With former towns and areas creating nearly 100 Omaha, NE, neighborhoods, the city is a hodgepodge of history and culture. From the early days of Omaha's downtown near the current Old Market to Elkhorn on the western edge of the city, the neighborhoods in the nation's 40th-largest city have unique stories to share. From street days celebrations to music festivals, as Omaha continues to grow, new neighborhoods help create smaller communities, each with their own unique personalities.
Cities like Florence, Millard and South Omaha were founded during the mid-1800s, when Omaha itself was a small city, with little to no plans for the growth it would experience over the next several decades. Florence, north of downtown Omaha, was home to the winter headquarters for Mormon pioneers on their trek from Nauvoo, IL, to Salt Lake City, UT. Florence was annexed by Omaha in 1917. It's currently home to the Mormon Trails Center and the Florence Mill, which was founded by a Mormon family. Today, you can enjoy breakfast at Harold's Koffeehouse or dinner at OJ's Café or Finicky Frank's.
Founded in 1870, Millard enjoyed its sovereignty for nearly a century before Omaha annexed it in 1971, following a lengthy court battle against annexation. South Omaha, the city's melting pot for immigrants through the years, was founded in 1884. “The Magic City," as it was nicknamed, was home to packing houses that relied on immigrant workers.
Annexed by Omaha in 1917, South Omaha was once home to the world's largest stockyards, before they moved away from the area. You can still get a delicious steak at Johnny's Café, one of Omaha's oldest restaurants.
Omaha neighborhoods invite you to explore and learn their history. Whether you prefer classic neighborhoods, with their history and charm, or newer districts, created for development and convenience, Omaha has the perfect neighborhood for families, young professionals and singles.
Good schools, access to parks and plenty of activities help set apart these neighborhoods for families.
Once home to the Aksarben horse track, the Aksarben/Elmwood Park neighborhood is a mix of classic homes, apartments and condos. Aksarben got its start in 1895 when community organizers sought to create an area to share history and culture. Coining the name Aksarben — Nebraska backwards — it grew into a civic organization that included the race track and an entertainment coliseum.
Today, the race complex has been replaced by Aksarben Village, a mix of business, retail, dining and entertainment options. With the spacious Elmwood Park and University of Nebraska at Omaha north campus on its northside, Aksarben has become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods with its festivals, such as Earth Day, community concerts at Stinson Park and Shakespeare on the Green at UNO.
It hosts a weekend farmers market from April through October, as well being home to a variety of restaurants and bars. The UNO athletic teams, including hockey, volleyball and basketball, play at Baxter Arena — also site to major concerts — on the south side of the neighborhood.
How would you like to call one of the world's richest men a neighbor? Living in the same house he purchased after college, billionaire Warren Buffett lives in the Happy Hollow area of Omaha. Although he has made a few modifications to the home over the years, Buffett still comes across as the nice guy Omahans believe him to be.
Designed as Omaha's original suburb, Dundee is home to vintage houses and a unique downtown featuring classic restaurants and e-Creamery, one of the best ice cream parlors you'll ever visit. And you may meet a celebrity or two while visiting, as some locals did when Buffett and Sir Paul McCartney enjoyed an ice cream treat near a street corner.
As you stroll along Underwood Avenue, look for the historical marker highlighting the time a Japanese balloon bomb exploded over the area during World War II. Dundee is home to great food, such as Cajun extraordinaire Acadian Grille or great pizza at Pitch Pizzeria. The Dundee area has excellent public parks, including Memorial Park, home to the annual Independence Day weekend concert and fireworks show.
Founded in 1865 and named after the nearby Elkhorn River, Elkhorn grew from a village to a small city of about 6,000 before being annexed by Omaha in 2005. With a classic small-town business district, you'll find unique shops and restaurants, along with a good park system.
Contemporary businesses and eateries can be found along Maple Street that connects the newer neighborhood to the rest of Omaha. With classic and new houses, as well as apartment and condo communities, Elkhorn is Omaha's western border.
With its own school district, Elkhorn public schools have grown from one high school to three. The city hosts Elkhorn Days each summer, as well as a renaissance festival. The area's Indian Creek golf course hosts the Korn Ferry pro golf tournament each summer. While it may be one the newer areas, Elkhorn is considered one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for families.
These neighborhoods are popular with young professionals for their vibrant mix of restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife.
Located west of downtown Omaha, Midtown Crossing has become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for young professionals. A retail and entertainment district, Midtown Crossing features a mix of new and vintage housing options.
For young professionals, there are outdoor concerts, including the annual Jazz on the Green, as well as a unique movie theater, and Spielbound, a combination coffeehouse/board game café. With a variety of restaurants, including vegan, farm-to-table and a Buffalo wing sports bar, Midtown Crossing caters to almost any dining preference.
Omaha's original downtown is also a perfect area for young professionals to call home. With older buildings converted into homes, as well as condos along the Missouri Riverfront, you're only minutes away from many of the city's key employers, such as Union Pacific.
With your choice of restaurants, clubs and bars, Old Market is perfect if you prefer to be in the middle of the action in the heart of the city. It's a great walking area and pet friendly. The original farmers market takes place on Saturdays from April to October, and then the Old Market transforms into holiday haven with thousands of white lights shining brightly. Carriage rides, outdoor dining and street musicians highlight a day or evening out in the Old Market.
Once considered a sketchy area, the 30th and Parker streets area has been transformed into Highlander, a mixed-use neighborhood of new housing, along with older, renovated apartments.
The area along 30th Street is anchored by the Highlander Accelerator, with Hardy Coffee and Big Mama's soul food restaurant as its best-known residents. Hardy Coffee moved its corporate operations from the Old Market to Highlander, including its coffee roasting and bakery. The expanded coffeehouse is perfect for work and hosting meetings.
Big Mama's new location offers easier access to one of Omaha's favorite restaurants. A few blocks to the north is Time Out chicken, considered the best takeout chicken in Omaha. Highlander's plan is to host outdoor concerts, as well as offering additional restaurants.
Singles flock to these neighborhoods, which buzz with activity 24/7.
Blackstone is one of Omaha's newest districts and has quickly become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for singles with a bevy of dining options. Once one of the city's richest areas, with mansions lining Farnam Street, the area fell into disrepair after the stock market crash in 1929.
As residents were unable to maintain their homes, many of the mansions became boarding houses and funeral homes. Former mansions that once lined the Gold Coast sat empty and were demolished. The ones that survived became apartment buildings.
Today, those apartments and other mansions surround the Blackstone District, home to about a dozen restaurants offering everything from gourmet meatballs to farm-to-table entrees, as well as an ice cream parlor with homemade treats also caters to vegans.
With several lounges and Farnam House Brewing Company in the district, which runs west of Midtown Crossing to the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus, you can relax with a quality whiskey or enjoy a nice glass of pinot. An artisan coffeehouse, Archetype, serves as a gathering spot for people at all times of the day.
With its name derived from Czech immigrants settling the area along 13th Street in the late 1800s, Little Bohemia for years was anchored by the Bohemian Café. Known for its authentic Eastern European dinners, the restaurant was a favorite for family get-togethers. However, after more than 90 years, the restaurant closed in 2016. That move gave way to creating Omaha's newest district, Little Bohemia.
Quickly establishing itself as a popular area for singles and young couples, Little Bohemia is home to a mix of bars and retail outlets. Infusion Brewery took over the Bohemian Café spot to open its third location Omaha. Beercade 2 is a spinoff of Benson's Beercade, featuring classic arcade games and beer — the perfect combination for a great time. Along with boutiques and other shops, Little Bohemia's rise as one of the best Omaha neighborhoods is accentuated by a second Archetype coffee location.
Founded as its own city, Benson has long been considered among the popular Omaha neighborhoods. Home to art galleries, vintage and antique stores and great restaurants, Benson is a fantastic area to call home. With street festivals, Benson Days and food truck rodeos, the neighborhood is almost non-stop entertainment.
Each October, zombies invade Benson during the annual Zombie Walk to help celebrate the Halloween season. You'll find national music acts performing intimate shows at the Waiting Room. The neighborhood is home to two craft breweries — Benson Brewery and Infusion Brewing Company. The original Beercade calls Benson home, with a massive array of vintage pinball games and lots of drink options.
Head to Benson's alleyways and check out the alley art. Make reservations for an upscale dinner at Au Courant or pull up a chair for barbecue at Hartland BBQ. Benson's First Fridays are a must on the first Friday of each month, as galleries and stores stay open late for visitors, along with some impressive dining options.
The challenge for anyone moving to a new city is finding the perfect fit for yourself or your family. Interests, as well as needs, such as education, play a key role in deciding where to call home.
With almost 100 neighborhoods in Omaha to choose from, look for the common denominator in what drives your main interest for selecting a new home. Whether you're looking to buy a home or rent an apartment, Omaha has the right place for you to call home.