Hello from Marissa, Two Kids’ East Coast Editor! Did you see the announcement that I am moving to Omaha, Nebraska!?! If not, now you know! In about a month I will be digging up my roots in Newport, Rhode Island and relocating to the grand city of Omaha, Nebraska. Now you can call me the Midwest Editor!
Omaha? you ask. Grand?
I would be remiss if I did not admit that I had the same reaction. We tell people where we are relocating to and they have the same reaction…Oh. Omaha. Why?
In our case, we don’t have much of a choice. My husband’s job sends him where he is needed. However, we have met several past residents of Omaha and they speak only amazing things of the city. I was eager to find out why people loved Omaha and what it had to offer. After a week there house hunting, I now know. The place is PHENOMENAL.
Jen, of Two Kids, even flew out and joined me for a few days of my house hunting trip and we had a terrific time exploring. There is so much to see and do – a list of 6 things is not enough, but I will try nonetheless…
1. Omaha LOVES visitors. Omahans are proud of their city and they are happy to share that pride with you. The tourism center was closed the day we were down there, but I did learn from our new friends The Walking Tourists about the Nebraska Passport (really click that link, it’s a great resource). It’s an awesome guide to Nebraska, highlighting must see attractions, restaurants, etc. to visit while you’re in the state. Many of these places are local to Omaha. You receive a passport stamp each place you visit from the guide and you are able to keep track of your travels across the state. The passport can be picked up at any location that participates. I grabbed mine and received my first stamp at Hollywood Candy, definitely a must see! Visit Omaha is another resource you can’t miss out on. Their site includes a plethora of things to do, calendars, and information. Right now they are encouraging you to share pictures of your visits on Instagram using #omahaweekend.
2. The downtown area is bumpin’! Jen and I spent a day traveling all over downtown, in particular the Old Market area. People out shopping and dining made it clear how much they enjoy being a part of this community. The vibe is fantastic and you really feel the energy of the local artists and culinary masters. And because of reason #6, it is so easy to get anywhere without a major hassle.
3. Food, Food, Food! I ate my way through Omaha in my 7 days and didn’t have a meal I didn’t like. Everything from the Upstream Brewing Company (12 beer flight!) to Mexican food at La Mesa in Bellevue (terrific cheese dip) to Stokes Grill and Bar (fantastic steak tacos and we had a blast bantering with our servers) to Spin! Neapolitan Pizza in Papillion. Trip Advisor has a list of 1,157 restaurants to choose from and I am elated to try as many as possible.
4. Attractions. The pictures at the end of our trip were priceless. Jen and I walked out to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge where we stood over the Missouri in both Nebraska and Iowa. On a whim we rode B-Cycles from the bridge back to the Old Market. We spent a morning walking around the tranquil Lauritzen Gardens where they also happened to be holding a plant sale for a day. I am saving the Omaha Zoo, apparently the best zoo in the world, for an outing when my whole family has relocated.
5. A smile around every turn. My realtor became my best friend (and not just because he was trying to sell me a house). I stopped in to get information from the school my kids will be attending in Plattsmouth and felt like I made new friends with all the administration (one of the principals lives in the neighborhood I’m buying in). Our servers at Stokes were helping me think of captions for my Instagram photos. We met up with fellow bloggers The Walking Tourists who shared a WEALTH of local information and places to see. The ladies at my hotel front desk were telling me about different schools and areas to live in. The cars on the freeway let me into their lane whenever I put my blinker on. Seriously, every person I met in and around Omaha was so happy to just be plain nice and pleasant. Okay, except for that one guy who honked behind me at that stop sign. He must have just been traveling through town through.
6. It really does only take 20 minutes to get anywhere in Omaha. I drove around all hours of the day and night during my house hunting and tourism adventures. Never did I encounter any traffic. The infrastructure of Omaha and its surrounding cities is fantastic. The roads are wide, easily traversable, new in many areas, and clean! Parking downtown was no where near a problem. As a matter of fact, the parking pass we paid only $5 for was good until 6am the next day! That is unheard of in most cities I have lived around! Not Omaha.
The memories I made this week will last a lifetime, but more importantly, I have a whole new outlook on our move to the Omaha area. Our family is going to thrive there. I don’t know if three years will be enough time for us to enjoy all this city has to offer but I am going to strive to make it happen! Stay tuned and follow my Nebraska traveling to see what happens next!