plenty of second hand shops, Homer’s for music lovers, City Limits for fun, and the Old Market Chocolate Shoppe. Don’t miss out on Hollywood Candy, where there’s an old school pinball arcade hidden inside. I’m also a fan of browsing Jackson Booksellers, a large used book store.

Nighttime in the Old Market in downtown Omaha

The Old Market is quite charming any time of day. For evenings in the summer, nothing beats sitting outdoors and people watching. If you want to enjoy drinks outdoors, head to Upstream Brewery (there’s an upstairs patio that has seating in addition to the patio in front), La Buvette, Brickway Brewery, or Mr. Toad.

Day trip for couples near Omaha

Get out of town for these next dates. Plan on a whole day to do any of these dates:

Ashland, Neb.

Take a little day trip to Ashland, Neb. for a unique date. You have a couple of options once you exit Interstate 80. If you feel like hiking, sitting by a lake, zip line, or if you planned ahead, horseback riding, head to Mahoney State Park or Platte Rive State Park

If you don’t want to be THAT active, take a drive through Wildlife Safari Park. It’s a drive-through safari with a few stops to get out and hike and see some animals.

Your dining options in that area are limited, but luckily, the drinking options are not. Naturally, I have located wineries nearby, and I recommend you check them out. 

Wine glass at Cellar 426 in Ashland, Nebraska

Cellar 426 has a great view, lovely wine and cheese and crackers, so I like them. It’s fairly close to Mahoney State Park. 

Heading into Ashland, you’ll find Glacier Till Vineyard. I highly recommend trying the cider there (more so than the wines). 

Honey Creek, Iowa

This takes a little preparation on your part, but it’s worth it to visit the Hitchcock Nature Center in southwest Iowa (about 20 minutes east of Omaha).

Dusk in the Loess Hills near Hitchcock Nature Center in Iowa

Pack a picnic and plan on exploring the Loess Hills together. The views are lovely and the trails are rarely busy. 

On your way home, you can stop at Loess Hills Vineyard and Winery in Crescent where you can stop sample some wine (skip the reds).

If ice cream is calling your name, stay on Old Lincoln Highway heading south. You’ll come up to Christy Creme on your left as you enter Council Bluffs.

Mt. Crescent, Crescent, Iowa

If you’re outdoorsy types and don’t mind the cold, you can head about 20 minutes north east of Omaha to Mt. Crescent.

You can take a break from skiing at the renovated lodge that’s home to the Mountain Cafe & Bar. Being me, I’d stay indoors but there is an outside firepit and where you can roast marshmallows.

Zip line at Mt. Crescent in Iowa

In the summer, Mt. Crescent has a zipline you could try, as well.

Nebraska City, Neb.

The fall is the ideal time to plan a day trip to Nebraska City. If it’s early all, head to an apple orchard like Kimmel.

If it’s October, head to the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure for an easy hike through the forest, a run through the new Tree Village, and then end the adventure with a wine tasting at the nearby Apple House Market.

Wine tasting at the Apple House Market in Nebraska City, Nebraska

Hungry?  There’s a barbecue place at the Apple Market. Don’t skip the apple pie a la mode for dessert.

* * * * *

I’d love to hear your favorite date nights in Omaha! Please leave a comment with your recommendations.

Need ideas for Omaha date nights? Here are date night ideas and suggestions for unique dates. Plus, get ideas for day trips from Omaha for couples! #Omaha #Nebraska #datenight #romantic

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October 22, 2019

Everything You Need To Know About Durham Museum Annual Events

The Durham Museum is an Omaha institution housed in the beautiful Union Station building. The museum has a permanent collection focused on the preserving the history of the region, and there are regular traveling exhibits. I enjoy visiting the museum with my kids to see the new exhibits, but also during Durham’s special annual events.

If you're planning a trip to Omaha, one museum to visit is The Durham Museum. Depending on the time of year, a visit could time out for a unique experience. Here are the don't miss annual events held at The Durham Museum. #Omaha #Nebraska #Museums #OmahaEvents

Disclosure: I am an blog ambassador for The Durham Museum. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Where is the Durham Museum?

The Durham Museum is located at 801 S. 10th St. in downtown Omaha, Neb. It’s just a few blocks south of the historic Old Market district. You an easily walk to the Old Market from the museum, though it may be just long enough for older kids to complain about it.

The Durham Museum is housed in the Union Station building in downtown Omaha. The interior of the building features Art Deco designs.

Parking is FREE at the museum, and plentiful. For some events, overflow parking can be found in the field to the east of the museum.

Do special events cost extra?

Most special events at The Durham Museum are included with regular museum admission and free for those with a membership. However, some evening events are ticketed.

There is also one unique event called Railroad Days, and since it is a multi-venue event, there is a pass that you must purchase that will get you into each venue, including The Durham Museum.

Related post: 20+ Museums In Omaha You Must Visit

Annual events you should go to at least once at Durham Museum

I’ve spend my fair share of holiday seasons at The Durham Museum – Christmas, Halloween, Railroad Days, you name it.

If you go to just one special event, I highly recommend going to the tree lighting ceremony in November. It officially kicks off Christmas at Union Station each year.

But, there are so many other unique annual events to attend! So, I made this list for you to experience my favorites. Unless I say otherwise, assume the event on this list are included with museum admission.

Halloween at The Durham Museum

Halloween is a lot of fun for all ages at The Durham Museum. There is a mix of all-ages and adults-only events.

If you go to one Halloween event, make it the annual Great Hall-oween Haunt. This annual evening event involves trick-or-treating with historical figures, a dance party, games and crafts.

The Great Hall-oween Haunt has already happened in 2019, so check back next October for 2020 details. Costumes are definitely encouraged.

Kids can trick-or-treat at The Durham Museum at special events in October.

In 2019, the museum expanded its Halloween offerings, though. So, since the Haunt has already happened, here are a few other activities.

  • Spooky Tales for Tots – On select Wednesdays, the museum includes a story time and crafts. It’s a drop-in event. The next one is Oct. 30 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • History Mystery – This ticketed event is on Oct. 24 and for those 21 and older. This event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and involves ghost stories, basement tours and a haunted train. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members (ticket includes one drink ticket). There is a cash bar, as well.
  • Hallo-weekend – On Oct. 26 and 27, kids (12 and younger) can come in costume and receive FREE admission. Look for the Haunted Train, Platform activities, trick-or-treating and dancing zombies throughout the day.
  • Durham After Dark – Enjoy a little creepier night experience for all ages at The Durham Museum on Oct. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy spooky stories with Nebraska Story Arts, the Haunted Train, a dance party complete with glow sticks, a zombie flash mob and a scavenger hunt. Halloween costumes are optional.

Christmas at Union Station

Christmas at Union Station kicks off with the area’s largest indoor tree lighting celebration the day after Thanksgiving, and continues through the holiday season with family-friendly events like visits from Santa, concerts, the Ethnic Holiday Festival, the popular Noon Year’s Eve and many more.

When: Nov. 23 through early January 2020

Indoor Christmas tree at The Durham Museum in Omaha

Daily exhibits and things to see: You don’t have to visit on a special event date. If you go on an “off day,” you’ll enjoy fewer people while seeing the 40-foot tall decorated tree as well last the Holiday Cultural Trees Display.

There’s something planned weekly during the run of Christmas at Union Station! Here are the ones to see:

  • Tree lighting ceremony – Held the Friday after Thanksgiving, this annual event is spectacular (and extremely popular). In 2019, the event is Nov. 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony involves caroling, a countdown and, usually, a surprise when the tree lights up.
  • A Log Cabin Christmas – Learn about Christmas from long ago and tour the log cabin in the museum.
  • Meet Santa and Holiday Concert Series – What’s better than meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus? Having live music! Meet Santa and the Holiday Concert Series are held at the same time each week. These run Nov. 30 through Dec. 22 and are held Tuesdays, 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:30 to 4 p.m.
  • Holiday Lights Festival Family Festival – During this festival, various venues are FREE to the public, including The Durham Museum. It can get very crowded. In 2019, the family festival is Dec. 1 from noon to 5 p.m.
  • Family Night With Santa – Have a late night and meet Santa at the museum on Tuesdays, Dec. 3, 10 and 17 from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Holiday Culture Festival – See how other cultures celebrate Christmas and holidays around the world. This year, the event is Dec. 6 from 4 to 9 p.m.
  • Noon Year’s Eve – Celebrate the New Year early with an afternoon party. Noon Year’s Eve is Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a huge balloon drop.

Summer special events at The Durham Museum

We love going to The Durham Museum in the summer, especially when you can combine a visit to a special exhibit (like dinosaurs!) and a special event. There’s even one event in the summer that involves a free sweet treat!

Root Beer Float Day is an annual event each August at The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

Here are the notable summer events you should attend:

  • Railroad Days – The Durham Museum is one of five participating venues during the fun weekend in July. The museum usually has kid-friendly activities as well as music and, of course, trains.
  • Wild Wild West Days – This is another July event, this time celebrating all things Wild West. There are a variety of kids’ activities like learning to lasso, as well as costumed actors who will act out an exciting shootout.
  • Root Beer Float Day – This one’s fun just because you get a FREE root beer floats at the soda fountain! Root Beer Float Day is in August each year.

Related post: Guide To Visiting The Durham Museum With Kids

Adult-only annual events at The Durham Museum

For most of the year, you’ll find great events for all ages, but there are some events that are great for the 21+ crowd. These adults-only events at The Durham Museum tend to occur in the first half of the year.

My Flappers & Fizz costume for an adults-only event at The Durham Museum in Omaha.

This year, I went with friends to a 1920s-themed event called Flappers & Fizz, where we had to solve a mystery and locate the hidden speakeasy inside the museum. It was a ton of fun and we loved being able to dress up!

That sort of event is ticketed and if you’re a member, you receive a discount on tickets. Since it’s a museum, I feel pretty good about spending extra on tickets knowing that it helps support the museum’s mission.

The Durham Museum is in a landmark building in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition to permanent exhibits and unique traveling exhibits, the museum holds several fun events each year. Here are the must-try special events at The Durham Museum. Most of the museum events on this list are great for families! #Omaha #Nebraska #FamilyTravel #FamilyTime #Christmas

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October 12, 2019

The Family Show You’ll Want to See At The Holland Center

For as long as I’ve had this blog, I’ve been cluing you in to the best family shows brought to Omaha by Omaha Performing Arts. I worked there for a few years, and now I’m just a fan. So, here’s the next show you’ve got to see: Scrap Arts Music.

Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

Scrap Arts Music is a percussive group — think “making drums out of everything” kind of thing. They’ll perform “Children of Metropolis” at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. It’s an all-ages show – so read on to see if it’s right for your family!

Disclosure: Omaha Performing Arts provided complimentary tickets to me and provided the tickets for the giveaways.

The show starts at 7 p.m., but arrive early for the family-friendly lobby activities that start at 6 p.m. One of the activities will be making your own instruments.

Who is Scrap Arts Music?

Scrap Arts Music is a Canadian experimental pop percussion company, which basically means this quintet makes awesome music with found objects like scrap metal, artillery shells, accordion parts and more.

Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

It’s not just music, though. Scrap Arts Music adds athletic choreography to their inventive show.

What’s “Children of Metropolis” about?

“Children of Metropolis” is the latest production by Gregory Kozak and Justine Murdy, the co-founders, artistic directors and designers of Scrap Arts Music.

Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

According to the press release, “It is a fast-paced, all-acoustic percussion show, with sci-fi-inspired film and video projections. The quintet performs with gymnastic agility and percussive drive, demonstrating incredible musical skill while striking, moving and bowing hand-made, mobile sculptural instruments made from recycled and salvaged materials.”

Sounds pretty awesome.

How to get tickets for Holland Performing Arts Shows

Scrap Arts Music will perform “Children of Metropolis” at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St., on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.

Tickets starting at $20 are available at TicketOmaha.com, in person at the Ticket Omaha* Box Office located inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Street, or by calling (402) 345-0606. The performance is sponsored by Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. 

*Ticket Omaha is the official retail ticket outlet for all performances at the Orpheum Theater and the Holland Performing Arts Center. Tickets purchased from other ticket retailers such as secondary ticket agencies or brokers may be more expensive and may not be valid. 

How to win tickets to Scrap Arts Music

I’ve partnered with Omaha Performing Arts to give away TWO SETS of family four passes to see Scrap Arts Music perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center! You can enter both giveaways to increase your odds of winning.

Win four tickets entering through the blog

The first giveaway starts right now! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. Tickets are good for the Oct. 25 show at 7 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nitty Gritty: The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. Winner will be contacted via email within 48 hours of the giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Must be 18 or older to enter and tickets are not exchangeable or refundable.

Win four tickets entering the Facebook giveaway

I’ll kick off a flash giveaway on Facebook this Monday! One winner will receive four tickets to see the Scrap Arts Music performance at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Follow Oh My! Omaha on Facebook to stay in the loop and then on Monday, find the post about the giveaway.

One winner will be drawn on Wednesday morning. I’ll be contacting the winner via Facebook for the drawing.

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October 7, 2019

14 Best West Omaha Restaurants You Must Try

West Omaha is starting to be the spot for great, locally-owned restaurants. There was a time when I struggled to name one perfect West Omaha restaurant. But now, I’ve got a list of favorite West Omaha restaurants .

Read on for my list of the best restaurants in West Omaha, including those that are great for brunch, a few family-friendly options, and the best restaurants for date night. I included my recommendations on what to order, too.

I’m not done exploring West Omaha, so I have a to-visit list. Share your to-visit list in a comment!

On the hunt for good food in West Omaha? Here's a list of my favorites, including the best places for brunch, date night and a family dinner out! These are the best restaurants in West Omaha. #Omaha #Nebraska #localrestaurants

What is considered West Omaha?

Even if you are from Omaha, where exactly is West Omaha is up for debate. Depending on who you ask, West Omaha could have very different boundaries. Is West Omaha anything east of 72nd Street?? Should West Omaha include Elkhorn or La Vista??

Fun fact: Omaha has expanded over the years and annexed cities like Elkhorn and Millard. I’ve grown up always thinking of Millard as part of West Omaha, but not Elkhorn.

Anyway, I had some tough decisions to make, as West Omaha IS different for each person you ask.

For now, here’s the Oh My! Omaha definition of West Omaha: I’m considering restaurants in the area located between 120th and 192nd streets and between Giles Road and State Street. 

Casual dining in West Omaha

Casual here means you won’t need a reservation (though, there may be a wait), and you don’t need to dress up.

Blatt Beer + Burger

It wouldn’t be an Omaha restaurant list if I didn’t include Blatt, now would it? This is one of my top go-to restaurants when we’re out with the kids, because the food is fantastic and there’s a decent kid’s menu.

What to order: If you’re feeling indulgent, get the Dirty Bird. Do not attempt to eat it on a first date.

The best casual dining in West Omaha include The Corner Kick, known for its street tacos.

The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina

For creative Mexican dishes, head to The Corner Kick in Millard. This would be a good go-to spot to watch sports, if you’re looking to dine on something a little more inventive than the traditional sports bar fare.

What to order: They’re known for their street tacos, which aren’t too big, so you’ll want to order a few. I recommend barbacoa, carnitas and brisket.

Frank’s Pizzeria

Frank’s has some fans who will fight you if you say there is a better place to find New York-style pizza in Omaha. It’s been a while since I’ve had a slice, but I still trust it holds up given how die-hard some people are.

What to order: The last time I was there, I was vegetarian, so I can vouch for the margherita pizza. You can order by the slice, though, so get what you want.

Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill

Emperyean Brewery out of Lincoln opened a second location for its restaurant, Lazlo’s. This is a burger and beer joint, but it’s also family-friendly.

What to order: I’m a sucker for a good burger paired with one of their beers, like Third Stone Brown Ale.

Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar

If you want seafood in Omaha, you’ll find the freshest seafood at Shucks, the restaurant arm of Absolutely Fresh Seafood. You’ll usually find paper covering the tables, which makes coloring (with or without kids) a fun way to pass the time.

What to order: The New England lobster roll is pretty tasty, but if you like a little spicy kick to your meal, try the jambalaya.

Best West Omaha for fine dining

I use fine dining loosely here. You’d be just as comfortable in a cute pair of jeans and top as you would in a cute black dress at one of these restaurants.

Dante in West Omaha is a fine dining Italian restaurant that focuses in seasonal ingredients.

Dante

Italian food has never had it so good. Dante serves seasonal food in creative Italian dishes. The wine list is extensive.

What to order: The pizza’s delish, but if we’re talking date nights, try one of the fresh pastas so you’re not splattering sauce all over yourself.

Related post: Try one of these Omaha restaurants for your next date night!

Dolce

Dolce is one of those under-the-radar date night places that I never knew about until I was given a gift card there. What a treat! It’s nice enough to impress but not overly fancy. The food is expertly prepared.

What to order: Splurge and get the five-course chef’s tasting menu.

Pitch

The West Omaha location of Pitch not the original, but it maintains the stylish look of the Dundee location…and one ups it with an excellent rooftop patio. I’m always tempted to order a stone-fire pizza there, because they are so good.

What to order: Get the garlic cauliflower appetizer. You’re welcome.

Best sushi in West Omaha, Nebraska? One of my favorites is Hiro 88 Millard.

Hiro 88 Millard

I love sushi, but my kids, they don’t like the stuff. So, I save Hiro 88 for date nights. I’ve never had a bad roll. If you want to save money, go on a Sunday for their all-day reverse Happy Hour.

What to order: If you like rolls, get the Hiro Special.

Best breakfast in West Omaha

Breakfast is where West Omaha really excels. Here are some of my favorite places to get breakfast in West Omaha:

Bailey’s

You kind of have to expect a bit of a wait for this wonderful restaurant (just over the border of 120th Street, so I count it). Fresh and indulgent, I have yet to find a dud on the Bailey’s menu.

What to order: Bailey’s is known for their egg benedicts, all served with a homemade hollandaise dressing. Go for the classic or get a little wild and order one of their specialties like the the Blackstone benedict, which has grilled tomatoes and maple smoked bacon with the poached eggs and sauce.

Green Beans

Passionate about coffee? Then get your caffeine fill at Green Beans, quite possibly the best coffee in all of Omaha. I make special trips just to stop there.

Green Beans does serve food, however, I just order my delicious cup of coffee every single time I’ve been.

What to order: Coffee, of course. But if that’s too boring, go with the spiced chai latte.

The homemade seasonal pop tarts at Over Easy make it a popular breakfast and brunch spot in West Omaha.

Over Easy

Over Easy is a hip breakfast place that puts a creative spin on traditional breakfast foods (which is why my kids don’t like it). Ingredients are seasonal, so the menu is ever-changing.

What to order: Get the homemade pop tart in whatever seasonal stuffing they’ve concocted.

Shirley’s Diner

I grew up going to Shirley’s Diner back when it was a small place decorated with retro kitch. I loved it.

The diner outgrew its old digs, and it’s now in a shiny new space. It still has retro decor, and the same home-style food, though.

What to order: Get a fluffy pancake.

Vidlak’s Brookside Café

Vidlak’s has been around for ages and is a no-frills diner offering the best kind of breakfast comfort food you can imagine.

What to order: If you’re extra hungry, add one of their ginormous cinnamon rolls to your order.

West Omaha is one of Omaha's largest growing suburbs. Check out this list of the best West Omaha restaurants, featuring locally-owned restaurants that focus on seasonal ingredients or rely on tried-and-true classic dishes. List includes breakfast and brunch options, family-friendly restaurants, and several restaurants that are great for date night. #Omaha #Nebraska #OmahaWeekend #restaurants #eatlocal #localrestaurants #guide

West Omaha restaurants on my to-try list

This list features restaurants that probably should be on the “best of” list of West Omaha restaurants, but I haven’t been to them yet, so I don’t want to include them. However, they have pretty solid reputations, so I feel pretty confident including them.

La Casa Pizzaria West – I’m a huge fan of the original La Casa in Midtown Omaha, so I’m eager to see how the second location compares. La Casa has a thin crust pizza to die for. My personal favorite is the margarita.

Le Voltaire – Mr. Wonderful swears we’ve had a meal at the French restaurant Le  Voltaire. If we have, it happened early on in our dating years, so like, more than a decade ago. It’s time to revisit, sil vous plais.

Wave Bistro – I’ve heard raves about Wave Bistro, an Asian fusion restaurant in West Omaha. I wanted to go there during Omaha Restaurant Week, but alas, they were not open for my Sunday date night.

Whisk and Measure – This bakery keeps getting by my friends, especially those who’ve attended their brownie sundae pairings with Coneflower Creamery. Word is, Whisk and Measure has delicious vegan and gluten-free options, too.

Your turn: What is your favorite West Omaha restaurant?  

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